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Your personal statement is an important part of your university application. It is your first chance to make a lasting impression on the admission tutors in the Theology department. 

Your personal statement provides an insight into your motivations for wanting to study Theology, showcases your potential contributions to the cohort and demonstrates your determination and skills that will aid your success on the course.

Personal statement writing can appear to be a daunting process for many Theology applicants, especially when trying to strike a balance between discussing relevant accomplishments and academic interests, whilst condensing it all into one A4 page. 

To help you get on the right track, our Personal Statement Guide takes you through everything you need to know to create an excellent Theology personal statement:

Why are Personal Statements Important? 

A personal statement is an integral part of your UCAS application submitted to the universities of your choice. UCAS sets strict limits: 4,000 characters or 47 lines on the form, whichever is reached first.

These statements are crucial as they provide a primary opportunity to convey to universities your motivations for studying your chosen subject, showcasing genuine interests, and, importantly, providing evidence and rationale for your course selection.

Personal statements, especially for subjects like Theology, which you may not have encountered at school, allow you to demonstrate critical thinking, enthusiasm, and original perspectives. Admissions tutors are looking for students who are passionate and committed to their subject, making your personal statement a vital tool in conveying your dedication.


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What Should I Include in a Theology Personal Statement? 

Academic Interests and Achievements 

When evaluating your potential for studying Theology, academic interests and achievements hold significant weight for admissions tutors. You accordingly need to delve into how you have explored theology both inside and outside of the classroom.

To do this, mention various media such as theological texts, scholars, podcasts, documentaries, and essay competitions or any achievements you have earned, are proud of, and relate to the study of Theology. For each piece of evidence, highlight what you learned and why it genuinely interests you. It is essential to remember to discuss how each activity has deepened your understanding or enriched your perspective on theology. This approach not only portrays your academic journey but also shows your genuine passion and intellectual curiosity for Theology as an academic discipline.

Relevant Extracurricular Activities 

When discussing extracurricular activities in your personal statement, you need to emphasise how each activity has added to your passion for or knowledge of Theology, showing the skills and insights you have gained on your academic journey.

It is essential that you only include relevant and engaging extracurricular activities in your personal statement; admissions tutors aren't interested in your experience working in a pub or your gold medals in youth gymnastics, as impressive as these achievements are.

You should instead choose activities that either highlight your passion for Theology or demonstrate the necessary skills for your course, such as critical thinking, attention to detail, and problem-solving. Activities that fit the bill could range from public speaking, to running an ethics society at school, to listening to podcasts about philosophy. It is especially important to ensure you focus on extracurricular activities that both make your statement more personable whilst also including content relevant to the study of Theology.

Passion and Genuine Interest 

Passion and genuine interest are fundamental for an outstanding Theology personal statement. You should never merely list interests, but instead note the significance of the theological concepts or debates that capture your attention. When discussing theological doctrines, religious texts, or ethical dilemmas that fascinate you, always offer thoughtful explanations and insights into your engagement with the particular subject matter. By doing this, you will demonstrate your commitment and engagement, setting your personal statement apart from other applicants.

You can also demonstrate your passion by telling the tutors directly how you initially became interested in studying Theology, and what motivates you to pursue it at a higher level. Be sure not to make up something overly-esoteric or complex; just be honest and explain what truly makes you as an individual passionate about Theology.

What Should I Avoid in a Theology Personal Statement? 

The most common pitfall when writing a Theology Personal statement is oversimplifying or misinterpreting theological concepts. You must ensure that you explain theological concepts accurately and clearly to produce an effective personal statement. You can make sure you don't do this by only mentioning ideas that you've read about thoroughly and are sure you understand completely.

Moreover, you must spell any key terms you use correctly. This not only shows your ability to pay attention to detail, but that you also understand the content you are discussing. Be careful not to conflate elements of one religious tradition with another, as this too can undermine your credibility and understanding.

Finally, stay as far away as possible from cliches and overly verbose language, like “I have wanted to study theology since I was young” or “Buddhism is super fascinating.” Instead, you should use precise, genuine expressions to succinctly convey your motivations and insights. Remember that your word count is short, and wasting words on vague statements does not make for an attractive personal statement.

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Advice on How to Start a Theology Personal Statement  

Your Theology Personal statement is a reflection of your academic journey and pursuit of the subject. Hence, mapping out this journey to decide what you want to include in your personal statement is a great place to start.

Before you begin writing, creating a mind map or list outlining your reasons for interest in the subject can be very beneficial. Reflect on the theological texts you've found compelling, discussions you've engaged in, and any relevant experiences or media you've encountered. Concentrate on detailing what you have undertaken, what has motivated and enriched your understanding, and your aspirations for further learning. For instance, after reading the Epic of Gilgamesh, how was your understanding of Mesopotamia impacted or after learning about Samsara, what significance do you think reincarnation has for Hinduism?

If you are struggling to get your wider research off the ground, or need something new to get out of a research rut, check out some of our recommendations below:


Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in Papua New Guinea Society by Joel Robbins

Public Religions in the Modern World by José Casanova

A Secular Age by Charles Taylor

Studying Islam: The Critical Issues (Studying World Religions) by Clinton Bennett

Religion in Britain Since 1945 by Grace Davie


Testament: The Story of Moses

The Story of God With Morgan Freeman


In Our Time, Religion (BBC Radio 4)

Philosophize This!

BBC Beyond Belief Podcast


The Journal of Theological Studies

International Journal of Systematic Theology

Religion and Gender

Advice on How to Finish a Theology Personal Statement  

Writing the conclusion of a Theology Personal Statement can be as challenging as crafting the opening line. Our main piece of advice is to try not to overcomplicate things! Your final sentences should clearly and succinctly summarise your academic interest in Theology and your enthusiasm for pursuing the course.

Think about what you want the admissions tutors to remember about you once they have finished reading. This is the information to foreground in your conclusion.

Lastly, always proofread your personal statement several times. We recommend giving a final version to a parent, guardian, teacher, friend, or anyone else you can find, really! Getting a second opinion, be it from someone with a background in Theology or someone completely new to the subject, can help weed out mistakes and ensure your writing is clear and your intentions can be understood.


The strongest Theology Personal statements are ones which demonstrate a genuine and authentic interest in the study of Theology but also show that they understand what Theology is. Top students will include key terms and explain relevant theories or content accurately to demonstrate their understanding of the course and course requirements.

Top level applicants will spend most, if not all, of their statement focused purely on their academic research and interests within the field of Theology. They will not mention anything that they cannot relate back to Theology or relevant skills for higher level study.

If you are applying for a joint honours course, such as Theology and Philosophy, or different courses at a few universities and Theology at others, carefully think about which topics you write about to demonstrate that you have skills to cover all elements of the course.

It is advisable to use as much of the UCAS-provided limit as you can. Your personal statement is a chance to exhibit to admissions tutors that you possess the qualities of an outstanding Theology student. While the 4000-character or 47-line limit (whichever is met first) may appear ample, once you begin detailing your interests, you will find that it ins't much space at all!

You want to ensure that you only include extracurricular activities that demonstrate relevant skills, interests, and qualities in your statement.

Whether the activity or resource you want to mention is directly related to Theology or not (and it doesn't necessarily have to be), you should not just mention it, but also explicitly discuss why or how you believe that it either motivates you or equips you with the skills to perform well on the degree course to which you are applying.

A lot of students assume you need to be experts in the Reformation, know the ins and outs of all the Abrahamic religions and be able to analyse Latin, but it is no requirement to cover any of this in your personal statement. It is important when tailoring your personal statement to Oxford and Cambridge that you follow your interests and, above all, be yourself and authentic in the opinions you express and the topics you choose to discuss.

Book your Theology Personal Statement Package

You can contact our Oxbridge-graduate Consultants on +44 (0) 20 7499 2394 or email [email protected] to discuss our personal statement packages. 

If you’d like to know more about Theology, we have admissions test guidance and interview preparation readily available. 

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