Course information

UCAS code


Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655


3 years full-time


Politics and International Relations

Course overview

In an increasingly globalised, more religious world, we need to understand religion as one of the most important social forces shaping contemporary society.

Now is the time to make a real difference in the world. Shifts towards more religious, neoliberal and conservative societies are driving changes in domestic and international relations.

This degree explores critically the relationships between religion and other aspects of society as diverse as culture, communication, politics, economy, nation, education, gender, law and ethnicities. It will give you the knowledge and expertise urgently needed in International Relations, local government, NGOs, charities, politics, media, corporate social responsibility, education and the arts.

Throughout your studies you’ll learn about how and why meaning, cohesion and conflicts are often driven by and derived from complex religious-social identities, claims and aspirations. The rise of the Far Right in the UK and Europe, civil wars in the Middle East and Africa, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, sectarian violence in Ireland, and mass shootings in the United States are often linked to religion.

You’ll learn how the securitisation of nations, borders and digital media in response to this violence is creating deep divisions and misunderstandings in societies worldwide. You’ll also consider the increasing and complex social role religious groups and individuals play in increasingly diverse communities, particularly in the wake of the diminishing role of governments in health, education and social welfare.

These situations raise difficult and urgent questions which demand sophisticated analysis, informed by both classical theories and contemporary research. This is exactly what the BA Religion offers, bringing together academic expertise from across the Departments of Sociology, Anthropology, Media and Communications, and Politics and International Relations.

The programme is not based in a Religious Studies department or curriculum. Instead, it's a chance for you to put your theoretical knowledge into practice, testing it through your own research to explore questions that interest you about the role of religion in today’s world.

Work placements

Students will be encouraged to take a work placement module, likely with organisations such as: think tanks, pressure groups, media, NGOs.

While work placements are encouraged, they are not compulsory and no guarantee can be given that sufficient and convenient placements will be available for all students.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Abby Day

What you'll study

You will learn through weekly lectures, smaller seminars and individual tutorials.

A fortnightly two-hour workshop, led by the Course Convenor, is an opportunity for you to discuss in more detail the theories and case studies presented in the lectures. We will map the key debates and the impact through and on ‘religion’.

There will also be field trips to, for example, places of worship and of politics (House of Commons/Lords) to see both small-scale religious practice and religion's intersection with the wider public sphere.

Year 1 (credit level 4)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

Year 1 modules Module title Credits
  Modern Knowledge, Modern Power 30 credits
  Culture and Society 30 credits
  Believing and Belonging in London and the World 30 credits
  Colonialism, Power and Resistance 30 credits

Year 2 (credit level 5)

You will study the following compulsory modules:

Year 2 modules Module title Credits
  Anthropology of Religion 15 credits
  Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences 15 credits
  Sociology of Religion in the Modern World 15 credits
  The Making of the Modern World 15 credits

You will then be encouraged to take two optional modules from Sociology and two from Politics and International Relations. The options offered may be different each year, but current options include:

  • Africa in the Global Political Economy
  • Politics, Ideology and Culture
  • Migration, Globalisation and Citizenship
Year 2 option modules Module title Credits
  Life: A User's Manual 15 credits
  The Body: Social Theory and Social Practice 15 credits
  Crimes Against Humanity 15 credits
  An(other) Japan: Politics, Ideology and Culture 15 credits
  Migration in Context 15 credits

Year 3 (credit level 6)

You will write a dissertation (30 credits), which should be an empirically based extended case study on a key religious issue/place/person/problem. This may include, for example, study of a particular ethnic group, advocacy for refugee or disability rights, or work in the field of visual cultures.

You will also study a selection of compulsory and optional modules to the value of 90 credits.

Teaching style

This programme is mainly taught through scheduled learning - a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 15% scheduled learning, 85% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 14% scheduled learning, 86% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework, examinations, group work and projects.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 38% coursework, 62% written exam
  • Year 2 - 75% coursework, 25% written exam
  • Year 3 - 75% coursework, 25% written exam

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2016/17. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification, for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

We accept the following qualifications:

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding

Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.

Additional costs

When you start your studies you'll receive a printed copy of the handbook for your degree. At the beginning of the academic year you'll receive £10 of printer credit to use as you choose.

Module guides and reading packs including reading materials for your programme are provided digitally and you may decide to use your printer credit towards printing these.



The BA Religion will help you develop the following skills:

  • An understanding of the role of religion in contemporary global society
  • The ability to design and carry out preliminary research
  • The ability to approach and investigate a subject from multiple perspectives
  • The ability to investigate, assess and communicate empirical information
  • An awareness and appreciation of social and cultural differences
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills including public speaking, developing and presenting an argument, note taking and report writing


This programme’s breadth ideally suits students who want to undertake further academic study in the fields of religion, sociology, anthropology and politics.