Applicants to any of our three courses are required to submit one piece of written work. Please note that if written work is not received before the deadline, an application will normally be considered incomplete and disregarded.
Ideally, applicants should submit a single, self-contained piece of writing, composed as part of a current or recent course of study. It should not exceed about 2,000 words in length (and shorter is fine) but should demonstrate the following qualities:
- the ability to think clearly and to reason coherently,
- evidence of independence of thought,
- the ability to structure work and arguments in a logical way, and
- the ability to write clearly (and grammatically), with clear expression of thought.
Both typewritten and (legible) handwritten submissions are welcome but be aware that work submitted on paper will be scanned. Please submit before the deadline, according to the instructions here.
Your work may be on any subject and not necessarily Theology or Religion. If you are taking e.g. A Level Religious Studies and consider one of your essays for that course to represent your best work then, of course, you should submit it. However, essays on other subjects, e.g. English, History, Politics etc are also welcome. You should submit the work that you think best demonstrates the four qualities listed above. It is fine to ask for the advice and opinion of your teacher or another advisor at your school. It is not usually necessary (see below for exceptions) to write something especially for submission. Do not imagine that tutors only want to read essays on their own specialist subjects; they would rather read an essay you have written on a subject about which you are well informed. It is not the intention of this requirement to add much to the workload of applicants at an already very busy time.
There is no restriction as to the kind of work you may submit, providing that it is your own work. You might choose to submit, for example, a mock A Level essay, completed under examination conditions or a homework essay from your IB course.
If you are taking an EPQ qualification, please do not submit the whole project but you may submit an excerpt. If you prefer this option, please identify an excerpt (about 1,000-2,000 words) that will make sense as a stand-alone piece. You may top and tail the excerpt with a sentence or two about what comes before it and what follows it in the project, where that aids comprehension.
The admissions process supplies tutors with plentiful opportunities to gauge how students perform under pressure or when faced with new questions in a new context (e.g. at interview or in the Philosophy Test). The written work submitted by applicants instead provides tutors with an opportunity to see how students perform in something more like their “comfort zone.” Ideally, submitted work usually reflects what an applicant can produce in a context where they are supported (by teachers and peers) and familiar with the material under discussion.
Do not make a “fair copy” or revise your regular work. We welcome work complete with teacher’s comments and/or crossings-out. If nothing else, it indicates the context in which the piece was written.