The University of Southampton

VV56 BA Philosophy, Ethics and Religion with Year Abroad (4 years)

Introducing your degree

A Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion degree at Southampton provides you with an excellent and rigorous education exploring fundamental and far-reaching issues. You will engage with questions that have puzzled great thinkers for millennia but are still relevant today: How should we live? What can we really know? Can religious beliefs be justified? And what is their role in society? 

You will explore these fundamental questions using the philosophical method of reasoned argument and critical scrutiny. You will have the opportunity to explore ethical questions and views, and issues about the nature of religion and its place in society, as they are studied in a wide-range of fields, including anthropology, archaeology, history, and politics. This will give you an unparalleled opportunity to develop your ability to think clearly, critically and consistently, to understand varying points of view, to organise ideas and to work cooperatively with others - skills much in demand by employers.


Programme Structure

The programme is designed to ensure that your learning is progressive. Part 1 is foundational. You will take four compulsory modules which introduce you to fundamental areas of Philosophy and the philosophical study of ethics and religion and provide you with crucial skills in reason and argument. In addition, you will take optional modules in central areas of Philosophy or in the study of Ethics and Religion in other disciplines, including Anthropology, Archaeology, and History.

At Part 2, which builds on this foundation, there is greater choice and flexibility, allowing you to tailor your studies to your developing interests and expertise. Alongside compulsory modules in the History of Philosophy, Moral Philosophy, and Philosophy of Religion, you will choose from options in central areas of Philosophy, and in the study of Ethics and Religion in Anthropology, History, and Management.

All modules at Part 3 are optional and you will have a wide selection to choose from. Modules at this level typically concern topics on which academic staff are actively researching and they aim to introduce you to the cutting-edge of thinking and scholarship in the relevant subject area. It is required that you complete a dissertation – an extended piece of research under the supervision of a member of academic staff – though the choice of topic is your own.

At every level of study, you have the opportunity to exercise module choice. In addition to selecting from a range of optional modules in Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion, you will have the opportunity to select modules in other subject areas and thereby to broaden your education.

View the programme specification document for this course

Key facts

Explore questions about ethics, our place in the Universe, and the nature and role of religion, benefiting from Southampton’s complementary and world-leading expertise in Philosophy, Anthropology, Archaeology, History and Politics.

Extremely broad curriculum allowing you to approach topics from multiple perspectives, with the flexibility to pursue your own interests.

Emphasis on participation and discussion, with small-group teaching and one-on-one supervision from the first year.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level


AAB to ABB from 3 A Levels.

Applicants taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) will also be made an alternative offer one grade below the standard offer, conditional on an A grade in the EPQ.


International Baccalaureate34 to 32 points with 17 to 16 at Higher Level.
Preferred subjects


Applicants who are taking an A Level or International Baccalaureate module in one of our below preferred subjects will usually receive an offer of ABB or 32 points with 16 at Higher Level. Applicants who are not taking an A Level or International Baccalaureate module in one of our below preferred subjects will usually receive an offer of AAB or 34 points with 17 at Higher Level.

  • Philosophy
  • History
  • English
  • Religious Studies
  • Classical Civilisation
  • Sociology
  • Government and Politics





International applications


We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country, or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with not less than 6.5 in Reading and Writing, 6.0 in Listening and Speaking.

Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University to an A level applicant. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is ABB to BBB from three A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admission pages for more information.


Selection process:

Selection is normally based on actual or predicted grades plus the reference and personal statement on your UCAS application. Exceptionally we may ask you to come for an interview before making an offer.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The programme is divided into modules (courses devoted to specific topics). Single modules have a credit value of 15, while double modules have a credit value of 30. Full-time students take 120 credits at each level, 60 credits in each semester. Some modules are compulsory, though most are optional.

You must take at least 60 credits (equivalent to four single modules) in Philosophy at each level, inclusive of any compulsory modules. 30 further credits at each level must be taken either in Philosophy or in the non-Philosophy modules available in this degree (see below). The remaining 30 credits may be taken in any available subject.

Year 2


The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

This is a new programme of study and module options have not been timetabled / allocated to a semester for Part 2.


Semester Two

Year 3

Year Abroad

Students taking the Year Abroad will continue with the Part 3 curriculum on their return in their 4th year.

Year 4


The following is an indicative list of available optional modules, which are subject to change each academic year. Please note in some instances modules have limited spaces available.

This is a new programme of study and module options have not been timetabled/allocated to a semester for Part 3.


Semester Two
Philosophy of Mathematics

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternationalChannel Islands
BA Philosophy, Ethics and Religion (with a Year Abroad)2018Full-time£9,250£16,536£9,250
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
EquipmentComputer Discs or USB drives - Students are expected to provide their own portable data storage device. Software Licenses - All software is provided
Printing and copyingWhere possible, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. The University printing costs are currently:
PlacementsStudents on placement programmes can expect to cover costs for health and travel insurance, accommodation and living expenses; travel costs; visa costs. This will vary depending on which country you are travelling to. Specific details on what additional costs there will be are detailed in the individual module profiles which can be found under the modules tab of the programmes details of your programme.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities


A degree in Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion equips you with the skills you need to enter a wide range of careers, including business, law, medicine, journalism, teaching, IT, the civil service, advertising, film and television, and finance.

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards and right from the first lecture. We explain the skills which are taught throughout the modules and offer a number of optional employability modules.

Philosophy, Ethics, and Religion BA (Hons) will be available for the first time from 2017. But evidence provided by related degree programmes confirm that the skills you will develop – in critical thinking, reasoning and argumentation – are in high demand. The 2014 Destination of Leavers of Higher Education (DLHE) survey found that 85% of our Philosophy BA graduates were in work or study six months after finishing their degree, with 60% of those in full-time employment occupying professional or managerial roles.


Study Locations

Student life

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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