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Philosophy and Theology

Many other important philosophers of religion have taught or studied at Oriel, from Joseph Butler in the 18th century to John Hick and Richard Swinburne more recently.

Whether considered independently or in combination, philosophy and theology are thriving subjects at Oriel. The College has three tutorial fellows in philosophy, with particular strengths in ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, the philosophy of physics, metaphysics and epistemology. Oriel’s theology fellow works primarily in philosophical theology and the philosophy of religion, and the college is also very strong in Biblical studies.

Students in the Joint School of Philosophy and Theology start by studying logic and a selection of philosophical topics like the mind–body problem, free will, knowledge, scepticism, perception, and personal identity. On the theology side of their degree, they begin by studying select books of the Bible, along with a wide-ranging examination of the Christian doctrine of creation. Unlike their counterparts in the Single Honours School of Theology, students in the joint school are not required to study a biblical language. After their first public examination, students divide their time fairly equally between philosophy and theology, though they may lean a little more towards one or the other if they wish. Regardless, Oriel students have many opportunities to pursue their own philosophical and theological interests.

Admission Criteria

Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work for Theology (no work is required for Philosophy). Applicants should also complete the Philosophy admissions test, which is usually taken in November each year.

Number of places

3 or 4


Faculty of Philosophy

Faculty of Theology and Religion

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Dr Brendan Harris

Departmental Lecturer in Theology

Organising Tutor
Dr Luca Castagnoli

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Clarendon Fellow in Ancient Greek Philosophy | Tutor in Philosophy & Classics

Organising Tutor
Dr Oliver Pooley

Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy

Organising Tutor
Professor Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra

Colin Prestige Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy | Senior Tutor

Dr A K M Adam

Lecturer in Theology

Dr John Olson

Stipendiary Lecturer in Theology

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst

College Lecturer in Philosophy

Prof William Wood

Clifford Potter Fellow & Tutor in Theology


Classics (Literae Humaniores)

Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. There are additionally 1 place for Classics and English and 1 (usually) for Classics and Modern Languages. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

Computer Science and Philosophy

Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Mathematics and Philosophy

Number of places 1 or 2 Admission Criteria A-levels or equivalent: A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken).

Philosophy (Joint Honours)

Admission Criteria The admissions criteria for each course involving philosophy can be found on the dedicated course page. For all courses, applicants invited to interview will be given a philosophy interview, or an interview with a philosophy component. At interview, we will not test whether you are already familiar with philosophical texts or arguments. Instead we are interested in your aptitude and potential for precise analytical thought, and in whether you enjoy abstract reasoning.

Philosophy and Modern Languages

Number of places 1 or 2, taken from the Modern Languages quota of 9 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), normally at their own school or college, in November, in addition to the written work specified on the university's website. Separate registration for this test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. Candidates will need to take two sections of the MLAT: one for their chosen language, and one for Philosophy. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Number of places 9 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: normally AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Applicants are not required to submit written work. All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in early November, normally at their own schools or colleges. Separate registration for this test is required and prospective applicants should refer to the test website for further information.

Physics and Philosophy

Number of places 2 Admission Criteria Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths. Applying for Physics and Philosophy, rather than for Physics, will not reduce your chance of admission. Applicants for both degrees are considered as a gathered field and applicants to Oriel for Physics and Philosophy are automatically considered for a place to read straight Physics. All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November.  

Theology and Religion

Number of places 2 or 3 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates for places in the Single Honours School of Theology are not required to have backgrounds in particular subjects. Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work.  

What next?

Applying to Oriel

Fees and funding

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