[skip to content]

Department of the Study of Religions

Introduction to the Study of Religions

Course Code:
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This course aims to provide students with the necessary foundational knowledge, skills and understanding for the more specialised study of religions in this and subsequent years. Religion is understood as polymorphic and multi-aspectual, something woven into everyday life and thought as well as embodied in religious institutions, texts and images. Visits to religious centres are a key element. The course integrates the exploration of different approaches, theories, methods, concepts and issues in the study of religions with the acquisition of undergraduate skills including critical thinking and written expression, practical IT capabilities, effective use of library, electronic and other information sources in the study of religions, and relevant teamwork and communication skills.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On successful completion of the course, a student will:

  • have acquired a foundational knowledge and understanding of selected approaches, methods and theories in the Study of Religions
  • be able to find and use books, journals and other sources of information relevant to topics studied in this course
  • have acquired or enhanced undergraduate skills, e.g. in writing, critical thinking and argument, use of IT appropriate to Higher Education
  • have acquired some first-hand experience of contemporary religious beliefs and practices
  • have written in detail at least two approved topics relevant to the course
  • have contributed┬áto a team presentation on a specified ┬átopic relevant tot he study of religions
  • have recorded and reflected upon her or his level of participation and extent of learning during the course

Method of assessment

1 essay (1,500 words) (15%), 1 essay (3,000) (45%) and a Learning Journal (Non Re-submittable) (40%)

Suggested reading

  • McCutcheon, Russell, ed. (1999) The Insider/Outsider Problem in the Study of Religions: A Reader, London and New York: Cassell.
  • Taylor, Mark, ed. (1998) Critical Terms for Religious Studies, Chicago and London: Chicago University Press.