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Education Master's and PhD degree programmes DDM Religion and Pluralism
Header image DDM Religion and Pluralism

DDM Religion and Pluralism

Double MA Degree on the Religious Origins of Modern Society at University of Groningen (UG) and Córdoba University (UCO): Identity, Exclusion, Integration, and Coexistence from Antiquity to Modernity.

The religious origins of modern society are richly diverse. During centuries, Greco-Roman religion, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam actively contributed to the construction of modern culture, attitude and character. This DD MA delves into the history of these four religious traditions’ coexistence.

UG focuses on Judaism and Christianity in the Greco-Roman World, and the rise of Islam in (late) antiquity. The historical and philological analysis of their testimonies highlights the difficult first contacts, the lapses and relapses of their relationships and the resulting construction of the self and the other.

UCO explores the cultural contacts among them during the Middle Ages and beyond, their cohabitation in the Iberian Peninsula, and the tensions and eases of their coexistence. Most importantly, it analyzes the role of Judaism and Islam in the absorption and transformation of ancient knowledge, and its transfer to the Christian West, hereby contributing to the early modern and contemporary world.

The DD MA includes two programmes:


Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Theology & Religious Studies
Course type
Double Degree master
Duration
18 months (90 ECTS)
Croho code
60824
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Theology and Religious Studies
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Integrated approach of religious pluralism, politics, and their many global interfaces.
  • Taught by internationally recognized experts in the field.
  • You can pursue your own research interests.
  • Expertise on various religions, taught at non-denominational universities.
  • Opportunity to study religious pluralism throughout history until present day.
  • Experience international student life in two different cultures.
Programme

You start the programme either in Groningen (UG) or Cordoba (UCO). Below, you will find an overview of the course units taught in Groningen, variant Ancient. The course units taught in Cordoba are listed under Year 2.

The core modules 'Religious Diversity in the Graeco-Roman World' (10 ECTS) and 'Historical Methods in Early Christianity' (5 ECTS) are compulsory. You can chose three electives of 5 ECTS each from either the Ancient or Modern variant. For the electives of the Modern variant, see the second table on: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/ggw/vak/showpos?opleiding=6006

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Core module: Religious Diversity in the Graeco-Roman World (UG) (10 EC)

You will explore the root belonging-categories of ethnos and polis by studying primary sources from the classical period through the conquests of Alexander and the Romans.

Texts of Terror (UG) (5 EC, optional)

Does monotheism necessarily have violent consequences? You will investigate this question by studying selected texts from Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the contexts in which violence, power, and politics have exploited them.

Core module: Historical Methods in Early Christianity (UG) (5 EC)

You will follow the development of idealist, romantic, positivist, and other approaches to study. You will also interpret history and gain critical self-awareness about the methods we use in our research.

Othering in Early Islam (UG) (5 EC, optional)

This course will focus on the construction of in-group out-group identity in four genres of early literature: the Quran, samples of prophetic Hadith (oral traditions), the prophetic sīrah (biography) of Ibn Isḥāq of Ibn Isḥāq, and ibn al-Kablī's kitāb al-ʾaṣnām (book of idols), treating issues like: the construction of mušrik 'pagan' identity and that of other religious minorities, race, genealogy, and chromo-identity, and the representation of sexual minorities and their role in establishing normative gender roles.

Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts (5 EC)

You will explore the reception history of the Bible and other authoritative texts. You will also examine the ways in which certain Jewish and Christian traditions deal with biblical data.

Internship (UG/UCO) (10 EC)

Instead of an internship, you have the option to do a research project.

Master's Thesis + thesis seminar (UG & UCO) (20 EC)

During the seminar meetings, you will discuss and practice specific aspects of the writing, planning and researching process involved in producing a thesis on a master level. Through peer-review, you will benefit from regular feedback. Methodologies to be discussed and practised include interviewing, observation, discourse analysis and statistical analysis.

You do your second year either in Cordoba (UCO) or in Groningen (UG). Below, you will find the course units taught in Cordoba, an overview of the UG courses are listed under Year 1.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Internship (UG/UCO) (10 EC)

You do one internship for both programmes

Master's Thesis (UG & UCO) (20 EC)

You write one thesis for both programmes

From Athens to the West: the Transfer of Greek Knowledge to Renaissance Europe (UCO) (4 EC)

You will make a comprehensive diachronic journey of the Greco-Roman religious ideas coming from the Late Antiquity to the European Renaissance.

From Baghdad to Cordoba: The Cultural Contribution of Al-Andalus Judaism (UCO) (4 EC)

The course units focuses on the history and characteristics of the so-called “the three cultures”.

From East to West: The Reception of Knowledge in Al-Andalus (UCO) (4 EC)

You will study the contextualization of the Pre-Islamic History and the emergence of the Islam. Plus the relationship mainly between the Christian and Hebrew cultures, but also with some other groups in the Middle East.

Religious Minorities on the Iberian Peninsula from the15th to the 18th Century (UCO) (4 EC)

You will define and analyze the main minorities in the Iberian Peninsula since the beginning of Renaissance to the Modern Age, and the main moments and/or processes related to these minorities, such as the Inquisitional repression.

The Structure for Knowledge Transfer (UCO) (4 EC)

This deals with the basics related to the topic of the transference of knowledge, one of the capital phenomena for the study of the history of Mediterranean cultures and religions.

Sources for the Research on Ethnic-Religious Minorities in the Iberian Peninsula during 15th to 18th (UCO) (5 EC)

The course unit begins with an introduction to the specific documents regarding religious minorities, and then focuses on some of the most interesting sources, such as the Inquisitorial documents. It finishes with an example of research by reshaping some secret communities of the 15th and 18th century.

The Universalism of Scientific Knowledge. The Arabic and Jewish Philosophy and Science in the Latin World (UCO) (5 EC)

This course unit starts with highlighting the relevance of the translational movement in the Iberian Peninsula from the classical languages into Arabic. The second part explores the principal doctrines and philosophical issues raised up in the Medieval Age.

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. You will have on average 6 hrs. of lessons per week at the Faculty, the rest of the hours is reserved for preparation of the classes and studying.

Curriculum

The course units of the programme in Groningen are taught in Semester 1 (September - February). The course units of the programme in Cordoba are taught in Semester 2 (February - July). You will write your thesis (20 ECTS) and do an internship (10 ECTS) either as part of the Groningen or Cordoba programme. Please note: you need to be enrolled in both programmes at the moment of graduation.

Programme options
Master's Honours Programme (honours program)

The Master's Honours Programme was developed especially for students who want to get more from their studies. The programme of 15 ECTS is followed in addition to your regular Master's programme.

It is a one-year interdisciplinary programme that is designed to introduce students to various aspects of leadership.The theme of leadership is explored from various angles in the Masterclasses. Leadership skills are the focus in the Leadership Labs and Workshops. The Master's Honours Programme concludes with a Master Work – a project of your choosing that you design and implement.

More information about this option

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
  • Maximum of 10 EC

You can do your internship abroad. In the past our students worked at the Dutch embassy with the Vatican, in Israel and Argentina. You can also opt for an internship at an NGO, like European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Amnesty International, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Or at the UN, for instance with the High Commissioner for Human Rights or the United Nations Development Programme (country offices).

Entry requirements

Transfer options

Transferring from...

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Theology and Religious StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
PhilosophyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Classics (part-time)All Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Ancient Near Eastern StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Hebrew Language and CultureAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Theology (part-time)All Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
European StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Arts and CultureAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Political ScienceAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Theology (joint degree)All Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
International Relations and International OrganizationAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
International StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
History (part-time)All Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Islam en ArabischAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Ancient CulturesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Arabic Language and CultureAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter
Religious StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • (motivation-) letter

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
grade list

An overview of the courses from the bachelor's programme followed with an explanation of these courses.

language test

An English language test for Dutch students is only important if you do not have a VWO-diploma. TOEFL: 90 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part). Exemption granted if:

  • You are a native speaker of, and have completed your full secondary level education in: the USA, Canada (only when taught in English), the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand.
  • You have completed a full-time Bachelor programme (nominal duration of at least three years) in: the USA, Canada (only when English taught), the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand.

If English was the medium of instruction during your previous education, but you do not meet any of the above mentioned requirements, you are still required to provide proof of your English language proficiency.

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature. Students with another bachelor's degree may be admitted via a pre-master's programme.

(motivation-) letter

A letter to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the Double Degree programme, including your motivation and expectations, and in what way your previous education matches with this programme in terms of contents and/or methodology (max. 1 page). Please also send in a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) Thesis.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
other admission requirements

These entry requirements also apply to the programme in Cordoba.

Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in Arts/Humanities or Behavioural and Social Sciences may be exempted from the requirement to complete the pre-master programme under certain conditions.

Registration procedure

You apply either in Cordoba or in Groningen, depending on where you wish to start the programme. On this page, you will find the procedure for applying in Groningen. Please note: if you start in Cordoba with the DD programme, you also need to officially apply and register in Groningen for the second part of the programme. When you graduate you need to be enrolled in both programmes.

  • All candidates who wish to study this programme in Groningen, apply in Studielink for the MA in Theology and Religious Studies: Religion and Pluralism, Ancient and Modern.
  • International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a Master's degree programme at the University of Groningen. The full registration procedure consists of three steps: application via Studielink and the Online Application System (OAS), admission, and registration. Check the admissions guide for more information about the admissions procedure for students with a non-Dutch degree.
  • (International) students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw rug.nl after application in Studielink.
  • In Cordoba, you apply via the Distrito Único Andaluz.
  • More information Application Procedure Cordoba.

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
grade list

A grade list of the marks of your bachelor's degree programme with an explanation of the followed courses.

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts/Humanities, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature. Students with another bachelor's degree can be permitted via a pre-master's programme.

(motivation-) letter

A letter to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the Double Degree programme, including your motivation and expectations, and in what way your previous education matches with this programme in terms of contents and/or methodology (max. 1 page). Please also send in a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) Thesis.

other admission requirements

These entry requirements also apply to the programme in Cordoba.

Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in Arts/Humanities or Behavioural and Social Sciences may be exempted from the requirement to complete the pre-master programme under certain conditions .

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
IELTS listening6
IELTS reading6
IELTS writing6
IELTS speaking6
TOEFL internet based90

Registration procedure

You apply either in Cordoba or in Groningen, depending on where you wish to start the programme. On this page, you will find the procedure for applying in Groningen. Please note: if you start in Cordoba with the DD programme, you also need to officially apply and register in Groningen for the second part of the programme. When you graduate you need to be enrolled in both programmes.

  • All candidates who wish to study this programme in Groningen, apply in Studielink for the MA in Theology and Religious Studies: Religion and Pluralism, Ancient and Modern.
  • International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a Master'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 via Studielink and the Online Application System (OAS), admission, and registration.
  • Check the admissions guide for more information about the admissions procedure in Groningen.
  • International students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw rug.nl after application in Studielink.
  • In Cordoba, you apply via the Distrito Único Andaluz.
  • More information Application Procedure Cordoba.


Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202301 September 2023
EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202301 September 2023
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2022-2023€ 2209full-time
non-EU/EEA2022-2023€ 14570full-time

The showed tuition fees are the fees for the programme in Groningen. The fees in Cordoba for EU/EEA-students are € 1061,60 per year.

Talent Grant available for non-EU students for the programme in Groningen.

Practical information for:

After your studies

If you want to become a teacher of religion in secondary education you can additionally follow the Educational Master's programme (in Dutch).

Job prospects

As a graduate you can become an adviser and policymaker on interreligious issues and multicultural society. You may work in cultural organisations and companies in the public sector. In addition, you can work in the media. You can become a teacher of religion or philosophy. If you want to pursue an academic career, you can follow this track as a specialization within the Research Master's programme.

Check where the Groningen alumni end up after graduating on our alumni page.

Job examples

  • Consulting & Policy

    You are able to provide well-founded advice on interreligious issues and multicultural society. You can use this expertise in an advisory position at cultural organizations, in companies or in the public sector. Your knowledge equips you for policymaking positions in this field.

  • Media & Journalism

    The current debate often refers to perceived historical realities. Your expertise in Judaism, Christianity and Islam enables you to ask critical questions concerning modern-day claims about these religious traditions. You can use your knowledge and skills as an editor at a publishing company, broadcasting company, newspaper or news and current affairs magazine. You could also work as a freelancer.

  • Education

    Once you have completed this Master's programme you will have enough knowledge of the subject to become a secondary school teacher in the subject of Religious Studies and Philosophy or Social Studies. You could also opt for a position in higher vocational education, for example teaching Theology at a university of applied sciences. As you also need didactic skills as a teacher, it is advisable to do a Master's in Education after you have completed your regular Master's programme.

Research

Groningen

When you take part in this MA programme in Groningen, you will benefit from the expertise of the scholars in the Department of Jewish, Christian and Islamic Origins of the non-confessional Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen.

The Department is a major European centre for the study of the origins and cultural contexts of the three religious traditions and is unique in its combined focus on the multi- and interdisciplinary analysis of the texts and artifacts of these traditions. Traditional disciplines such as history, archaeology, philology, literary analysis and interpretation, codicology, palaeography, and epigraphy are combined with cutting-edge developments in fields such as artificial intelligence and forensics with a view to cracking the mysteries of the ancient religions of the Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds.

Besides the study of the foundational texts of the Jewish and Christian Bibles, and the Quran, the department puts a strong focus on the alternative traditions not included in the official Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scriptures, but recorded in the famous Dead-Sea scrolls, Jewish and Christian apocrypha, the Nag Hammadi collection, pre- and early Islamic inscriptions and Quranic manuscripts.

Lecturers and their expertise

  • Ahmad Al-Jallad is Associate Professor of Islamic Origins. He specializes in the Qur’ān in its historical context.
  • Arjen Bakker is assistant professor of New Testament and Christian Origins. He is also an expert on early Judaism.
  • Mladen Popović is Professor Old Testament and Early Judaism, with special attention to Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. He specializes in alternative Christianities with a focus on the Nag Hammadi library and the Apocryphal Acts of Apostles. He also teaches in Cordoba.
  • Jacques van Ruiten is Professor of the Reception History of the Bible. He specializes in biblical interpretation, especially in the ancient world.

Cordoba

The lecturers in Cordoba are part of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities. Some of the lecturers work at other institutions, but teach in this programme at Cordoba University.

Lecturers and their expertise

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact

Contact

  • ambassadors (Our Student Ambassadors are happy to tell you more about the MA programme)
    Email: thrs.prospectives rug.nl
  • Kees van den Ende MA (Study Advisor)
    Email: k.van.den.ende rug.nl
  • Drs. Thea de Boer (Study Advisor)
    Email: t.m.l.de.boer rug.nl
    Telephone: 363 5581
  • 
						Testimonial of Arturo Diaz Guttierez Barriga - Mexico

    One of my interests in religions is how they help in the formation of identities

    – Arturo Diaz Guttierez Barriga - Mexico
    Read more

    I chose the program at the University of Groningen for two reasons: The historical and social approach that the program has (other universities have a more theological approach), and the opportunity of studying the three monotheistic religions (other programs are focused on Christianity or Islam). Also, I like the courses on texts studies.

    My master’s thesis is about the split between Jews and Samaritans. Both religious communities share several beliefs, texts, practices, origins, and yet they are not the same. I chose this topic because one of my interests in religions is how they help in the formation of identities. For my internship, I will work at a historical research agency concentrating on museum design and exhibitions. They are currently working on the exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Groningen, and I will help with research. I will be a comparative study on several Jewish museums based in synagogues and how the religious aspect of the building might influence its use for cultural activities.

    I did my bachelor's in History at the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana in Mexico City, and besides the cultural shock and the evident differences regarding the weather, living in Groningen has been a marvelous experience. The international environment in such a small city and its student essence makes studying at Groningen a great experience.

    After graduation, I would like to do research and teach at a university. The field of Religious Studies in Mexico is far from being developed and accepted at the universities. I want to help this to change. Also, as a former worker at a Research and Documentary Center of the Jewish Community, which also organizes cultural events, I want to collaborate on the planning of courses and activities for promoting an inter-religious society.

    Close
  • 
						Testimonial of  Sara Vaz Velho de Noronha Penaguião - Portugal

    I wanted to study the social aspects of religion

    – Sara Vaz Velho de Noronha Penaguião - Portugal
    Read more

    Previously, I studied Anthropology at the University of Lisbon (ISCSP) in Portugal and so I had come across pluralism before. Added to this, I knew that I wanted to study the social aspects of religion and find a course that looked at pluralism in history and debated it with reference to contemporary issues.

    I have particularly enjoyed this mixture of historical and contemporary debate in the course. A huge amount of information is covered in the year-long course and I am presently working on my thesis before embarking upon my MA placement.

    The Netherlands has proved to be a good context in which to study religion and pluralism. My thesis involves research with young people in the Groningen Feminist Network and the academic research tools taught at the University of Groningen have been very instructive to my research. Our studies have included looking at both gender and sexuality, which are topics that both feed into my thesis and are large parts of many current debates- the small size of classes and quality of the lecturers have also really contributed to my experience.

    I hadn’t previously been to Groningen, and have been really happily surprised by the young spirit of the city. It’s the perfect combination of a small city where everything can be reached by foot or on bike whilst at the same time being full of life with a lot to explore. Overall, my experience has been extremely positive; both academically and for meeting people from lots of different countries and backgrounds. In the future I hope to work in education, and the MA here at the UG is setting me up well for this.

    Close

Pre-master's Programme

If you do not have a bachelor's degree in either the Humanities or Behavioural and Social Sciences, you will first need to complete a pre-master's programme before you can enter this master's programme. There are several electives you can choose from. Below, you will find the complete programme.

1st semester (30 ECTS)

2nd semester (30 ECTS)

Students without a bachelor's degree in Arts/Humanities or Behavioural and Social Sciences may be exempted from the requirement to complete a pre-master's programme first under certain conditions.

For the pre-master's programme, you will pay a so called compensation in stead of regular tuition fees. This compensation is the same for both EU and non-EU students.

Read more

Study associations

Gerardus van der Leeuw

Gerardus van der Leeuw is the faculty community of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen.
 The objective of Gerardus van der Leeuw is twofold. On the one hand, Gerardus van der Leeuw intends to organize activities that are scientifically relevant to its students, such as lectures to deepen and broaden the students' knowledge. On the other hand, the association aims to organize various leisure activities, for instance socials, trips and parties.
http://gerardusvanderleeuw.nl/
Read more
Student profile

You have reason to think that the origins of things, particularly of the monotheistic religions, still matter for understanding them and their place in the world. You suspect that historical-contextual study might make possible insights not obvious from traditional narratives and claims. You have a curiosity about human experience that extends beyond your own time and place to worlds truly different—but still consequential for our times.

You wish to study the full scope of religious pluralism throughout history and want to experience for your self what it is like to live and study in another country and culture.

Study support

In Groningen, Master's students are expected to show a large degree of independence. If necessary you can make use of various forms of study supervision and study support. For example, you can contact a mentor or your study advisor. While writing your thesis, you will receive personal supervision from one of the lecturers.

Immediately after arrival in Groningen, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. You can also go to the study advisor if you have doubts about your abilities or for whatever reason run the risk of study delay. You will receive intensive supervision while writing your thesis. The Master's programme includes a thesis seminar, where attention is paid to how to tackle writing a Master's thesis, and where the progress of the process is monitored closely. You will also receive structural supervision from the lecturer who is the specialist in the field of your thesis.