Theology and Religious Studies BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2019 entry

Qualification
BA Hons Theology and Religious Studies
UCAS code
V610
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via a foundation year)
Required subjects
none
IB score
32
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
33
 

Overview

This course will introduce you to varied disciplines, ranging from the study of texts and the Bible, philosophy, history, religious traditions, systematic theology, theology and literature.
Read full overview

Theology and religious studies is a remarkably varied discipline and at Nottingham you will be introduced to a range of disciplines and subjects, ranging from the study of texts and the Bible, philosophy, history, the study of different religious traditions, systematic theology, theology and literature and even psychology and the theory of evolution. 

In your three years at Nottingham you will take a combination of core and optional modules, mainly from those offered by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, but also with a choice of subsidiary modules from outside the department, particularly in your first and second years.

Year one 

In addition to the core module, Reading, Writing, Speaking Religion, the core modules in year one are designed to provide you with a grounding in theology and religious studies in the central areas of: Biblical Studies; Philosophy of Religion and Ethics; Christian Theology; Religious History and Islam and Judaism. You will also have the opportunity to learn Greek or Hebrew or take other optional modules - either in theology and religious studies or from other departments.

Year two

You will study one core module, Abraham’s Children: Religion, Culture, and Identity. Alongside this you will study areas in the first year that you wish to explore in more depth.

Year three

In the final year, in addition to the core dissertation module, there is a wide range of choices allowing you to develop your particular interests within theology and religious studies.

 

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

For details please see the alternative qualifications page

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  
 

Modules

The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Core

Reading, Writing, Speaking Religion

This module will provide an overview of the most important philosophical ideas, theories, and arguments that are of special interest to students of theology. The module will begin with the Greek 'natural theology' of the pre-Socratic thinkers and end with the post-modern 'turn to religion' of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. 

 

Interpreting the New Testament 

In this module you’ll be introduced to the literature, history and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament. You’ll consider the biblical text as history, literature and scripture in both the Jewish and Christian Traditions.

 

Interpreting the New Testament 

In this module you’ll gain an overview of the texts that makes up the New Testament and cover central methods, topics and issues in studying them including: the formation of the New Testament canon; the Roman, Greek and Jewish background to the New Testament, and the literary relationship among the Gospels and the ‘sayings’ material of Jesus.

 

Building the Christian Church

In this module you’ll learn about the lives and works of some of the main theologians ranging from the first Christian thinker in the 2nd century, up to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation movements of the 16th century. You’ll study figures such as Augustine, Aquinas and Luther, looking at their ideas but also placing them in their broader historical and ecclesiastical context. 

 

Christianity and the Crisis of Modernity

This module introduces the development of Western Christian theology from the Enlightenment to the present. It surveys the challenges posed to Christian faith by modernity and a range of theological responses to these challenges. In this way you’ll deal with central theological and ethical questions arising in the work and historical context of key thinkers such as Descartes, Kant, Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard and Barth.

 
Philosophy for Theologians

This module will provide an overview of the most important philosophical ideas, theories, and arguments that are of special interest to students of theology. The module will begin with the Greek 'natural theology' of the pre-Socratic thinkers and end with the post-modern 'turn to religion' of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. 

 
Interpreting Islam

This module examines the narrative and textual foundations of the Islamic tradition including the Qur'an, the prophetic tradition and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. You’ll also look at the development and structure of Islamic society, law, doctrine and spirituality through the classical period, and Muslim responses to challenges posed by modernity including questions of gender and the nation state.

 
Interpreting  Judaism

This is an introduction to Jewish life, religion, and culture, from its origins in the ancient Near East to its impact on contemporary popular culture. Attention will be paid to the development of Judaism over many centuries and in a range of locales, emphasising the diversity and creativity of the Jewish experience. The aim here will be to introduce the manifold aspects of Jewish history and religion, Judaism's foundational narratives as they are expressed and addressed in its historical development, and the diverse forms of self-understanding on display in the Jewish tradition.

 

Optional

The Bible in Music, Art and Literature

The Bible is one of the bestsellers and its influence on Western culture is unparalleled. This module explores the way in which the Bible is drawn upon in art, music and literature ranging from the Byzantine era to contemporary secular films and music. You’ll be encouraged to engage with case studies of works of art and critically consider the way in which art, music and literature function as biblical interpretations. 

 
Introduction to Biblical Greek 

In this module you’ll be introduced to the Greek language as used in the New Testament. You’ll gain the ability to understand and translate basic sentences into English by the end of the module..

 
Introduction to Biblical Hebrew 

In this module you’ll be introduced to the basics of reading Biblical Hebrew. You’ll gain the ability to understand and translate basic sentences into English by the end of the module. 

 

Islam and Gender

This module examines different approaches to the study of Islam and gender. We will look at texts of women and gender relations in the Qur'an, the Hadith and Islamic law. We will also consider the lived experience of gender and the development of Muslim feminist theology and critique, especially in 20th and 21st century Egypt and Iran. Topics will include Islamic marriage and family, Muslim women's rights and culture, sexuality and veiling (including recent European discussions), the gendering of space, and homosexuality. 

 
 
Typical year two modules

Core

Abraham’s Children: Religion, Culture, and Identity

This is a core module for Year Two students which addresses theories of religion, historicizing ‘religion’ as a category, theologies of the other, interactions of religion with culture and philosophy, as well as relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

 
 
Typical year three modules

Core

Dissertation

You will research and write a dissertation on a subject and title selected in consultation with academic staff in the department. You’ll also give a presentation on your research in progress during the course of the spring semester. The presentation will help you to crystallise your ideas and gain a clearer idea of the overall shape of your work in order to help with the writing process and to continue the development of important transferable skills. You will have regular dissertation tutorials with your supervisor, and will attend dissertation presentations during the Spring Semester.

 
 
Optional modules

Optional modules in years two and three may be taken from the wide range on offer in the department. These include modules in the areas of philosophy of religion and ethics, biblical studies, religious history, Christian theology and culture, Islam and Judaism:

Years two and three

 The Philosophy of Religion, Atheism, and Nihilism

In this module you’ll explore significant problems in the philosophy of religion, such as the credibility of the existence of God, the relation between religion and science, the relation between religion and morality, the problem of evil, and the possibility of an after-life. There will also be discussion of significant themes such as the nature of being, of faith, of religious experience, of religious language, and of religious love. You will consider significant thinkers including Plato, Anselm, Aquinas, Hume, Kant, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud and Weil. 

 

20th Century Theology

Examining the major theologians of the last century this module will ask – what is nature, and what is grace? Likewise, what is natural and what is supernatural? This module will explore how theologians (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) have articulated this division and the many profound consequences that have arisen from such attempts This module will trace the development of various heated debates that tackled the above questions and in so doing influenced the shape of twentieth century theology, the idea of secularism, the relation between philosophy and theology, and lastly, between theology and science. 

 

The Philosophy, Theology and Science of Evolution 

What is Darwinism? Is it metaphysics, a philosophy, or ‘merely’ science? Does it entail atheism? Could it even accommodate theism? This module will explore Darwin’s theory of evolution, outlining its historical development up to the present day and considering the various debates that shaped its formation. You’ll explore the theory’s application in terms of Social-Darwinism, Socio-biology, and Evolutionary Psychology and the consequences this might have for our own self-understanding, and for how we interpret the world. The module is taught by Conor Cunningham, whose book Darwin’s Pious Idea and BBC documentary on the topic have ignited much debate. 

 
Prophets and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible

In this module you’ll examine the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible, considering the nature of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible and in the wider ancient Near Eastern context. You’ll examine biblical prophetic texts as literature such as: Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel as well as the narratives about the prophets in the Pentateuch/Torah, historical books, and Latter Prophets. 

 

Faith and Practice: Ethics in the Hebrew Bible

This module will examine a range of ethical issues in the Hebrew Bible, considering the nature of ethical thought in ancient Israel and its relationship to surrounding ideas in the Ancient Near East, as well as the ongoing use of these texts as a moral resource right up to the present day. Topics for specific study include those such as the justification of violence and warfare, sexuality and gender issues, and ideas of social justice. 

 

 Women and Gender in the New Testament

This module explores the role of women and gender in the texts in and around the New Testament. The epistles, canonical gospels, and apocalypse will be examined alongside other contemporaneous evidence in order to construct a picture of not only the roles of female characters in literature and visual art, but also some of the socio-historical realities for real women. Students will learn about the special problems historians face when searching for the history of women in antiquity, and will practice using a variety of interpretive approaches, both historical and theological, to form their own careful scholarly analyses.  

 
The Life and Teaching of Jesus

This module provides a historical introduction to the life of Jesus. It will involve a critical evaluation of the relevant sources for Jesus’ life, and discussion of the tension between the Christ of faith and the historical Jesus. 

 
Identity, Discipleship and Community in Early Christianity

In this module you will focus on five early church documents (1 Thessalonians; The Didache; Mark’s Gospel; 1 Clement; and 1 Peter) to identify the varying patterns that emerged in early churches with regard to a) their identity as followers of Jesus; b) their understanding of the nature of discipleship; and c) their understanding of themselves as a specific community within history. 

 

The Eucharist: An Historical Approach

The Eucharist has been known by many names over its history: the ‘Eucharist’, the ‘Agape’, the ‘Divine Liturgy’, the ‘Mass’, the ‘Lord’s Supper’ and ‘Holy Communion’. The variety of names suggests not only its significance for Christians but also the diverse ways in which it has been understood over the past two millennia. In this module you’ll discuss topics such as the practice and development of the Eucharist as well as central disputes and contemporary issues relating to it. 

 

 Theologies of Jesus Christ

At the heart of Christian theology lie a set of questions about Jesus: Who is he? What did he do? Why did he die? How do Christians understand him to be present in their lives today? This module will examine the answers that Christian theology has traditionally given to these questions, from the early debates about the humanity and divinity of Christ through to contemporary debates about the plausibility of the Resurrection. The module also serves as an introduction to Christian systematic theology as the rigorous intellectual examination of Christian beliefs and practices.

 
Religion and European Culture

In this module you’ll explore the way in which a wide range of literary texts engage in religious thought and the way they ‘perform’ or ‘do’ theology. Topics vary but can include investigations into God and the Gothic, the rise of the fantasy genre, Dante, and Holocaust literature.

 
Virtue Ethics and Literature

In this module you’ll be introduced to virtue ethics as an ancient form of moral practice, which has come back into prominence in recent years. Virtue ethics emphasises the lived experience of a tradition and is therefore narrative in character, offering itself naturally to literary embodiment. You’ll study key ancient Greek texts of the virtue tradition including Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics as well as works by Theophrastus, Cicero, Aquinas and contemporary reconstruals of the virtue tradition by Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas. Virtue ethics will then be analysed in literary texts, such as Homer's Iliad, the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Graham Green's Brighton Rock.

 

 Narrative and Theology

This module offers students a grounding in the various ways in which narrative shapes theological thinking, looking at the Yale School in particular and their promotion of 'narrative theology'. This will include questions about the tragic nature of the gospel, its 'realistic' character, the history of ways of reading scripture, and the relation of narrative and liturgy. It also looks at the ways throughout Christian history whereby narrative has been used to describe the religious life through autobiography (Augustine's Confessions) and lives of the saints. There will also be a comparative element in which we shall look at Jewish and Sufi story-telling as well as life-writing in Judaism and Islam and holocaust writings. 

 

Faith and Identity: Religion in 19th Century Britain

In this module you’ll explore nineteenth-century religious life and thought in Britain – a period that is often regarded as the last great age of Christian faith, and when Britain was at its height as a world power. You’ll gain an informed understanding of the world from which Christianity in contemporary Britain emerged and cover topics including the concept of church reform, the dynamics of the major Christian denominations, the expansion of the Jewish community, revivalism, worship, church buildings, missions, and education. 

 

Culture and Change: Religion in 20thCentury Britain

This module investigates religious life and thought in Britain over the course of the 20th Century allowing you to understand further the immediate context of religion in contemporary Britain. Topics covered include: the transition from the Victorian to the modern age; the birth of ecumenism; the impact of the two World Wars on religion; the Second Vatican Council, the secularisation debate, the growth of multiculturalism, the church-state relationship. The module addresses the changing fortunes of the established Churches, the Free Churches and Roman Catholicism, and the patterns of growth of other world religions. 

 

Jewish Theology and Philosophy: From Philo to Levinas

The module provides an overview of the most important theological and philosophical ideas, theories and arguments that Jewish thought developed from the Hellenistic period of Philo of Alexandria to the postmodern times of Emmanuel Levinas. The method of instruction will combine historical and speculative approaches, using the perspective of the 'history of ideas'. 

 

Modern Jewish Thought

This module will present modern Jewish thought from a theologico-philosophical perspective as an interesting alternative to both Christian and secular models of thinking. Modern Jewish thought emerges from 'the crisis of tradition' (Gershom Scholem) which it tries to resolve in many different ways: either intrinsic to Judaism itself (e.g. Lurianic Kabbalah) or in dialogue with Western philosophy (from Spinoza to Derrida). The module will emphasize the creative impact of Jewish thinkers on the development of modernity by showing the various ways in which these thinkers renegotiate and redefine the most crucial opposition between Athens and Jerusalem, or, in their own rendering, between Yaphet and Shem.

 
Islamic Theology and Philosophy

This module examines how Muslims have addressed fundamental theological and philosophical questions relating to their faith. These questions concern the foundations of religious knowledge and authority, God's unity and attributes, God's relationship to the world, divine determinism and human freedom, prophecy, and eschatology. The module proceeds historically, beginning with early Muslim theological views and moving on to major philosophical developments in the medieval period that continue to frame much Islamic theological thinking today. 

 

Islamic Ethics of War and Peace

Ibn Taymiyya was one of the foremost Muslim scholars of the medieval period, and he is well known today for inspiring movements ranging from violent extremism to Salafism and reformist modernism. Ibn Taymiyya campaigned for jihad against the Mongol invaders of Syria, and he landed in jail several times for challenging the religious and political status quo. He also wrote prolifically on law, theology, philosophy, spirituality, Christianity and Shi‘ism in an attempt to reform and commend the Islamic religion. This module examines Ibn Taymiyya’s life and thought and trace his legacy to the present, and it will ask how he is best characterised: as a jihadist, a theologian, or perhaps something else. 

 
 
 
 

Careers

By studying Theology and Religious Studies at Nottingham you will be prepared for a wide range of careers. You will learn how to understand and analyse others' ideas and beliefs, sift evidence and formulate arguments. We aim to provide you with certain intellectual skills and habits through an engagement with theological and philosophical thought: to think carefully and clearly, engaging intelligently and critically with the world in all its depth and complexity. These skills, we hope, will accompany you for the rest of your life. No matter what your choice of career, you will have to present your ideas to a wide range of audiences in many different settings. At Nottingham we will teach you how to present and defend your work not only in writing but also orally. In your final year, you will present the initial outline of your dissertation to a seminar group and discuss your ideas. Such skills are vital in careers which involve leadership, from the civil service to business, teaching and the media. By learning to convey complex religious, historical and philosophical ideas in an engaging and compelling way, you will develop confidence in communicating your ideas academically and in the work place.

A degree in theology and religious studies leads to a wide range of careers. You will be equipped for a variety of positions that call for skills such as the careful analysis of texts and complex issues, reasoned decision-making, sensitivity to cultural and religious diversity, and the ability to communicate ideas clearly and effectively. Recent graduates are working in areas such as: law, teaching, journalism and publishing, politics, the charity sector, as well as in a variety of religious contexts.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers
(Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).

 
 

Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

Key Information Sets (KIS)


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Assessment

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment. 

How to use the data

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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