Why Study Theology at Christ's?

Our College has an interesting history of theological study and engagement.

John Milton, who was a student here in the seventeenth century, later wrote Paradise Lost, which is not only one of the greatest pieces of English literature but also an epic exploration of the big questions about God and humanity. One Christ’s Fellow, William Paley, created an influential version of the 'teleological' argument for God's existence. Charles Darwin – one of our most famous alumni – wrestled with the implications that his theory of natural selection had for belief in God. And more recently a Master of Christ's, Charles Raven, had a major impact in the debate over science and religion and rose to be Regius Professor of Divinity.

Christ's theologians have included Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury), Professor Christopher Rowland (Fellow of Queen's, Oxford), Dr John Day (Professor of Old Testament Studies, Oxford), and The Rev’d Robin Griffith-Jones (Master of the Temple, London). We offer you a chance to follow in those renowned footsteps and become part of a rich theological tradition.
 

Course content and structure

The Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion course (or ‘tripos’) is a three-year degree which allows you to specialise gradually, tailoring your academic pathway as your interests develop. You can choose from a range of religious traditions and explore them from a historical, philosophical, theological, sociological or comparative perspective.

Please visit the University website for full details of the Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion course content and structure.
 

Teaching

Female student and Theology Supervision title
  Film: Supervision with Rev'd Dr Robert Evans

Christ’s central location offers quick access to the University Library and the Faculty of Divinity where you'll find an extensive theological library, a welcoming community of undergraduates, graduates and lecturers – and free coffee.

As well as lectures organised by the University, you have weekly ‘supervisions’ here at College. These small-group tutorial sessions give you the advantage of personally-tailored tuition and are arranged by your Director of Studies, the Rev'd Dr Robert Evans. He is also Chaplain of the College. His own research is in early medieval history.
 

What do our students think?

Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

Read about Clara and Melissa who are both studying Theological and Religious Studies here at Christ’s.

If you’d like to hear from other Christ's students, please watch the Christ's student Q&A film, and visit our Student Profiles page.
 

How to apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

News
  • On interviews: students who apply in October 2022 and are selected for interview will be interviewed online - you will not need to travel to Cambridge. For more detail see the interviews section below.
  • The written assessment for Philosophy is College registered. That means that you do not need to register for it. If you are invited for online interviews, we will organise it for you automatically. See the written assessment section below.


Subjects: what do you need?

We welcome students from all kinds of academic background. An A-level, IB Higher or equivalent in Religious Studies is desirable but not compulsory. Most (but not all) of our applicants take essay subjects for A-level, IB Higher or equivalent. And while we welcome linguistic ability to at least GCSE level, again this isn’t compulsory.

Written work

After we receive your application, we ask you to send us two essays you feel accurately reflect your abilities and interests. These should be work written during the normal course of your studies and already marked by a teacher. We recommend you keep copies for your own reference, as we may discuss them at interview.

We publish full guidelines on written work in the Current Applicants section on 20 September each year.

Interviews

If we invite you for interviews, these usually take place in early December. Those invited for Cambridge interviews are normally interviewed for 35-50 minutes in total. At Christ’s, we usually split the time into two interviews with academics in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion. We may give you a short text to read before one of them, and then discuss during the subsequent interview.

During the interviews we may ask about your written work, discuss points from your UCAS personal statement and ask general questions related to theology and religious studies.

For an idea of what to expect, please read the information and watch the short films at Cambridge admissions interviews.

Written Assessment (College registered)

If we call you for interview, we ask you to take a written assessment at the end of November. Your assessment will not be on the same day as your interviews. We arrange this automatically so you don’t need to register. You do the same assessment regardless of which college you apply to.

The written assessment looks at your comprehension and writing skills to show us your ability and potential to succeed on this course. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate how you’ve developed academically since your GCSEs, but you don’t need to do any special preparation. You can read more about the assessment, including sample papers and subject content, on the University Admissions website (available from March each year).

You will be able to complete the assessment remotely and upload your work - you will not need to travel for it. Details of how the assessment will work will be given to students selected for interview by email.

Offers

At Christ's we don’t have fixed quotas for places, so the number of students we admit in any year depends on the strengths of the applicants. In Theology we admit around two students each year. (A total of 39 students take this course across all 29 undergraduate Cambridge colleges.)

Our typical conditional offer is:

  • A*AA at A-level
  • 42 points overall in the International Baccalaureate with 7,7,6 in relevant Higher Level subject

If you're taking another qualification, we expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range i.e.

  • Option Internationale du Baccalauréat: at least 17/20 overall, with 17 or 18 in relevant subjects
  • European Baccalaureate: at least 85% overall, with 9/10 in relevant subjects

Read about offer levels in other exam systems and international entrance requirements.

If you will have finished school when you apply, read about post-qualification applications
 

Helpful resources

Theology Faculty Open Day online Including course presentation, application info, taster lectures, careers info and Q&A.
Introductory reading suggestions Reading suggestions to give you a taste of the different areas you can study in the degree.
Cambridge in your Classroom Mini lectures.
50 Religious Treasures of Cambridge A fascinating introduction to artefacts and images from museums, libraries and colleges of the University of Cambridge
An Introduction to New Testament Greek Ten units aimed at helping you get off to a flying start with New Testament Greek.
Gresham College lectures on Religion Free online lectures
Ecclesiastical History Society Blogs on Church History
Jubilee Centre Articles and talks on Christianity and public policy (the Jubilee Centre is right next to Christ's, by the post office)
HE+ Theology Website for secondary school students who would like to explore Theology
The RE Podcast 20 minute podcast useful for GCSE Religious Education. Topic-based episodes and interviews on a range of world religions.
CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you would be working



Come to an open day / webinar

Our open days and events page advertises regular online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge. Note in particular that we run an annual Taster Day for students at state schools who are interested in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion or English Literature - see info and register your interest. If you can, sign up for a College Open Day (our October, February and September events normally include a meeting with a subject specialist). Between February and August we run regular webinars:

  • Subject Matters: The importance of post-16 subject choices (this one is also run Sept - Nov)
  • Cambridge for Beginners
  • Christ's College: A look at the Grounds and Facilities
  • Personal Statements and preparing for an application

Further subject-specific opportunities you might wish to consider include Subject Masterclasses organised by Cambridge Admissions Office, and subject-specific talks in the July Cambridge Open Days. If you are a UK student from a background where there is little tradition of entry to Higher Education, you can apply to attend a Sutton Trust Summer School in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion, or to shadow a current undergraduate studying Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion via the Cambridge SU Shadowing Scheme (do be aware that there's a high proportion of applicants to places for both of these last two opportunities so please don't be discouraged if you don't get a place).

If you can, come along to one of the Theology events at the Faculty of Divinity.
 

Want more information?

For more detail of what the course involves, look at Undergraduate Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion admissions on the University website, and read the Faculty of Divinity information for prospective students too.

If you have any other queries, please send them to admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk and we’ll help however we can.

 

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