SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

BA Religion, Culture and Society (2019 entry)

Previously BA Study of Religions

Select year of entry: 2019

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment


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.

Programme Code: V627 BA/SR

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

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 in 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.

Entry requirements

  • Applicants are not required to have studied Religions at A-Level.
A Levels:
35 (665 at HL)

View 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 4 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

Featured events

3 years



Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Note: The structure displayed below is for students enrolled in 2019 or after. For students enrolled in the BA Study of Religions in 2017 or before, please see the programme structure pre 2018 .

General Information

  • You must register for 120 credits each year.
  • To be eligible for an Honours degree a student must have passed a minimum of eleven courses, 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

Each year, your programme consists of the following components:

  1. one core module (30 credits)
  2. modules selected from set of guided options (60 credits)
  3. an open option (30 credits)
Year 1
Compulsory Module: Year 1
Guided Options: Year 1: Introduction to Religious Traditions

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from the "Introduction to Religious Traditions" list below.

Module Code Credits Term
Islam: Religion and Rationality 158000189 15 Term 1
R150 Introduction to Judaism 158000148 15 credits (0.5 unit)
The Zoroastrian Flame 158000187 15 Term 2
Open Options: Year 1

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the open option lists (language list | non-language list)

Year 2
Compulsory Module: Year 2
Module Code Credits Term
R201 Approaches and Methods in the Study of Religions 155906011 30 Full Year
Guided Options: Year 2

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from "Religions in Cultural & Historical Contexts"/ "Comparative Study"/ "Specialised Study" according to stipulations below

Open Options: Year 2

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the open option lists (language list | non-language list)

Year 3
Compulsory Module: Year 3
Module Code Credits Term
R501 Independent Study Project in Religion, Culture, and Society 157400023 30 Full Year
Guided Options: Year 3

Students will take modules to the value of 60 credits from "Religions in Cultural & Historical Contexts"/ "Comparative Study"/ "Specialised Study" according to stipulations below

Open Options: Year 3

Students will take modules to the value of 30 credits from the open option lists (language list | non-language list)

Year 2 and 3 Guided Options

NB: Some modules are only expected to run every other year. See module descriptions for details.

Religions in Cultural and Historical Contexts - 60 credits in total in years 2-3 combined
Module Code Credits Term
R230 Religions of the Early Near and Middle East 155906012 30
R240 The Politics of Spirituality in South Asia 155906013 30
Comparative Study - 0-30 credits in total in years 2-3 combined
Module Code Credits Term
Death and the Meaning of Life 158000172 30 Full Year
Mysticism in the Great Traditions 154800316 15 Term 2
Comparative Ethics 158000199 15 Term 2
Specialised Study - 30-60 credits in total in years 2-3 combined
Module Code Credits Term
R430 Political Islam 154800310 30 Full Year
Islam in Britain 154800312 15 Term 1
Jaina Philosophy 158000206 15
R451 Jewish Identity from Ancient to Modern Times 158000168 15 Term 2
R471 Taoism: the Great Tradition 158000181 15 Term 2
R472 Classical Chinese Thought 158000103 15 Term 1
R490-Zoroastrianism in the Ancient and Modern Worlds 158000029 -Not running 21/22
Shi'a Islam: Religious Authority and Community Identity 158000147 30 credits
The Holocaust and the Problem of Evil 158000156 - not running in 2020/21 15 -runs in Term 1

Programme Specification

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Most courses involve a 50- 100-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes. 

The programme works with a variety of assessments:

  • response papers and reading comprehension tasks
  • written exercises in methodology
  • essays of up to 3,000 words
  • written exams

All modules are assessed by more than one assessment in the interest of balanced grades and student progressions. Many tutorials and classes include formative exercises to prepare the assessments.


A degree in Religion, Culture and Society 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
The British Museum
Bodleian Library

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

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

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I wanted to be able to study in detail several diverse religious traditions side-by-side, from sociological and historical perspectives as well as theological. The SOAS course has proved ideal in this.

Simon Perfect

Find out more