Theological Studies

Course details

These courses aim to enhance connections between theological study, professional practice and practice-based learning.

  • Undergraduate Certificate in Theological Studies
  • Undergraduate Diploma in Theological Studies
  • Bachelor of Theology (BTh)

Together these three courses constitute a coherent programme of studies. You can be admitted either to the Bachelor of Theology (BTh) or to the Undergraduate Certificate in Theological Studies. Students who successfully complete the Certificate may be able to progress onto the BTh or to the Diploma. There is normally no direct admission to the Diploma. All three may be studied either full-time or part-time.

The Undergraduate Certificate provides an introduction to theology, Christian ministry and religious studies. The BTh allows in-depth study of these disciplines.

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Undergraduate Certificate in Theological Studies

The Certificate will introduce you to the study of theology as a subject discipline, bringing together cognate strands of theology, especially biblical studies, historical and systematic theology, and practical theology. The course is designed to equip you for further study in theology, including possible progression to the BTh or Diploma (depending on your results in the Certificate).

You will take six papers from a range of introductory options. Assessment is by essay, project or written examination. The papers cover:

  • Introduction to the Old Testament
  • Introduction to the New Testament
  • The History of the Church
  • Introduction to Christian Doctrine

You may also study:

  • Spirituality, Ministry and Worship
  • Contemporary Mission and Culture
  • Relationships between Christian Faith and Philosophy and Science
  • Elementary Biblical Hebrew or Greek.

Our aim is that by the end of the course, you will have acquired a sound, accurate knowledge and understanding of the beliefs, practices, texts and history of the Christian tradition. The course will include study of the Bible and of the development of Christian doctrine in its historical context and in the thought of modern theologians, and through reflection on contemporary church and religious practice. You will be able to make connections between faith and modern intellectual developments within their cultural contexts, and, where appropriate, to reflect on your own professional practice.

Undergraduate Diploma in Theological Studies

The Diploma builds on the introductory level knowledge and skills acquired in the Certificate. You will develop a broader knowledge and understanding of the beliefs, practices, texts and history of the Christian tradition, and, where appropriate, other world religions, together with knowledge and understanding of advanced theological, biblical and religious concepts and language. You will have developed greater connections between faith and modern intellectual developments within their cultural contexts, and, if you wish, reflected on your own professional practice.

Diploma students take a further six papers including at least one biblical paper, one history/doctrine paper and one practical theology/religious studies paper. Assessment is by essay, project, portfolio or written examination.

Bachelor of Theology (BTh)

The BTh builds on the introductory knowledge and skills acquired in the Certificate. For students admitted direct to the BTh, the syllabus for the first year (if studied full-time) or first two years (if studied part-time) is the same as for the Certificate. You will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the beliefs, practices, texts and history of the Christian tradition, and, where appropriate, other world religions, together with knowledge and understanding of advanced theological, biblical, and religious concepts and language. You will also have the chance to focus on an area or areas of theology of particular interest to you, including writing a sustained piece of theological reflection or a dissertation. You will have developed significant connections between faith and modern intellectual developments within their cultural contexts, and, if you wish, reflected on your own professional practice.

In addition to the six introductory papers taken for the Certificate, BTh students take a further twelve papers including at least one biblical paper, one history/doctrine paper and one practical theology/religious studies paper. You will also undertake a piece of individual research culminating in a dissertation or project. Assessment is by essay, project, portfolio or written examination.

How you will study

The courses are taught by two of the permanent private halls of the University of Oxford, (Wycliffe Hall and Regent’s Park College), in conjunction with the Department for Continuing Education. The halls are committed to shared delivery of the course, with most options available to all students, regardless of their collegiate affiliation, and of the affiliation of teaching staff. Individual halls may offer additional teaching to their students, typically in small group tutorials.

Teaching: there are normally 20 contact hours for each of the papers you take (languages may be more). Some of the teaching will be shared across all the students, and some will be delivered by the individual college. The full timetable of teaching will differ in the different colleges but it will be taught midweek during the day on certain days of the week.

Private study: in addition to the contact hours, you can expect to commit around 200 hours of private study for each paper. This may include background reading, preparation for seminars and classes and work on assignments.

Assessment: you will be set at least one short formative piece of work in your first term (formative work means you will receive feedback, including areas for improvement, and often a mark, but this will not count towards your final mark for the qualification, and does not appear on your academic transcript.) The method of assessment varies between the papers: some are assessed by essay, project or portfolio of work, others by written examinations. A few offer a choice of method of assessment. There will be an opportunity to submit assignments three times during the year, and one option to sit the written exams each year (which will take place in Trinity Term – the Oxford summer term).

Who are these courses for?

These courses are taught in the context of those pursuing different vocations. An indication of vocational experience in the field of Christian ministry is therefore relevant but not essential. But the course is designed to enable students to connect theology to their own pastoral or professional practice. You must be able to demonstrate skills in critical analysis, wide contextual knowledge and the ability to manage your own time. Wycliffe Hall and Regent’s Park College have slightly different student bodies and Wycliffe Hall normally only take candidates over 21, but the nature of the course means that all potential candidates will need to demonstrate clearly a maturity of approach.

For admission to the Certificate, you will normally need to have five GCSE passes at grades A-C, one of which must be in English Language, and two passes at A-level (A2 level).

For direct admission to the BTh, you should normally have either a good first degree (or equivalent, e.g. a GPA of 3.5 or higher) in a different subject or three good A-levels (A2 level).

Exemptions from these requirements will be considered for mature applicants or those otherwise qualified.

Teaching staff

Academic advice and support will be provided by the Course Director in your hall. Each hall will provide integrated study skills support, covering time management, reading for academic purposes, the use of electronic resources and internet sites relevant to theology and religious studies, taking notes, writing and presenting assignments. In addition, the Department for Continuing Education runs a programme of Study Skills workshops designed to help you develop and improve the skills needed for effective study. For full details of the Study Skills programme please contact or +44 (0)1865 280892. Introductions will be provided to the University libraries and their facilities.

Your course tutors will give detailed feedback on coursework essays, including the first draft of work to be submitted for assessment, in the form of a summary of strengths and weaknesses, comments on some of the points made, and verbal discussion of the broader issues and surrounding questions.

How to apply

You must apply directly to the permanent private hall at which you wish to take the course. You can only apply to ONE permanent private hall, although application forms of unsuccessful candidates may be passed onto the other hall. You may wish to read the information provided about each hall before applying.

All applications must include:

  • two references, which comment on your academic ability and background and your motivation, commitment and potential. A reference from a family member is not acceptable.
  • a statement of not more than 500 words outlining your reasons for wishing to enrol on the course, including any relevant vocational or professional experience and ways this course might contribute to your personal, vocational, pastoral or professional development.

Fees and funding

The fees will be £4,625/£9,250 (Home, Islands, and Republic of Ireland students part/full-time) or £16,525/£33,050 (Overseas students part/full-time). Fees are collected via the college with whom you matriculate and you will be required to pay in full no later than one week after the start of the course. The college will request financial assurances from you to ensure that you are able to cover fees and maintenance over the duration of the course.

Please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.

Information for applicants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

On 11 May 2021 the UK Council for International Student Affairs published new regulations and guidance to be used in assessing the fee status of students commencing courses in August 2021 and later. We will be using this guidance to carry out fee status assessments for students commencing courses in 2021/22 and later, including students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland. 

If you are an EU national and do not live in the UK then you are likely to be charged Overseas fees. Students with settled and pre-settled status in the UK and some other categories of students who work in the UK can qualify for Home fee status as long as they meet the residence criteria.

Students from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland

If you are from outside the UK/Republic of Ireland, you will be classed either as an ‘Overseas’ or 'Islands' student.

Funding and financial assistance: individual halls may be able to offer financial assistance to students. For information, please visit the halls’ websites. We regret that students on these courses are not eligible for the Department’s bursaries.


English language requirements

Please check the information on the specific English language requirements for this course. Applicants are required to have the Higher level scores.

English is the language of instruction for all courses offered at Oxford. You must submit evidence that you meet the University’s English language requirements for your course if your first language is not English, or if your first language is English but you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). List: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America.

You do not need to submit test results, or request a waiver, if your first language is English and you have always been a resident and citizen of the UK, Ireland or any other majority English-speaking country (see list above).

The University only accepts certain standardised tests with results at or above the following scores. Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. The score requirements in each test are as follows:

  • IELTS Academic (Institution Code: 0713): overall score of 7.5 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components).
  • TOEFL iBT (Institution Code: 0490): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: listening 22, reading 24, speaking 25, and writing 24.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): overall score of at least 191, with a minimum of 185 per component.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): overall score of at least 191 with a minimum of 185 per component.

(We do not accept IGCSE in either First Language English or English as a Second Language as proof of English proficiency.)

  • English Language O-level grade B
  • International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL) score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)
  • European Baccalaureate score of 70% in English

*We recommend that you take the IELTS Academic option. The IELTS General, IELTS UKVI General and IELTS life skills options are not suitable for admission. The IELTS UKVI Academic test can be accepted but is not recommended, as this is more expensive than the IELTS Academic test and is not offered in as many countries or centres worldwide so it may be difficult to book an appointment. This UKVI version of the test is required for students taking courses below degree level but is not required for courses at degree level or above and IELTS recommend that university applicants do not apply for this version of the test as it will fill up spaces required by other students (below degree level) who do have to take this version of the test.


Exemptions from this requirement will be considered for applicants who have:

  • studied the International Baccalaureate programme, if it is taught in English
  • studied the Singapore Integrated Programme (SIPCAL) 
  • been educated full-time in the medium of the English language throughout the two most recent years before the 15 October application deadline, and who remain in full-time education conducted in the English language until the end of the school year in their home country. 

Evidence of your English language proficiency

You do not need to submit evidence of your English Language proficiency when you make your UCAS application.

If you have already achieved the required grade, please include the details along with your other qualifications in the appropriate section of your UCAS application.

If you have not yet achieved the required grade, this will form part of any conditional offer, and must be met by 31 July in the year you expect to begin your studies. For example, if you expect to begin studying here in October 2024, you will need to have provided evidence of meeting this requirement by 31 July 2024. The administrator will contact those holding an offer of a place to explain how to send in this evidence.

Visa requirements

If you require a student visa the University will vouch for your English language ability on your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) provided you have achieved the University's required results in one of the English language tests accepted by the University (as shown in the list above) or you have been granted an English language test waiver by your college. When submitting your student visa application, you will not be required to provide additional evidence of your English language ability.

Please note that the English language test you take does not need to be listed on the Home Office SELT (Secure English Language Tests) list as this only applies for students who want to study a course below degree level.


The syllabus and teaching of the Certificate are aimed at first-year undergraduate level and students will be awarded 120 Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points at FHEQ Level 4 on successful completion of the Certificate. The BTh does not carry CATS points.