Religion & Oriental Studies BA (Hons)

Miniature painting of Ganesh from a manuscript of Hindu rituals and devotional tracts. British Library Shelfmark: Oriental MS 13757

The course in Religion and Oriental Studies enables you to learn in depth about a number of the world’s great religious traditions, 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. Theology 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.

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 (not always available), Sanskrit or Tibetan
  • Hinduism – Sanskrit

Oxford graduates in Religion and Oriental Studies can expect to go on to careers as diverse as law, social work, the media, journalism, publishing, banking, management consultancy, accountancy, personnel management, teaching, the police force and the arts. Employers look very favourably on applicants who have learned oriental languages, and Oxford graduates with such skills are among the most successful each year in finding employment.

For further information please download a copy of the 2018-19 Course Handbook.

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