Have you ever imagined spending a semester or a full year digging into the liberating well of human knowledge and wrestling with some of the greatest questions that have puzzled humanity since the beginning of history, while enjoying the beautiful surroundings and rich cultural heritage of Cambridge?

The aim of our Study in Cambridge Tutorial Programme is to provide a gateway into the centuries-old science-religion debate, equipping you to formulate a critical and coherent approach to one of the most consequential discussions that has shaped the development of modern scientific and technological societies.

Science and Religion

Human beings have always been interested in big questions like: What’s the purpose of life? Where do we come from? What is the nature of reality? How do we know what is true? These big questions are big precisely because it is difficult for human beings to agree how to answer them.

In the past, in Western civilisations at least, people have developed two methods to approach these questions. Based on reason, philosophers have tried to come up with grand theories of reality and human nature to help us live better lives. Today, science takes on the legacy of the philosophers as the ‘reason-based’ approach to big questions. Stephen Hawking, for example, exemplified this approach.

On the other hand, based on faith, religions such as Christianity have offered sacred teachings from divinely inspired books to guide our thinking and actions in life. Religions don’t necessarily deny the usefulness of reason and scientific investigations; but religious people tend to emphasise the authority of religious teachings from books like the Bible over our incomplete and limited rational investigation.

These two approaches raise an important question for all of us. Are science and religion in conflict with each other? Can science refute religious claims and vice versa? Or are science and religion two non-overlapping sources of truth? Do they talk to each other, joining hands to help progress human knowledge? Or are they two different routes of getting to one and the same truth about reality?

Our approach to these questions can explicitly or implicitly affect our personal life-style choices, how we compartmentalise our lives, and, at a larger scale, affect policy making, education, public discourse and politics.

Study Programme

Sharing the Cambridge undergraduate experience, we want to give you the opportunity to think rigorously about how science relates to faith in a global context. Live and learn together with a passionate and culturally diverse student community.

Photo by Chris Boland

What will you achieve?

The programme aim is to enhance and enrich your total learning experience and personal development through engagement with the science and religion dialogue in order to:

  • Sharpen your critical intellectual enquiry
  • Engage you in tackling intellectual issues over which there may be divergent views
  • Enhance your skills in guided self-directed study
  • Through critical self-reflection, develop a greater understanding of others whilst at the same time developing a view of your own
  • Enrich your intercultural understanding and experience of global citizenship through being part of the Cambridge University community
  • Develop your skills in communication and collaboration

What will you study?

The content of our academic curriculum is divided into two parts. In semester 1 (Autumn), the content takes the traditional approach to “science and religion”. It covers science and religion from an interdisciplinary and theoretical standpoint via topics such as a basic introduction to history and philosophy of science (including genealogy of modern science), reason and faith, and natural theology.

In semester 2 (Spring), the content offers what has been recently termed “science-engaged theology”. It approaches science and religion not through big categories such as “science” and “religion” but through specific aspects of science and technology (e.g. biomedical ethics, climate change, cognitive science, cosmology, evolution) and theological ideas (e.g. creation, imago dei, free will).

Semester 1:  Science and Religion – A Historical, Philosophical and Theological Introduction

  • Intro to philosophy of science and doctrine of creation
  • History of science-religion conflict
  • Reason and faith from the middle-ages to the nineteenth century
  • Natural theology
  • Science and religion in society

Semester 2: Science-Engaged Theology

  • Biological evolution and creation
  • Cosmology and creation
  • Neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and religious faith
  • Medical ethics and theological anthropology
  • The ecological crisis and theological response

How will you study?

The majority of the teaching will take place via small group tutorials (sometimes called ‘supervisions’) of 2-5 students, which is the preferred method of teaching and learning in Cambridge. This means that the level of teaching and interaction will be intense, accompanied by guided independent study. In practice this will have two important outcomes:

  1. You will benefit from personalised engagement with your tutors
  2. You will develop a high level of self-directed learning skills

In addition to classroom learning, there will be visits and field trips for experiential learning and the placing of taught topics into a broader historical and cultural context.

You will also be assigned a member of Faraday Institute staff as a Pastoral Tutor, who will mentor you and help you reflect on the holistic learning experience – as you advance in academic learning, cultural awareness and personal development.

In a typical week your programme of study will be as follows:


Introductory Lecture. Meeting with the tutor for that week for an interactive lecture (maximum group size 10-15 students), allowing introduction of the week’s topic and setting of readings. The tutor will also assign a task for the end-of-week presentation.


Teaching Tutorials. Meeting with the tutor for that week (maximum group size 2-5 students) to discuss the readings and clarify any difficulties of understanding.

Pastoral Tutorials. Meeting with your staff mentor, individually or in small groups.


Student Seminar. Meeting with the tutor, during which you will present your learning in the format assigned at the beginning of the week by the tutor (e.g. an essay or a slide presentation). There will be further Q&A and follow-up discussion with the tutor on the student presentations. Any work to be assessed will be handed in.

Learning Materials and Assessment: Private study sessions will include reading set books and journal articles but also accessing podcasts and video resources. You will be assessed on your seminar presentations, essays, and reflective journals.

In addition to the above, several times each term there will be Faraday Research Seminars or a Faraday Public Lecture which you will be invited to attend. These are given by well-known speakers in the science-religion field. While there is a significant amount of study to do each week, much of your time will be self-directed, giving you flexibility to take part in a broad range of activities alongside the tutorial course.

All visiting students on our Tutorial Programme are registered as a student of The Cambridge Theological Federation (https://www.theofed.cam.ac.uk/), an affiliate theological education institute of Cambridge University, and will also become a member of one of the Cambridge Colleges. All students visiting The Faraday Institute enjoy the full undergraduate experience in Cambridge, including access to academic resources, dining and other facilities, and opportunities to join student societies and events.

Student life

Alongside your academic studies, iconic experiences of studying in Cambridge include activities such as formal dining in College, rowing, joining (or listening to) a chapel choir, punting along the River Cam, and attending debates at the Cambridge Union.

The Cambridge Theological Federation

The Cambridge Theological Federation (CTF) is an ecumenical partnership of twelve institutions, with over 300 students from 30 different countries, engaged in undergraduate and postgraduate degree level education, and in research.

During your time in Cambridge, you will become part of the wider CTF community. There will be opportunities to participate in worship with the other CTF students and join in other CTF social events and academic seminars.

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

The Faraday Institute has a Christian ethos but encourages engagement with a wide diversity of opinions concerning interactions between science and religion. Founded in 2006, as part of St Edmund’s College, The Institute became an independent charitable organisation in 2018 and is a Member of the Cambridge Theological Federation.

The mission of The Faraday Institute is to shed new light on life’s big questions through academically rigorous research in the field of science and religion; to provide life-changing resources for those with interests in science and faith through research dissemination, education and training; and, to catalyse a change in attitude towards science and faith, through outreach to schools, colleges, the scientific community, religious institutions and the general public. The Faraday Institute has a vision to make the very best of academic scholarship available as widely as possible.

The Faraday Institute Tutorial Programme Faculty

Programme Director: Dr Pui Him Ip

Dr Pui Him Ip is Director of Tutorial Programme and Research Associate at The Faraday Institute, an affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge and a visiting Lecturer in Patristics at King’s College London. Before joining The Faraday Institute, he was Departmental Lecturer in Patristics at the University of Oxford and Tutor in Theology at Christ Church, Oxford. A specialist in early Christian thought, Dr Ip earned his PhD in Theology at the University of Cambridge, holds an MA (with distinction) in Philosophy and Theology from Heythrop College, University of London and a MSci (first class) in Theoretical Physics from Imperial College London. His current research focuses on natural philosophy and moral formation in early Christian thought.

Director of Studies: Dr Pavlína Kašparová

Dr Pavlína Kašparová is the Director of Studies at The Faraday Institute. Alongside this role, she is the Director of Studies at The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide and a Research Associate at The Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology where she obtained her PhD in Fine Art and Theology (Anglia Ruskin University award). Before her PhD, Dr Kašparová completed two MA degrees in Catholic Theology and Art History (with BA in Design) at the Palacky University in Olomouc and University Hradec Králové, the Czech Republic. Her research interest is in applying art practice for theological scholarship. As a practising artist, she combines practice-based research methods and theological reflection to observe and test the human’s ability to understand, express and share knowledge outside of the linguistic frameworks.

Assistant Tutorial Programme Director: Ms Melissa McCreery

Melissa McCreery is the Assistant Tutorial Programme Director. She is currently completing her PhD in Education at Cambridge University, where she studies the influence of institutional culture in widening participation at highly selective universities. Further to her doctoral work, Melissa has worked on a range of research projects including Close the Gap, a joint project between Cambridge & Oxford Universities aimed at bringing about meaningful change in doctoral candidate-selection systems to create a more inclusive environment, as well as the Pembroke College Higher Education Debates, aimed at discussing longstanding questions facing higher education today. Prior to pursuing her PhD, Melissa completed her M.Ed. at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In addition to her research and academic career, she has worked for more than 15 years at a range of U.S. colleges and universities, specifically in student recruitment policy, curriculum development, and donor engagement.

Tutorial Course Co-ordinator: Ms Felicity Parker

Felicity Parker is both Content and Communications Offer and Tutorial Course Co-ordinator at the Faraday Institute. Felicity originally read Classics at the University of Cambridge, specialising in linguistics, textual criticism and Ancient Greek mathematics, before transferring to History and Philosophy of Science for an MSci. Her principal academic interests are ancient and early modern mathematics and natural philosophy, in particular the mathematisation of shipbuilding in the early modern period. Outside of academia, Felicity enjoys spending time outdoors, either gardening or messing about in boats; when the weather is too inclement for either, she turns her hand to any number of crafts including crochet and dressmaking.

Faraday Tutors

Dr Roger Abbott, Senior Research Associate, The Faraday Institute

Dr Denis Alexander, Emeritus Founding Director, The Faraday Institute; previously Chairman of the Molecular Immunology Programme and Head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Signalling and Development, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge.

Dr Ruth Bancewicz, Church Engagement Director, The Faraday Institute

Dr Mike Brownnut, Associate Course Director, The Faraday Institute

Graham Budd, Director, The Faraday Institute; previously President & COO, Arm

Prof. Keith FoxResearch Director, The Faraday Institute; Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Southampton

Revd Dr Rodney Holder, Former Course Director, The Faraday Institute; Fellow Commoner, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge

Chris Oldfield, Research Associate, The Faraday Institute

Prof. Sarah Perrett OBE FRSC, Associate Director & Course Director, The Faraday Institute; Professor, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Prof. Bob White FRS, Emeritus Founding Director, The Faraday Institute; Emeritus Professor of Geophysics, University of Cambridge


Get in Touch

To find out more, contact us at tutorial@faraday.cam.ac.uk.