Philosophy, Religion and Ethics BA
In this broad, interdisciplinary degree, you will study the momentous questions in Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics that matter most to you–whether they concern the rationality or value of religious faith and practices, the ethics of climate change or euthanasia, the nature of knowledge or freedom, or something else.
You will learn to develop and defend your own critical perspectives on these pressing issues while mastering the skills necessary to navigate their ongoing significance in our rapidly changing world.
|In doing so, you will benefit from studying in a top Philosophy Department with particular expertise in Ethics, while learning from Sheffield’s cutting-edge scholars of Religion, who approach the study of Religion from a wide variety of academic perspectives including Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, History, Social Science, Literary Studies, and Philosophy of Religion.|
Students on this degree take modules in each of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics each year, though there is extensive flexibility to allow you to focus more on one area if you choose. Our research-led Philosophy Modules and Religion Modules each include many options in Ethics, alongside a diverse portfolio of other possible subjects reflecting staff interests. Teaching methods for this degree include interactive lectures, seminars, team work, student presentations, debates, and fieldwork. Our modules are assessed by a variety of methods, ranging from examinations to essays, or more creative assignments, such as portfolios, posters, presentations, video-blogs, or artwork installations. One of the distinctive opportunities of the degree is a dissertation at level 3, where you will work closely with a member of academic staff.
Sheffield’s Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics community is an active one, hosting both the Centre for Engaged Philosophy and the Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. There’s always something exciting going on, whether it’s put on by staff or students. You’ll be encouraged to join in with the community by pursuing collaborative research projects, engaging the public, hearing guest lectures, or presenting your own academic work outside the classroom.
The Philosophy, Religion, and Ethics degree offers excellent preparation for a wide range of careers or for further study. The Philosophy Department, in partnership with the Careers Service, puts on a wide variety of opportunities designed to help students plan for their futures. For more information, see our careers page.
Take a look at our ten reasons to study Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Sheffield
Our programme is designed so that you take modules in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics. You have the flexibility to choose from a range of modules in each subject area so you can design your degree to suit your interests. Many of the modules which are available are interdisciplinary, exhibiting a strong focus on more than one of the three areas. The modules outlined are marked PHIL, REL, ETH to indicate their focus on Philosophy, Religion or Ethics. While available modules may change from year to year, this list is representative of the modules which may be available.
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.
Many of our students choose to spend part of their degree studying, working or teaching in another country. Find out more about our study abroad opportunities here
The Philosophy Department offers the option for students to spend a year in employment as part of their degree programme. For more details about this programme, see the section on Degrees with Employment Experience on the Careers Service’s placement page.
View some examples of how the research of our staff contributes to their teaching here.
Teaching and Assessment Methods
You'll learn through interactive lectures, seminars and one-to-one meetings with lecturers, and take part in presentations, debates and field work. You will be given extensive feedback on your work, which will generally be assessed through examinations, essays and longer projects. Some modules use presentations, portfolios, posters, artwork installations and ethnography.
Diverse assessments are designed to diversify your learning experience and develop your transferable and improve your graduate prospects. We plan our learning and assessment on programme level, thinking your three year degree holistically. We spread out your deadlines, and plan different tasks to multi-skill our students. We give feedback in each module to help you to improve your skills and academic performance, and we see our students develop throughout their degree.
Further information about teaching and learning can be found under the "learning and assessment" tab on the University 2020 prospectus.
Contact hours are typically 2 hours per week for 10 credit modules, and 3 hours per week for 20 credit modules, plus the opportunity to see staff individually in their open office hours.
Our campus and how we use it
While some of our teaching takes place in the department, most of it is timetabled to take place in purpose-built teaching spaces across the campus (see our campus map). The campus has many amenities, and is located at the heart of the city, giving you easy access to shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.
Religion modules are taught by a team of specialist staff from Philosophy, English and History. Staff who may teach on your degree will include:
Dr Ryan Byerly - Ryan's primary research interests are in Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology, and Virtue Ethics.
Dr Chris Bennett - Chris’s main interests are in moral, political and legal philosophy.
Dr Mark Finney - Mark's research interests include the relationship between religion and violence, particularly in relation to the conflict in the contemporary Middle East and Early Christian Identity. He is also interested in Paul, religious art and the Greco-Roman context of the New Testament.
Prof Eric Olson - Eric works primarily in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind with a particular focus on personal identity, time and death.
Dr Katie Edwards - Katie specialises in the Bible in contemporary and popular culture, including representations of religion in the media and advertising, and biblical literacy. Her teaching and research also includes critical study of religion and gender.
Dr Minna Shkul - Minna specialises in social sciences, gender and religion.
Dr Casey Strine - Casey works on the history, literature, and cultures of the ancient Near East, specialising in ancient Israel and Judah. Casey’s research is interdisciplinary, as he uses the study of migration to reconstruct ancient history and to interpret ancient texts. His teaching also includes philosophical and theological debates, in the module ‘Life Worth Living'.
Dr Meredith Warren - Meredith's primary research interests lie in the cultural and theological interactions among the religions of ancient Mediterranean, especially early Judaism and Christianity. In particular, Meredith is interested in how shared cultural understandings of food and eating play a role in ancient narratives, including the Pseudepigrapha, Hellenistic romance novels, and the Gospels.
"I chose Sheffield because I was impressed by the diversity of fields that each lecturer brought to the department. Subsequently, the diverse range of specialisations meant that there was a large range of module choices available."
Emilie Lebarbier, BA Philosophy and Religion
"The reason that I believe Philosophy, Religion and Ethics work so well together is that both compliment one another because you have to be analytical and critical about the philosophical arguments posed or interpretation of the canonical texts which you find within religion. Furthermore, these subjects allow you to delve deeper into the history of the world, whether that be in ancient Greece with Socrates and Plato or in antiquity and studying traditions which make up major religions."
Elizabeth Green, BA Philosophy and Religion
"I chose Sheffield because of its international reputation, diverse student community, and the flexibility my degree offered."
Wiktoria Kulik, BA Philosophy
Find out from our students what it's like to live, study and work in Sheffield in our student profiles.
PhilSoc - We have a thriving Philosophy Society known as 'PhilSoc'. It's a great way to meet people on your course!
Reading Weekend - Every year the department organises a Reading Weekend for staff, postgraduates and undergraduates. It normally takes place in the spring at a youth hostel in Derbyshire. There are philosophy talks, walks around in the Peak District and a trip to the pub.
Undergraduate conference - The University of Sheffield Philosophy Undergraduate Conference is arranged every year by the Sheffield philosophy department and is a great chance for undergraduates to experience presenting one of their own papers to an interested group of peers.
Philosophy in the City
Philosophy in the City is an award-winning outreach project, run entirely by student volunteers from the University of Sheffield’s Philosophy department. PinC volunteers go into schools and other institutions to teach philosophy, and to encourage pupils and residents to think critically about philosophical problems and develop their own ideas.