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Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion at Sidney

Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion at Cambridge

For millennia religion has shaped, and been shaped by, culture and history. It is part of the human story, and part of the way human beings articulate meaning and their deepest values. If you want to understand that human story, you need to be able to think critically and well about religion. More than that, in an ever more plural and complex world, a knowledge of the motivations and understandings of multiple religious traditions and actors is increasingly necessary. This is what makes the study of religion so vital, and so intellectually interesting.

The Faculty of Divinity is a world class institution, where you will have the chance to learn – often in one-on-one, or small group situations – from leaders in their fields. You will be able to study a wide variety of subjects, as you approach the phenomenon of religion from multiple angles. You will learn to read ancient texts in their original language. You will have the chance to study multiple traditions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.), looking at their history, their interactions, their internal development, as well as examining them using the tools of modern critical enquiry and the social sciences. You will have the opportunity to explore the interface of religion with philosophy, literature, and science. What makes this degree subject so appealing is the variety of ways in which it can be approached. It is one of the most broad-ranging courses available in Cambridge.

In the first year students take five papers, one of which must be a scriptural language (Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, or Sanskrit), and one of which must be a biblical paper (looking at either the Hebrew Bible or the Christian New Testament). Beyond that, a variety of subjects may be pursued. As a student progresses through the next two years they can choose to stay broad-ranging in their studies, or to increasingly specialize in one particular tradition or area. Potential degree tracks include a specialization in Christian theology or history, Islam, Judaism, or the religions of India, as well as specializations in the philosophy of religion, or biblical studies.



Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion at Sidney

We offer the support of a friendly and historic College in the heart of central Cambridge, but Sidney is also an easy walking or cycling distance from the Divinity Faculty and the University Library. Because Theology, Religion, and the Philosophy of Religion is a small subject (up to 3 candidates accepted per year), you get the sort of personal attention and mentoring that can be found in few other institutions. You will work closely with your Director of Studies who will be responsible for supporting you, arranging your teaching, and monitoring your progress.

Hear from a student... 

     Theology is a pretty small and select group at Cambridge, there are usually fewer than 50 students in a year group across all colleges. This means that the faculty is really sociable and very welcoming. Every week day at 11am there is free tea and coffee at the divinity faculty - a luxury that other faculties can only dream of. I have generally found everyone who has taught me really supportive and kind. Teaching relationships here are different to those in school in the sense that, although you should respect your supervisors, they also seek to learn from you as much as you do from them. Think of it as a working relationship. At Sidney we are really lucky to have a fantastic Director of Studies (DoS), Dr Brett Gray.

A typical week usually consists of 3 language classes and 1-2 lectures a day as well as 1 supervision a week. You will definitely end up with a lot fewer contact hours than you had at school and so you really need to be disciplined with your work. I usually like to factor in some down time to my week too, whether that is playing college sport on weekends or just hanging out with friends, its important to relax too so that you are rested enough to complete your work to a good standard.

All the boTiwa Adebayo, Theology undergraduate at Sidneyoks you will ever need will be in Cambridge somewhere! I have found Sidney Library quite useful, even if a book isn’t there our lovely librarian is always willing to order it for you. Failing that, the divinity library is extremely comprehensive and on the Sidgwick Site where you have your lectures, about 10 minutes - walk from Sidney, even less on a bike. You may occasionally need to go to the University Library (UL) which is basically opposite the Sidgwick Site.

First year has definitely been the best year of my life and you will learn so much about yourself and your subject! 

Tiwa Adebayo, Sidney Theology undergraduate


Academics 

Director of Studies (DoS) and Fellow

The Rev’d Dr Brett Gray (Sidney Chaplain)

Fellows

Dr Ruth Jackson (Research Fellow)

All of our undergraduate students are allocated a Director of Studies and learn from specialists in particular areas of their subject. From time to time, individual teaching staff may be away on leave.


Typical Intake

1 - 3

Standard Entry Requirements

A*AA at A Level

40-42 points in the IB, with 776 at Higher Level

Please see the University website for standard entry requirements in other qualifications.

Please note that offers are set on an individual basis using all of the information available to us in context of the entire field of applicants.

No specific subjects are required at Sidney Sussex. Subjects such as Religious Studies, History, English and modern languages can be helpful, but so can any subjects that encourage clear, logical thinking and careful analysis of evidence.

Admissions Process

Written work

Two essays (at least one on a theological or philosophical subject). We will send out more specific information about what is required after the UCAS deadline.

Admissions Assessments

Brief lecture followed by written response (60 minutes). Read more about the admissions assessment on the University website.

Interviews

Three interviews with a focus on Theology. The third interview will take place in another College and is part of the Faculty of Divinity's interview structure, in which applicants are seen by more than one College.

Find out more

Faculty of Divinity website

University website course page

Skype interviews may be considered for international applicants on a case-by-case basis in certain subjects. If you wish to enquire further, please contact the Admissions Office (admissions@sid.cam.ac.uk).