SOAS University of London

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

Certificate in the Study of Religions

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to apply


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The Certificate in the Study of Religions, which may be taken full-time over one year or part-time over two or three years, consists of 4 units from the current Study of Religions list of undergraduate courses, chosen in consultation with the student’s Personal Tutor, and approved by the Head of Department. Up to one unit, not from Study of Religions but related, may be included.

The Certificate serves various purposes. A number of overseas students, coming to this country for one year’s study, often as part of their degree work at home, have taken the Certificate. They have thus acquired a SOAS qualification at the same time as completing another year towards their degree at home. Some home students have also taken it, whether to follow up some particular interest, or (as in the case, for example, of a qualified Study of Religions teacher trained chiefly in the Judaeo-Christian tradition) to broaden horizons.

A number of students, including some from overseas, who began in this way with the Certificate, have eventually studied for a full BA programme. Other students, contemplating a BA but uncertain of their own abilities or of the work involved, or about whom the School itself has had hesitations, may embark on a Certificate as a probationary period. Admission standards for the Certificate may be a little lower than those for the BA. Patterns of transition from Certificate to BA include the following, depending upon the circumstances of each individual student:

A full Certificate may be completed, after which the student may then apply, through UCAS, to begin a BA from the beginning. (This arrangement has been adopted, for example, in cases where the School has faith in a student’s capacity, but where, perhaps because of unsuitable schooling, or the unavailability of suitable A-level subjects on offer, the chances of satisfactory A-level results are slight.

A student, having completed one year of part-time Certificate work satisfactorily, and finding it rewarding, may then transfer from the Certificate and apply to begin a BA from the beginning.

A student may complete a Certificate, and then apply, through UCAS, for second-year entry to a BA.