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BA World Religions and Theology

The BA in World Religions and Theology offers teaching and research in Religious Studies and history of religions, in Asian and African religions, and in Islam, alongside its established teaching and research in Biblical Studies, Theology and Ethics.

Single Honors Degree

Please note: The School of Religion is pleased to announce a BA (Hons) Religion - TR041. This degree will have its first intake of students in September 2019.

For this reason the degree in World Religions and Theological will not have an intake of students in September 2019.

Course Structure and Content

In the Single Honors programme students take all their courses in the Department of Religions and Theology.

The Bachelor’s Degree is typically four years long. In Trinity College, during the four years students are designated as follows:

Year 1 – Junior Fresh (JF)
Year 2 – Senior Fresh (SF)
Year 3 – Junior Sophister (JS)
Year 4 – Senior Sophister (SS)

In the first year (JF), you follow courses that introduce you to the various fields of study, while after the first year you are free to choose courses that fit your own particular areas of interest.

Course Content
In taking this 4-year arts degree, you will engage in broad introductions as well as in depth analyses of religious traditions and of the approaches used to examine them. You will get to know the contributions of different disciplines, such as history, archaeology, art, philology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, literary and cultural studies, to examine the diversity of religions and the changing understanding of religion in their cultural and historical contexts. You will be able to trace major transformations in Western culture from its roots in biblical monotheism and antique philosophy to the present day, and discuss contemporary issues such as science and religion, ethics and technology. You will explore perspectives from other ancient and contemporary religions and get to know their literary, ethical and artistic resources.

The Senior Fresher Year

From the Senior Freshers (second) year on, students may choose modules on subjects such as:

  • Origins and sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
  • Ancient languages, especially Greek and Hebrew
  • The philosophical and theological debates between Jewish, Christian and Islamic thinkers in the Middle Ages
  • Popular religion, alternative forms of religiosity and new religious movements
  • Key controversies in Western religious and philosophical thought
  • Asian religious traditions and their histories
  • Religion, media, and the public sphere
  • Philosophical and theological approaches to God
  • Biomedical ethics, including issues such as genetic enhancement and transhumanism


Students in the second year may substitute a Broad Curriculum course for one of these half-year courses.

The Sophister Years
In the Sophister (third and fourth) years you will learn to analyse and assess texts for their starting-points, steps of argumentation and practical conclusions, and develop the critical thinking skills, interpretive and comparative competences typical for arts and humanities graduates. You will deepen your understanding of 3000 years of religious and cultural self-understandings and become adept at distinguishing the contribution of different disciplines and methodologies. Topics include:

  • Historical and literary approaches to biblical texts
  • Hermeneutics (the theory and practice of interpretation)
  • Classical thinkers and contemporary theories of religion
  • Current expressions and movements in Christianity and Islam
  • Reformation and Enlightenment
  • Ethics in modernity
  • World Christianities
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Theological ethics and ecology
  • Meals in Early Christianity
  • Religion and art.


In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year you will write a thesis of 15,000 words with a supervisor chosen from an area that you want to specialise in. You will learn to work out careful argumentations and critical discussions of research literature on the topic of your choice.

Students not only encounter religious cultures in the lecture theatre and libraries, but also enjoy excursions to local museums and libraries (e.g. the Chester Beatty Library, Marsh's Library), visits to local religious centres and other cultural destinations central to the history of religious traditions. A range of extracurricular activities is available, such as participation in lively College societies (e.g. the Theological society “Theo”) to lectures by internationally acclaimed speakers.

Assessment
Students write between five to six essays per semester depending on whether they choose a language module. In addition they sit end of the year examinations for six courses (three for TSM students).

Study Abroad

The Department of Religions and Theology has two Erasmus exchange programmes which enable students to spend an academic year (or term) in the English-speaking programme of the University of Leuven in Belgium or at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. They can also apply for the Non-EU exchange programmes of Trinity College.

For more information, contact Professor Maureen Junker-Kenny as the Department’s Erasmus Coordinator:Professor Maureen Junker-Kenny, t: + 353 (0)1 896 1044, e: mjunkerk@tcd.ie, Room: 5030, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin

FAQs

Scholarship Examinations?

How are Scholars selected: Scholars are elected annually from the Senior Fresh Year in various subjects on the result of an examination held in January. In one of the most colourful events of the academic year, the names of those elected are formally announced by the Provost of Trinity College, from the steps of the Examination Hall, on the Monday of ‘Trinity Week’.

What are the entitlements of Scholars: Scholars are entitled to free Commons (meals in the Dining Hall) and free rooms in College. They also receive an allowance and are exempt from paying fees for the remainder of their undergraduate years and for postgraduate study.

How to apply for Scholarship: Candidates must give notice of their intention to take the scholarship examination on the prescribed form, obtainable from the Senior Lecturer's Office, West Theatre, Trinity College. For specific dates and information please visit this link

Awards and Prizes

A number of prizes are available to students, fuller details of which may be found in the University Calendar (College Calendar)