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Education Bachelor's degree programmes Religious Studies
Header image Religious Studies

Religious Studies

How do religions come into existence? How do they affect people and societies? What role does religion play in conflicts and peacebuilding? And what does religion have to do with climate change?

Religion matters in society: 85% of the world's population identify themselves as religious. And religion is an important factor in many national and international political, cultural and social issues. For instance in relation to climate change, sexual health, diversity discussions, heritage, radicalization, migration, conflicts and peacebuilding. Worldwide, there are many conflicts, sensitivities and political discussions in which religion plays an important role, which makes experts on religion needed today.

In this programme you will be introduced to the phenomenon of religion, and you will deepen your knowledge of various aspects of the major religions in the world. In class, you will not debate to what extent religion is 'true', but how religion affects people's lives, and what people do with it. You will study people's behavior and thinking, and examine the prominent role religion plays in their lives.

You will study this from different academic perspectives: history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and philosophy. Therefore, you will become a broadly trained social scientist.

Challenge yourself and study the religion factor in culture and society.
Facts & Figures
Degree
BA in Religious Studies
Course type
Bachelor
Duration
36 months (180 ECTS)
Croho code
50902
Language of instruction
English, Dutch
Start
September
Faculty
Religion, Culture and Society
Studie in Cijfers
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • best BA Religious Studies programme in The Netherlands, at top 100 university;
  • taught entirely in English;
  • unique combination of anthropology, sociology, psychology, (art) history, political science, philosophy and ethics.
  • international staff and international classroom;
  • small classes with intensive supervision;
  • programme relates latest research and theories to current developments;
  • taught at non-denominational university;
  • Groningen is a vibrant yet safe place to live.
Programme

In the first year you will study the great world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism). You will consider the historical origin of these religions and their modern-day manifestations. You will be introduced to various approaches to the study of religion, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. You will address questions such as: What is a religious experience? What are the claims to truth made by religions?

Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Concepts and Methods 1: Study of Religion (7.5 EC)

An introduction to the history and the main disciplinary approaches and methods in the academic study of religion. You will get acquainted with key concepts in the study of religion, such as gender theory, post-colonialism, ritual, text, culture, discourse, and more.

Judaism (7.5 EC)

You will study series of historical and thematic incisions that reveal crucial aspects of Judaism as practiced, its ancient formation, and its historical development.

Anthropology of Religion (7.5 EC)

You will be introduced to the anthropology of religion, including the works and lives of key-figures in the field, and significant concepts and theories.

Religion in South Asia (7.5 EC)

In this lecture series you will discover the historical origins and development of Hinduism and Buddhism. The class focusses on regional contexts and the relationship between religion, theory and practice.

Christianity (7.5 EC)

You will obtain knowledge and insight in the emergence of Christianity from the first century to present day.

Psychology and Sociology of Religion (7.5 EC)

You will discover which theories psychologists and sociologists have developed, and still are developing, to study religious and spiritual phenomena.

Islam (7.5 EC)

You will study the Islamic origins and thought from 600 until today, with an emphasis on daily practices and within various cultural contexts.

Religion and Philosophy (7.5 EC)

You will study fundamental concepts, theories and discussions within philosophy of religion and use these ideas to analyze religious doctrines.

In the second year you will learn to use different perspectives to analyse religious expressions – texts, rituals and visual art – and place them in their cultural context. In addition, you will follow lectures on the social impact of religion. What influence does religion have on a secular society? What media do religious groups use to promote their image? Is the role of religion in politics different in the West than in the East? What is the position of women in a migrant community?

Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Concepts and Methods 2: Researching Religion (7.5 EC)

You will learn how to design scientific research and practice the required methodological skills.

Rituals in Theory and Practice (7.5 EC)

You will focus on different theoretical approaches to the study of ritual and learn how to apply these theories on your own case study.

The Sacred Image (7.5 EC)

The course introduces you to the study of visual art in religious history and practice through the lens of iconography, function, and use.

The Text Awakens: Reading and Using of Religious Texts (7.5 EC)

You will study recent theories and approaches to texts and authorship in literary studies in order to understand texts as active agents in social and cultural contexts.

Religion, Media and Popular Culture (7.5 EC)

You will analyse different levels of interaction between religion, media and popular culture, in Western and Asian contexts.

Religion and Politics (7.5 EC)

You will acquire knowledge of recent anthropological and sociological research in the fields of religion and politics, and gain insight into the debates within political sciences in relation to the role of religion in politics, conflict and peace building.

Ethics and Secularity (7.5 EC)

You will be introduced to the history of Western ethics and develop skills to analyse and interpret classical and contemporary texts and arguments in ethics.

Religion, Diversity and Identity (7.5 EC)

You will gain knowledge about new forms of religion and spirituality, their historical and current presence and their manifestations in present-day diverse societies.

In the third year you can follow course units from other degree programmes, study for six months abroad, or follow a placement. You will also conduct research within your chosen specialization, for example among immigrants: Do they experience their religion differently in their new homeland? You will report on your research in your Bachelor's thesis

Semesters
CoursesCourse Catalog >1a1b2a2b
Optional module (7.5 EC, optional)

Part of University Minor, Educational Minor, Minor Spiritual Care or another optional module

Quranic Arabic 1 (7.5 EC, optional)

You will learn how to read selected short texts from the Quran in Arabic.

Spirituality and Secular Religion (7.5 EC, optional)

You will gain an understanding about the diverse forms of contemporary spirituality in Europe and North America and will be able to trace the historical lines of these spiritualities into the nineteenth century.

Minor Spiritual Care (Dutch only) (30 EC, optional)

This minor prepares you for the MA programme in Spiritual Care (Dutch only)

University Minor (15 EC, optional)

You can study at another Faculty, abroad, do an internship or follow the Educational Minor if you are considering a career as a high school teacher (Dutch only).

Climate Change, End Times and Sustainable Futures (7.5 EC, optional)

What are the visions and resources available across different theological, philosophical and spiritual traditions for understanding and responding to climate change?

Optional Module (7.5 EC, optional)

Part of University Minor, Educational Minor, or Minor Spiritual Care

Quranic Arabic 2 (7.5 EC, optional)

You will develop your basic knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and acquire skills in reading passages of the Quran in the Arabic language.

Religion, Space and Place (7.5 EC, optional)

You will learn how to analyse a sacred space through a combination of historical, sociological, and spatial science approaches, and be able to explain the religious, cultural and secular functions of a sacred space.

Specialization 1: Lived Religion (15 EC, optional)

Course units: Reading Case Studies; Academic Debates

Specialization 2: Cultural Impact of Religion (15 EC, optional)

Course units: Contested Humanity; Cultural Impact of Religion

Bachelor Thesis (10 EC)

You write a thesis about a subject of your choice.

Thesis Seminar (5 EC)

This course unit offers you the opportunity to work intensively on specific aspects of your BA thesis design, research and writing.

Study load

40 hours of class and self-study per week on average

1 ECTS = 28 hrs. of study. One year contains of 60 ECTS. In the first year, you will have at least 12 hrs. of lessons per week at the Faculty, the rest of the hours is reserved for preparation of the classes.

Curriculum

In the first year you will study the great world religions and consider the historical origin of these religions and their modern-day manifestations. You will be introduced to various approaches to the study of religion. In the second year you will learn to use different perspectives to analyse religious expressions. In the third year, you can shape your own programme.

Programme options
University of Groningen Honours College (honours program)

The Honours College gives talented, motivated students the opportunity to challenge themselves even more.

The main aim of the Honours programme is to develop talent and initiative. In the Bachelor's Honours Programme, the emphasis is therefore on greater depth and breadth.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • For an average of 20 weeks
  • Maximum of 30 EC

We have various exchange contracts with universities both inside and outside Europe, enabling students to follow part of their degree programme at a foreign university. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad. For an overview of our exchange partners, see: https://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/exchangeprogrammes/partneruniversities

Entry requirements

Admissible Dutch diploma profiles

  • VWO Natuur & Techniek
  • VWO Natuur & Gezondheid
  • VWO Economie & Maatschappij
  • VWO Cultuur & Maatschappij
  • HBO propedeuse

    HBO-propedeuse (met havo) geeft aan de RUG niet automatisch toegang tot een studie; de opleiding kan aanvullende eisen stellen. In het geval van Religiewetenschappen zijn er geen aanvullende eisen en zijn studenten met een HBO-propedeuse direct toelaatbaar.

  • academic propedeuse

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Dutch VWO diploma, a German Abitur, an International Baccalaureate diploma, a European Baccalaureate or another diploma that is sufficient for acceptance to a Dutch university.

language test

IELTS: 6.0 (6.0 on each part); TOEFL iBT 80 (minimum 18 speaking, 21 writing) (not for native speakers or students with a European Baccalaureate L1/L2)

Choice of degree programme check

The degree programme will organize a matching procedure. Attendance is optional. The advice is not binding.

  • There is an online questionnaire.
  • A number of special matching days will be held. Attendance is optional.
    • Prepare the learning material at home in advance.
    • One or more introductory lectures.
    • Discussions with students.

Explanatory notes

If you apply before 1 May, our student adviser will contact you to set up a skype meeting to talk about your motivation for and expectations of the bachelor's programme in Religious Studies.

Registration procedure

International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a bachelor's degree programme at the University of Groningen. The full registration procedure will take longer than for Dutch students with regular Dutch qualifications and consists of three steps: application, admission and registration.

After you submit your application in Studielink, you will receive a message from Studielink stating that the University of Groningen (UG) has to verify your educational background through the Progress Portal. You will receive a separate email with your login details (make sure to also check your spam folder).

Check the the application guide for international students for more information about the admissions procedure for international students.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025

Choice of degree programme check

If you apply before 1 May, our student adviser will contact you to set up a skype meeting to talk about your motivation for and expectations of the bachelor's programme in Religious Studies.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
previous education

Dutch VWO diploma, a German Abitur, an International Baccalaureate diploma, a European Baccalaureate or another diploma that is sufficient for acceptance to a Dutch university.

language test

IELTS: 6.0 (6.0 on each part); TOEFL iBT 80 (minimum 18 speaking, 21 writing) (not for native speakers)

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6
IELTS listening6
IELTS reading6
IELTS writing6
IELTS speaking6
TOEFL internet based80

Registration procedure

International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a bachelor's degree programme at the University of Groningen. The full registration procedure will take longer than for Dutch students with regular Dutch qualifications and consists of three steps: application, admission and registration.

After you submit your application in Studielink, you will receive a message from Studielink stating that the University of Groningen (UG) has to verify your educational background through the Progress Portal. You will receive a separate email with your login details (make sure to also check your spam folder).

Check the the application guide for international students for more information about the admissions procedure for international students.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202501 September 2025
EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202501 September 2025
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2024-2025€ 2530full-time
non-EU/EEA2024-2025€ 13100full-time
  • All applicants with a non-Dutch qualification will have to pay an application fee.

Practical information for:

After your studies

It is recommended to follow an additional Master's Programme to further your career. You are welcome to follow a degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies at our Faculty, but you can also choose to opt for a programme at another Faculty of the University of Groningen, or at another university in or outside the Netherlands. After completing your Bachelor's degree programme you can choose to follow tracks in our one-year Master's degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies:

  • Religion, Conflict and Globalization: about the role of religion in world conflicts and the impact of globalization on religion.
  • Heritage and Religion: specializes in material and immaterial heritage. This can range from churches to pop music, and from funeral rituals to the religious symbols in Game of Thrones.
  • Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern: focuses on the relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the antique world and how these relations have formed our modern society.
  • Geestelijke Verzorging (in Dutch): you learn how to help and assist people in crisis situations, by guiding them in the field of meaning and spirituality.

All our Master's degree programmes offer the possibility to follow an internship to prepare for the labour market.
The two-year Research Master's degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies prepares students for a career in research.

Religious Diversity in a Globalised World (Erasmus Mundus) is our unique two-year programme, in collaboration with other European and Latin America universities and societal partners.

Job prospects

If you complete a follow-on Master's degree after your Bachelor's degree, you increase your chances on the job market. If you choose a Master's programme at our Faculty, you will do a placement at an organization, institute or company that is involved in religion and culture. Most of our graduates end up in one of seven clear job profiles after gaining a Master's degree:

  • Care
  • Policy & Management
  • Education
  • Academia
  • Church
  • Culture
  • Media

Below you will find a list of the jobs held by our alumni.

  • Care: spiritual carer at a care institution, independent therapist.
  • Policy & Management: policy officer / advisor with a government institution, cultural institution or political party, staff member/advisor for an aid organization, embassy staff, security advisor to the military, etc.
  • Education: religious studies teacher, education officer.
  • Academia: researcher at a university or research institute.
  • Culture: employee at museum
  • Media: journalist, editor.

In addition, a significant number of our graduates are self-employed in one of these sectors.

Check out our alumni page to learn more about what kind of positions our alumni found after graduating.

Research

Education and Research

The programme directly benefits from cutting-edge research carried out within the three departments of the faculty:

  • Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins. The research and teaching carried out in this department focuses on the formative stages of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Your lecturers study their dynamic interrelationship in the context of ancient Near Eastern, Graeco-Roman and late antique cultures.
  • Comparative Study of Religion. In this department, religion is addressed in all its forms and appearances. Historians, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists are working together to critically investigate religion as a cultural factor that is so influential in the modern world. Of particular importance for the research and teaching in this department is the critical analysis of constructions of “Eastern” and “Western” forms of religion.
  • Christianity and the History of Ideas. The scholars in this department focus on the impact of the Christian intellectual tradition in the past as well as the possibilities of a rapprochement of religion and the secular in our time.

The course units are taught by internationally recognized scholars. They will provide you with an up-to-date overview of the state of the art of the subjects you are studying, often drawing on their own research.

Research Centres and activities

Much of the research connects with the activities of:

These centres and research groups regularly invite speakers and organize events where students, PhD students and staff engage in lively discussions.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Open Dag ReligiewetenschappenOude Boteringestraat 38More information
open dagdiverse locatiesMore information
Open Dag ReligiewetenschappenOude Boteringestraat 38More information

Contact

  • ambassadors (our student ambassadors are happy to tell you more about the programme)
    Email: prospectives.rcs rug.nl
  • Kees van den Ende MA (study advisor)
    Email: studyadvice.rcs rug.nl
    Telephone: 050-363 9382
  • 
						Testimonial of Lena Höllisch (Germany)

    Anthropological topics and research sparked my interest the most.

    – Lena Höllisch (Germany)
    Read more

    I chose to study in the Netherlands because I wanted to explore different cultures, places, and languages. After quite a long search I decided to study Religious Studies in Groningen since the programme seemed to be a collection of all the studies that I was interested in and could not choose from. Fields like philosophy, psychology, politics, sociology, art studies, media science, history, human geography, and last but not least: anthropology.

    This numerous and wide assemblage of different approaches and perspectives convinced me that this was the right study for me. Throughout my years of studying, I encountered topics that made me question what drives us as human beings. Why do we do what we do? What makes us happy? How can we move towards greater peace and connection as people? …And indeed the international, interdisciplinary place of research and education, the engagement with other students and teachers, brought me closer to understanding those questions and pondering about possible answers and approaches to answers.

    Anthropological topics and research sparked my interest the most. I love getting out there, talking to people, deeply listening, observing, and participating in new environments. Many times, I started out conducting fieldwork with a certain view, which after a day got crashed in the most beautiful way possible, in awe of how different things turn out to be if we look closer and deeper.

    My favorite course was the course “Religion, Diversity and Identity”. In the first half of the course, we read and discussed literature about 'super-diverse' cities. But my absolute highlight was that at the end of the course, we spent a week doing ethnographic fieldwork in the “Oude Westen”, a neighborhood in Rotterdam.
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  • 
						Testimonial of Prof. Mònica Colominas Aparicio (Spain)

    The unique history of Spain and Portugal makes this region a fascinating laboratory for questions about religious diversity.

    – Prof. Mònica Colominas Aparicio (Spain)
    Read more

    I study Islam in the West and am one of the teachers who teach Islam. I specialize in religious minorities (Muslims, Christians and Jews) in pre-modern Spain, with a focus on Spain in the period under Islamic rule, al-Andalus. Spain and Portugal have had three different religious communities for nearly nine centuries, making this region an extremely fascinating laboratory for questions of religious diversity today.

    The course unit on Islam is extremely socially relevant: political Islam is playing a major role in contemporary national and international relations and world order. The public debate sometimes reveals a very static view of Islam – people often think that it is a religion that has not changed since the seventh century and that that is what still determines all the thoughts and actions of Muslims.

    Understanding the history of Islam is very important. What seems to be the norm within Islam today is not a fixed fact, but the result of centuries of formation processes. During these processes, different forms of belief and religious practice have arisen, so that we should not actually speak of one Islam but of several Islams.

    You will also learn that people are not passive ‘carriers’ of a religion or culture. They are active actors who make use of different sources, which include religion, to define their own lives and to try to exert influence on their environment. If we produce one-sided explanations of the conflicts in which certain categories of Muslims are currently involved as being the result of Islam as a static, life-dominating religion, then you do not gain a proper view of the complexity of social, economic and political factors that contribute to people feeling hard done-by, insecure or who want to acquire power.

    With me you will become acquainted with the origins of the core principles, main characters and central debates in the history of Islam. You will learn to ask critical questions and become aware that the formative period is indispensable for understanding current Islam and some of the ways in which it has been evoked and used in modern history, for example by Islamic modernists and fundamentalists.
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  • 
						Testimonial of Marieke Landman (The Netherlands)

    Working on the preventive side of radicalization.

    – Marieke Landman (The Netherlands)
    Read more

    I am a policy officer for the prevention of radicalization and extremism at the Municipality of The Hague. During my internship I ended up at this department and after six months they offered me a job. I find radicalization and extremism two fascinating themes: How is it possible that someone wants to go to such extreme acts and what role does ideology play in this?

    I mainly work on the preventive side of radicalization in which sociology and psychology play an important role. Combining these disciplines makes my work incredibly challenging. In addition, you work in an administrative environment that also develops your political administrative skills.

    My main task is to set up projects that reduce the susceptibility to radicalization. To this end, we focus on, for example, guiding young people with their identity issues or their daytime activities, and we guide parents not to lose contact with their child. In addition, we provide information to professionals to recognize signs of radicalization in good time and we provide tools for professionals to properly discuss this theme.

    During my studies in Religious Studies, I gained a lot of substantive knowledge about religions and the power that religions and worldviews can have in everyday life. But what I find most valuable is that I have learned to step outside your own frame of reference and to (want to) understand other philosophies of life. This ability and curiosity to look at themes from someone else's point of view is very important in my work and it is crucial for many current social issues. This study teaches you to adopt a certain attitude that you can use well in many fields of work.

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  • 
						Testimonial of Julia Pitkänen (Finland)

    Become more open-minded towards different cultures.

    – Julia Pitkänen (Finland)
    Read more

    Growing up in an international environment gave me a deeper interest in different cultures and ways of living. The BA in Religious Studies offers a look into, and an explanation of these different habits and cultures worldwide. The wide variety of different subjects, and the welcoming atmosphere of the faculty during the open day made me apply for the programme.

    I expected to deepen my knowledge and understanding of different religions and cultures, and to become more open-minded towards different cultures by understanding them better, and this has been the case! I thought I would have more difficulties with studying in English, but the students and the teachers in the programme have been very welcoming, and as an international, I have felt very included in both the Dutch and international students. My advice to international students is to have an open mindset, to challenge yourself to learn new things, and work hard, but also join the student life and have fun next to the studies. Try out all the opportunities the university and the city has to offer!

    So far, all of the courses have been very interesting, especially when the teachers themselves are enthusiastic about the subjects and bring their own experiences into the lectures. My favorite first-year course unit is the one on Judaism. In addition to interesting lectures, we toured Groningen for important locations and traveled to Amsterdam to visit Jewish synagogues and museums to learn more.

    At the moment my plans for the future are quite open, there are many options for master's programmes. I do know I want to continue studying religion and culture. After graduating, I hope to work in an educational institute, or in spiritual care. I would like to work with people and have a positive impact on people’s lives.

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  • 
						Testimonial of Dr. Brenda Mathijssen (The Netherlands)

    I want students to ask critical questions.

    – Dr. Brenda Mathijssen (The Netherlands)
    Read more

    I am especially fascinated by meaning-making. What makes life meaningful for people? What is of ultimate value? And why is that? How do you look at the world, and why do I understand it differently? A meaningful life is important to many people, but what does such a life constitute? And how do we deal with setbacks in life, or major crises such as illness and death?

    Through my research I aim to better understand meaning-making processes in order to contribute to individual and social well-being. For example, I focus on funeral and bereavement rituals and their role in coping with loss.

    In the course unit Psychology and Sociology of Religion, which I teach, we focus on the religious and spiritual behavior of people. We discuss, among other things, how religiosity and spirituality relate to meaning-making and human well-being. We do this not only theoretically, but also by means of concrete examples. For example, how can religion help people to cope with cancer? How does prayer work? But also: in what ways does religion impact the social embedding of people?

    Human behavior is complex, both on an individual and social level. When it comes to religion in the Netherlands, people often speak of “conservative Christians”, “fundamentalist Muslims” or “tree hugging hippies”. It's easy to assume and generalize. I want students to ask critical questions. What do we actually mean by conservative? What is the difference between Muslims and Islam? How do religious minorities relate to the majority in a society? What kind of power relations play a role there?


    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of Sterre Stavast (The Netherlands)

    Plenty of space to discover what I like.

    – Sterre Stavast (The Netherlands)
    Read more

    How do students in secondary school experience the subject Religion & World-views? That is broadly the subject of my bachelor thesis that I am currently working on. I also work as a teacher of Religion & Philosophy at a secondary school in the Northern Netherlands. In order to be able to teach, I took the educational minor in my third year of study and obtained my limited second-degree qualification.

    When I started my studies in Religious Studies, it was not my goal to become a teacher. What particularly appealed to me about the programme is that you receive a broad education. You learn to look at religion in various cultures and societies from different perspectives such as history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy and psychology.

    There is plenty of room within the courses to work on subjects that you find interesting. I am particularly interested in the similarities between different religions and cultures, a subject that I now often incorporate into the lessons I design. These similarities can be found not only in the here and now, but also in mythology and ancient stories. Many papers I have written focus on comparative religion or comparative mythology, for example I have compared Oedipus Rex to the story of King David in the Old Testament. For the same course, a fellow student wrote about asceticism and the concept of the wilderness in contrast to cities in early Judaism. So there is a lot of room for personal interpretation. In addition, there is also room for electives or, for example, an Erasmus Exchange, in which you are well supervised by the study advisor.

    In my third year, I studied in Copenhagen for a semester. The best part of this experience was the (student) life in Copenhagen. The courses I took were very interesting and instructive, but I was not only at the faculty to study. For a few hours a week I volunteered at the faculty café and on Friday evenings this café became a bar where you could buy a beer for less than a euro. The cheapest place to drink beer in Copenhagen! Life in Denmark is more expensive than in the Netherlands, but with the Erasmus grant you receive when you go on exchange, you can get by just fine.

    The Religious Studies programme has given me the space to discover what I like, and that is teaching. In a few months I will have completed my bachelor's degree in Religious Studies. My plan is to first take a gap year and work as a teacher in secondary education. After that, I want to follow the educational master's degree, so that I can obtain a first-degree qualification.

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  • 
						Testimonial of Prof. Erin Wilson (Australia)

    Climate change and hope.

    – Prof. Erin Wilson (Australia)
    Read more

    As Professor of Politics and Religion, I concentrate on issues related to inequality and global justice. As cliched as it sounds, I've always been motivated by the desire to make life better for people, to do my part to make the world a kinder, fairer, safer, more inclusive place for people who have typically been marginalized, excluded and oppressed. Politics for me is where this takes place.

    Politics is about power – the power to include or exclude and why; the power to acknowledge and listen or ignore and silence. Religious identity, belief, narratives and belonging have always been part of how these power relationships were enacted, but they seem to be more prominent than ever as we head into the third decade of the 21 st century.

    In particular, I contribute lectures on climate refugees and on hope. Migration and displacement is a key area of my research and it is also one of the most severe challenges we as a global community currently face. We often think about climate change as a scientific, ecological, economic or political problem. But climate change is also fundamentally a moral problem, because some people and countries will be (and are already) more affected by the worst consequences of climate change than others. Climate change will exacerbate existing inequalities and injustices, as well as generate new forms of marginalization and exclusion. The course unit on Climate Change, End Times and Sustainable Futures that I teach, is a space for people to familiarise themselves with what different traditions have to say about these inequalities – between different groups of people, but also between humanity and nature.

    When it comes to climate change, migration and other global justice issues, the picture can be very bleak. For this reason, I also like to conclude the course with a lecture on hope. What is hope? How do we find hope? How do we keep going and stay motivated and motivate others when it can feel like what we do makes very little difference? I hope my students develop an appreciation for the complex moral issues that climate change raises, and find space in the course to deal with and explore their own fears, anxieties and hopes about a future climate-affected world.

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  • 
						Testimonial of  Melle Wedholm (The Netherlands)

    Teaching is a meaningful way to share my knowledge about religious studies with society.

    – Melle Wedholm (The Netherlands)
    Read more

    After gaining both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Religious Studies, I wanted to put these to use in society. I decided to follow the post-Master's programme in teacher training for upper secondary education (LVHO), to become a teacher of Theology and Philosophy. I gradually came to the conclusion that, for me, teaching is a meaningful way to share my knowledge about religious studies with society.

    During this Master’s programme, you become acquainted with different perspectives on the school subject of Theology/Philosophy. In the Netherlands, this subject is organized in a variety of ways, and I found it important to take something from each of the different perspectives. In addition, you also learn the social psychological approaches to teaching. What is the right approach in different situations? How can you best offer effective and meaningful teaching? I appreciated that a lot of thought went into these aspects, too.

    As soon as I graduated, I started teaching at CSG Comenius secondary school in Leeuwarden, where I did my placement. I received good, practical supervision from the programme and I also learned a great amount from my placement coach at CSG Comenius. This combination ensures that, as a student, you gradually become more confident in your role as a teacher.

    Finally, for my Master’s thesis I researched the ways in which the school subject of Theology/Philosophy can be implemented meaningfully in the context of innovations in education. In my opinion, this is the major strength of this degree programme: on the one hand, you are trained from a practice-oriented perspective; on the other hand, you still actively conduct academic research during your Master’s thesis.


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Andere opleidingen op het gebied van religie

Als je geïnteresseerd bent in een opleiding op het gebied van religie, cultuur en maatschappij, misschien is dit dan ook wat voor je:

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Study associations

Gerardus van der Leeuw

Gerardus van der Leeuw is the study association of the Faculty of Religion, Culture and Society at the University of Groningen.
Besides broadening activities (for example, lectures or career events) for both the Religious Studies and Theology programs, they organize relaxing activities such as get-togethers and trips abroad.
http://www.gerardusvanderleeuw.nl/
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Student profile

You are fascinated by religion, other cultures and societies, and you wish to better understand the world you live in. You want to know what impact various religions have on society and people and you are open to different world views. You enjoy reading and you are interested in history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, politics and cultural anthropology. Most of all, you want to know what drives people!

(Binding) study advice
  • A minimum of 45 EC in the first 12 months (binding)

You will be offered study advice after the first year of study. You can expect a positive result if you have earned more than 45 ECTS credit points (out of a total of 60 ECTS). If you have earned fewer than 45 ECTS and are issued a negative result, you will not be allowed to continue with your degree programme.

You will receive preliminary study advice in December to make sure that you know where you stand. Please contact your study advisor as soon as possible if you have any questions about the BSA system. N.B. Some degree programmes use a tutoring system; please check with your study advisor.

Study support

To support you while studying, the Faculty ensures that the timetable is feasible, that mentors, lecturers, student assistants and the study advisor provide active study supervision, that exams are marked quickly and that lecturers and the study advisor are readily contactable. The teaching programme in the first year will also include a number of study skills course units which aim to teach you good study behaviour right from the start of your degree.

During the introduction, you will meet your mentors and the study advisor. The mentors are senior students who have received special training. Every mentor group will have a maximum of ten first-year students and two mentors. In a series of eight meetings, the mentors will familiarize you with the Faculty. They will also help you and provide advice about studying/learning to study. In addition, you will also have opportunities to ask the mentors questions or discuss issues that cannot be brought up during the group sessions. At the start of the academic year, the study adviser will hold introductory meetings with all of the first-year students. This is when you can discuss your expectations of your degree programme, and any unusual circumstances. At the end of the first semester, all first-year students will also be invited to a study progress meeting with the study adviser. If it looks like you will incur study delay, please contact the study adviser yourself. The study adviser can help you with your planning, and also advise you confidentially about study problems and/or personal problems.

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