RPE Course

The Religion, Philosophy & Ethics (RPE) degree course is for people who like to think. It engages the most important ideas from Philosophy, from religious traditions and from a range of emerging spiritual perspectives on the world: then looks at how they impact on our lives, and the lives of others.

We examine philosophy as it emerges in Ancient Greece, but also Hindu and Buddhist traditions as they arise in India, and the advent of Islam and the history of Judaism. This is partnered with the latest research on how religion is manifesting in the contemporary world, through UFO cults, climate change activist groups, a variety of new Pagan movements and popular-culture spiritualities. With an emphasis on the lived experience we also offer the study of the philosophical tradition in the West: as well as an overview of historical developments, there are close-readings that familiarise you with key thinkers like Descartes, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Kuhn and Sartre.

Lectures and seminars exist alongside more innovative teaching methods, and we make full use of video podcasts, e-texts, Skype Q &As with external experts, and students are actively involved with these resources. We have a strong commitment in RPE to tutorials, and working with our students, one-to-one and in small groups, to help them produce the best work, and best ideas, that they are capable of.

Our enthusiastic and supportive staff members have national and international reputations for excellence within their fields, and all publish regularly. The students are encouraged to take a role in research seminars, with invited guest speakers, a philosophy film club, Gloucestershire Philosophical Society, and course social events. Some of this is visible via our Course Facebook group.

A period of study abroad is also possible as part of the programme, via the Erasmus scheme, as well as our international Field Trip module that offers two opportunities; The first immerses our students in the rich and diverse religious landscape of India as they engage with Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Jainism; the second investigates the religious significance of the Spanish city of Cordoba, and the relation between Islam, Christianity and Judaism in Europe. We also run day trips, such as our visit to the Diwali festival in Leicester, Glastonbury and Oxford as well as making the most of being in Cheltenham – with its International Literature Festival, Science Festival and more.

Studying Religion, Philosophy & Ethics leaves you equipped to better understand the world around you – personally and geopolitically – but also gives you skills to go wherever you decide. RPE graduates have gone on to careers, to education, to study further, and also on to a whole range of ways of continuing to explore the world and its meaning. We are still in touch with most of our graduates, who use things like social media to converse with current students – offering insights, career advice and, of course, debate and argument.


  • wide range of topics, from new-age religion, to European philosophy – taught by experts
  • innovative teaching, using podcasts, social media and more – combined with small group, discursive models of debate
  • a course that goes beyond the classroom: lectures and seminars are supplemented by field trips, philosophy film club, guest speakers and more

Selected modules

  • These are just a small selection of modules on offer

For a full list of modules see the Course Map.

  • this course prepares you for life with philosophical skills to last a lifetime, allowing rigorous and clear thinking – whatever you do with your life
  • teaching and academia
  • working in publishing and writing
  • working across faiths and traditions

How will the course be assessed?

The RPE course is assessed by essays, portfolios and other innovative forms of assessment.

There are no exams on the course.

Find out more about this course on glos.ac.uk.