Christian and Religious Ethics

The field of Christian and Religious Ethics is the place where study focuses on the way in which religious beliefs shape views of human flourishing and the kinds of conduct that promote and detract from it. Here, the practical significance of religion comes into clear focus—whether in relation to sex, medicine, politics, society, economics, or the environment. Oxford is one of the English-speaking world’s leading centres for the study of religious ethics, especially the Christian tradition. In addition to the Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, the field is staffed by two associate professors (one in Christian Ethics, the other in Religious Ethics), and two post-doctoral fellows. Together these run a second-year undergraduate course in Christian Ethics and a third-year course in Religious Ethics, which considers ethical questions arising in relation to some of the world's major non-Christian religious and intellectual traditions. They also supervise an intellectual community of up to twenty postgraduate students, who are enrolled either in one of the two master’s courses in Christian Ethics or in the doctoral programme. Discussion across disciplines and the engagement of academic study with public affairs is enhanced by the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life, by the Healthcare Values Partnership, and by association with the Oxford Character Project.

Research Centres & Projects

The MacDonald Centre for Ethics and Public Life

The McDonald Centre fosters conversation both between Christian theology and other disciplines, and between academia and those who shape public deliberation and policy. Based at the Faculty of Theology & Religion in the University of Oxford, the Centre is generously supported by the McDonald Agape Foundation.

The Oxford Character Project

The Oxford Character Project is an interdisciplinary initiative with a team of research fellows from the humanities and social sciences focusing on character and leadership in higher education and commercial organisations. The project has a variety of collaborative partners and is generously funded by a research grant from the John Templeton Foundation. 

The Healthcare Values Partnership

The Healthcare Values Partnership is led by Professor Joshua Hordern who collaborates with a range of colleagues in Oxford and elsewhere. Exploring the values which shape healthcare today, the ethos of the partnership is to develop working relationships between patients, researchers, healthcare practitioners, managers and policy makers. The partnership benefits from the support of the British Academy, the Sir Halley Stewart Trust, the Wellcome Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Higher Education Innovation Fund.


Postgraduate students and faculty in Christian Ethics form a small, tight-knit group where scholarship is interwoven with conversation and friendship. Each year begins with a walk through the historic Oxford countryside. During term-time, research seminars bring all members of the intellectual community together fortnightly. In addition, the annual Hensley Henson lectures and events at the MacDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, & Public Life are open to anyone interested in the field. Every two or three years, students are invited to take part in a four-day ‘reading party’, featuring group study, afternoon excursions, seminars, and trips to the pub!