Theology, Religion & Philosophy of Religion

Theology is one of smaller subjects at Cambridge, although with around 40 undergraduates per year it's not as tiny as some others! There's a nice balance of getting to know everyone in your cohort, whilst not being so small that you're always talking to the same people in lectures etc. The Divinity faculty (ie the faculty which provides the Theology course) building is located on Sidgwick site, alongside many of the other humanities subjects. It's a great course if you like variety, as your options are mostly completely open (though you have to do a scriptural language and a biblical paper in first year), which means that you can explore any of the interesting modules on offer without being subject to certain requirements about what you take.

- Lucy, 2nd year student at Clare College

Introducing your Course Guide

Lucy Minton

My name is Lucy, and I'm a second year theology student at Clare with a particular interest in Biblical studies.

Key Facts

Average offer: A*AA

3 years

Available at all colleges except Churchill

No prerequisite subjects

No admissions test, specific colleges may run written tests at interview

No information on inclusive prayer space in department :(


Why did you want to study Theology?


I had really enjoyed my 3 A-levels - English Lit, RE, and History. I felt that Theology would be able to combine all 3 of those. There are several historical papers on offer, as well as scriptural based papers which reflect my interest in both History and English. Theology also obviously has a lot in common with RE A-Level - so, essentially, it was because I was indecisive about what I wanted to study.

How is the Theology course structured?


The course has a fairly simple structure - in the first year, you take 5 modules and in the second and third you take 4 (in final year, this may include a dissertation). Your choices are completely free in the latter two years, though in first year you must take a scriptural language (most people take New Testament Greek) and a Biblical paper (either Old or New Testament). You can choose these papers however you like - some prefer to follow one focus, for example taking as many papers on modern religions as possible, whilst others prefer to simply choose papers from many different disciplines - the choice is yours!

What is the faculty building like?


The Faculty building is, in my opinion, quite nice - although I know others think it's quite ugly. The library in particular is great, as it's on the third floor and so has some great views. The one criticism I have of the building is that the main lecture room is in the basement, without any windows, but we don't have as many lectures as some STEM based degrees and so it's not much of an issue.

What is the workload like?


As with most humanities degrees at Cambridge, Theology doesn't have many contact hours and so most of my work is independent. I will attend around 7 or 8 contact hours a week, and then the rest of my time is spent preparing for any supervisions I have that week. I normally have one supervision, although in a busy week it can be two, so my work is normally reading, planning and writing a 2500 word essay for discussion in the supervision. To break it down further, I tend to spend around 4 days reading and planning, 2 days writing, and the final day is the supervision (which lasts about an hour).

What about your course would you change?


I wish we hadn't had to take the scriptural language in first year - I know a lot of people found it really difficult, and if you're not planning on taking scriptural based modules in the years after it becomes completely unnecessary. On the other hand, though, you do only have to take it for a year - so it could definitely be worse!

A typical timetable

Lucy's second year timetable

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am     Lecture (John)    
10am   Lecture (Paul)      
11am Lecture (Old Testament)   Seminar (History)   Supervision
12pm   Lecture (History)      
1pm     Seminar (John)    
3pm       Seminar (Paul)  


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