B.A. (Hons) in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (or RPE in short) is a brand new interdisciplinary programme offered by the Department of Religion and Philosophy with effect from academic year 2017/18. Students studying RPE programme will be benefited from the writing, public presentation, and critical thinking skills learnt from the programme, as well as close student-teacher relationship which is unique in our Department.
Students will join summer study tours to Dunhuang-Xinjiang, Europe, and short trips in neighbouring regions to gain first-hand experience on a variety of religious and intra-cultural traditions of different parts of the world. Summer Internship Programme is also provided for students to work in NGOs, social enterprises, offices of Legislative Councilors, and institutions from public and private sectors. They can widen their exposure through working, relate the real life with their studies, gain valuable working experience and be able to identify their career path after graduation.
- First Ever RPE Programme in Asia for the World
The programme, specializing in three different but closely related disciplines of religion, philosophy and ethics, is the first-of-its-kind not only in Hong Kong, but also in Asia. RPE is a multidisciplinary programme and in fact one of the flourishing programmes in the international trend in recent decades. Examples include the RPE programme in King’s College London and University of Nottingham in UK.
- Four Study Areas
Foundational courses covering key areas of religion, philosophy and ethics are covered in second year. Starting from third to fourth years, students can choose major electives among the four study areas, namely Philosophical Studies, Christian Studies and Comparative Religion, The Interdisciplinary Study of Religion, as well as Ethics and Society. The multiple foci of the programme would be able to cater for the diverse interests of students. Students can choose to declare or not a concentration in one of the four study areas at the end of their second year of study.
- Critical Thinking
We emphasize nurturing students’ abilities in critical thinking, justifying arguments and evaluating claims, which help to enhance their reasoning and analyzing skills. These are transferable skills which are essential to many professions.
- Value Analysis
We emphasize the analysis of underlying moral values, social values, political values and cultural values in current issues, which are diverse, complex and often in conflict with one another.
- Excellence in Liberal Studies
Our programme provides a channel for achieving the higher goals of Liberal Studies, namely, (a) the cultivation of the ability to analyze complex human problems with intellectual rigor, and (b) the cultivation of practical wisdom for moral reasoning and impartial value analysis.
- To equip students with critical, analytical and interpretative skills with which they may understand religious and philosophical traditions, and schools of ethical thought in an objective way;
- To provide students with substantial information about ideas and practices of major religious and philosophical traditions, thus building a solid foundation for their understanding and interpretation;
- To help students develop capability in correlating religious ideas and values, philosophical traditions, and schools of ethical thought to socio-cultural problems;
- To widen students’ perspective in the understanding of both the human person and human culture through a comparative study of different religious and philosophical traditions, showing the range of human responses to life problems;
- To prepare students for postgraduate studies in at least some major religious or philosophical traditions; and
- To assist students in preparing for careers in education, cultural affairs and related fields.
The programme provides high-quality training which enables students to engage in independent academic research. Graduates in RPE will be well-equipped for postgraduate studies. Graduates can also expect to find a career not only in the field of teaching (Ethics and Religious Studies and Liberal Studies are now introduced as subjects of HKDSE, and hence many schools will need teachers for that), but also in cultural affairs, publication business, and in religion-related social service agencies. Furthermore, graduates may consider going to the administration sector in the civil service as well as in the business sector. Recently the whole concept of the function of higher education has changed. The significant role of higher education is the training of analytical and critical thinking, creativity and flexibility, and a broad base of knowledge. Employers in Hong Kong are looking for these qualities rather than hard skills in a very narrow scope which may become obsolete in several years. Nowadays, graduate with good training in religion, philosophy and ethics can go into a wide variety of fields for career development.