BA (Hons) Religion, Ethics and Society

BA (Hons) Religion, Ethics and Society

Study the diversity of different beliefs, practices and worldviews

Study the diversity of different beliefs, practices and worldviews

3 years full-time
Bishop Otter Campus
  • Study the links between religion, ethics and contemporary events, conflicts, and challenges within society
  • Join a close community of people passionate about exploring profound ethical questions
  • Learn from experts in their fields
  • Smaller class sizes for better learning
Students walking outside the historic Cloisters building.


Examine the roles and influences of religion and ethics in contemporary society

Explore the relationships between religion, ethics and society at a time when it has never been more relevant or important to do so.

You will consider the way religion has sculpted every facet of contemporary life and how it continues to influence ethical positions – from the way we are buried, abortion rights, and euthanasia.

In addition, you will investigate the complex questions surrounding the definition of ‘religion’, discuss important issues such as religious conflict, and study key ethical and religious thinkers.

You will get to work closely with experts, accessing a unique level of interaction with our academics. They will encourage you to engage in investigative research that will develop your problem-solving and critical analysis skills.

On this course you will:

  • Explore the exciting diversity of different beliefs, practices and worldviews.
  • Develop your ability to analyse complex material related to global issues of religious belonging, pluralism, diversity, and identity.
  • Learn how to use your philosophical skills to think carefully and critically about problems beyond the classroom.
  • Build your confidence as you learn to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

The Course

Explore major questions and concepts around religion, ethics and wider society

This course looks at the role of religion within modern society, and is ideal for those who do not align to any one religion.

We live in a world where some of the most serious threats to justice and well-being are related to failures to engage effectively with religious plurality.

Year One

In your first year, you will be introduced to fundamental ethical ideas from the past 700 years.

You will explore concepts such as faith and reason, the existence of truth, the concept of the ‘subject’, and the relationship between religion and violence.

You will also be given a grounding of key ideas from the realms of politics and law as you consider their place within contemporary society.

Year Two

In your second year, you will begin to examine the application of religion and ethics to a range of contemporary and relevant issues, such as climate change and the environment, political extremism, freedom and justice, bio-ethics, and modern interpretations of the Bible.

Year Three

By your final year, you will have a strong sense of what area you would like to focus on for your final dissertation project.

Alongside your thesis, you will have the opportunity to explore more specific aspects of Religion and Ethics, including: the fanatical ideologies of twentieth century European dictators, British culture wars, political theology, and the relationship between religion, sexuality and gender.

This list is indicative and subject to change.

Select a year

Faith and Reason

This module explores the relationship between faith and reason. When are beliefs justified? Are some beliefs beyond rational explanation? Why do people hold such beliefs? What cultural assumptions inform the way that we think about belief, reason and God?

Introduction to Political Ideas

This module introduces you to the academic analysis of politics. You will gain an understanding of politics both as an activity and as a discipline. The module focuses on the space of politics, and the conceptual approaches, ideology, schools, and methods in Politics

Law and Society

This module provides an interdisciplinary view of Law. You will study what is meant by both law and society, as well how law can be used as a mechanism of social control. You will also consider how the law adapts to changing social norms and opinions. Finally, you will study the role of law in promoting and protecting individual rights, equality, and diversity.

The Problem of Human Nature

The module investigates different understandings of human nature. What makes humanity distinct? Are we rational animals? Do we have souls? What is the relationship between thinking and our embodied existence? We will explore how a range of understandings with particular attention to the wider philosophical implications.

The Quest for Truth

The module investigates the relationship between philosophy and science by examining debates about different conceptions of truth. Is truth something that can be measured? Is there reality beyond the material world? Contemporary society values the explanatory powers of social and natural sciences – is there still a place for a distinctively philosophical approach to questions of truth?

Renaissance and Reformation Europe 1350-1600

This module evaluates the political, intellectual and religious development, popular, elite and court culture, warfare and international relations and gender issues across Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire within the Renaissance and Reformation periods. In doing so, you will gain a better understanding of Early Modern European society and the way it responded to pressure and change.

Religion, Ethics and Violence

The twofold aim of this module is to introduce you to the historical study of religion and ethics and their relationship with violence. The module investigates this relationship through the examination of a number of historical and contemporary examples, thus introducing you to the value of studying both religion and ethics in historical perspective.

Subverting the Subject: Ideas in Literature from Barthes to Butler

This module explores the ideas of a key set of thinkers who have sought to subvert traditional conceptions of ‘the subject’. Using literary fiction as a foundation, you will consider all the ways in which the concept of the subject might be determined by outside forces, rather than solely through the individual.

What is the Good Life?

The module will introduce you to classical and contemporary ideas about the nature of happiness and its implications for living well. It will begin with an introduction to Aristotle’s idea of virtue ethics discussed in the Nicomachean Ethics. This will then be compared with contemporary ideas such as Layard’s study of happiness, religious discussions of the same topic, and significant alternate ideas such emotional intelligence, and self-actualisation.

Popes And Politics

This module examines the nature of papal pronouncements and diplomatic interventions in the continuing evolution of the modern nation state. You will consider these ideas in the new ideological landscapes of totalitarian power, in the two world wars and the Cold War. It will involve an analysis of the ideas, culture and structures of the Roman Catholic Church as they were found at work in the contexts of national and international politics in the years 1864-2005.

Kingdom Of Heaven: Crusading And The Holy Land, 1095-1291

This module assesses the causes and consequences of crusading to the Holy Land between 1095-1291. You will examine the motives of the First Crusaders and the subsequent defence of the Holy Land, including leaders such as Richard the Lionheart, as well as the political and economic ramifications for the Latin East and the indigenous populations of the invaded territories.


This module introduces you to the concept and debates of bio-ethics. You will become acquainted with the major problems in bio-ethics, especially those relating to the beginning and ending of life and discuss them multiple ethical approaches.

Critique, Suspicion and Revolution

This module traces the development of Western philosophical ideas from the height of modern thought through the deconstructive methods of postmodernism, as you explore the challenges to modern concepts of being, reality, knowledge and subjectivity. You will investigate questions surrounding the place of philosophy in the modern world as you evaluate the legacy of modern and postmodern philosophy and its ability to address contemporary issues.

Enlightenment Europe, 1688-1789

The ideas of the Enlightenment provided new ways of thinking about science, religion, education, politics and society and the place of ‘mankind’ in the world, but to what extent did the ‘philosophers’ transform society and how enlightened were they? You will explore these ideas as you engage with the works of Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diederot, Rousseau, Beccaria and Wollstonecraft.

Environment and State in Britain since 1945

This module explores the British state’s evolving stewardship over the environment since the end of the Second World War. You will examine the connected environmental challenges that the state has faced in this time including pollution, urban change, resource depletion, species conservation and control, epidemics, extreme weather, the threat of nuclear war, and climate change.

Freedom and Justice

The module investigates different philosophical approaches to freedom and justice. What constitutes a free action? Can freedom be granted? What are the key components of a just society? We explore different traditions with careful attention to their historical and cultural context while considering their ability to illuminate contemporary issues and debates.

Philosophy and Theory of Religion

This module allows you to investigate the connections between philosophy and contemporary theories on religion. Whilst recent philosophical debates have questioned the division between humans and the rest of nature, contemporary theory of religion has moved away from an understanding of religion as only a set of beliefs. Bringing together these philosophical and theoretical strands can help us re-evaluate the nature of religion and its role in contemporary society.

Saints of Sinners: Politics and Religion in the Contemporary Era

This module examines critically the role of religious ideas in contemporary political life, in particular the ways in which a variety of theological perspectives shape and influence contemporary political movements. As such, you will examine the role of religion in politics and its re-emergence as a political force and key influence on identity. The focus will be on the UK and USA with reference made to the place of religious belief in global politics.

Re-Litigating The Past: State, Media And Historical Injustice In Contemporary Britain

This module focuses on how public histories have been rewritten in Britain over the past three decades, through the interventions of state, media, and voluntary sector institutions. By studying these forms of investigations, you will learn about how private traumas are integrated into or transformed public memory, the ways in which and reasons why silences are maintained or broken, and the place of ‘the past’ in judicial processes.

Dissertation in Theology

The dissertation is the culmination of your degree, as you produce a research project on a specific aspect of theology. The dissertation consists of a study of 9,000 words on a topic agreed between the student and the module coordinator.

Writing, Environment and Ecocriticism

This module will offer you the opportunity to explore the ways in which contemporary writers and critics engage with images, issues and concepts of the environment in novels, poetry and non-fiction. You will choose whether you wish to engage with the themes of the module as a critic or a creative writer.

The Cultural History of Death

This module explores how literary representations of the historical and social treatment of the dead presents a vivid insight into the cultural behaviour, ideology and social order of different cultural and historical contexts. You will explore the beliefs and attitudes towards the dead within literature from the Middles Ages through to more contemporary examples and debates.

Dictatorship, Conformity and Resistance in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Stalin’s Russia

This module explores the distinctive ideologies of Soviet Communism, Italian Fascism and German National Socialism, and to consider if and how these were in fact new forms of religion. The module will also examine the construction of these ‘totalitarian’ states in practice, and the experiences of individual and institutions caught up within these contexts, with particular reference to the churches and to cultural movements

Political Theology

This modules asks how theological and religious concepts shape our understanding of a range of political ideas. Does this mean that Western society is fundamentally religious? Or do theological and religious ideas take on new meaning in secular or post-secular society? We will look at these issue from a variety of theological, sociological and philosophical perspectives.

Revisioning Religion, Gender and Sexuality

The module will begin by examining the development of feminist theologies, thealogies and feminist studies of religion in the Jewish and Christian traditions. This will lead to an exploration of a range of the further developments which have emerged as result of these early developments such as womanist, mujerista, body and queer theologies as well as diverse feminist spiritualties across a range of traditions.

Philosophy and the Future

This module investigates different philosophical conceptions of the future. Beginning with religious understandings of eschatology, messianism, millennialism and apocalypticism we will see how these ideas relate to philosophical notions of progress, utopianism and dystopianism. We will ask how we think of the future today, examining a range of philosophical texts as well as film, television, music and visual art.

The Theology and Politics of Paul the Apostle

Paul’s letters in the New Testament have had a major influence on the formation of Christianity as well as on political, ethical and philosophical questions more generally. This module varies between close readings of key Pauline letters and discussion of key problems – such as gender, social change, and freedom – raised by the Pauline texts throughout history.

British Cultural Wars

This module explores conflict within British culture from the start of the 19th century to the turn of the new millennium. You will consider the reaction to obscene publications and other literary controversies and moral panics of Victorian Britain, through to the as the liberal reforms in the 1960s and the self-censorship and the baleful influence of Hollywood on British cinema.

Henry VIII and Court Culture, 1509-1547: Faction, Faith And Fornication

This module examines the structures and cultures of royal courts of the Tudor period. In particular, you will consider court culture through the eyes of contemporaries in order to explore the centrality of the royal court and its relationship to the localities during this period of such immense change. You will explore the royal court’s political influence, the role of faction and division and the relationship to the literary arts.


Discover facilities and research centres that support your learning


“I love studying at Chichester. The course is so diverse and relevant to today's society. Increasing levels of globalisation and diversity make knowledge of other cultures absolutely essential - now more than ever. You also really get to learn a lot more about yourself and develop your own personal ideas.”


“Chichester is a small university and because of this everyone gets to know everyone. Not only this, but, your lecturers also have a chance to get to know each of you on a more personal level. This benefits you as a student as you feel more comfortable discussing work knowing that they will help in all ways they can, as well as feeling comfortable to talk about more personal issues. The staff are constantly cheerful (must be something in the air!) and always make time for you not just for academic reasons, but for any general enquiry or concerns.”  


“I have found working on my dissertation to be a very challenging, but rewarding experience. It has allowed me to independently explore a subject that I am passionate about in great depth. I have had to learn to critically analyse a wide range of sources, and it has surprised me how much my own thoughts on the subject have changed so much during the course of writing it! I have also received great support from my supervisor, which has allowed me to explore concepts and ideas that I never would have thought of myself.”

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of internationally-recognised research staff


At our university, you will find a friendly atmosphere and an encouraging team of staff who will work hard to support your learning.

All of our tutors have recognised national and international research expertise and a passion for their respective subject areas. This ensures that you have access the latest debates within the study of Religion and Ethics.

Much of our teaching is in small groups. Our commitment to smaller class sizes allows you to feel more confident to discuss your ideas in a supportive environment.

It also allows your tutors get to know you and how best to aid your development.


You will be asked to undertake a variety of tasks, many of which will be useful in your future careers.

You will be asked to write essays as you might expect, but you might also write book reviews, reviews of films, write reports on projects, make a video, construct an exhibition and make presentations.

We will give you feedback as you go along, meaning you don’t have to wait until the end of term to know whether you have succeeded or not. You will get a lot of support so there is no need to worry about assessment.

Social Life and Community

Become part of a supportive and welcoming community of learners

Our Religion, Ethics, and Society degree is built around a strong sense of community – amongst students in the degree, across year groups and with staff, as well as with students from other Humanities degrees.

We make a point out of getting to know you when you arrive as a first-year student and you are given an academic advisor whom you will meet with regularly throughout your time at Chichester.

Our Philosophy, Religion and Ethics programmes regularly organise social events such as cinema trips, museum visits, film evenings, pub trips, guest lectures and debates on topical issues.

In addition, there is a wide variety of activities and organisations on a university-wide level which you can take part in such as societies, clubs and sports.


Employ your skills and knowledge in the pursuit of an exciting career

Our students go on to an incredibly varied range of careers after university.

The skills learnt on our degrees equip students for all sorts of roles in society, there is no one typical career undertaken by our graduates.

Career paths include:

  • The police
  • Human resources
  • Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
  • Local and national government
  • Charity management
  • Public administration
  • The Church of England
  • Communications and PR
  • Publishing
  • Journalism

Postgraduate pathways

  • MA Cultural History
  • MA Public Theology
  • PGCEs
  • Postgraduate Research (MPhil/PhD)

University of Chichester alumni receive a 15% discount on our postgraduate courses.

Course Costs

Course fees 2022/23

UK fee
International fee

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fees page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

Entry Requirements

Typical Offer (individual offers may vary)

tariff points.
A Levels
Access to HE Diploma
28 points
6.0 overall
with no element lower than 5.5.


Frequently asked questions

How do I apply?

Click the ‘Apply now’ button to go to relevant UCAS page.

What are UCAS tariff points?

Many qualifications have a UCAS Tariff value. The score depends on the qualification, and the grade you achieved.

How do I know what my UCAS tariff points are?

Head to the UCAS Tariff Points web page where you can find a tariff points calculator that can tell you how much your qualification and grades are worth.

When does this course start?

This course starts in September 2022.

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