At Stirling we are committed to approaching ‘religion’ in a critical manner, in two broad senses:

  • Firstly: We question the fundamental category of ‘religion’. It is sometimes assumed to be a ‘thing’ that simply exists, and this is where, in part, the idea that we can study ‘religions’ as entities in any society or context comes from. This, of course, implies that what ‘religion’ actually is stands as common knowledge and applies to all contexts. But where does religion begin, end or move into other areas? Some of the great religion scholars of the past have argued that there is some kind of supernatural essence to ‘religion’ based on a person’s relationship to a God or gods. Such an essence might be very meaningful as part of someone’s faith, but perhaps ‘religion’ as a category has little meaning on its own because the boundaries around what is and what is not ‘religion’ so easily blur into other categories (such as politics, economics etc.)?
  • Secondly: Rather than hold religion to suspicion, or blame, or discredit, or incredulity – a growing tendency amongst certain public intellectuals, even if against the tide of global demographics – we examine religion from a positive critical standpoint. What this means is that in our studies we consider how open to re-interpretation or re-conceptualisation the term ‘religion’ is today in our intellectual, social, and cultural spheres.

Just as the term ‘critical’ has a wide range of meaning, so too does the concept of religion continue to develop beyond traditional and conventional boundaries. As a result we find engagement with the idea of ‘religion’ in the contexts of religious institutions, but also within the fields of literature, history, gender studies, hermeneutics, visual art, anthropology, politics, philosophy, marketing and business studies, and so on. In coming to Stirling to study Critical Religion, every student is thus exposed to a broad and interdisciplinary vision that can be life-changing in many rich and unexpected ways.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2017 and 2018 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. EU students will also be eligible for tuition fee support from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

  • UCAS: Combined degree only
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Campus based, Full-time
  • Start date: September
  • Course Director: Dr Andrew Hass
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Download undergraduate prospectus

Dr Alison Jasper

University of Stirling

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

Religion at Stirling is distinguished by its critical approach.

It is critical because it questions the fundamental category of ‘religion’. It is sometimes assumed to be a ‘thing’ that simply exists, and this is where, in part, the idea that we can study ‘religions’ as entities in any society or context comes from. This, of course, implies that what ‘religion’ actually is, is common knowledge and applies to all contexts, geographic and ideational (in Scotland, the Middle East, Asia, or in power and gender structures etc.). It assumes that ‘we will know it when we see it’. Arguably, however, it is a much less innocent concept, encompassing some very culturally specific notions of value and power.

It is critical because we aim to understand the problem behind the very idea of religion, and we engage in our work with a view to showing how we might reconsider the term ‘religion’ in light of other social and cultural spheres. So not only do we find engagement with the idea of ‘religion’ in the contexts of religious institutions, and conventional educational spaces such as ‘Religion’ classes and lectures, we also aim to engage with it in the fields of literature, history, gender studies, hermeneutics, visual art, anthropology, politics, philosophy, business studies and so on.

We expect a lot from our students, since our critical approach demands a grasp of many different subjects, methods and discourses. The programme is therefore rigorous and intellectually challenging. But it is also deeply rewarding on numerous levels.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher:
ABBB - one sitting.
AABB - two sittings.

GCE A-level:

IB Diploma:
32 points.

BTEC (Level 3):

Other qualifications


Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.

Advanced entry
Not available.

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Additional information

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

INTO University of Stirling offers an International Foundation programme for those international students who do not meet the required academic and English-language criteria. This course offers a route to study at University of Stirling through an excellent teaching and learning experience located in the high-quality study facilities on campus. Successful completion of the International Foundation in Media, Humanities and Social Sciences to the required standard provides guaranteed progression to this degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Alternative routes

We are keen to accept all interested students, including those who have already spent a few – or many – years away from school. For Alternative Routes to degree course entry onto the Religion course, please consult the prospectus or website for information on the subject you intend to study alongside Religion.

Fees and costs

Fees 2017/18

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 11,845.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £6,750 per year for a maximum of 4 years

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK £9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Please note that Religion is studied as a Combined degree. You will take Religion plus two other subjects in Years 1 and 2.

Semesters 1 - 4

You are required to take the following core modules:

  • Religion, Ethics and Society: An introduction to discourses on religion in relation to modern notions of progress and conflict
  • Religion, Nationalism and Colonialism: This module studies the impact of western colonialism on non-western understandings of religion and culture
  • Religion in Culture: Problems of Representation: This module reflects on what happens when people – e.g. scholars, journalists, politicians, adherents – try to represent religion, whether in books, news, art, film or other contexts
  • Theory and Method: An introduction to the history of the study of religion, its major founders, theories, methodologies and critics

Semesters 5 - 8

You will take core advanced (Level 10) modules: Religion and Postcolonialism, Religion and Theory and, in most cases, Dissertation Preparation. You may also choose advanced modules such as:

  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Political Islam
  • Religion, Capitalism and Consumer Culture
  • Religion and Philosophy: Ancient
  • Religion and Philosophy: Modern
  • Religion as Ritual in Japan
  • Christianity
  • Gender and Religion
  • Reading the Bible
  • Christianity Missions and Colonialism
  • Religion and Literature

Semester 8

Honours students in their final semester will write a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with an individual supervisor.

Delivery and assessment

Most teaching takes place through a mixture of formal lectures and smaller, more informal, seminar groups. When writing your dissertation you will meet your supervisor on a one-to-one basis regularly throughout the final semester. A variety of assessment methods are used, including essays, reports, class tests, reviews and oral presentations.

Combined degrees

Religion can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
English Studies QV36
Film and Media VP63
French RV16
History VV16
Philosophy VV56
Philosophy/Professional Education VX53
Professional Education VX61
Professional Education/English Studies QXJ1
Professional Education/History VXC1
Sociology LV36

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Recommended reading

Some readings that give an indication of the kind of approach we take:
  • Religion: the Basics. Malory Nye, Routledge, 2003.
  • Thinking about Religion: an historical introduction to theories of religion. Ivan Strenski, Blackwell, 2006.
  • Thinking about Religion: A reader. Ivan Strenski, Blackwell, 2006.
  • Critical Terms for Religious Studies. Mark C. Taylor, University of Chicago Press, 1998.
  • Guide to the Study of Religion. Willi Braun & Russell McCutcheon (eds.), Continuum Press, 2000.
  • Religion and the Secular: Historical and Colonial Formations. Timothy Fitzgerald (ed.), Equinox, 2007.

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).

Find out more

Why Stirling?


Teaching provision in Religion has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as ‘excellent’.

International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

Students of Religion can apply to spend a year of their studies abroad at a university in the United States. Modules taken during this time will constitute part of your final degree.


The Religion course is delivered by a dedicated research team committed to widening interests through teaching, academic research and other forms of knowledge exchange. 

Critical Religion at Stirling

Our staff are the organisers of the Critical Religion Association, in collaboration with Ekklesia, an independent, not-for-profit think tank.


Twitter: @CriticoReligio


Academic strengths

Academic Staff in Religion regularly publish books and academic papers and are involved in a range of  academic- related projects such as:

Our students

…the degree in Religion brought me to critically examine my many cultural presumptions. The balance between modules on theory and method, and topical foci opened up great opportunities to engage my learning from religious studies classes with my other subjects from the very start. Both academic and administrative staff responsible for Religion are fabulous: approachable, motivating and above all, concerned for your well-being as a student, individually as much as in your peer groups.

Kat Neumann Religion and English Studies, graduated 2009.

The breadth of the undergraduate course ensures that you are never bored, with everything from Political Islam to Reading the Bible being covered in such a way that it is both relevant and understandable in the contemporary world.  What makes the course even more intellectually stimulating is the ethos within the department that encourages you to ask questions of the material, others and yourself … when you do stumble across something puzzling the lecturers are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

Gemma Carroll Religion and Education, graduated 2010

My four years as a Religious Studies student at the University of Stirling have impacted on me greatly. I have fond memories of exceptionally interesting courses that, to this day, are providing a strong foundation for my academic interests. Upon graduating, I carried on with my studies, taking Anthropology (MSc) at Edinburgh University, and continued developing my research ideas. I was able to get involved with a higher education fellowship, on behalf of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, and I was sent to Malawi to teach and learn at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. These wonderful opportunities, were made possible with the help and support of my academic mentors in Religion (Faculty of Arts and Humanities). I have now returned as a PhD hopeful and I am looking forward to expanding reflections on these wonderful experiences in order to provide my own epistemological contribution.’

Shani Zour BA Religious Studies, graduated 2006.

Our staff

Dr Andrew Hass: teaches undergraduate modules in religion’s intersection with literature, philosophy and critical theory, and postgraduate degrees in Hermeneutics, among other interdisciplinary approaches. He is currently writing a book on negation and the German philosopher Hegel.

Dr Alison Jasper: teaches undergraduate modules related to Christianity, gender and theory and supervises postgraduates in these areas. Her latest book is Because of Beauvoir: Christianity and the Cultivation of Female Genius (2012) and she is working on Schooling In/difference: Socio-material Practice and the Construction of 'Religion' in (Gendered) Educational Spaces (2013).

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

A degree in Religion develops key transferable skills, for example, the ability to:

  • communicate fluently and effectively
  • think critically and imaginatively
  • research efficiently
  • balance competing commitments
  • engage in collegial work
  • meet deadlines and work without the need for close supervision
  • develop knowledge and understanding of specific and competing ways of seeing the world and its possibilities
  • develop a keen awareness of constantly balancing sets of very different values
  • understand distinctive and traditional differences, establishing workable and effective practices or solutions in business, political advocacy, the arts and beyond

The skills above make graduates in Religion an invaluable resource in whatever career route they choose; recent graduates have gone on to work in: the civil service, social work, hospital and prison management, banking and insurance, music production, commerce including commercial research, the police, armed services, publishing and the media, as well as the perhaps more traditional career pathway of teaching and academic research. 

Skills you can develop through this programme

As you progress through your Critical Religion degree, you will have the opportunity to develop the following practical skills and attributes that are much sought after by prospective employers: 

  • Written communication – these are developed through the various essays, reports and examinations required for each of your modules;
  • Oral communication – learn to communicate effectively through presentations to both classmates and external clients;
  • Teamworking –  groupwork is an essential part of your Religion degree, in seminars, debates, and so on;
  • Research and analysis – these skills develop as you progress through each year of your course, culminating in a significant piece of research for your honours dissertation
  • Awareness of global issues – through case study analysis, guest lectures and research projects, you will develop an understanding of many different approaches to key areas of life around the world
  • Time management – you will learn how to manage your time more effectively through your active involvement in group projects, as well as by successfully juggling your weekly workload in order to meet your (sometimes conflicting) deadlines for coursework 
  • Self-confidence – participating in every aspect of your degree will help build your confidence, both personally and professionally

Chances to expand your horizons

Critical Religion students have the opportunity to participate in workshops, research visits to local organisations, and guest lectures from high profile speakers.

Where are our graduates now?

Recent graduates have gone on to work in the civil service, social work, hospital and prison management, banking and insurance, music production, commerce including commercial research, the police, armed services, publishing and the media, as well as the perhaps more traditional career pathway of teaching and academic research.

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