V617 Religion, Society and Culture BA Undergraduate 2019
|Mode of study||Part Time + Full Time|
|Typical Offers||A Level|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Contextual Offers||You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.|
|More information||Still have questions?|
This degree is designed to develop an understanding of the centrality of religion to the functioning of societies past, present and future. The degree has core components that develop competence in the comparative study of religion, especially myth-, ritual- and meaning-making. These are complemented by more specialised modules that explore religious practice in relation to either particular religions (such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity), particular regions (such as Asia, Africa and Europe), or particular transnational media (the internet, film and literature). Students on this degree will benefit from the considerable strength that the department has in the comparative study of religion, the social sciences and the study of religious texts/artefacts.
Graduates of the degree will be highly employable in a range of professions including the civil service, education, research and social work.
The focused nature of the degree allows for the development of core competencies in the methods for exploring religious practice at the same time as allowing for a specialised focus on a particular religious tradition, geographic region, or form of religious media.
Lays the foundations that are needed for higher study, providing core understandings and skills for the exploration of religion and culture.
Two compulsory religious practice modules are taken in the first year, as follows:
- Islam Observed
- Christianity in Context
at least two compulsory theory modules:
- Study of Religion
- God and the Good AND/OR
- God and Evil
and one or two modules from a large list of electives offered by the Department of Theology and Religion and from the departments of Anthropology and Sociology. Examples of modules available in recent years include:
- People and Cultures
- Societies in Transition
- Conceptualising Society
- Biblical Hebrew
- New Testament Greek
- Introduction to Christian Theology
- Reading Biblical Texts
One of these optional modules may be taken in your second year.
The second year builds upon the first allowing for deeper study of key themes, traditions and practices.
Candidates have to choose at least three modules from a list of electives that may include, for example:
- Death, Ritual and Belief
- Religion in Contemporary Britain
- God, Freedom and the Soul
- Topics in Christian Ethics
- Myth and Meaning: The Structural Analysis of Mythology
- Research Project and Colloquium in Theology and Religion
- Science and Theology: Exploring the Interface
- God and the Universe of Faiths
- Landscapes of Worship in Contemporary South Asian Religions
They may choose to draw up to three modules from a further list of electives, examples of which might include:
- Cultures and Classifications
- Philosophy and the Christian Tradition 100-1300
- Self, Identity and Society
- The Making of Modern Christianity: Medieval and Reformation
In your final year, you will submit a double dissertation which allows you to explore in depth a topic of your choice which is of special interest to you. Students in the third year also take optional modules, selecting from a list of modules offered by the Department of Theology and Religion and from other departments. Examples of recent modules include:
- Anthropology of Religious Controversy
- Religion and Film
- Emotion and Identity in Religion
- The Postmodern God
- Christian Tradition and the Practice of Politics
- Faith and the Experience of War in the Christian World
- Religions in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Religion, Media and Popular Culture
Students admitted to the BA Religion, Society and Culture are able to apply to transfer to the BA Religion, Society and Culture (with Year Abroad) programme.
Durham University has over 240 student exchange agreements under the Erasmus+ and International Exchange programmes. Our partner institutions are spread across the globe from Austria to New Zealand. Students apply for this opportunity during their first two years and (if successful) spend a year, between their second and third years at Durham in one of our overseas partner institutions. During this year, at least half of the modules taken at the host university must be in the study of religion.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Course Learning and Teaching
As a student on the BA in Theology and Religion, you will receive on average 7.5 hours of timetabled contact per week over the course of your three years. This will included a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and study skills classes. The number and balance of these different activities will change over the course of your programme as you develop your knowledge and your abilities to undertake your own independent and scholarly engagement with texts and issues.
Timetabled contact is only the beginning of your learning. It provides a starting point for your development as an independent learner. Typically in the first two years, classroom teaching and learning will form nearly 25% of the time you will spend on your studies; you will be expected to spend the remaining 75% of your time on independent research.
In the first year you will receive about 8-9 hours of timetabled contact each week. First year modules are intended to provide the foundational understanding and skills necessary for work in theology and the study of religion. Weekly lectures will introduce you to the broad questions and current issues in the subject area, and will enable you to develop a clear understanding of the subject and to improve your skills in evaluating and analysing information. Seminars (typically six in each of your six modules) will give you the opportunity to engage with the topics introduced in lectures and to discuss key issues in small groups; they also promote awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and help you articulate and develop your own views in dialogue with others. You will also be able to get detailed feedback on your essays, to help you improve the quality of your written work.
For each hour of timetabled contact, you will be expected to complete about three hours of independent research. This will enable you to broaden your subject knowledge, prepare for lectures and seminars, and complete written assignments. We will provide you with reading lists, handouts, suggestions for preparation, and other online materials to guide you in your research.
There are also four general lectures in the first year on study skills. These provide you with the basics about accessing the library, reading, note-taking, essay writing, and the like. But they also set you on the path to becoming an independent learner, helping you to understand how to find out for yourself the resources you will need and the skills you will have to develop for effective intellectual engagement with texts and issues.
Every member of staff has weekly office hours when they are available to meet with students on a ‘drop-in’ basis. You will also get a personal academic adviser who meets with you a number of times each year, and is responsible for your overall academic progress. He or she is usually the first person you would turn to if you have queries or problems. Academic advisors are also very helpful when it comes to finding someone to write a reference for you!
The second and third years develop this approach of research-led learning. There is a much greater choice of modules in the second year, to allow you to pursue your own interests within theology and religion by building on the understanding and abilities you have begun to develop in the first year. There is also an increased emphasis on the development of critical and analytical skills, and on the ability to write more extensive pieces of writing based on your own research. As modules specialise more strongly in particular areas, the type of teaching varies more markedly between modules, and the kind of contact you experience depends to a greater extent on the modules you take. On average in the second year, the number of timetabled contact hours is similar to those in the first year, as are the number of hours you will need to dedicate to your own independent learning.
The culmination of the process of your becoming an independent researcher is the third-year dissertation, a large research project that counts for one-third of your marks for your final year. This gives you the opportunity to engage at an advanced level with creative cutting-edge research at the forefront of the discipline, working on a topic of your choice. On account of the time you will need to undertake this research, timetabled contact in the third year is reduced (to an average of just under six hours a week), but this is balanced by six 45-minute tutorials of one-to-one contact with a supervisor dedicated to discussing your own research project, together with a number of classes on dissertation research skills. The dissertation is excellent not only for those students interested in further academic research, but also represents the cumulative development of skills in analysis, synthesis, presentation and interpretation which the degree programme aims to foster and which are highly prized by future employers.
In addition to all this, the Department also has an extensive programme of research-related activities which you are warmly encouraged to attend. These include several research seminar series and public lectures from high-profile guest speakers and visiting scholars; the University also frequently hosts eminent and well-known visiting speakers. You will also receive invitations to attend regular workshops that are organised by the Department and the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre.
Subject requirements, level and grade
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors
- We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
- Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry
- If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre
Science A levels
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A Levels with an English examination board.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£19,250.00 per year|
Part Time Fees
Full time study
The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Part time study
The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of part time study and are charged proportionately of the Full Time fee. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
Theology and Religion
Studying Theology and Religion I learnt how to develop and present my arguments and appreciate and critique those of others. Developing these communication and analytical skills has been really important in preparing me for my current role, as this includes working with colleagues on project teams, finding solutions to challenges and sometimes analysing complex data. Equally, studying a diverse range of topics during my degree, from Church History to the Anthropology of Religion, has prepared me to adapt to the varied nature of the graduate scheme. I also elected to study several ethics modules, which has undoubtedly informed my career path and choice of business: I knew that I wanted to work for a business which was commercially competitive, but shaped by its ethical values.
Of those students that left in 2017:
- 96% are in employment or further study six months after graduating
Of those in employment:
- 77% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £22,000
(Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2016/17 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:www.hesa.ac.uk/support/definitions/destinations)
A significant number of students progress onto higher level study following their degree in theology and religion. Some remain within their academic field of interest and pursue a Masters, notably at Durham but also other prestigious institutions. Others take a different route and pursue professional postgraduate programmes in law, finance and teaching at institutions including Manchester, King's College, Cambridge and Oxford.
Employment development opportunities
The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre collaborates closely with the Department of Theology and Religion. The link Careers Adviser delivers presentations to each year group on a range of areas including options with the subject, career decision making, successful applications and interviews, and advice for those considering further study. Student representatives also organise alumni events at which Durham Theology and Religion graduates return to speak about their career experiences, offering first hand advice and tips on how to enter different sectors.
Durham University theology and religion graduates enter a wide range of career areas including teaching, government, law, recreation and leisure, marketing, business and finance. Our graduates find employment with leading employers such as the Cooperative Group, Teach First, Samaritans, Legal Services Commission, National Health Service, Royal Placement Agency, National Theatre and Deloitte.
Specific roles our graduates have progressed into include project manager, teacher, clergy, communications researcher, events organiser, projects officer and civil servant.
Using recruitment consultancies can be a very useful approach to help you find employment. You can identify consultancies using the Recruitment and Employment Confederation website. Consultancies specialising in graduate opportunities, such as the Graduate Recruitment Bureau, can also be an excellent source of help.
Open days and visits
Pre-application open day
Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.
Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place: www.durham.ac.uk/opendays
Discover Durham Tours
Discover Durham tours offer a brief introduction to the University. The tour begins at one of our undergraduate colleges, where you will receive an introductory talk from a member of college staff, followed by a tour of the college by current students.
Overseas Visit Schedule
Theology and Religion
A recognised global leader in the exploration of theology and religion.
Theology and Religion at Durham University combines aspects of philosophy, history, literature and social sciences, and will give you valuable insights into how people past and present have drawn on religion to both understand and shape the world around them. The department has established an international reputation as one of the leading research departments in its field, and we are equally proud of our high-quality
teaching and our commitment to our students. Our degree programmes offer you enormous flexibility, with a rich variety of subjects, and the
opportunity to engage in serious and exciting explorations in all areas of the discipline.
- 1st in the UK for internationally excellent and world-leading research and joint 1st for internationally excellent and world-leading research impact (REF 2014)
- 2nd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2017
- 3rd in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2017.
Durham University has important museums including the Oriental Museum that houses many religious artefacts. Durham University students are given the opportunity to learn from, research and handle objects not normally on view to the public.
We are well placed for the study of living religious traditions and enjoy a strong relationship with the adjacent cathedral. We also have good links to other faith communities in the North East and run regular field trips to Durham’s Muslim chapel, Newcastle’s Hindu Temple and Newcastle’s Gurdwara. The department has connections with the highly active societies for Theology and Religion, which are active in organising seminar series, field trips and social events.
We enjoy centrally located classrooms in historically important buildings that are comfortably furnished and fully integrated into the digital age. The new Centre for Teaching and Learning, located on Saint Mary’s Field, is due to open for the 2019 academic year and will push forward the current boundaries of learning environments and technologies.
The Bill Bryson library is centrally located and well stocked with relevant Theology, Religion and Cultural Studies holdings with both the latest in academic research across these areas and a large collection of historical texts relating to Oriental religions. The Cathedral Sharp library has strong theological holdings and the nearby Ushaw library has around 30,000 early printed books and a major collection of archives and manuscripts, some of which formed part of the medieval monastic library of Durham Priory.