Religion and Theology study guide 2023/24

Religion and Theology at Bristol

The Department of Religion and Theology provides a friendly and intellectually-stimulating environment to study the place and role of religion in the world, and is among the top departments in the UK in the discipline (ranked 6th in the Complete University Guide 2021).

We have a lively and intelligent academic community that provides students regular opportunities and confidence to participate in discussions in lectures, seminars and personal tutorials. As a student here, you will be encouraged to think critically and analytically about various belief systems and practices and to consider why individuals respond to religion in the way they do.

We are known for the quality of our teaching, which spans the Judeo-Christian and Buddhist traditions and is balanced by a thorough understanding of Christianity, Chinese and Japanese religions, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. The methods we adopt to analyse our subject include anthropology, history, philosophy and psychoanalysis; while the languages of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, Sanskrit and Pali are also important components of our study. Three of our teachers - Carolyn Muessig (now University of Calgary), George Ferzoco, and Gavin D'Costa - have won University awards for their teaching. We have an active programme of conferences, lectures, reading groups, weekly symposiums and seminars, and fortnightly departmental seminars.

Unit structure

The department offers many classes that are based in a single semester, and can therefore accept unit requests from Study Abroad students who want to join Bristol for just the autumn or spring semester.

Unit levels

The department offers units across all undergraduate levels of study: year 1 (level C/4), year 2 (level I/5), and year 3 (level H/6) units. Postgraduate units are not available.

Unit codes

Unit codes in the Department of Religion and Theology begin with 'RETH'. This is followed by a number indicating the year (1, 2, 3). For example:

  • RETH10000 = year 1 unit
  • RETH20000 = year 2 unit
  • RETH30000 = year 3 unit.

For more information about each unit, check the University's unit catalogue for 2023/24. Applicants on all study abroad programmes must review the unit details on the catalogue before listing unit choices on their application form. This includes checking the format of assessment for each unit. The unit catalogue for 2023/24 is updated by April 2023.

Your unit choices cannot be guaranteed. Some units may not have capacity to accommodate all of the unit requests we receive. Registration on a unit also depends on whether you meet the pre-requisite conditions through prior study at your home university.

Study Abroad (Subject pathway)

If you have been nominated to Bristol on the Study Abroad (Subject pathway), you must take the majority of your credits in this department.

Units available on the study abroad programme in 2023/24

The following units from the Department of Religion and Theology are open to inbound Study Abroad students.

Year 1 (level C/4)


  • Approaches to the Study of Religion (TB1) - THRS10030
  • Introduction to Sanskrit 1 (TB1) - THRS10017
  • Living Religions West (TB1) - THRS10064


  • Introduction to Hebrew I (TB2) - THRS10066
  • Issues in the Study of Religion (TB2) - THRS10031
  • Living Religions East (TB2) - THRS10065

Year 2 (level I/5)


  • Evil Monks, Foxy Ladies and Pocket Monsters: Religion and Japanese Popular Culture (TB1) - THRS20225
  • Introduction to Sanskrit 1 (TB1) - THRS20188
  • Religion and Material Culture (TB1) - THRS20096
  • Religion: Contexts and Perspectives (TB1) - THRS20214


  • Introduction to Hebrew I (TB2) - THRS20186
  • Religion: Practices and Ideas (TB2) - THRS20215
  • The Body Gender and Religion (TB2) - THRS20192
  • The Renaissance and the Rise of the Modern Age (TB2) - THRS20108

Year 3 (level H/6)


  • Dead Sea Scrolls: Caves, Origins, and Controversies (TB1) - THRS30180
  • Introduction to Sanskrit 1 (TB1) - THRS30171
  • Medieval Mystics and Visionaries (TB1) - THRS30049
  • Political Islam (TB1) - THRS30184
  • Sex, Humour, and Piety: Life in the Medieval Buddhist Monastery (TB1) - THRS30185


  • Children of Abraham, Pupils of Aristotle: Faith, Nature, and Interreligious Inspiration in Medieval Christian Thought (TB2) - THRS30186
  • Introduction to Hebrew I (TB2) - THRS30169
  • The Body in East Asian Thought and Practices (TB2) - THRS30098
  • The Theology of Martin Luther (TB2) - THRS30110

Year 4 (level M/7)

None available

Application queries

Contact the Centre for Study Abroad inbound team if you have any queries about the application process for the study abroad programmes:

Phone: +44 117 39 40207


Students cannot audit units. Study abroad students are fully registered on units for credit purposes and must attend teaching only for classes that they are registered on.

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