We caught up with Head of Department, Dr Chris Deacy, and undergraduate students, Stephanie and Lara, to find out more about Religious Studies, the overall student experience and life at Kent.
Head of Department, Dr Chris Deacy, dives in deeper: “We take particular pride in one-to-one tutorials and essay feedback in addition to lectures and seminars – we want all of our students to thrive and we are keen to make sure that after you submit each assignment you have a chance to meet with us and go through the essay carefully. The plan is that we can accentuate the best bits and help you to improve throughout your time here so that you get the best degree possible. We are a small department where everyone knows one another and the quality of the student experience is very important to us and one of the reasons you should consider coming to Kent to study Religious Studies.”
BA (Hons) Religious Studies student, Stephanie’s favourite module so far has been Religion in Contemporary Society: “It completely flipped my worldview and introduced me to a concept of the sacred I hope to research further at MA level.”
We asked Stephanie about student life, favourite places on campus and what advice she’d give to new students:
“I’m either in Cornwallis North West or Caffe Nero. I love the chill atmosphere and found doing my work there was very easy. During lockdown, it has been tough but it means i’ve developed a host of online skills and I guess, we’re all in the same boat. The socials online have been good but I also love doing movie nights over Netflix or watching YouTube over FaceTime with my friends too.
I love how central Canterbury can be quite bustling but there are plenty of green spaces too, it’s a nice contrast.
My top tip to new students is: learn to use the LibrarySearch function and don’t be afraid to contact your lecturers! Also, check out The Sacred podcast which has some interesting interviews with people from the field. I also personally find Positive News magazine a real pick me up for anyone but the cultural development stories specifically appeal to my study area.“
BA (Hons) Religious Studies student, Lara’s thoughts on her favourite module: “Choosing a favourite module is almost too difficult as I have enjoyed so many. Kent offers a vast variety of modules that cater to different aspect of the study of religion. I loved Comparative Literature and Religions of Biblical worlds because it enabled me to develop my fascination with biblical narratives and encouraged me to do a lot of extra independent research.”
Lara talks about her university experience during lockdown: “I have found the Religious Studies course to be very accessible during lockdown. The small nature of the department at Kent has been a blessing as it has enabled lecturers to have a close relationship with students.The zoom lecturers have also been running very smoothly as a non- stigmatised intellectual environment is created, where most feel comfortable to discuss lecture and seminar notes.”
Outside of her degree, Lara is part of the Kent Dance Society: “I danced in the competition squads for hip hop, contemporary, ballet and wildcard. This is where I met some of my best friends as it enabled me to meet people I had something in common with. It was also great to have an extra- curricular that allowed me to let off steam and exercise in a fun way when academic work got intense, and it also gave me the opportunity to participate in dance competitions across the UK, which has given me both confidence and memories to last a lifetime.”
On student life in Canterbury, Lara says, “The city of Canterbury is different to lots of other cities. It is really beautiful, with the cobbled streets and medieval architecture and feels very safe and clean in comparison to other cities. I have lots of favourite places to eat and drink in Canterbury but I think my two favourite are The Pound or Citi Terrace as they are both really fun but relaxed bars, where you can dress up a little and enjoy cocktails with the girls or a date!”