Introduction

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 course leaflet
Download undergraduate prospectus

Dr Alison Jasper

www.stir.ac.uk/arts-humanities

University of Stirling
Stirling
FK9 4LA
Scotland
UK

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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 course 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:
BBB

IB Diploma:
32 points.

BTEC (Level 3):
DDM

Other qualifications

HNC/HND:

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.

Foundation Apprenticeships:

Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B

Additional information

General entrance requirements apply.

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.

Fees and costs

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.

If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

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

http://www.stir.ac.uk/arts-humanities

Why Stirling?

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.

Strengths

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
www.criticalreligion.stir.ac.uk/

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

Website: www.criticalreligion.org

Twitter: @CriticoReligio

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CriticalReligion

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 content of the curriculum is always engaging, and moreover, provides a diverse range of critical material that is both intellectually stimulating and pertinent to the course. It is no exaggeration when I say that studying Critical Religion at Stirling has very much influenced and changed the way I think, specifically in how I engage with information and new material."

Emma McCabe BA (Hons) Religion and English, Graduated 2017

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

Today, in spite of one widespread view that we have entered a ‘secular’ age, the term religion is constantly in the news, in contexts ranging from discussions about marriage and gender identity to concerns about immigration and terrorist attacks. It is arguably more important than ever before to develop an understanding of how the term is used and can be understood differently in a wide range of historical and cultural contexts. In business as in society today, an informed and critical approach to this globally significant subject is a decided advantage.

A degree in Religion also develops many useful transferable skills including:

 

Expand your horizons

As part of degrees in this area you will be able to undertake a range of activities and develop skills to help you get the most from your degree and your future career. You will be able to:

  • In most degree programmes undertake a range of optional modules* these include:
    • Undertaking a work placement to put your learning into context
    • A Career management skills module, preparing you to enter the job market
    • Business, accounting and management modules
    • Law modules
    • Business writing and digital literacy modules
    • French/Spanish language modules
  • Receive talks from visiting speakers from industry and alumni
  • Go on field trips
  • You will also be encouraged to take part in clubs and societies

*modules are subject to availability and dependant on your choice of degree structure  

We’re here to help

We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes required by employers. We have a dedicated Faculty Employability and Skills Officer and a Career and Employability Service who work in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the best out of your University experience and are given the right opportunities to make you ready for the world of work.

Our Alumni

Our alumni go into a range of careers but some notable alumni include:

  • Dr Amanullah De Sondy – Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, University College, Cork (EIRE) Graduated 2002
  • Lise Liezenga – Rule of Law Research Consultant – The Justice Project (providing research and advice on traditional, regional and Islamic law) Graduated 2004
  • Dr Angela Sutton – Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities, Vanderbilt University, Nashville (USA) Graduated 2006
  • Markus Kuokkanen – Freelance Journalist (for various Finnish newspapers, magazines and radio stations, including the Finnish public broadcasting company YLE) Graduated 2007
  • Sarah Clark – Managing Director of oilandgasfamilies.com (working to widen recognition of the impact of offshore work on family, kinship and community) Graduated 2015

 

Career options

From social and political research to journalism, marketing and HR, a degree in religion opens up a broad range of career opportunities.

 

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

 

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict ambition and further research to the jobs listed here.

Typical employers

Religion graduates work in a variety of different roles in a range of employment sectors. Typical employers include:

  • national and local government, including the Civil Service and government agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs);
  • schools, colleges and universities (for teaching and research positions);
  • charities, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations;
  • social services and other caring professions;
  • the church and other religious organisations;
  • financial and legal firms;
  • the National Health Service;
  • PR, advertising, sales and marketing companies;
  • media companies.
  • Libraries, charities, museums, television companies and publishing houses also employ religion graduates in a range of roles.

Work experience

It's important for students of this subject area to get relevant work experience to boost employability prospects. This experience shows employers commitment and also helps students to decide on whether a particular career is right for them.

Talk to professionals in the field of interest and consider work placements, paid evening and weekend work, voluntary work or work shadowing.

Further study
Many religion graduates continue with further study of their discipline, possibly with the intention of pursuing a career as a lecturer, but often due to their love of the subject. Other graduates chose to study something vocational at postgraduate level - common areas have included law, publishing and journalism. For careers such as law, lecturing and teaching, further qualifications are essential. For careers such as journalism and advertising, a postgraduate qualification may be useful, but it is relevant work experience that is essential.

Relevant further study available at Stirling includes:

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