Why ‘Religion’?

What are the central commitments of the major world religions – and what does this mean for individuals and communities? What about conflicting doctrines and religious practices? 

Modules in this area are concerned with the full variety of aspects of religion and religious practice, both today and in the past. Some are directly theological, critically examining the sources and rationale for particular religious beliefs and practices. Others take a more historical or sociological  view, examining how we can best understand the way in which religious commitments shape and have shaped the lives and interactions of human communities. Many involve scrutinising the very concepts we tend to use to talk about these themes ("religion", "faith", "sin", "devotion", "prayer", and so on). Still others explore religious themes in the arts, or in other aspects of their influence on human culture.

Make the most of your discovery modules

Remember, you should be aiming to to put together a good, coherent set of discovery modules, based on what you're most interested in. Here is a reminder of our two suggested approaches:

  1. Choose a range of modules that build up your knowledge around a particular theme. These might be all from one academic discipline, or they might offer different disciplinary perspectives on the same topics.
  2. Choose an academic discipline (eg theology, history, sociology, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies) and choose a set of modules which will enable you progressively to deepen your skills in that discipline.

Once you have identified some possible modules to take, look at which school or subject-area is providing them. This will help you understand what perspective on the subject they will take, and what methods they will be using. This is important in helping you to understand what you should (and should not) expect from particular modules. For example:

  • If you want to study religion directly, your first option to consider should be theology and religious studies (within the School of Philosophy, Religion and the History of Science). This is the University’s main centre for the study of religion, and is global in outlook.
  • If you are looking for the specialist study of Islam or East Asian religions, from experts with in-depth knowledge of the cultures, history, languages and texts, you should look at modules from Arabic and Middle-Eastern Studies and East-Asian Studies respectively.
  • There are other subject-areas offering modules if your interests are, for example, in religious art (fine art), or the role of religion in history (history, classics), or its representation in literature (English, modern languages).
  • The first 4 characters of the module code tell you which subject area provides the module. 

If you’re attracted to this sub-theme, you might also like to explore the discovery modules in ‘Power and Conflict’.

Religion modules

modules available, use the filters to narrow the selection further

This information is for the 2019/20 academic year. You can you use the filters to show only results that match your requirements.


When you find discovery modules you are interested in, you can add them to a shortlist by clicking ‘ADD TO MY DISCOVERY MODULES’.

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