University of Oxford Undergraduate Prospectus 2015 entry

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Theology and Religion

A BA in 3 years

UCAS code: V600

Course statistics for 2013 entry

Interviewed: 93%

Successful: 42%

Intake: 28

Entrance requirements

A-levels: AAA

Advanced Highers: AA/AAB

IB: 38 (including core points) with 666 at HL

Or any other equivalent

A subject involving essay-writing to A-level, Advanced Higher or Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent can be helpful to students in completing this course, although this is not required for admission.

How to apply (see page 118) [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

Tests: None required

Written Work: Two pieces

Tuition Fees for 2014

Home/EU: £9,000/year

No upfront costs: you can get a loan for the full amount

Grants, bursaries and scholarships available

More on student finance: p 120 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note]

More Information

+44 (0) 1865 270790

Oxford Open days

2 and 3 July, and 19 September 2014

25 March 2014:

What is Theology and Religion?

While Theology is a very ancient intellectual discipline, no-one can doubt the earth-shaking significance of religious ideas and commitments in society today. Theological study provides an understanding of the intellectual structures of religions, and of the social and cultural contexts for religious belief and practice. Oxford has been at the very heart of religious debate, reform and turmoil in the British Isles for eight centuries so that the faculty here wears a mantle of history not available in other universities. At the same time Theology and Religion at Oxford is embracing whole-heartedly the challenges of the twenty-first century with the inclusion in its curriculum of all the major world religions and the opportunity to learn their primary languages. Students can also examine the relationship between religion and science, and the place of religion and religious ethics in public life. To enjoy studying Theology and Religion you need to be interested in the questions that religions raise and be ready to engage with them from a range of perspectives. This will prepare you to be something of a historian and a philosopher, a textual and literary critic, and a linguist. To be able to employ a combination of these disciplines effectively will not only make you a theologian but equip you to embark on a wide range of careers.

Theology and Religion at Oxford

The Faculty of Theology and Religion has more than 100 members covering almost every possible branch of the discipline, ranging from experts in the ancient languages and literature of the world’s religions to church historians and systematic theologians. Its reputation attracts scholars from all over the world as visiting lecturers. As an undergraduate the first year provides experience of the methods of theological study and an opportunity to acquire skills in one of the scriptural languages, or to investigate philosophical problems.

In years two and three you may choose to specialise further in biblical studies, or in historical and contemporary theology, or in the study of another major world religion; while certain core papers give you a full grounding in the key principles and disciplines of theological study. Our library facilities are excellent. Besides the Bodleian and the library at Pusey House, most college libraries have a theology section. Our faculty library provides access to a vast range of networked resources in Humanities including electronic journals, library catalogues, language-learning programmes and digitised texts for different parts of the course.

A typical weekly timetable

The University arranges lectures (up to six weekly). Languages are for the most part taught in classes which may meet three times a week or more. A large part of the week is spent in private study in preparation for tutorials organised, and usually given by, college tutors once a week.

What are tutors looking for?

For information about the selection criteria please see:

Tutors are primarily interested in your previous academic achievements as demonstrated, for example, by your GCSE results or other examination results (where these are more appropriate to your situation), and in the quality of your submitted written work, but may also take the other information on your UCAS application into account (such as your personal statement and reference). Personal statements should focus on your academic reasons for wishing to pursue the course applied for, and references should comment primarily on your academic performance.

During the interview, tutors will be looking for your ability to think clearly, form sound arguments and to listen and respond to counterarguments; your openness to learning; evidence of your enthusiasm and motivation for the course, and your oral communication skills.

Related courses

Students interested in this course might also like to consider Philosophy and Theology, or Theology and Oriental Studies.



While some Theology and Religion graduates go on to further study and research to become professional theologians, others will move into different areas. Recent graduates have gone on to careers as diverse as law, the Civil Service, social work, education, the media, publishing, banking, management consultancy, accountancy, personnel management, teaching, the police force and, in some instances, the churches. The Theology and Religion Faculty’s website ( has further information about careers for theologians.

Recent graduates include an editor for a publishing company and a head of Divinity at an independent school. Gillian, who graduated in 2009, is now a clerk in holy orders for the Church of England. She says: ‘Whether I am preaching, debating, teaching or ministering to the dying, a deep and rounded grounding in Theology is indispensable when it comes to the diverse nature of my job.’

Rob, who graduated in 2002, now works as a Manager in Accenture within their Management Consulting division: People are always surprised when I tell them what my degree was! However, it really helped shape my analytical skills through the tutorial system. The breadth of subject matter in Theology prepared me for the different subjects I encounter each day as a management consultant.

For more information about careers after Oxford, please see p 122 [Transcriber's Note: page number of the printed edition. End of note].

Terms 1 and 2


Three or four papers are taken:

  • The Christian doctrine of creation

  • The study of religions

  • The study of Old Testament set texts

  • The study of New Testament set texts

  • The history of the early church

  • Introduction to philosophy

  • New Testament Greek

  • Biblical Hebrew

  • Classical Arabic

  • Pali

  • Sanskrit


First University examinations: One written paper in three or four subjects

Terms 3–9


Four compulsory core subjects

  • History, literature and theology of the Old Testament (Hebrew as optional)

  • History, literature and theology of the New Testament (Greek as optional)

  • Development of doctrine in the early church

  • God, Christ and salvation

Four further options

You may choose between three tracks, from which you take four papers in all:

  • Track One: at least two papers from a range which offers a more extensive study of the Old and New Testaments, with some use of biblical languages

  • Track Two: two or three papers on the development of Christian doctrine and history from the early medieval period to modern times, Philosophy of religion and Christian moral reasoning

  • Track Three: one paper on the nature of religious belief and two papers specialising in one of four major world religions – Judaism, Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism

Whichever track you choose, you may add one or two language papers or an extended essay on a topic from the same or other tracks or from a wider range of other options


Final University examinations: Eight written papers (four core papers and four options), plus an optional extended essay and optional papers in Greek and Hebrew

Student statement

There’s a whole range of people with different faiths, beliefs, world-views. That’s part of what makes it so exciting in tutorial – you don’t want to just hear people saying the same as you! Chloe

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