BA (Hons) Philosophy, Religion and Ethics

About the course

Studying Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Hertfordshire will enable you to explore the connections and contradictions between thought and faith in the world today.

You may have taken Religious Studies at A-level or be fascinated by how religious belief is a driving force behind social and political events in today’s globalised world.

This degree course offers you the opportunity to explore the beliefs that guide people’s lives using the logical and critical skills gained through philosophical inquiry.

You’ll be taught by internationally regarded academics, who will help you understand how the practices of religion and philosophy have influenced – and been influenced by – the modern world. You’ll learn to address the arguments and beliefs of others and to engage with them, so that you can arrive at your own conclusions and create your own original work.

All our lecturers are active researchers, so you’ll share the excitement of doing original work in a supportive and highly-rated academic community. Our Philosophy team is in the top 15 in the Guardian League Table 2019 and rates as one of the 100 best Philosophy departments worldwide in the 2017 QS rankings.

In your first year you’ll take philosophy modules exploring ethics, mind, knowledge and reality alongside an introduction to four of the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. This will be given a modern context through a module on religion and the contemporary world.

Seminars in your first year will explore how to investigate and discuss different beliefs and ideas and to develop your critical thinking, all within a respectful and empathetic environment.

In your second year you’ll study the philosophies of religion, and explore virtues, vices and ethics. Focusing on specific virtues such as forgiveness, hope or love from both a secular and religious point of view, you’ll examine what it means to live a good life.

Alongside options in your final year to explore religion and popular culture, as well as feminist and political philosophy, your dissertation will allow you to develop your particular interests, perhaps encompassing an exploration of some aspect of your own religious belief system.

Why choose this course?

We give you:

  • An exceptional academic team, conducting internationally renowned research
  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • The opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic about which you are passionate
  • CV-building potential through extra-curricular activities

What will I study?

Our students benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community. You’ll learn through formal courses and extracurricular seminars, while our small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss philosophical, religious and ethical issues with staff and fellow students, including an optional residential weekend each year.

You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies and enhance your CV. These include our Philosophy Society, run by students, which hosts fortnightly research seminars led by distinguished external philosophers. All students are welcome to attend and become part of a professional philosophy community.

We host the Francis Bacon annual lecture series, funded by the Royal Institute of Philosophy and which focuses on showing the relevance of philosophy beyond the academic world. We are also the home of the British Wittgenstein Society, reflecting our academics’ research interests.

What job can I get?

Studying philosophy teaches you to ask penetrating questions and identify flawed arguments – skills highly valued in a number of professions, including law. It also enables you to develop many other transferable skills sought by employers, such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to communicate ideas in a structured, productive way.

Our graduates have an excellent record of securing roles in a range of industries including teaching, the media, publishing and information management. For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. Many graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

All Humanities students have the option to gain valuable career experience through work placement or a year studying abroad.

'I certainly developed professionalism and employability through studying Philosophy, primarily through the methods of rational and logical problem solving. I acquired a skill that is useful in whatever field one works in. However, it is enterprise that I most notably improved on while at Herts. I had never really considered starting a businesses or working for myself, but while studying Philosophy (particularly my Masters by Research and my undergraduate dissertation) I realised I was learning self-management and combining this with my new proficiency at problem solving sent me down a new path. Since leaving Herts I have set up multiple small business which are growing healthily. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.'

Rob Baggs

BA(Hons) Philosophy, MA(Res) in Philosophy