Religious Studies is a creative discipline, vital to contemporary understandings of economy, art, politics, media culture and globalisation.
Our Department of Religious Studies is a lively, interdisciplinary community in which exploration of global traditions and a rich historical past enables us to rewire contemporary issues.
Staff are internationally-recognised experts in their fields and committed teachers with interests in areas including the philosophy of religion, mindfulness, East Asian medicines, blasphemy, unbelief and the secularisation of religion.
They will show you how to engage in collaborative exploration at the cutting edge of the humanities.
Our degree programme
You will encounter specific traditions from Christianity to South Asian religions and might explore more experimental topics including Chinese philosophy and medicine, death and the afterlife, blasphemy, sexuality and the secular.
In your first year you take one compulsory module, which asks ‘What is religion?’ You can also choose options from introductory modules in Judaism and Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, Christianity, or ways to understand religion in secular society.
In your second and final years, you can choose to study particular world religions in more depth, or you can take modules on topics like religion and film, ancient biblical traditions in contemporary politics, or secular cultures and spirituality. At all stages of your degree it is possible to choose elective modules from other subject areas.
This programme will help you develop important transferable skills in critical analysis and communication and give you a fascinating insight into some of the most influential forces shaping our world.
Shauna talks about her Religious Studies course at Kent.
Year or term abroad
Working or studying abroad is a great opportunity to discover a new culture and demonstrates to future employers that you have the enthusiasm to succeed in a new environment. You can apply to spend a whole year or just a term abroad as part of your degree programme. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. See Kent’s Go Abroad pages for more details.
It is also possible to spend a year on placement in the UK, gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. Have a look at the Course structure or the Placement Year information from the Faculty of Humanities for more details.
Access more than 1 million books, ebooks, databases and journals, including our special collections, at the University’s Templeman Library. We also have strong links with Canterbury Cathedral library and archives.
You have opportunities to broaden your understanding of the field, including seminars and talks by invited speakers. You can get involved with student societies such as the Religious Studies society, as well as societies representing other faith groups and cultural activities.
You are usually taught in small groups, with most modules involving either two or three hours per week in class, plus individual consultations with teachers as well as sessions on computing and library skills.
Stage 1 modules are normally assessed by 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, some modules are assessed by 100% coursework (such as essays), others by a combination of formal examination and coursework.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the place, role and influence of religion, and religions, in human culture - particularly the culture of Europe
- the role and significance of religion within human experience
- the relationship between the study of religion and other branches of the humanities and social sciences
- the main approaches and methodologies characterising the critical study of religion, and its influences, as defined by the secular context of the University.
You gain the following intellectual abilities:
- evaluation of empirical data
- analysis and interpretation of relevant textual resources
- assessment of alternative theories and interpretations
- ability to construct and defend arguments and conclusions in a coherent manner.
You gain subject-specific skills in the following:
- sensitive and critical evaluation of religious data within their proper historical and cultural contexts
- sympathetic appreciation of the ideas and practices of other groups and individuals
- ability to articulate the multiple connections between experiences, ideas, practices and institutions in the appreciation and understanding of religion and religions.
You gain transferable skills in the following:
- research and writing
- computing and IT
- effective formal and informal communication
- working creatively and flexibly, on your own or with others
- time management, especially under pressure
- performance evaluation.
The programme aims to:
- increase knowledge of religious ideas and institutions as found in a diversity of cultural settings both past and present
- explore and discuss religious ideas and institutions, through texts and historical data as well as direct observation of the contemporary world
- develop critical understanding of a sympathetic insight into the diversity of religious life, both as it has shaped and been shaped by, other factors within culture and history.