Religious Studies at the OU is committed to the non-confessional study of religion, and the analysis of historical and contemporary religions through the application of critical, historical and sociological methods. Our 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) result placed us high among religious studies departments nationally and recognised the international significance, reach and rigour of our research. Our expertise in a wide range of research methods and approaches to 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.
- 83 per cent of our research output was rated 3* and 4* (2021 Research Excellence Framework).
- 75% of our research environment was awarded 3* (2021 REF).
- We currently have nine full- and part-time research students.
- Staff and students attend regular research events.
- The Arts and Humanities Research Council Open-Oxford-Cambridge Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) and the Economic and Social Research Council Grand Union DTP offer studentships for doctoral research in the discipline.
Most of our full-time research students are based away from our Milton Keynes campus but are resident in the UK. For details of residence requirements for different modes of study see Full-time study and Part-time study.
It felt like a real achievement to have followed those threads all the way from the initial idea, to planning the methods, conducting fieldwork, analysing the material.
Owen CogginsPhD Graduate, Religious Studies department at the OU
I loved doing my PhD despite the intellectual difficulty of the task! Above all, I’m grateful for the rigorous training I gained in skills relating to research, writing and presentation.
Sarah FlewPhD Graduate, Religious Studies department at the OU