BA (Hons) Ethics, Religion & Philosophy

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This course is open for Clearing applications for international fee-paying students only.

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The most fundamental questions can be the hardest. Is there a God? What is life about? How should I act? This degree provides the opportunity to look for answers.

These questions, the ones we all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, lie at the heart of this course. By studying the central problems in philosophical ethics, values and religion, you’ll work to find the answers. You’ll think critically about how life should be lived. You’ll explore the role of morality in the modern world. And, you’ll consider the crucial issues facing us all.

While this is a specialist pathway offering an in-depth understanding of Ethics, Religion and Philosophy, the programme starts off with the same units as our other honours programme – offering a grounding in the history of philosophy and a good basis of contemporary reflections of ethics and religion. Then, from your second year, you’ll concentrate more on the key themes.

You will also have the opportunity to study abroad, including in the US, if you wish, and also the option to do your third year as a placement in Britain or abroad. 

This course has a Foundation Year available.

*From 2020 onwards, this course will also be available with a placement year option. See ‘Year 3’ in course details below for further information.

Features and Benefits

Career Prospects

Because philosophy teaches you not what to think, but how to think, its study naturally leads to the development of many skills that are highly prized by employers, for example the ability to think clearly, logically, and creatively, to communicate articulately and accurately (both verbally and in writing), and to analyse critically and rigorously.

A degree in Ethics, Religion and Philosophy opens a wide range of career paths, from civil service, teaching and not-for-profits, to media, banking and recruitment. You can also go on to study at postgraduate level.

Learn more about graduate careers

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff points/grades required


Minimum 104 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma at Level 3 DMM or Advanced Diploma).

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

Pass Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with a minimum 106 UCAS Tariff Points

International Baccalaureate points


IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Course details

This course is available in two pathways: as general ‘Philosophy’, and as Ethics, Religion and Philosophy. Both pathways share a common first year.

In Year 1, you’ll explore a range of key topics to enable you to begin to develop a thorough understanding of Ethics, Religion and Philosophy.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Introduction to the History of Philosophy

This unit introduces some of the major issues in the philosophical tradition via the work of some of its most celebrated authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes. The issues covered are: what it is to be human, what is philosophy, what is thought, what is true and what is real, and the nature and extent of the knowledge of reality that the mind can acquire. All these questions will lead to a better understanding of who we are today and how we understand ourselves in our contemporary societies.

Mind, Reason and Reality

This unit will provide you with an introduction to logic, and to fundamental issues in epistemology and metaphysics on the basis of readings of Early Modern philosophical texts. The first half of the unit aims to provide you with a grounding in critical thinking and elementary symbolic logic, whilst the second half is concerned with fundamental problems relating to the nature of knowledge and reality, such as the 'problem of the reality of the external world' and the 'mind-body problem'.

Ethics and Social Philosophy

This unit will introduce you to some significant theories in the history of moral philosophy and examples of their application in practical situations. You will study the origins of moral philosophy in classical Greece and go on to look at the scope of the moral presuppositions of morality, the nature of the good, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who had a defining influence on our moral ideas over the last 230 years, the possibility of perfection, ethical issues in equality, practical ethics, and individual liberty and social obligation.

Death, God and the Meaning of Life

This unit examines some of the central arguments of the philosophical tradition for and against the existence of divinity. From Plato to the 20th Century, we will encounter various arguments for the necessary existence of the immortals, and see how they reconfigure how we understand the meaning of our lives and orient ourselves in the world. 

In Year 2, you’ll continue to build on your knowledge and skills developed in Year 1. A range of option units will be available to you.

Please note, these option units are indicative of what options may be on offer in Year 3 of this programme but may be subject to change.

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Philosophy of Religion

This unit introduces students to various core topics and themes in the philosophy of religion. As well as looking at several classical arguments for the existence of God, such as the cosmological argument and the teleological argument, we will explore other central issues in the philosophy of religion, such as whether it is possible to reconcile a belief in God with the existence of suffering in the world, through the associated projects of defence and theodicy. Other key topics to be covered will include: the nature of God and the divine attributes, the rationality of faith, religious experience, pluralism, the place of religion in everyday life.

Virtues and Values

This unit focuses on key areas and themes in moral philosophy, topics in normative and practical ethics from a historical and contemporary perspective. The first term begins with a survey and critical re-assessment of the distinction between consequentialism and deontology in ethical theory, before moving on to examining the alternative approach of virtue ethics in Aristotle's 'Nicomachean Ethics'. The second term will focus on key issues in environmental ethics, the normative and practical implication of Global Justice and the Market. Topics to be studies include the notion of intrinsic value and the extent of its application to nature and conservation of biodiversity, ecological feminism and environmental sustainability. The unit concludes by examining the demandingness of morality in the face of world poverty, and will critically examine notions such as 'freedom' and 'neutrality' in relation to the liberalist conception of the Market. Throughout the unit emphasis will be placed on developing the critical, analytical and conceptual skills needed both to comprehend the complexity of ethical debates in the modern world and to engage with them.

Option Units


The aim of this unit to provide students with a thorough grounding in central concepts of and themes in metaphysics. This will be achieved through critical reflection on Early Modern metaphysics in relation to contemporary metaphysics. Students will engage with the metaphysical concepts of substance, personal identity, identity, matter, object-constitution, causation, fictional objects, free will, determinism, fatalism, and nature. In studying central concepts of and themes in metaphysics, students will blend their historical knowledge of Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant with sustained engagement with the metaphysical work of more contemporary philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, Peter Strawson, Galen Strawson, Derek Parfit, Peter van Inwagen, David Papineau, and John McDowell. Students will also confront important and engaging questions about philosophy’s relationship with the natural sciences.

Nietzsche and Sartre

This unit allows you to study two of the major thinkers of the last two centuries, improving the understanding of each through comparison with the other, informed by the difference in style and content. The first term of this unit investigates the revolutionary impact of Nietzsche's thinking on the history of philosophy. Since Nietzsche’s famous saying that ‘God is Dead’, philosophers have wondered how to base the various claims concerning morality, religion and truth. Within this context Nietzsche, the most read philosopher of all times, provides ample room of discussion. The second part will concern itself with the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre through the reading of his major work "Being and Nothingness". This book belongs to the most influential and inspiring works of 20thcentury philosophy, giving us some ideas of how to understand our existence after the ‘Death of God’.


The key question of this unit is: what is phenomenology? and, as a follow up question: what challenge does it pose to customary divisions of philosophy into questions of fact or value; of being and of existing; of individuality and collectivity. Phenomenology is one of the main philosophical movements of the 20thcentury, providing the student with detailed understanding of the recent past. In the first term, the focus for discussion will be the re-invention of phenomenology by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938); in the second term the challenge posed to his thought by Emmanuel Lévinas (1906-1996).

Engaging the Humanities and Social Science: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice

This is an innovative cross-departmental unit which provides an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary context alongside other students from a range of undergraduate programmes within the Humanities part of our Faculty.

Greek Philosophy: The Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle

An examination of the origins and early development of key philosophical concepts, themes and problems in the work of the first philosophers. The work of the first Greek philosophers established the basis on which all subsequent scientific enquiry and political theory within the Western tradition rests and it has thereby had a fundamental influence on the historical development of our world. This unit offers students the opportunity to study the origins of both political philosophy and metaphysical enquiry. It shows how the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, the two greatest Greek philosophers, emerged from a critical engagement with their immediate predecessors (the Pre-Socratics and the Sophists), simultaneously making more precise and narrowing down the enquiries of the earliest Greek thinkers into nature, culture and the human beings relation to both. The course begins with the writings of the earliest Greek thinkers (the `Pre-Socratics'), who, according to Aristotle, in their enquiries into nature, posed the most fundamental of all philosophical questions, the question of what there is. We will next look at the sophists who turned away from the investigation of nature, and instead concentrated on exclusively human affairs, developing the first political theory and philosophy of language. The theories of the sophists concerning politics and language, and the Presocratics' accounts of `what is' will then be used to illuminate Plato's major philosophical work, The Republic, showing how the theories Plato advances concerning truth, reality and knowledge develop the Pre-Socratic enquiries into nature, and how these epistemological and ontological theories feed Plato's conception of an ideal society, which is fundamentally opposed to the political ideas and practices of the sophists.

From 2020 this course will offer a placement year option which can be taken up in Year 3. During the placement year, although you will be supervised directly by the company you are employed by, you will also be allocated an Academic/Placement Tutor. They will provide support and guidance, assess your progress and generally monitor your welfare for the time you are away from the University.

Where a placement is not undertaken you will study the following final year units. Please note, these option units are indicative of what options may be on offer in Year 3 of this programme but may be subject to change

Read more about this year of study

Core Units

Theism and Paganism: Philosophy of Religion II

In this unit you will investigate advanced topics in the Philosophy of Religion. You will draw out the historical development of philosophical and theological thought, especially on the background of Plato’s, Leibniz’, Spinoza’s and Schelling’s thought, while then moving on to contemporary problems of the development of atheism and the theological response to these challenges. What are the problems confronting theology and faith in an age after Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is Dead’? How do other religions, like Buddhism, for example, see the crisis of European Civilization?

Bioethics and Moral Dilemmas

In this unit you will examine advanced issues in bioethics and contemporary moral philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed on the concept of autonomy, feminist ethics and moral particularism in understanding specific moral phenomena such as moral dilemmas, regret and forgiveness. You will also examine issues in medical epistemology such as evidence-based medicine, and consider a more value based conception of professional judgement inspired by virtue ethics.

Ethics, Religion and Philosophy Independent Project

This unit enables students to undertake independent work to produce a philosophical project on a topic of their choosing in the area of Ethics and/or Philosophy of Religion. The project will focus on a carefully defined area within philosophy based on a student's interests and experience. Students will work with an allocated supervisor, but will be expected to engage in independent study and reflection as part of their academic study. Student work is guided by formative deadlines for preparatory investigative work and deadlines for draft written materials. Independent Projects are highly valued by employers, as students here demonstrate the ability to work independently and individually motivated, bringing together information from various sources and synthesising these into a coherent piece of work.

Option Units

Philosophy of Literature

An analysis of the key concepts of twentieth century linguistics and the philosophical study of literature and language. This unit introduces students to the cornerstones of contemporary linguistics and the philosophy of language. Beginning with the influential structuralist linguistic of Ferdinand de Saussure, it goes on to examine from a philosophical perspective the privilege accorded to language in the human sciences in the twentieth  century, and explores the ways in which the movements of structuralism, post-structuralism and deconstruction have overturned the traditional understanding of the relation between philosophy and literature, and thus fundamentally shifted philosophy's own understanding of its nature and function.

Mind and Action

What is the mind, and how does it relate to the body? These questions have concerned philosophers for centuries, and this unit begins with a survey of some of the answers proposed. Dualists, like Descartes, claim that there is a sharp distinction between mind and body in that the body is physical while the mind is something non-physical, while mind-brain identity theorists claim that the mind just is the brain. These views will be considered along with rival theories such as epiphenomenalism, biological naturalism, and eliminative materialism. The unit then continues to consider debates about the nature of intentional action and consciousness, and links these debates to issues such as personal identity, machine intelligence and animal consciousness.

Heidegger and the Crisis of Philosophy

The unit provides a reading of a key passages of the most influential book of twentieth century philosophy: Heidegger's 'Being and Time'. This unit will concern itself with a careful interpretation of Martin Heidegger's philosophy developed in this work from 1927. Students will discover the intricacies of a philosophical argument which investigates into the question of everyday life and they will come to understand why this work was praised as a renewal of philosophy, reengaging with the fundamental problems of human existence in its questioning of life, death and moral existence.

Philosophy of the Body

This unit covers the study of the significance of the philosophical concern with the body in 20th century continental philosophy, principally through the work of Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault and Julia Kristeva. Why was it that philosophy up to the middle of the 19thcentury never really discussed this problem, while the 20thhas brought forth many thinkers who speak of embodied perception and the embodied mind, thereby situating us in the world of everyday action.

Kant and Hegel

This unit will allow students to study two of the most influential philosophies of the last 250 years, which have both in their own ways influenced our contemporary ideas and understanding of the world. The first term of this unit will be dedicated to the thought of Immanuel Kant. His seminal "Critique of Pure Reason" (1781/87) is undoubtedly one of the most influential works of philosophy ever written. In it Kant seeks to discover the limits of what can be known by reason. The book is renowned for its difficulty as much as it is for containing ideas and approaches that are, even today, considered by philosophers to be of the greatest philosophical importance. An in-depth examination of key parts of this text forms the heart of this part of this unit. The second term will be dedicated to a study of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit", a book more influential than any other. Without Hegel it is difficult to understand any thought after 1807. Marxism, Psychology, Sociology – and the Second World War are unthinkable without Hegel’s work. We will especially be looking at the question of consciousness and self-consciousness, at the famous master-slave dialectic and, finally, at the historical existence of our human spirit.

Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

This unit provides an approach to central issues in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art on the basis of readings of key texts from the philosophical tradition. It examines important issues within the philosophy of art and aesthetics from Plato to the present day. It is concerned with how the philosophical tradition has addressed the artwork – in its different forms, such as painting, theatre and music – as an object of reflection, and it will attempt to determine the specificity of the modern mode of reflection on art that traditionally, from the 17th century onwards, bears the title "aesthetics".

From 2020 this course will offer a placement year option. During the placement year, although you will be supervised directly by the company you are employed by, you will also be allocated an Academic/Placement Tutor. They will provide support and guidance, assess your progress and generally monitor your welfare for the time you are away from the University.

If you complete a placement in Year 3 you will study the following final year units in Year 4. Please note, these option units are indicative of what options may be on offer in Year 3 of this programme but may be subject to change

Assessment weightings and contact hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises of 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Optional foundation year

Placement options

From 2020 Placement opportunities are available both in the UK and abroad. Amongst others, students currently on placement are working in a variety of roles over a huge span of industries.

Our dedicated Placement Team has developed excellent links with various industries. You will be offered support through a preparation programme of activities that includes guidance on selection procedures, working overseas, CV preparation, interview and selection techniques.

Department of History, Politics and Philosophy

Our Department of History, Politics and Philosophy offers programmes of study alongside a thriving research culture, emphasising a student-centred approach to learning.

With interdisciplinary strengths in many areas, the department takes pride in its approach to research-led teaching and being able to provide opportunities for students to work with academics at the forefront of their disciplines.

More about the department

Taught by experts

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject.

Meet our expert staff


Foundation Year students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £9,250 per year for the foundation year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students: Full-time Foundation Year fee: £14,500 per year. When progressing from the pre-degree foundation year to the linked degree. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study)

UK, EU and Channel Island students

UK, EU and Channel Island students: Full-time fee: £9,250 per year. This tuition fee is agreed subject to UK government policy and parliamentary regulation and may increase each academic year in line with inflation or UK government policy for both new and continuing students.

Non-EU international students

Non-EU international students: Full-time fee: £14,500 per year. Tuition fees will remain the same for each year of your course providing you complete it in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional Information

A degree typically comprises 360 credits, a DipHE 240 credits, a CertHE 120 credits, and an integrated Masters 480 credits. The tuition fee for the placement year for those courses that offer this option is £1,850, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study). The tuition fee for the study year abroad for those courses that offer this option is £1,385, subject to inflationary increases based on government policy and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

Additional costs

Specialist Costs

All of the books required for the course are available from the library. The University also has PC labs and a laptop loan service. However, many students choose to buy some of the core textbooks for the course and/or a laptop. Students may also need to print their assignments and other documents. Campus printing costs start from 5p per page. Estimated costs are £300 for a laptop and up to £100 each year for books and printing.

Placement Costs

We try to offer students the opportunity to go to Europe. The trip is optional and not directly related to the course, but it gives students the opportunity to meet other students within the Department of History, Politics and Philosophy, and to visit sites of historical, political and philosophical relevance.


Find out more about financing your studies and whether you may qualify for one of our bursaries and scholarships.

Money Matters

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How to apply

This course is only open to International students through Clearing

Call our friendly team to find out more about this course and how to apply through Clearing

Please have the following information available:

Call us +44 (0)161 247 3000 Or email

You can review our current Terms and Conditions before you make your application. If you are successful with your application, we will send you up to date information alongside your offer letter.


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