Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 26 October 2020 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 0 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  IA121-3-PS    Core  30 
02  IA195-3-PS    Core  30 
03  IA118-3-PS    Core  30 
04    IA108-3-PS or IA111-3-PS or IA101-3-PS  Core with Options  30 

Year 1 - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  PY111-4-FY  Introduction to Philosophy  Core  30 
02  PY113-4-FY  Death, God and the Meaning of Life  Compulsory  30 
03    PY114-4-FY or Outside option(s) from list  Optional  30 
04    CS101-4-FY or Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s)  Optional  30 
05  CS711-4-FY  Skills for University Studies  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  PY407-5-AU  Philosophy and Religion  Compulsory  15 
02  PY408-5-SP  Ethics  Compulsory  15 
03    Choose two from: PY434-5-SU or PY435-5-SU or PY436-5-SU  Compulsory with Options  30 
04    Philosophy option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30 
05    CS200-5-AU or (CS712-5-FY and Philosophy option)  Optional  15 
06    Philosophy option from list  Compulsory with Options  15 

Year 3 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01  PY427-6-AU  Topics in the Philosophy of Religion  Compulsory  15 
02  PY428-6-AU  Philosophy and Medical Ethics  Compulsory  15 
03  PY455-6-SU  Philosophy Capstone Module  Compulsory  30 
04    Philosophy options from list  Optional  30 
05    Philosophy options from list  Optional  30 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide a sound curriculum of philosophical study, with a special focus on the philosophy of religion and ethics.

To enable students to engage in an informed and rigorous way with hotly contested issues of great moment in public and personal life.

To familiarize students with essential philosophical concepts and theories, and especially in the philosophy of religion and ethics.

To expose students to a wide range of texts and other philosophical resources, especially in the history of thought about religion and ethics.

To develop students' capacities for independent thought and critical reflection.

To provide students with the skills required for further study or career development.

All the outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate of the School of Philosophy and Art History of the University of Essex.

It is the intention of the School that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

Learning methods

Assessment methods

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

Learning methods

Assessment methods

C: Practical skills

Learning methods

Assessment methods

D: Key skills

Learning methods

Assessment methods


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing