At the start of the play, Faustus is disillusioned with the options afforded to him by traditional academia. In Scene 1, as Faustus soliloquizes on his decision to abandon the fields of medicine, law, and theology in favor of studying magic, he praises his chosen path by oxymoronically using the language of heaven to discuss his imminent sinful pursuits:
These metaphysics of magicians
And necromantic books are heavenly.
In the quote above, Faustus blasphemously refers to necromantic texts and other magical works as heavenly, inverting right and wrong and revealing the depth of his descent into sin. The Chorus tells us in the Prologue that Faustus has just graduated from university (he’s been “graced with doctor’s name”), and furthermore that he so excelled in his scholarly pursuits that he surpassed his fellow students. However, rather than putting the education he received to good use, Faustus is overcome with arrogance and “cunning,” and instead desires to serve his gluttonous instincts by actively pursuing the sinful fields of magic and necromancy.
It is important to remember that even with the rise of the Renaissance and humanist scholarship, education in the 16th century was still undergirded by a strong theological component. As an accomplished scholar, Faustus is fully aware of the dangers that practicing magic will invite, but the oxymoron shows that this awareness is abstract for him. Blinded by his selfish desire to constantly chase the next best field of scholarship, Faustus forsakes his faith and goodness in pursuit of his own satisfaction.