Number of students per year
Typical offer

The minimum offer is A*AA at A-level, or 7 7 6 (42+ overall) from Higher Level subjects in the IB. For other qualifications, please see the University entrance requirements page.

Essential subjects

There are no essential subjects for this course.

Useful subjects

The department suggests that essay-based subjects are good preparation for undergraduate study.

Written work

Two essays will be required. These essays should ideally be about Theology, but can be from other essay-based subjects that you enjoyed completing as part of your A Level (or equivalent) course; they should not be written specially for the occasion and should have been marked by a member of your school/college staff, if possible.

Theology at Clare

Students apply to read Theology at Clare for various reasons. What they have in common is an interest in the religious dimension of human life, and the desire to study it in greater depth. 

Some have a religious faith they want to test and deepen, but this is by no means universal or necessary amongst Theology students. The Tripos is called ‘Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion’ because it is intended to appeal to those interested in Jewish, Islamic or Christian Theology, as well as those who are interested in comparative religion or the philosophy of religion.

There is also a possibility to study in cross-disciplinary fields, looking, for example, at the interaction between Theology and Literature, Psychology, and Science. Some students want to use a theological degree as a basis for teaching or ministry. Others have no particular career in mind, but are looking for an intellectually demanding course which will address issues they consider to be of fundamental importance.

Watch this video with Mark Smith, Dean and Director of Studies, to find out more about Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Clare and at Cambridge.

Revd Dr Mark Smith's advice for prospective applicants: Reading how theology has been creatively expressed in novels - e.g. in CS Lewis’ Narnia books for children, or in his Space Trilogy, which was written for adults. What are the opportunities and tensions opened up by this kind of re-imagining of theological truths? Reading up on how theology might contribute to something ‘in the news’. For instance, the questions of whether there’s aliens on other worlds (recently the topic of various USA/NASA investigations) raises all kinds of theological questions - would these aliens be regarded as (intelligent) ‘animals’, or as possessing a soul? Are they made in the image of God? Do they need redeeming? If so, how? Many of these questions have been reflected on in the recently published CUP book by Andrew Davison, Astrobiology and Christian Doctrine. Reading a specific religious text in detail, thinking about historical context, literary themes, distinctive theology. For instance, looking at the four Gospels in the New Testament - how do they agree and differ in telling the story of Jesus? This has been helpfully explored in Burridge, Four Gospels, One Jesus.

Mark Smith, Dean of Chapel

Dr Smith’s academic research focuses on the history and theology of the early church. He is an affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity, where he teaches papers on the church in late antiquity, as well as supervising a number of PhD students working in the field. His current writing projects include a commentary on Jude & 2 Peter (to be published in 2025) and an accessible guide to the early Christological debates (to be published in 2023/24). 

Director of Studies in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion