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Unit information: Approaches to the Study of Religion in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Approaches to the Study of Religion
Unit code THRS10030
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lomi
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


In this unit, students will encounter a variety of disciplines, key theories and core approaches to the study of religion, examining in particular theological, sociological, anthropological, psychological, philosophical and comparative approaches. These disciplinary approaches will be illuminated by relevant examples drawn from the disciplines of the specialists lecturers who are teaching the unit. John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (2009; also available as an ebook), will provide the core reading material for the unit. The aim of this unit is to equip students of religion and theology with a sound theoretical understanding of the key disciplines and approaches which shape their study of this discipline.

Students will practise their close reading skills in small groups, and will work together on a group presentation.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main approaches to the academic study of religion today;
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical ideas that have shaped the various scholarly approaches to religion(s);
  3. analyse and evaluate some of the main scholarly approaches to religion(s);
  4. identify pertinent data in order to illustrate/demonstrate a cogent argument appropriate to level C/4.

Teaching details

1 x two-hour lecture and 1 x one-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

One 3000-word portfolio (100%) (ILOs 1–4)

Reading and References

• John R. Hinnels, The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion (Second Edition; London: Routledge, 2009)

• Seth Kunin & Jonathan Miles-Watson, Theories of Religion: A Reader (Edinburgh: EUP, 2006)

• Russell T. McCutcheon, Studying Religion: An Introduction (London: Equinox, 2007)

• Susan Mumm, Religion Today: A Reader (London: Ashgate, 2002).