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What can I study?

Explore Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion

Our undergraduate degree is structured to allow you the choice to sample all aspects of the Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion programme. We have particular strengths in religion in late antiquity, the philosophy of religion, Biblical studies, interdisciplinary religious studies, Indian religions, scriptural languages, Islamic Studies and Jewish thought.

The course allows you the freedom to choose from a range of religious traditions and allows you to pursue multiple interests from an historical, philosophical, theological, sociological or comparative perspective. You can combine an interest in Religion with History, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, Literature, Politics, or Science. 

Some students find it helpful to follow a thematic pathway, focusing on one area of special interest as they navigate through the many courses on offer (see below). The decision will be yours and you are not bound to follow any particular path at any stage of the degree. 


The Course

Please note that modules offered are subject to change. The course described below is that offered for entry in October 2020.

Year One (Part I)

In year one you study five papers introducing you to our core subjects: theology, religion and the philosophy of religion.

1) One scriptural language: Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Sanskrit or Qur'anic Arabic

Cambridge is famous for offering a scriptural language, studied from scratch, as a compulsory element of the first year course. You can choose from Hebrew, New Testament Greek, Sanskrit or Qur'anic Arabic. This gives you a unique insights into the texts and will help you understand the impact of translation on understanding scripture. Look at our Learning a Language page to find out more about what this involves.

2) One paper on the Old Testament or New Testament

You'll also choose a Biblical paper. Textual analysis is a core part of your education in all fields of religion. By taking the Old or New Testament paper you will be well prepared for undertaking further study in any of the major world religions:

  • David: Israel's Greatest Hero?
  • Jesus and the Origins of the Gospel. 

3) From here on, it's your choice...

Choose three papers from a choice of six:

  • Christianity and the transformation of culture: English Christianity before and after the Reformation
  • The Question of God
  • Understanding contemporary religion: the sociology of religion
  • World religions in comparative perspective
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Ethics
  • David: Israel's Greatest Hero? (if not taken above)
  • Jesus and the Origins of the Gospel (if not taken above)
Read full descriptions of the papers available in the current academic year to find out more. These are provided to give you a sense of what we offer. It is not an undertaking that they will be taught in future academic years.

Year Two (Part IIA)

This year builds on the knowledge and skills acquired in your first year. You take four papers from a choice covering a wide range so that you can tailor the course to your interests.   

You could also take, as an additional paper, an Elementary Scriptural language from the first year options.

  1. Paper B1a - Intermediate Hebrew
  2. Paper B1b - Intermediate New Testament Greek
  3. Paper B1c - Intermediate Sanskrit
  4. Paper B2 - Israel in Exile: Literature, History and Theology
  5. Paper B3 - The Shaping of Jewish Identity (332 BCE – 70 CE)
  6. Paper B4 - The Letters of Paul
  7. Paper B5 - The Johannine Tradition
  8. Paper B6 - Christianity in Late Antiquity (to circa 600)
  9. Paper B7 - Themes in World Christianities: Context, Theology and Power
  10. Paper B8 - Great Christian Theologians
  11. Paper B10 - Philosophy of religion: God, freedom and the soul 
  12. Paper B11 - Ethics and faith
  13. Paper B13 - Theology and Literature
  14. Paper B14 - Life, thought and worship of modern Judaism
  15. Paper B15 - Introduction to Islam
  16. Paper B16 - Life and thought of religious Hinduism and of Buddhism
  17. Paper B17 - Philosophy: Meaning (This paper is taught alongside philosophy students)

Read descriptions of the papers available this year to find out more 

These paper listings reflect what is currently available, and are provided to give you a sense of what we offer. It is not an  undertaking that these papers will be taught in future academic years.


Year Three (Part IIB)

In third year it is up to you to choose four papers from a wide choice, depending on your own specialist interests. You can also write a guided research paper - a dissertation - on a topic of your choice. There is a particular opportunity to study topics that bear closely upon the cutting edge current research of our lecturers.

Our courses change annually to reflect current trends and research findings. Current courses include:

'Disputed questions in the Christian tradition'
'Self and Salvation in Indian and Western thought'
'God, metaphysics and the modern challenge'
'Philosophy in the Long Middle Ages' (This paper is taught alongside philosophy students)
'Theology and the Natural Sciences'
'The Holy Spirit and Christian Experience'

Read detailed descriptions of the papers available this year to find out more These are provided to give you a sense of what we currently offer. It is not an undertaking that these papers will be taught in future academic years.


Pathways through TRPR

Some students prefer to follow a specific pathway that matches their interests for one or more years. You do not have to formally opt for one of these and if you specialise in one year, you are not bound to do so in subsequent years. However, some students find that it helps guide their choices, given the range of option on offer.

Possible tracks include:

  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies 
  • Religious Traditions of India 
  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Theology
  • Christian History
  • Philosophy of Religion

Please note that our courses change regularly.