Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

In a world where religious beliefs are a driving force behind social and political events, the study of theology and religion becomes ever more important. At Cambridge you can explore this diverse subject under the guidance of world-class theologians and scholars. 

Why Study Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion 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 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

Christ’s central location offers quick access to University Library and the Faculty of Divinity where you 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?

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 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.

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 in Cambridge, these usually take place in early December. We may give you a short text to read before one of them, and then discuss during the 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 on Cambridge admissions interviews. We also hold interviews in various locations overseas for international students.

Admissions Assessment

If we call you for interview in Cambridge, we ask you to take a written Admissions Assessment, usually on the same day. We arrange this automatically so you don’t need to register. You do the same assessment regardless of which college you apply to..

The Admissions 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.

Read more about the assessment, including sample papers and subject content, on the University Admissions website (available from March each year).

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 subjects
  • H1/H1/H1/H2/H2/H2 for Higher Level subjects in the Irish Leaving Certificate
  • AAA in Scottish Advanced Highers
  • 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

Introductory reading suggestions Reading suggestions to give you a taste of the different areas you can study in the degree.
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.
HE+ Religious Studies Enrichment resources to help you to explore the subject beyond your school curriculum
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)
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

If you can, visit us on a College Open Day to find out more about the College in person – or 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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