The 2018 Higher Education Guide for Master’s degree programmes (Keuzegids Masters), which appeared today, has awarded the UG one-year Master’s programme in Theology and Religious Studies and the two-year Research Master in Theology and Religious studies 74 points each. They just miss the cut-off point for a Top Degree Programme, but are the best in the Netherlands in their categories. The Bachelor’s degree programmes in Theology and Religious Studies were awarded the Top Degree Programme predicate in autumn 2017. ‘If you want to learn from a secular perspective, then the UG provides qualitatively excellent programmes.’
‘Both the one-year Master’s programme and the Research Master at the UG have good scores’, says the 2018 Higher Education Guide for Master’s degree programmes. Both programmes scored 74 points. The two-year Research Master has thus won the Best Research Master in the Netherlands predicate in the field of Theology and Religious Studies for the third year in a row. However it just missed the Top Degree Programme predicate this year. ‘We are currently revising the curriculum of the Research Master. The first changes were introduced this year. Next year, students on this Master’s programme will have even more opportunity to follow their own interests in individual tutorials. Our ambition is to regain the Top Master’s degree programme predicate’, says Vice Dean Sipco Vellenga, responsible for the teaching at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the UG.
Two years ago, the one-year Master’s degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies was a Top Degree Programme. Last year the score plummeted to a meagre 60 points. ‘We’re clearly back on track’, says Vellenga. ‘Unfortunately we had to cope with the loss of some lecturers to illness, which did not benefit the quality of the teaching. In 2017 we started two new Master’s tracks in the degree programme, Religion and Cultural Heritage, and Religion and Pluralism, Ancient and Modern. In 2018 we will be introducing the Religion, Health and Wellbeing track. Together with the existing Religion, Conflict and Globalization track, and the new Master’s degree programme in Religion and Philosophy teaching, we now dovetail better with specific labour market sectors, such as teaching, heritage management, healthcare and political and international collaboration. We are also going to make the one-year Master’s programme a Top Degree Programme again.’
‘If you want to learn from a secular perspective, then the UG provides qualitatively excellent programmes’, is the HE Guide’s conclusion. The Higher Education Guide came to this conclusion based on the assessments of students in the National Student Survey. Students of Theology and Religious Studies are particularly positive about the quality of the lecturers, both in the area of didactics and expertise and in their involvement in their students’ development. Students are least happy with the practical orientation of the degree programme. The new tracks are designed to change this situation.
A quality assessment is given for most programmes, based on student evaluations and the evaluation by accreditation organization NVAO. Some degree programmes are so good, scoring 76 points or more, that the editors award them the label of Top Degree Programme. This label has been awarded to 157 Master’s degree programmes nationally, including 17 University of Groningen programmes. The HE Guide has marked the UG as the best ‘broad or general’ university in the Netherlands for Master’s degree programmes.
As of 1 Juli 2019, Drs Nienke Bastiaans will be the new Managing Director of the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies and member of the Faculty Board.
Religious Heritage in a Diverse Europe
On 18 April 2019, Marije Coster will be awarded a PhD in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies for her thesis titled The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Allegiance and Authority in the Poetical Discourse of Muḥammad’s Lifetime.