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Philosophy seeks to unearth universal truths by utilising reason and logic. It tackles concepts such as existence (ontology), morality (ethics), nature (metaphysics), and knowledge (epistemology). Theology also uses reason and logic, along with historical and religious knowledge, in the criticism, defence, and analysis of religious belief. Students do not have to be religious to study Theology.

These two disciplines may seem incompatible, but they are bound together in numerous ways. The philosophical works of Plato and Aristotle greatly influenced Western Christian theology. In turn, the theological work of St Thomas Aquinas has exerted a lasting influence on philosophers.


Students interested in Theology and Religious Studies have a number of options. Degree courses include Theology with Psychology, Philosophy, English Literature or World Religions. Students can also take these subjects as part of an Arts degree. Typical topics in Theology or Religious Studies include Biblical Studies, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Atheism, Ecumenism, World Religions, and Ethics. Several teacher training colleges also provide the necessary qualification for becoming a second-level religion teacher.

There are plenty of options for students interested in taking Philosophy at degree level. You can choose to take a degree solely in Philosophy, or study it in conjunction with subjects such as Law, Political Science, Economics and Sociology. It is also an optional subject on most general Arts programmes.

Students will look at ancient, modern and postmodern philosophy. In addition, you will examine Eastern thought, ethics, aesthetics, epistemology amongst others. You will also encounter all the big names including Plato, Locke, Kant, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein.

The Work

Students study Philosophy or Theology to expand their knowledge rather than as a career move. However, the research skills you learn are useful in a variety of careers.

A high proportion of Theology graduates go on to become teachers of religion at secondary-school level. Some religious studies courses qualify students to teach religion directly. Graduates of other courses take a year-long Higher Diploma in Education to gain the necessary teaching skills.

Those who make their living from philosophy are generally published authors and are attached to a university where they teach and write as well as think for a living. Philosophy graduates also have other options. The lateral thinking, logic, and reasoning skills you learn should prove useful in almost any career.

Did you know?

According to the rules of logic, the question “What would happen if an irresistible force met an immovable object?” is meaningless, since in a universe where one of the two exists, the other, by definition, cannot.

Further Resources

Ask Philosophers is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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