How has the study of religion in the UK been shaped by its institutional contexts? Consideration is given to the Christian and secular foundations of universities and higher education colleges, the relationship of theology and religious studies, and the impact of institutional structures and drivers associated with teaching and research. The formation of ‘TRS’ as an instrumental and contested subject area is discussed, as is the changing curriculum. Research on religion is examined in relation to new institutional pressures and opportunities: the assessment of university research and the public funding of research. The importance of the impact agenda and capacity building are illustrated.