Philosophy and Religion

Study mode:On campus Study type:Part-time Languages: English
Local:$ 6.3k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 16.2k / Academic year(s)  
StudyQA ranking:2946 Duration:12 months

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This MA aims to be of interest to a wide range of students for example those engaged in the study and practice of religion, those interested in making an informed contribution to contemporary religious, social and ethical debate; and those whose professional life involves philosophical and ethical questions.

The degree is made up of four taught modules and a dissertation. Two modules - in Reason and Religion and in either Contemporary Christian Thought - Understanding Religion in the age of modernity are compulsory for all students. You choose two further option modules, and complete the programme with a 12-15,000 word dissertation on a topic chosen by you and approved by your supervisor.

The compulsory module, Reason and Religion, focuses on a selection of key arguments about the existence and nature of the divine and the implications of these for human life. It examines the work of philosophers from a range of religious traditions and none, and encourages an understanding of both historical debates and current developments in each topic. The module aims to cover most of the Philosophy of Religion topics from the AS and A2 Philosophy (AQA) syllabus for those with an interest in teaching AS/A2 Philosophy, although it is intended for anyone with an interest in studying the rationality of religious belief.

Options allow you to select from related groups to make an Ethics Pathway or a Philosophic Pathway, but it is not a requirement to choose one of these. Whatever choice you make, you will have opportunities to consider some historical philosophical and theological approaches to religious questions, a range of philosophical views from different religious traditions, and issues in ethics.

The degree is made up of four taught modules and a dissertation. Two modules - in Reason and Religion and in either Contemporary Christian Thought - Understanding Religion in the age of modernity are compulsory for all students. You choose two further option modules, and complete the programme with a 12-15,000 word dissertation on a topic chosen by you and approved by your supervisor.

PHH505 Reason and Religion

This module focuses on a selection of key arguments about the existence and nature of the divine, and the implications of these for human life. It examines the work of philosophers from a range of religious traditions and none, and encourages an understanding of both historical debates and current developments in each topic. The module aims to cover most of the Philosophy of Religion topics from the AS and A2 Philosophy (AQA) syllabus for those with an interest in teaching AS/A2 Philosophy, although it is intended for anyone with an interest in studying the rationality of religious belief.

Either ABR403 Contemporary Christian Thought

or CIR403 Understanding Religion in the Age of Modernity

The word religion has only quite recently acquired its current meaning. This course helps students to reflect in depth on the mutually dependent relationship between modernity and religion, asking how modernity has tried to situate and understand religions and how, increasingly, religious people are seeking to re-situate modernity. In the first half of the course, we will explore various different theoretical approaches to religion developed over the last two centuries, including secularisation theory, the phenomenology of religion, hermeneutical approaches, and pragmatism. In the second half, we will explore in some depth the ground-breaking work of philosopher Charles Taylor who provides a compelling understanding of both the origins of the modern secular worldview and of the place of a responsible religious faith within it.

Ethics pathway options:

CET401 Foundations of Ethics

This module lays the foundation for the study of ethics by giving you an introduction to some major themes in ethical theory and areas of contemporary debate. Themes studied include: major influences on ethical debate (relativism, utilitarianism, Kantianism); the distinctive contributions of Christian ethics; conscience; Human Rights; law and morality.

EitherCET501 Ethical Issues Today

Using the contextual and theoretical understanding of the discourse of ethics, this module leads you into a more thorough, academically informed consideration of a range of contemporary ethical issues, related to: the environment; the mass media; political obligations; work and professionalism; intellectual property rights; war and peace; punishment of criminals.

or CET502 Bioethics & Sexual Ethics

In this module you will examine some of the pressing issues of the day, including: reproductive technologies and embryo research; euthanasia; abortion; transplants; divorce and remarriage; homosexuality and gay parenting.

Philosophic pathway options 2 from:

PHR507 Selected Themes in European Philosophy

This module explores a number of the themes that have emerged from the fascinating and challenging history of European philosophy. Areas to be covered include: the one and the many, creation, the good, time, scepticism, freedom and technology.

SPR508 The Franciscan Spiritual Tradition: Faith, Reason & Spirituality

This module will explore the spiritual and theological tradition that originated with St Francis of Assisi. It firstly examines the spiritual writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi and the moves on to see how their experience was reflected upon and developed for a wider audience in the theological and spiritual writings of the early Franciscan writers, Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus. The module will finally consider how the Franciscan tradition provides insights for issues of contemporary spirituality, including the Spirituality of Beauty and the Integrity of Creation.

ABR404 Unity & Diversity in Contemporary Islamic Thought

Modernity has had a fundamental impact upon almost all societies, including Muslim ones. This module will provide an overview of the debates and issues that have emerged in modern and contemporary Muslim discourse. The module has two focal points: First, it will explore the tension between tradition and renewal that characterises Muslim responses to the challenges of modernity; Second, it will show the centrality of the foundational texts of Islam (Quran and Sunna) and how Muslim attitudes to and interpretations of these texts inform and shape their views on key issues such as Islamic law, gender, jihad, human rights, democracy as well as religious pluralism and interfaith relations with Judaism and Christianity.

The dissertation involves a substantial independent investigation of a topic selected by you with the approval of your supervisor. Usually, it will build on one or more of your previous modules.

Teaching is based on a series of two-hour weekly seminars. Each session is designed to be interactive, with input from lecturers providing an overall perspective but incorporating discussion and presentations.Coursework tasks are designed to help you learn: for example book and article reviews help you get to grips with evaluating scholarly work, and issue reports develop your skills in research and analysis. Much of your learning takes place through directed reading in preparation for or to follow up classes. Tutorials on work in progress contribute to deepening your understanding.The skills you have developed will prepare you for a substantial individual task when you complete your dissertation.The weekly 2-hour classes fall on one evening a week if you are part-time and two evenings if you are full time. Additionally, you will attend tutorials to discuss work completed or in progress, and meetings with a supervisor in relation to the dissertation. You will need to spend about six hours in each week for each module on directed reading in preparation for classes, and a similar amount of time some of it out of term-time on researching for and writing your coursework assignments and essays.Assessment is by a combination of coursework tasks completed during or shortly after the period of module teaching and an end of year essay for each module studied. The coursework tasks vary and could include reviews, and reports as well as essays. In addition, you complete a 12-15,000 word dissertation on a research topic agreed with your supervisor.

If you are enrolling for MA in Philosophy and Religion and you have qualified as a teacher within last 5 years you are eligible for 50% New Teacher Reduction. You will be asked to provide documentary evidence of your qualification at registration.

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