This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with an introduction to the arts and humanities and the revolutions that have changed the world.
- Next, in Stage 2, you'll study two compulsory modules as you begin to explore philosophy and religion in more detail.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree study focusing on the key questions in philosophy and religion.
In Stage 1 you’ll be introduced to some of the basic approaches of both religious studies and philosophy by engaging with fascinating topics in the context of an interdisciplinary study of the arts and humanities.
At Stage 2 you’ll progress from interdisciplinary study to focus on religions, philosophy and ethics. You’ll encounter various expressions of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism in different contexts as you look at what religion is, how religions are studied, and why we study religion. You’ll also be introduced to some of the core philosophical issues including What makes me Me?, Does God exist? and Why should I act ethically?
At Stage 3 you’ll look at the truth in fiction, justice in war, reason and action, the value of life, knowledge and reason. Your study of religion will include looking at religious and secular people, practices, ideas and futures to enable you to understand why religion can be controversial.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 18 January 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Religion, Philosophy and Ethics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- working in a group with other students.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BA (Honours) Religion, Philosophy and Ethics.
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts, humanities and languages. It's perfect preparation for your study with The Open University as you'll develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. From the perspective of its central theme, ‘popular protest’, it explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, and popular music. The module also offers an opportunity to explore other subjects, such as modern languages, classical studies, religious studies and creative writing.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
Skills for career development
This qualification will develop your skills in critical thinking, communicating successfully to a wide range of audiences, empathy and understanding for the views and practices of others, communication and IT skills, and working both independently and collaboratively.
Employers are known to value highly the kinds of key critical thinking, empathy and communication skills which a Religions, Philosophy and Ethics degree offers. Because of this, a qualification of this type has the potential to open up many different careers. Graduates will find this qualification relevant to a wide range of careers in both the private and public sector, including: teaching, civil service, financial services, law, local government, journalism and NGO/charity work.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
- civil servant
- charity worker
- local government officer
- social/youth community worker
- school teacher
- higher education worker
- financial services executive
- human resources officer