Student success for BA (Hons) Religion, Culture and Society graduates.
Being beyond the typical age that most people go to university, and after much deliberation, I finally decided to take the plunge. Although there were a few universities I could have applied to study religion at, my first choice was UCLan. Having read extensively on the RCS course, attended the subject Open Days, speaking to and hearing the RCS lecturers speak, convinced me that UCLan’s RCS course was the one for me. I haven’t regretted that decision since.
The RCS course has many modules to choose from, with each module covering various topics, cultures and views. With so much variety, there is bound to be something (if not everything) that will capture the interest of every individual, with further scope to follow your own personal interests.
Every lecture, without fail, would result in some amazing discussions; all of which were impossible not to engage with or get animated about – the lecturer encouraging us and often giving us even more to query and consider.
The skills acquired from the lectures, the discussions, the debates and the course overall have developed deep critical, analytical and lateral thinking skills, not to mention confident and objective communication skills; skills that are transferable and invaluable in any field of work.
The support from the RCS team cannot be stressed enough, both academically, personally and professionally too. The team don’t just support their students for the short term, but for the long term, developing skills and potential within each of their students helping them achieve amazing possibilities. I can honestly say this with absolute sincerity because when I began studying at UCLan, it had been 12 years since I was last a student. Yet despite this, in my 2nd year at UCLan, my RCS essay got published under the tutelage and guidance of Dr Carolyn King, and I achieved a first class honours degree. Amazing given I didn’t even have any A Levels.
Because of the RCS team and degree course, I can say with absolute confidence that I have acquired deep and broad knowledge of various religions, cultures, histories, and views (both religious and non-religious). The RCS course is very cross-curricular, examining history, politics and education to name a few, under the branch of religion, making the RCS course very relevant and diverse. As a result, it has made me want to inspire others hence, since graduating from the RCS course, I chose to become a Religious Studies teacher and completed my PGCE and now teaching full time and loving it.
I began my first year of Religion, Culture and Society with no prior knowledge of the content that would be covered in the course. However, I was delighted to find that the topics were both fascinating and thought provoking. The variety of assessments, such as essays, literature reviews, group debates, portfolios and presentations, not only helped me find my preferred ways of learning but also taught me about independent study and team work.
Throughout the course, I was encouraged by my personal tutor to further develop extracurricular skills by taking a language certificate module in Japanese and later studying for a year in Germany. In my final year, I was given the opportunity to do a voluntary placement, as a learning mentor in a college, which sparked my interest in teaching.
The chances and opportunities for personal and academic development that I was given over the duration of the course, and the support and encouragement I received, all contributed to me finishing with a first class honours degree, of which I am very proud.
RCS provided me with an eye-opening introduction to major and minor religions. Through a combination of perspectives from religious studies, history, politics, sociology and philosophy, I developed a broad understanding of key issues with real-world impact. By attending local and international field trips, I was able to experience other cultures and gain an understanding of different religious and cultural perspectives. The support that the RCS staff provides is invaluable, and their enthusiasm and constant encouragement really made me feel like part of a family. RCS exceeded my expectations and has changed me, both as a student and as an individual. I could not have chosen a better BA course in preparation for the world of work and life itself.
Throughout my three years of RCS I enjoyed every lecture I attended. My interpersonal and communication skills developed considerably over this time - they were certainly put to the test throughout the course. I learned something every time I attended a lecture, which has helped me gain an exceptional amount of knowledge and understanding about religion, culture, community, diversity, and also the impact and influences that political, social and economic constructs play. This experience will remain with me forever.
The course is also very diverse in terms of the modules available. For example, it allowed me to choose the modules I am interested in and wanted to study. The people within the course are from many different faiths and backgrounds, this allowed to me to gain a better understanding and respect of different religions, faiths and belief systems. Having gained so much from the RCS course, I wanted to continue with my studies and decided to move into teaching.
RCS has a progression route onto the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course at Edge Hill. This allows successful graduates an opportunity to apply for and secure a position on this very competitive programme. With the support of the RCS teaching staff I secured a place on the PGCE programme and successfully completed this then returned to study the MA in RCS – now I am teaching in a primary school and love every minute of it !