Faith in academia: Integrating students' faith stance into conceptions of their intellectual development

Duna Sabri*, Christopher Rowland, Jonathan Wyatt, Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Sarita Cargas, Helenann Hartley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the interaction between religious faith and academic study. It presents findings from a small-scale qualitative study of how first year theology undergraduates at Oxford experienced the relationship between academic study and their faith stance. The findings suggest varied developments in the extent to which students adapted to the learning environment, the strategies they formed in dealing with the interface between faith and academic study, and the expectations they discerned as implicit in the curriculum itself. The paper considers the findings in relation to Perry's nine stages of students' intellectual and ethical development, and proposes that, following Perry, the discussion of religious faith as one of the contexts within which undergraduate students make sense of their experience be restored to educational discourse. The article concludes by proposing that provision of curriculum space to explore the interaction between the existential and the academic is a key factor for subjects such as theology and religious studies, which contain a significant self-involving element.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


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