Theology and Religion
|Duration||3 years (BA)|
|Entrance requirements||AAA||Subject requirements||A subject involving essay writing|
|Admissions test(s)||None||Written work||One piece|
+44 (0) 1865 270790
Subject requirements: Essential Recommended Helpful – may be useful on course
Unistats information for this course can be found at the bottom of the page
Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.
About the course
Theology is an ancient intellectual discipline, with continuing and momentous social significance around the world today.
Students gain an understanding of the intellectual underpinning of religious traditions, and of the social and cultural contexts for religious belief and practice.
In order to engage fully with the questions raised by the critical study of Theology and Religion, you will have to become something of a historian and a philosopher, a textual and literary critic, and a linguist. The range of disciplines that may be encountered on the course makes study vibrant and challenging and means that our graduates are versatile and equipped with a variety of skills.
Oxford has been at the very heart of religious debate, reform and turmoil in the British Isles for eight centuries and so the faculty here wears a mantle of history not available in many other universities. At the same time Theology and Religion at Oxford is embracing its 21st-century context: students have the opportunity to study five major world religions and their primary languages. They can also explore the relationship between religion and science, the philosophy of religion and the place of religious ethics in public life.
On completion of this course you will have gained knowledge and understanding of several religious traditions. You will have thought about what a religion is and how to approach learning about it. You will have studied the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the development of Christian doctrine in its historical context, and the thought of modern theologians. In doing so you will be required to study a wide variety of texts, which will develop your critical, analytical and comparative skills.
You will also acquire competence in at least one of six languages and should find that being able to read sacred texts in their original language is a deeply satisfying experience.
Members of the Faculty of Theology and Religion include more than 100 academics. These range from experts in the ancient languages and literature of the world’s religions to church historians and systematic theologians. The faculty’s reputation and excellent library facilities attract scholars from all over the world.
Astrophoria Foundation Year
If you’re interested in studying Theology and Religion but your personal or educational circumstances have meant you are unlikely to achieve the grades typically required for Oxford courses, then choosing to apply for a Foundation Year might be right for you.
Visit our Foundation Year course pages for more details.
'The Oxford tutorial system is thoroughly enjoyable and engaging because it challenges you to defend and develop your views on a whole range of topics and authors. Being able to talk to some of the leading academics in the world really encourages you to reflect on your own thinking and writing. Theology incorporates such a broad range of skills that are transferable to many different situations, from literary-critical to historical-critical to evaluative skills. The subject gives you great potential for academic and personal development.'
'The Theology course at Oxford is very diverse; it gives you an opportunity to explore interests from Pauline literature to modern Judaism in society. The Reformation papers that I opted to study allowed me to engage with the subject as if I was an historian or literature student, as well as tackling major theological issues. Theology students here are required to study a biblical language, classical Arabic, Pali or Sanskrit in their first year. Coming to university with little more than a GCSE in German, I was apprehensive about this at first! However, I was guided through the study of New Testament Greek with classes and one-to-one sessions, and although challenging, the benefits of studying texts in their original languages have proved invaluable.'
Discover Uni provides applicants with Unistats statistics about undergraduate life at Oxford.
Please select 'see course data' on the following course option to view the full Unistats data for Theology and Religion.
Please note that there may be no data available if the number of course participants is very small.
Theology and Religion
A typical week
Your weekly timetable will be divided between one or two tutorials, which may take place at your college or at the college of a specialist tutor. A large part of your week will be spent in independent study to prepare for tutorials. In addition you will attend up to six lectures each week. In the first year this will include three hours of language instruction each week. Some course options in the second and third year are also taught in small classes instead of, or in addition to, tutorials.
Tutorials usually involve two students and a tutor. Class sizes may vary depending on the options you choose, but would normally have no more than around 10 students.
Most tutorials, classes, and lectures are delivered by academics who are specialists in their subject. Many are world-leading experts with years of experience in teaching and research. Some teaching may also be delivered by advanced postgraduate students.
To find out more about how our teaching year is structured, visit our Academic Year page.
Four papers are taken:
First University examinations: four papers each assessed by a written examination
Choice of seven papers across four subject areas, from which students select freely:
All students must also prepare a 12,000-word thesis on a topic of their choice
Final University examinations: seven papers (assessed either by written examination or by submitted coursework, depending upon the option), plus a compulsory thesis
The options listed in this section are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Theology and Religion website.
The content and format of this course may change in some circumstances. Read further information about potential course changes.
International Baccalaureate (IB):
|38 (including core points) with 666 at HL|
Any other equivalent qualification:
|View information on other UK qualifications, and international qualifications.|
Wherever possible, your grades are considered in the context in which they have been achieved.
Read further information on how we use contextual data.
|A subject involving essay writing to A-level, Advanced Higher, Higher Level in the IB or another equivalent can be helpful to students in completing this course, although this is not required for admission.|
If a practical component forms part of any of your science A‐levels used to meet your offer, we expect you to pass it.
If English is not your first language you may also need to meet our English language requirements.
If your personal or educational circumstances have meant you are unlikely to achieve the grades listed above for undergraduate study, but you still have a strong interest in the subject, then applying for Theology and Religion with a Foundation Year might be right for you.
Visit the Foundation Year course pages for more details of academic requirements and eligibility.
All candidates must follow the application procedure as shown on our Applying to Oxford pages.
The following information gives specific details for students applying for this course.
You do not need to take a written test as part of an application for this course.
One piece written in English, which you have composed as part of a current or recent course of study, not exceeding 2,000 words in length (and shorter is fine). It should demonstrate your ability to:
Your work may be on any subject and not necessarily Theology or Religion. There is no restriction as to the kind of work you may submit, providing it is your own work. You might choose to submit, for example, a mock A Level essay completed under examination conditions or a homework essay from your IB course. You should submit the work that you think best demonstrates the qualities outlined above.
It is not usually necessary to write something especially for your application and if you have composed a suitable piece of work as part of a recent or ongoing course of study, you should submit it. However, if you do not have any recent, suitable written work available, tutors are pleased to accept a piece that has been written for submission.
Read the further guidance available in the answers to FAQs on the Faculty’s website.
|10 November 2023|
Read our further guidance on the submission of written work for more information, and to download a cover sheet.
If you have any questions, please contact the college handling your application, or email the Faculty of Theology and Religion at email@example.com.
What are tutors looking for?
Tutors consider your whole application very carefully. They look for evidence of a consistently excellent academic record, for example in GCSE or other examination results.
Your submitted piece of work should demonstrate your ability to:
- think clearly and to reason coherently
- structure work and arguments in a logical way
- write clearly (and grammatically), with clear expression of thought
- provide evidence of independence of thought.
Your UCAS personal statement should focus on your academic reasons for wishing to study Theology and Religion. References should comment primarily on academic performance.
In interviews, tutors will look 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.
Visit the Theology and Religion website for more detail on the selection criteria for this course.
While some Theology and Religion graduates go on to further academic study, others have pursued a wide variety of careers, including:
- government and the public sector
- charitable organisations
- religious ministry.
Visit the Theology and Religion Faculty website for more information about careers.
Rob says of his work as a manager in Accenture:
‘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.’
Chris Bryant MP says:
‘The intellectual discipline of theology, its focus on the big philosophical and existential issues of humanity and its insight into people from different cultures, perspectives, religions and political beliefs has been immensely useful throughout my working life.’
We don't want anyone who has the academic ability to get a place to study here to be held back by their financial circumstances. To meet that aim, Oxford offers one of the most generous financial support packages available for UK students and this may be supplemented by support from your college.
Note: These annual fees are for full-time students who begin this undergraduate course here in 2023. Course fee information for courses starting in 2024 will be updated in September.
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
For more information please refer to our course fees page. Fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.
Living costs at Oxford might be less than you’d expect, as our world-class resources and college provision can help keep costs down.
Living costs for the academic year starting in 2023 are estimated to be between £1,290 and £1,840 for each month you are in Oxford. Our academic year is made up of three eight-week terms, so you would not usually need to be in Oxford for much more than six months of the year but may wish to budget over a nine-month period to ensure you also have sufficient funds during the holidays to meet essential costs. For further details please visit our living costs webpage.
A tuition fee loan is available from the UK government to cover course fees in full for Home (UK, Irish nationals and other eligible students with UK citizens' rights - see below*) students undertaking their first undergraduate degree**, so you don’t need to pay your course fees up front.
In 2023 Oxford is offering one of the most generous bursary packages of any UK university to Home students with a family income of around £42,875 or less, with additional opportunities available to UK students from households with incomes of £27,500 or less. The UK government also provides living costs support to Home students from the UK and those with settled status who meet the residence requirements.
*For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status.
Islands students are entitled to different support to that of students from the rest of the UK.
Please refer the links below for information on the support to you available from your funding agency:
Please refer to the "Other Scholarships" section of our Oxford Bursaries and Scholarships page.
**If you have studied at undergraduate level before and completed your course, you will be classed as an Equivalent or Lower Qualification student (ELQ) and won’t be eligible to receive government or Oxford funding
Additional Fees and Charges Information for Theology and Religion
There are no compulsory costs for this course beyond the fees shown above and your living costs.
Unistats course data from Discover Uni provides applicants with statistics about a particular undergraduate course at Oxford. For a more holistic insight into what studying your chosen course here is likely to be like, we would encourage you to view the information below as well as to explore our website more widely.
The Oxford tutorial
College tutorials are central to teaching at Oxford. Typically, they take place in your college and are led by your academic tutor(s) who teach as well as do their own research. Students will also receive teaching in a variety of other ways, depending on the course. This will include lectures and classes, and may include laboratory work and fieldwork. However, tutorials offer a level of personalised attention from academic experts unavailable at most universities.
During tutorials (normally lasting an hour), college subject tutors will give you and one or two tutorial partners feedback on prepared work and cover a topic in depth. The other student(s) in your tutorials will be doing the same course as you. Such regular and rigorous academic discussion develops and facilitates learning in a way that isn’t possible through lectures alone. Tutorials also allow for close progress monitoring so tutors can quickly provide additional support if necessary.
Read more about tutorials and an Oxford education
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- At Oxford, everyone is a member of a college as well as their subject department(s) and the University. Students therefore have both the benefits of belonging to a large, renowned institution and to a small and friendly academic community. Each college or hall is made up of academic and support staff, and students. Colleges provide a safe, supportive environment leaving you free to focus on your studies, enjoy time with friends and make the most of the huge variety of opportunities.
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- Porters’ lodge (a staffed entrance and reception)
- Dining hall
- Lending library (often open 24/7 in term time)
- Student accommodation
- Tutors’ teaching rooms
- Chapel and/or music rooms
- Green spaces
- Common room (known as the JCR).
- All first-year students are offered college accommodation either on the main site of their college or in a nearby college annexe. This means that your neighbours will also be ‘freshers’ and new to life at Oxford. This accommodation is guaranteed, so you don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to live after accepting a place here, all of this is organised for you before you arrive.
- All colleges offer at least one further year of accommodation and some offer it for the entire duration of your degree. You may choose to take up the option to live in your college for the whole of your time at Oxford, or you might decide to arrange your own accommodation after your first year – perhaps because you want to live with friends from other colleges.
- While college academic tutors primarily support your academic development, you can also ask their advice on other things. Lots of other college staff including welfare officers help students settle in and are available to offer guidance on practical or health matters. Current students also actively support students in earlier years, sometimes as part of a college ‘family’ or as peer supporters trained by the University’s Counselling Service.