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Religious Studies

An image to illustrate studying religious studies with The Open University

The Religious Studies Department at the OU is committed to the non-confessional study of religion, developing objective analysis through the application of critical, historical and sociological methods. Our 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) result placed us high among religious studies departments nationally and recognised the international significance of much of our research. Our expertise in a wide range of research methods and approaches to many religions provides an invaluable context for postgraduate research about contemporary religion in historical perspective and vice versa. Our leadership in important scholarly associations, conferences and publications places us at the forefront of the discipline internationally and greatly benefits our research students.

Key facts

  • 35 per cent of our research assessed as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ and 40 per cent as ‘internationally significant’ by the last RAE.
  • Ranked third highest purely religious studies department; 19th among 61 “TRS” departments in the RAE.
  • Publications in leading disciplinary journals and keynote lectures at international conferences.
  • Large nationally funded collaborative research projects, especially in applied religious history.
  • 18 current PhD students.
  • All staff members are research active, applying a range of approaches, including historical and ethnographic methods.
  • Regular research seminars enabling interdisciplinary discussion, especially about contemporary religion in historical perspective, and vice versa.
  • See our Doctoral Training Centre studentships page for more information concerning Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts Southeast England (CHASE) studentships.

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Dr Paul-Francois Tremlett
+44 (0)1908 652032

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.


Research publications by Open University staff are available through Open Research Online (ORO), the university's repository of research publications and other research outputs. ORO can be searched or browsed by staff name or subject.

The following list, generated from ORO, provides a flavour of the most recently published work in Religious Studies