BA Philosophy and Theology

Philosophy and Theology brings together some of the most important approaches to understanding and assessing the intellectual claims of religion.

The study of Philosophy develops analytical rigour and the ability to criticise and reason logically. It allows you to apply these skills to many contemporary and historical schools of thought and individual thinkers, and to questions ranging from how we acquire knowledge and form moral judgements to central questions in the philosophy of religion, including the existence and nature of God and the relevance of religion to human life.

The study of Theology provides an understanding of the intellectual underpinning of religious traditions, and of the social and cultural contexts for religious belief and practice. It brings together a wide range of skills and disciplines, historical, textual, linguistic, sociological, literary-critical and philosophical.

The degree is constructed in the belief that the parallel study of these related disciplines leads to a deeper understanding of each.

You can find more helpful information on Oxford University's Undergraduate Admissions pages.

The following is an overview of the course structure. More detailed information on the first year course can found in the current Course Handbook.

Terms 1-3

Terms 4-9


Four papers are taken:

  • The Figure of Jesus through the Centuries
  • Introduction to Philosophy I: General Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy II: Moral Philosophy and Logic

and one of the following:

  • Introduction to the Study of the Bible
  • Religion and Religions
  • New Testament Greek
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Qur’anic Arabic
  • Vulgate Latin
  • Pali
  • Sanskrit



Students take 8 papers, either five in Philosophy and three in Theology, or five in Theology and three in Philosophy, or four in each. A thesis may replace one of the eight papers.

  • All students study the Philosophy paper Philosophy of Religion
  • Remaining papers are chosen from a wide range of options.



First University examinations: One written paper in each of four subjects.


Final University examinations: Eight papers assessed either by written examination or by submitted coursework, depending upon the option, or seven papers plus a thesis.

Undergraduate Open Days

We participate in the annual Oxford University Open Days in late June or early July, and in September.  We publish information about our Open Day programme on our website about a month in advance.

Most colleges and Halls that offer degrees in the Faculty of Theology and Religion also participate in the main University Open Days. When visiting Oxford, please take the time to look around at least one college, in addition to attending the Faculty’s own events. Some colleges hold their own College Open Days at other times of year. These colleges offer our courses.

UNIQ Summer Schools

The Faculty is a committed partner of the UNIQ programme of free summer schools at the University of Oxford. If you are currently in Year 12, at a UK State-maintained school, and want to experience what it’s like studying in the Faculty of Theology and Religion, then you should consider applying for a UNIQ course next summer.

Your application

Your application will be assessed against clear criteria. Tutors are primarily interested in previous academic achievements as demonstrated, for example, by GCSE or other examination results, and in the quality of submitted written work, but will also take other information on your UCAS application into account (such as your personal statement and reference). 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.

In interviews tutors will look for interest in the proposed fields of study, 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.  Please check the University website for more information on interviews, and how best to prepare.


Stage 1: UCAS forms due by 15th October

Stage 2: You will need to submit one piece of written work. Criteria vary, so check requirements on an annual basis

Stage 3: Test. You must take the Philosophy Test at your own school or college before you come you are interviewed.

Stage 4: Interviews. The majority of applicants are interviewed. 

Good luck with your application!

List of site pages