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MA Philosophy of Religion & Ethics in Education

Course length
  • 1 year full-time
  • Not available to study part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in an appropriate subject
  • PGCert Philosophy of Religion & Ethics in Education
  • PGDip Philosophy of Religion & Ethics in Education

NB: This programme is only available for full-time study in 2016/17.

Please see further details on the maximum period of study.

This unique degree is specifically for teachers of philosophy of religion and ethics in schools, particularly those who deliver, or wish to deliver, the A Level syllabi.

You will focus on topics on the A Level syllabi with a module on Teaching Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, which includes training in the methodology of Philosophy for Children. It is for both those with previous education in these areas of study, and those seeking a rigorous introduction.

The timetable for 2016-17 can be found in the Postgraduate Options Handbook at the bottom of the page.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of four taught modules and a dissertation Students will have three core modules and one optional module. Students are assessed in each module through a combination of coursework and an end of year essay. The Teaching Philosophy of Religion and Ethics coursework includes exercises in argument, reflection on personal practice and designing a Philosophy for Children enquiry. The final dissertation of 12,000 – 15,000 words is on a research topic agreed by your supervisor.

Core modules

Teaching Philosophy and Ethics

A module specifically geared towards teachers of Philosophy.

This unique module provides an in-depth discussion of the requirements and resources for A level syllabi, training in teaching generic philosophical skills of reasoning and argument, and the Philosophy for Children methodology. This module is recognised by SAPERE for Level 1 training and qualification.


Reason and Religion

Examine historical and contemporary topics such as arguments for and against the existence of God, the nature of religious belief and language, and ideas of the afterlife.

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.

Foundations in Ethics

An introduction to themes in ethical theory.

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, virtue ethics); the distinctive contributions of Christian ethics; conscience; Human Rights; law and morality.

Optional modules

Ethical Issues Today

Consider contemporary ethical issues including the environment, mass media, war and peace.

Using the contextual and theoretical understanding of the discourse of ethics, this module will lead you into a more thorough, academically informed consideration of a range of contemporary ethical issues, related to: the environment; aging (gero-ethics), the mass media; political obligations; equality and inequalities, work and leisure; intellectual property rights; war and peace; punishment of criminals.

Bioethics and Sexual Ethics

Examine some of the pressing issues of the day, including: reproductive technologies and embryo research, euthanasia, abortion, transplants, divorce and remarriage and homosexuality and gay parenting.

Unity and Diversity in Contemporary Islamic Thought

Explore the tension between tradition and renewal in Muslim responses to the challenges of modernity. You will study the foundational texts of Islam (Qur’an and Sunna) in relation to key issues such as Islamic law, gender and jihad, as well as religious pluralism and interfaith relations.

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 (Qur’an 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.