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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level AAB
International Baccalaureate 36

Course details

This degree will equip you with the skills to understand religion and its power to shape the human condition. You will engage with the role of religion in a wide range of contexts, including politics, literature, bioethics and war.

Theoretical perspectives are applied to a variety of specialist topics – from fundamentalism in the USA to sacred landscapes in northern India; the role of Islam in modern Britain; Pentecostalism in sub-Saharan Africa; and death rites across the globe. Urgent current ethical questions are studied, and you will be encouraged to arrive at well-informed and reflective positions on topics such as the environmental crisis, end-of-life issues, poverty and warfare.

The course enables you to better understand the world we live in, and to explore the forces that shape our own attitudes, hopes and fears. In turn, it will empower you to go out into the world to make a difference for the common good. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad  to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

In the first year, modules are intended to provide the foundational understanding and skills necessary for work in theology and the study of religion.

In the second year, there is a much greater choice of modules to allow you to pursue your own interests within theology and religion by building on the understanding and abilities you have begun to develop in the first year.

The third year includes a dissertation that allows a deep, independently driven, exploration of a topic of your choice.

Course structure

Year 1

Core modules:

Islam Observed: Ethnographic Accounts of Muslim Practice introduces the study of Islam from an anthropological perspective. The module aims to develop an understanding of the diverse forms of Muslim religious life in the contemporary world and to foster an appreciation of the complex relationship between the local and the global in Islam.

Worldview, Faith and Identity outlines established approaches to the study of religion. The module introduces ideas of identity, faith and worldview as foundations for religious thought and practice.

Introduction to the History of Christianity looks at the history of Christianity and to its relationships with its social and cultural contexts including the representation of different periods, different regions, different social groups such as historically marginalised groups, and different methodologies.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • People and Cultures
  • Societies in Transition
  • Classical Sociology Theory
  • New Testament Greek
  • Introduction to Christian Theology
  • God and Evil
  • God and the Good: Philosophy of Religion and Ethics
  • Introduction to Bible: Texts, History, Culture

Year 2

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Death, Ritual and Belief
  • Science and Theology: Exploring the Interface
  • Religion in Contemporary Britain
  • Atheism, Belief, and the Edge of Reason
  • Myth and Meaning: The Structural Analysis of Mythology
  • Research Project and Colloquium in Theology and Religion
  • God and the Universe of Faiths
  • Sacred India: Land, Politics and Identity
  • Sects, Prophets and Gurus.

Year 3  (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad)

In your final year, you will submit a dissertation on a related topic of your choice, approved by an academic advisor. The dissertation allows you to explore in depth a topic of special interest to you.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Religion and Film 
  • Emotion and Identity in Religion
  • Christian Fundamentalism and the Modern World
  • The Historical Jesus
  • Christian Tradition and the Practice of Politics 
  • Jesus Christ in the Twentieth Century
  • Religious Diversity in African Contexts 
  • Religion, Media and Popular Culture

Additional pathways

Students on the BA Religion, Society and Culture can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year.  Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and study skills classes, developing your knowledge and your ability to undertake your own independent and scholarly engagement with texts and issues.

Weekly lectures will introduce you to the broad questions and current issues in the subject area, and enable you to develop a clear understanding of the subject and improve your skills in evaluating and analysing information. Seminars will give you the opportunity to engage with the topics introduced in lectures and to discuss key issues in small groups; they also promote awareness of and respect for different viewpoints and approaches, and help you articulate and develop your own views in dialogue with others. You will also be able to get detailed feedback on your essays, to help you improve the quality of your written work.


Modules are assessed by essays and end-of-year examinations, some by a combination of the two. Forty per cent of your degree will be assessed by coursework.

Our curriculum places a strong emphasis on self-directed learning and you will be provided with reading lists, handouts, suggestions for preparation and other online materials to guide you in your independent research.

In your final year, you will submit a dissertation, which allows you to explore in depth a topic of your choice.

Entry requirements

A level offer – AAB including a social science or humanities subject.

Contextual offer – BBB/ABC including a social science or humanities subject.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – DDD and A levels as above.

Typical IB score 36 to include 665 in higher level subjects.

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We also consider other level 3 qualifications, including T-levels.
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors.
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre

Science A levels

Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

The tuition fees for 2025/26 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

Theology & Religion

Our degrees are designed to give you a strong and broad foundation of subject-specific knowledge as well as transferable skills and personal qualities developed during your studies: thinking clearly, writing well, presenting arguments, analysing texts, assessing evidence, solving problems, pursuing and organising research. These skills are highly valued across many sectors.

Our graduates readily find employment in fields such as education, social work, politics, journalism, business management, banking, the clergy, the performing arts and the charity sector. A significant number also progress onto higher-level study, such as postgraduate study in Theology and Religion or professional qualifications in law and education.

Of those students who graduated in 2020-21:

  • 86% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 88% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £26,495.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information

Theology & Religion

Theology and Religion is an exciting and diverse discipline that explores humanity’s views and fundamental beliefs about the way the Universe is, and their role in it. This is the part of the human condition that you will study at Durham from anthropological, textual, historical and ethical perspectives.

The Department of Theology and Religion is an inclusive and friendly international teaching and research community where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are studied in detail, whether those beliefs are atheistic, humanistic or religious.

With more than 30 academic staff, and an intake of about 70 undergraduates each year, the Department is one of the largest in the UK. Our research-led approach means you will be taught by subject specialists whose interests span many areas. We have a historic strength in the study of Christian thought, history, practice and texts, while offering strong provision in politics, ethics, non-Christian faith traditions, humanism and atheism.

Our undergraduate degrees offer flexible pathways to suit your interests and career goals, including the possibility of a work placement or year abroad.

We offer a range of activities outside timetabled sessions to complement academic learning: the Department has an extensive series of research-related activities which you are encouraged to attend. These include several research seminars and public lectures from high-profile guest speakers and visiting scholars.


  • 4th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • 6th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked 4th in the UK for Research Power (REF 2021).


The Department is based at Palace Green in the historic and picturesque city centre, and within easy walking distance of the Students’ Union, colleges, Durham Castle and Cathedral.

Our library facilities are extensive, and the main University library, the Bill Bryson Library, is only the beginning. The Meissen Library is the largest collection of German-language theological materials in Britain. Some of the College libraries hold theological collections and the Department has some library resources of its own, including Hebrew and Jewish studies. Our neighbour, Durham Cathedral, houses The Sharp Library which focuses on modern and pastoral theology.

The historic library at Palace Green holds the University's Special Collections, including extensive collections of rare books and manuscripts of particular interest to theology and religion students.


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