What’s it like studying Theology at Durham University?

Alex Roy

How I decided I wanted to study theology

Theology- being the study of, and reasoning about God- is something I have always loved. From attending church when I was younger, to challenging my faith as I got older, I have always been encapsulated by the study of God, regardless of which angle I have taken. Aside from the notion of religion, I also love the more practical side of theology, in the sense that it enables you to better understand and therefore challenge the worldviews of people around you, selectively choosing those which you allow to inform your own life. It also enables you to develop a greater understanding of the world in which we live, and how even in secular states, legislation (and the history of which) is so greatly influenced by religion. My excitement at the thought of exploring these things further greatly informed by decision to study theology at degree level.

Why Durham?

Of all universities, why did I choose Durham? Ultimately it was the physical city which sold it to me. Aside from the beautifully antiquated cobbled streets making the city feel like a Charles Dickens novel, it was the beauty of the Cathedral which I was most enthralled by. The grandeur of it, right in the middle of the city, is something I had only ever seen in pictures- it truly is like nothing else, and I could think of nothing I wanted more than to study here in Durham, where the likes of the Cathedral are just on my doorstep.

at Durham Cathedral!

In terms of the structure of the university, I really loved the idea of the collegiate system. In my own experience being in St Aidan’s (a catered college), I love the community feel- there are always people around wherever you go! We have a common room in which you can play pool, table football and table tennis, as well as other facilities such as a gym and a music room. Being catered is especially nice as it means we don’t have to worry about preparing any food or doing any washing up, therefore having more time for studying and socialising!

Things I love about my course

My favourite thing about my course (aside from my friends and the supportive staff of course!) is probably the opportunity for discussion in seminars. In my own experience, my seminar groups are nice and small, allowing for very in-depth discussion with our very knowledgeable seminar leaders about the content we have been covering. It’s also very cool being able to study the books written by some of our lecturers and seminar leaders! The content itself- although inevitably challenging- isn’t too dissimilar from some aspects of the A-level courses, so it’s nice to have some familiarity intertwined with the new content.

Societies related to my course

Outside of studies, there are plenty of opportunities for enrichment and expansion of knowledge through the societies Durham has to offer. The theology society is my personal favourite, as they deliver some really interesting academic addresses, from a range of people, including our lecturers, external theologians, and even LDS missionaries! There’s a plethora of opportunities offered, and definitely something for everyone!

Discover more

The Department of Theology and Religion is ranked 6th globally (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023) 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

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Alex Roy

My name is Alex Roy, and I am a first year philosophy and theology student. I am in St Aidan’s College. Outside of my studies, I love musical theatre, dance, journaling and going to coffee shops with my friends!

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