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Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion

  • Number of students per year: up to three
  • Typical offer: A*AA or equivalent (in any subjects)
  • Essential subjects: none
  • Useful subjects: Religious Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Ethics, Languages, Classics

Jesus College is strongly represented in the Faculty of Divinity with three Fellows working in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion.

The Rev'd Paul Dominiak supervises Christian theology, philosophy of religion, and ethics. Professor Janet Martin Soskice is Head of the Faculty and supervises modern theology, philosophy of religion, and ethics. The Rev'd Dr Tim Jenkins supervises anthropology of religion, study of religion, and philosophy of religion.

What you'll study

Our students have a broad range of interests within Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion, from the study of ancient languages through to the study of world religions in the modern context.

The course allows you to sample the specialisms covered by a world class staff or to focus on particular elements of their teaching such as:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religious traditions of India
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • Ethics
  • History of Christianity
  • Biblical Studies.

Students choose to study Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion for diverse reasons, such as looking for academic rigour to inform their own faith, or to inform their studies on religion as a cultural phenomenon from a secular viewpoint.

The destinations of our graduates are as wide ranging as the degree, and include law, teaching, banking, social work, politics, health, religion, administration, and journalism, while a significant proportion go on to further study.

Studying Theology at Jesus

We have first rate study facilities, such as the Quincentenary Library, and the College is close to a number of other excellent theological libraries in the Faculty of Divinity and in the Cambridge Theological Federation.

We have a good number of undergraduate and graduate students of Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion, and regularly have subject dinners and discussion groups to encourage a sense of community.

We also boast the oldest collegiate chapel in Cambridge, as well as one of the finest College choirs. Both of these can be enjoyed at weekly Choral Evensongs or at concerts, and which often host interesting theological, philosophical, and musical figures from a variety of traditions.

Theology at Cambridge

The Faculty community has around 140 undergraduates and over 100 graduate students from a great variety of backgrounds and nationalities. 

"We know from our students that Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge is a diverse, engaging and enlightening degree programme. Whether your interest is in philosophy, ethics and metaphysics, anthropology, history, literature or the study of Bible and Qur'an (and much else besides) you will find something here just for you."  

Professor Janet Soskice, Head of the Faculty of Divinity and Fellow at Jesus

The wider University is a fantastic place to explore your interest in the subject. In addition to relevant debates and talks that take place across Cambridge almost every night, you may also consider joining societies that are dedicated to exploring religions and the philosophy of religion such as the:

  • Buddhist Society
  • Hindu Cultural Society
  • Intercollegiate Christian Union
  • Islamic Society
  • Jewish Society
  • or the Faculty of Philosophy’s student society, the Moral Sciences Club.

Many students of Jesus College studying Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion are members of one or more of these societies.

Find out more on the University webpage.

Requirements

Our conditional offers are usually A* and two A grades at A-Level or 40-41 points with 776 at Higher Level International Baccalaureate. You don't need to take a Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP).

Most students have taken an A-Level in Religious Studies, though this isn't essential as many able and interested students come to this topic by other routes. English, History, Geography, Philosophy, Languages, and also Science and Maths A-Levels are common choices.

We want people who like thinking and discussing evidence, both with their tutors and with their fellow students.

Written assessment

All applicants for Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion are required to take a written assessment at interview, if interviewed. You can find out more about the assessment on the University undergraduate Theology pages.

Your performance in the assessment won't be considered in isolation, but will be taken into account alongside the other elements of your application.

Interviews

You'll have three interviews, two at Jesus and one at another College which we will arrange for you.

If Jesus College have more able applicants in a particular year than we can offer places to, the College of your second interview may offer you a place, but other Colleges will also have the opportunity to consider your application.

One of the two interviews at Jesus will last around 30 minutes, and will be with the Director of Studies in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion. You'll be given a short text when you arrive for the interview, and will be asked to prepare to talk about it.

There's usually a choice of two or three texts drawn from scriptural, philosophical, and theological writings. Some guiding questions are offered with the reading to help you prepare for the discussion. This is to see whether you can pick up new information from a written text and use it to discuss relevant topics in the interview.

The second interview at Jesus will last around 20 minutes, and will be with an academic from a related discipline.

We know that you may be nervous, and we take account of this best we can. We're looking for thoughtful, imaginative, and willing thinkers who will relish the Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion degree course and their time at Jesus College.

Written work

You'll be asked to submit two short classwork essays of up to 2,000 words each which we may discuss with you at interview. An extract of longer coursework can be submitted instead of an essay. Neither piece has to be in the subject of Religious Studies.

Deferred and post A-Level entry

We're happy to consider applications for either immediate or deferred entry in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion. You can apply before or after you have taken your A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.

Find out how to apply to study at Jesus.

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