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World religions and theology (TSM)

B.A.; 24 places

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What is World Religions and Theology?

Religion is a key theme of the 21st century, and World Religions and Theology offers a unique opportunity to approach it from different perspectives.

This course explores theories of religion, the monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the religions of Asia and Africa, movements such as New Atheism, New Religious Movements and the interaction between religion and politics, science, or art.

World Religions and Theology: The course for you?

Choosing World Religions and Theology will suit you if you have an interest in any of the following ways of approaching religion:

The academic study of religion provides you with the skills and the knowledge to understand how religious constructions of meaning affect individuals, cultures and societies. World Religions studies the foundational texts, symbols and rituals of these traditions in interaction with each era.Biblical studies provides you with in-depth knowledge of the origins and transformations of Jewish and Christian monotheisms in their historical and cultural contexts.

Theology investigates the development of Christian self-understanding in its interaction with different cultures and eras. In ethics, principles such as human dignity, autonomy and justice are examined and applied to issues like surveillance technologies, genetic enhancement, and ecological sustainability.

Our teaching methods include excursions to museums and religious sites, encounters with “lived religion”, the analysis of epoch-making texts from three millennia, case studies and self-directed research.

World Religions and Theology @ Trinity

Established in Trinity since its foundation in 1592, the professorships in this subject belong to the oldest in the University. Since 1980, we have been a non-denominational department in the Arts Faculty. Our current programme engages with the complex roles of religion in an era of globalisation by combining biblical studies, theology and ethics, and the cultural study of religion.

The department is close to vibrant locations relevant to the programme: the Chester Beatty Library with its world renowned collection of biblical, Islamic and Asian religious manuscripts; the Huguenot heritage of Marsh’s Library; local religious centres and other cultural destinations central to the history of religious traditions.

In our small and diverse department, students and staff are able to get to know each other and discuss themes in religion in a spirit of open and co-operative enquiry. Independence and rigorous thinking are crucial reflective capacities that we strive to foster, from small group work, projects, presentations and essays to the choice of your fourth year dissertation subject.

The Department invites internationally acclaimed speakers for public lectures, and it benefits from the activities of a lively student society, the “Theo”, which hosts debates on topical themes.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

The programme provides students with capacities that are decisive for all professions where an understanding of cultural processes and of the intellectual resources of religious traditions play a role: insight into 3000 years of religious practice and reflection on human life, knowledge of key texts from Antiquity to Modernity, rigorous and succinct writing, clear and effective communication, analytic and comparative thinking.

Our graduates have excelled in many different professions: as a University Vice-President, as Advisory Counsel at the Office of the Attorney General, as Barrister and Chair of the Irish Criminal Bar Association, in the Department of Foreign Affairs, as an RTE multimedia journalist, as publishers, university lecturers, museum curator, in foreign aid as Education Officer of the Bishops’ Appeal, as teachers of Religious Education, in international business and insurance, for example Willis Foundation, London, in management positions of migration and of disability support services, in human resources and in health care professions, and as Best Chef at the Metro’s Young British Foodies awards.

Your degree and what you’ll study


Three year-long overview courses are taken jointly by single honour and TSM students: Introduction to World Religions, to Biblical Studies and to Theology. Single honour students also take: The Qur’an and its History of Reception, and Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean; Religion in Public: Great Speeches, and Great Images; Introductions to Philosophy, and to Theological Ethics in Pluralist Societies.


From second year onwards, students choose their modules (12 in single honour, 6 in TSM). In second year, students can replace one of them by a Broad Curriculum module (see They can learn a biblical language, or Arabic.


All students write a thesis of 15,000 words with a supervisor chosen from an area they want to specialise in, and choose four modules.

The programme consists of three strands:

Religious Studies explores religion as an enduring feature of culture (Theory of Religion), using methods from psychology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, aesthetics and the cognitive sciences. Using historical and comparative methods, the diversity of religious traditions is investigated in World Religions.

Biblical Studies investigates the historical and cultural contexts in which the Bible originated and the intellectual currents with which Early Christianity interacted. Key biblical texts and their histories of interpretation are studied. Students can take a biblical language, equipping them with specific skills required for taught masters and postgraduate research in Biblical Studies.

Theology investigates how key thinkers conceive of God in relation to human reason and freedom, of incarnation and redemption in their significance for reflections on the self, history and human diversity or the relation to science and politics. Ethics studies approaches human agency and responsibility, from the flourishing life in community to principled autonomy and cosmopolitanism.

For a full list of modules and more detailed information, please visit

Study abroad

You can spend up to a year on Erasmus exchange at the universities of Leuven/Belgium or Glasgow/Scotland or at other universities open to Trinity students, e.g. Berkeley, Chapel Hill, Toronto, Melbourne, Singapore.

For further information, please see


You are most welcome to attend first and second year lectures. Please contact us by email to arrange a visit.


Tel: +353 1 896 1297

What our graduates say

Kitty Lyddon, The Lilliput Press, Dublin

“We had people from all faiths, all backgrounds and all ages, and this created a dynamic atmosphere for learning. The professors were inspiring, and very accessible, flexible and friendly… you will learn how to read and write in a more efficient way, to speak in front of an audience and remember things succinctly, to formulate your thoughts clearly in order to convey your opinions … All these on top of discovering the prophets of the Old Testament, Kierkegaard’s three stages and a smattering
of Greek. It is a fascinating choice of study and people do respond to that later in life.
I have noticed that prospective employers have always found my choice of study intriguing.”

What our current students say

Sorcha Maher, First year, TSM with Russian, Dublin

“The World Religions and Theology course at Trinity is a hub of colourful thought and diverse ideas. The lecturers are clearly passionate about their area of study and instil this passion in the students. The small classes (max. 30 students) make studying thoroughly enjoyable. Whether looking at the first century or at contemporary thinking, the lecturers guide you to understanding texts and events in their relevance for current matters.”

Course Options



Number of Places


CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

When applying for a TSM/TR001 combination, TR001 must NOT be entered on the application form. Please find your correct code and read TSM here


TR001 – World Religions and Theology (TSM) must be combined with one other TSM subject. For subjects that combine with World Religions and Theology see TSM combinations.

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here


Click on the links below to see the available options

+ EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO

+ Non-EU Applicants

To apply to a course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

+ Mature Student – Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student, then select the relevant link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

+ Advanced Entry Applications

Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the relevant link below to apply.

CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is

When applying for a TSM/TR001 combination, TR001 must NOT be entered on the application form. Please find your correct code and read TSM here


TR001 – World Religions and Theology (TSM) must be combined with one other TSM subject. For subjects that combine with World Religions and Theology see TSM combinations.