BA Religions (combined)


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

At SOAS we study religions because they are powerful and enduring forces in all societies at all times. They give insight into human values, identities, and histories like no other aspect of culture.

The study of religions at SOAS offers:

  • A unique combination of core subject knowledge with regional expertise.
  • A wide range of traditions that is second to no other programme in the UK or worldwide.
  • The opportunity to specialise in a tradition of your choice.
  • A comprehensive set of disciplinary skills and insights for studying human histories and cultures through religious thought and practice.

Studying religions is for all who seek to further global understanding while attaining a world of graduate employment opportunities.

To connect the Study of Religions to a specific language, area, or discipline, the Department offers joint degrees with the following subjects:

3-Year Combined Degrees

African Studies, Development Studies, Economics, Geography, Georgian, History, History of Art/Archaeology, International Relations, Japanese Studies, Law, Linguistics, Middle Eastern Studies, Music, Persian, Politics, Social Anthropology, South East Asian Studies, World Philosophies.

3 or 4-Year Combined Degrees

(include an optional year abroad)

Burmese, Indonesian, South Asian Studies, Thai, Tibetan, Vietnamese.

4-Year Combined degrees

(include a mandatory year abroad)

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Swahili, Turkish.

May be combined with:

  • African Studies, VT65 BA/SRAF
  • Arabic+, TV66 BA/SRA
  • Chinese+, TV16 BA/SRCH
  • Development Studies, LV96 BA/DevStSR
  • Economics, LV16 BA/SREC
  • Hebrew+, QV46 BA/SRHE
  • History, VV16 BA/SRH
  • History of Art/Archaeology, VV36 BA/HAASR
  • International Relations, LVF6 BA/IRSR
  • Japanese+, TV26 BA/SRJ
  • Japanese Studies, TV2P BA/JSSR
  • Korean+, TVLP BA/SRKO
  • Law, MV16 BA/SRLW
  • Middle Eastern Studies, TV6P BA/MESSR
  • Music, VW63 BA/SRM
  • Persian+, TVP6 BA/SRP ( + Compulsory Year Abroad which is split between 2 countries)
  • Politics, LV26 BA/SRPOL
  • Social Anthropology, LV66 BA/SRSA
  • South Asian Studies++ (3 years), VTQ3 BA/SASSR
  • South Asian Studies++ (4 years), TL33 BA/SASSR
  • South-East Asian Studies, VTPJ BA/SEASR
  • Turkish+, VT66 BA/TUSR
  • World Philosophies, V590

+ 4-year degree with (compulsory) one year abroad
++ 3 or 4-year degree with the option of one year abroad

Who is this programme for?

This degree is for students who seek to broaden their understanding of the world by studying the social, political, cultural and historical forces contained in religious traditions.

  • We are looking for applicants who believe that religions are important to think about, whether or not they are religious themselves.
  • We welcome all applicants whether they have previously focused on religions in their education or not.
  • We offer widely transferable skills and insights that unlock a broad range of career trajectories, from media and consulting to teaching and development work, among others.
  • Our graduates have gone on to employment in global businesses, media companies, universities, government institutions, development organisations, religious institutions, schools, museums, libraries, and more.


A degree in Religions from SOAS equips students to follow many different careers. Graduates are provided with important knowledge and understanding of peoples’ different culture, history and beliefs concerning fundamental issues which they can develop in the field of research or utilise in a professional career. Students also develop a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors. These include: the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources - often both in the original or other relevant languages; analytical skills to assess critically the materials relevant to a specific issue; written and oral communication skills to present, discuss and debate opinions and conclusions; and problem solving skills.

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:

  • Refugee Action
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • European Union
  • Inside India
  • Lapido Media
  • Islamic Centre of England
  • Politics First
  • Pricewatrehouse Coopers
  • Whitbread Plc
  • Piper Smith Watton LLP
  • Jainpedia
  • The British Museum
  • Iskcon
  • BBC
  • Bodleian Library

Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include:

  • Accountant
  • Associate Consultant
  • Case manager
  • Ceramic Artist
  • Company Director
  • Deputy to Special Representative for Afghanistan
  • Editorial Director
  • Educational Officer
  • Features Assistant
  • Forests and ecosystems associate
  • International Reporting Manager
  • PhD Student
  • Procurement & Social Responsibility Administrator
  • Project Manager
  • Religious Education Teacher
  • Research Manager
  • Senior Advisor
  • Tibetan Subject Consultant Librarian
  • Writer/Researcher


General Information

You must register for 120 credits each year, 60 in the Religions and 60 in your other subject.

To be eligible for an Honours degree a student must have passed a minimum of eleven modules, of those passing only ten being awarded a Pass degree.

Only the grades of years two and three, count towards the final degree result. In their first year, students only need to pass their modules to continue. The pass mark is 40%.

Programme Structure

Year 1

Compulsory Module

  • R101 Understanding Religion: Theories and Themes

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the "Introduction to Religious Traditions" list.

Second Subject

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject.

Year 2

Compulsory Module

  • R201 Approaches and Methods in the Study of Religions

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from "Religions in Cultural & Historical Contexts" according to stipulations.

Second Subject

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject.

Year 3

Guided Options

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from "Thematic Study" and a further 30 credits from "Specialised Study" according to stipulations.

Second Subject

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from their second subject.

List of modules (subject to availability)

Year 1: Introduction to Religious Traditions

  • R110 Introduction to Buddhism
  • R120 Introduction to Hinduism
  • R130 Islam: Religion and Rationality
  • R150 Introduction to Judaism
  • R170 Introduction to the Religions of East and Central Asia
  • R180 Introduction to World Christianity
  • R190 Introduction to Zoroastrianism

Year 2 and 3

  • Religions in Cultural and Historical Contexts - 30 credits in total
    • R210 Religion, Power, and Society in Modern Africa
    • R230 Religions of the Early Near and Middle East
    • R240 The Politics of Spirituality in South Asia
  • Comparative Study - 30 credits maximum
    • Death and the Meaning of Life
    • Comparative Ethics
    • Mysticism in the Great Traditions
  • Specialised Study - 60 credits maximum
    • R430 Political Islam
    • Islam in Britain
    • R440 Jaina Philosophy
    • R451 Jewish Identity from Ancient to Modern Times
    • R471 Taoism: the Great Tradition
    • R472 Classical Chinese Thought
    • R480 Christianity in the Middle East: Historic and Modern Dynamics
    • R490 Zoroastrianism in the Ancient and Modern Worlds
    • Minority Religions in the Modern Middle East
    • Shi'a Islam: Religious Authority and Community Identity
    • The Holocaust and the Problem of Evil

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

To apply for an undergraduate degree at SOAS (including students wishing to transfer from another university) you must apply through the UK's central universities application organization, UCAS. An application form and details of courses can be found on their website. UCAS charges an applicant's fee for handling the application.

You can apply to up to five choices of higher education institutions or course on the UCAS form. How you utilise the choice is up to you. In other words, you could apply to do the same subject, for example, economics, at five different universities, or five different courses at the same university, or any combination of subject and institution. Nor do you have to use up all five choices. Whatever you choose you should list your choices in the order they appear in the UCAS handbook.

Entry Requirements

Applicants are not required to have studies Religions at A-level, although a deep interest in the subject is essential.

  • A-Levels: AAB-ABB
    IB: 35 (665 at HL)

Alternative entry requirements

  • Access to HE: Minimum of 30 Level 3 Credits at Distinction
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB
  • Scottish Advanced Highers: AAB
  • Irish LC: 340 points from 5 Higher level subjects at grade C1 or above
  • Advanced Placement: 4 5 5 (Two semesters - UCAS Group A) plus US HSGD with GPA 3.0
  • Euro Bacc: 80%
  • French Bacc: 14/20
  • German Abitur: 2.0
  • Italy DES: 80/100
  • Austria Mat: 2.0
  • Polish Mat: Overall 75% including 3 extended level subjects

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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