What’s it like studying Theology and Religion? (BA Religion, Society and Culture edition)

Sophie Midlaine

What is Religion, Society and Culture?

Religion, Society and Culture is a joint honours degree run by the Theology and Religion department in Durham. It gives you the opportunity to combine the study of theology, sociology and anthropology, helping you to understand how religion has shaped the past, present, and is likely to shape the future.

Why I chose Religion, Society and Culture

I chose to study Religion, Society and Culture at Durham because I found that traditional Theology and Religion courses weren’t suited to my interests – they were very focused on studying Christianity and the theology and beliefs central to the religion. My interests in studying religion largely lie in ‘lived’, real life experiences of religion, studying Islam, the sociology of religion, religion and politics, and the relationships between communities of different faiths. I therefore thought that Durham’s course would give me the right balance between giving me a good foundation in the skills needed to study religion, broaden my studies having niched down to the study of one religion at A-Level (Islam), whilst simultaneously enabling me to pursue my individual interests and be supported by a faculty with similar interests to me. I hoped this would enable me to specialise in a field of study that interested me whilst having access to supervisors with the experience to support me in my future pursuits including writing my dissertation.    

Me on Matriculation day! (taken by VOS Media outside Durham Cathedral)

My plans after I graduate…

I loved studying Religious Studies at A-Level and wanted to pursue it further at university! I’m planning on going on to teach RE (Religious Education) and possibly Sociology in secondary schools, something which my degree perfectly equips me to do. If I don’t go into teaching, I’ve thought about using my degree to work in anti-radicalisation programmes or liaise with communities on improving interfaith dialogue.

Why Durham?

Apart from the course, some of the reasons I was attracted to studying at Durham is because of the Theology Department and the university’s reputation as being in the top 3 in the country for Theology, a top 5 university (Guardian University League Table 2022) and being a member of the Russell Group. I also thought that the university’s collegiate system would suit me – it makes university feel smaller and gives you more opportunities to get involved in clubs at a variety of levels which I have definitely found to be the case! I am a member of John’s/Chad’s Cheerleading team and Durham’s Trampolining/Gymnastics club.

I also fell in love with the city when I visited it on my offer holders day. Just look at this view below! As someone who has lived in a massive city (London) my whole life, I found that Durham had the perfect balance of having enough to do within a short walking distance yet also having lots of green spaces and walks. There are many independent cafes you can work in and a nice collection of shops, and Newcastle is only a short and cheap train journey away for anything I can’t get here in Durham! I also love being surrounded by students in Durham as it makes me feel very safe!

My favourite view in Durham!

Deeply engrained with religious history!

Compared to other subjects I have relatively few contact hours. On average, I have six 1-hour lectures per week and 3 seminars, in addition to readings to complement lectures and seminars. I am assessed through a mixture of coursework and exams but this varies across modules. Durham is great for studying Religion, Society and Culture as it is a city engrained with religious history and still today has many beautiful churches you can visit including the Cathedral where the Theology Society hosted our ball this year! As a result of its history, Durham has a large collection of Theology books which are really helpful to read when writing essays. Moreover, wherever possible, lecturers link topics to the history of the city which I find fascinating!

Theology Society

The Theology Society is a great way to meet other theologians! They regularly invite speakers in so you can enrich your passion for the subject outside of university lectures. It is an amazing community and I loved the ball at the Cathedral!

Discover more:

The Department of Theology and Religion is ranked 7th globally (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022) making it Durham University’s highest ranked department. 

One of the most varied and dynamic in the UK, our Department is a place where ‘belief’ and ‘beliefs’ are taken seriously, respected, and studied. Together, we form a lively and welcoming community to those of all faiths and to those of none. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Theology and Religion webpages for more information on our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

Create your own personalised prospectus here

Follow our students on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube

Sophie Midlaine

Hi! I’m Sophie and I study Religion, Society and Culture at Durham. I’m from a non-selective state school in East London and now attend St Chad's college where I’m in my first year. Outside of my degree I love participating in college Cheerleading, university level Gymnastics/Trampolining and the occasional Dance classes.

Related Posts

Our field trip to Armenia

Our field trip began with a range of presentations about the culture, politics and history of Armenia. Developing a deep understanding of their historical and

Read More »