Religion and Oriental Studies

BA Religion and Oriental Studies

The course in Religion and Oriental Studies enables you to learn in depth about one of the world’s great religious traditions, from a choice including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.

To engage with all the different aspects of the course, you have to be something of a historian and a philosopher, a textual and literary critic, and a linguist. These disciplines together not only enable students to appreciate the qualities of religions that can be radically different from those in western societies, but also equip graduates to embark on a wide range of careers.

This degree offers the opportunity to study the major world religions and their primary languages. Students can also explore the relationship between religions and science, and the place of religious ethics in public life. Religion and Oriental Studies provides an understanding of the intellectual underpinning of religious traditions, and of the social and cultural contexts for religious belief and practice.

You can find more helpful information about this course on Oxford University's Undergraduate Admissions pages and the Faculty of Theology and Religion’s course page.


Course structure

 Year 1 First Preliminary Examinations

In the first year, students will follow the Oriental Studies Preliminary course structure for their chosen religion, taking three language papers. They will also take the Theology and Religion paper ‘Religion and Religions’ in place of the Oriental Studies general paper.

Students can choose one of the following languages depending on their choice of world religion: 

  • Christianity – Greek or Hebrew
  • Judaism – Hebrew
  • Islam – Arabic
  • Buddhism – Pali, Sanskrit or Tibetan
  • Hinduism – Sanskrit or Hindi 

Years 2 and 3 Final Honour School

In the second and third years, students take three papers from Oriental Studies and three papers from Theology and Religion. They then choose a seventh paper from either Faculty.

Papers are chosen from a wide range of options.