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Philosophy and Religion (MA)

The Philosophy and Religion: Eastern and Western Thought programme is a distance-learning course designed for students who want to explore important philosophical and religious issues about life and the nature of our existence but don’t want to be limited in their study to one particular pathway or tradition.

It explores key topics in philosophy and religion, such as the nature of the self, the nature of reality, and the nature of religious experiences, from various philosophical and religious perspectives, from both eastern and western traditions.

Request Information
Contact Email: a.slater@uwtsd.ac.uk
Contact Name: Dr Angus M Slater

Tuition Fees 2021/22:
Home: £7,500
Overseas (distance/online): £10,000
Fees are for the whole course.

Why choose this course?

  1. The course is delivered via distance-learning and its structure allows students the flexibility to arrange their study around their other commitments.
  2. Students have access to a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that provides them with a wide range of electronic resources.
  3. Coursework assessment, with no exams.
  4. Students receive support from subject specialists in Philosophy, Religious Studies and Chinese Studies.

What you will learn

Course Overview

Students undertake four taught modules during their first year (full-time) or two years (part-time) of study before progressing to Part II and the writing of their dissertation.

The programme is delivered via distance learning. There is no requirement to visit our campus, although you are always welcome to do so. The programme consists of online lectures, discussion forums and one-to-one tutorials.

Module Topics

Knowledge, Reason, and Reality (30 Credits)

The module will undertake an in-depth exploration of the main issues, positions and arguments in the theory of knowledge. The topics to be studied include, the development of epistemology from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to the present day; the definition of ‘knowledge’ and the very possibility of knowledge, and our presumption that we are able to possess it.

Mind and Body: Descartes and Wittgenstein (30 Credits)

This module focuses on various understandings, advanced in the Western philosophical tradition, of mind, body, and the relation between the two. It focuses on the contrasting philosophies of Descartes and Wittgenstein.

The Self: East and West (30 Credits)

This module focuses on the idea of the identity of the self over time as this has been treated in both Western (sections 1- 4) and Eastern philosophical traditions. The latter material will be uploaded towards the end of the study period for the former. (Probably around the end of March.) If you would like guidance on preparatory reading for the second half of the module do ask.

Buddhist Philosophy (30 Credits)

This module addresses the philosophical issues raised by the religious teachings and practices of Buddhism. It will focus on some of the ethical, metaphysical and epistemological issues raised by Buddhist teachings and practices. In additions the module introduces students to the field of Buddhist philosophy, drawing attention to the some of the difficulties it involves.

Chinese Conceptions of the Self (30 Credits)

This module introduces students to Chinese conceptions of the self and how they evolved over time. It also explores the implications of such understandings of the self for practical ethical and political problems.

Please note, modules alter a little from year to year, owing to staff changes, curriculum development and recommendations following validation.



Philosophy & Religion (MA) grounds your learning across a number of different theoretical and practical areas, including the theory of interfaith studies and inter-religious relation, specific geographical contexts, and historical themes and perspectives. This is accomplished through a blend of teaching assessments, including a final dissertation focused on a subject of your choice.

Key Information

Entry Criteria

An honours degree (2:1 or above) in a cognate discipline or an equivalent and appropriate professional qualification or significant and relevant professional experience.

Career Opportunities

The programme will help students to develop skills that are valuable to a wide range of employers, such as the ability to: analyse complex information in a critical manner; present clear and coherent arguments; present complex information in a clear manner.

More particularly, the programme will attract students who are looking to take up future employment opportunities, or are already in employment, in areas or sectors where an understanding of interfaith issues will be of benefit.

It will also appeal to students who are looking towards a religious and/or devotional service, a life of public service, and various voluntary-based projects.

Additional Costs

Distance learners should have good internet access and the use of computer facilities.

Bursary / Scholarship Information

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Bursaries and Scholarships section.