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OnderwijsMaster en PhD opleidingenTheologie & ReligiewetenschappenReligion, Conflict and Globalization
Header image Religion, Conflict and Globalization

Religion, Conflict and Globalization

How are religion, conflict and peace related? How does globalization affect local religious traditions? How do religious and secular actors interact in local and global debates on migration and gender?

Within the modern world, it is clear that religion has a major role in many conflicts occurring at multiple levels and locations. Religion has also become one of the main ways in which people connect with each other around the globe. However, the role of religion in contemporary societies is not well understood in academic research, nor in the work of those responsible for policy and action. NGO’s, governments and journalists alike have misguided understandings of religion’s role in the modern world and the meaning that it holds for various peoples.

The Religion, Conflict and Globalization Master’s track aims to address the pivotal place of religion within the dynamics of a globalized world, and how this relates to conflicts that shape modern societies. The course is interdisciplinary, wide-ranging, and broad; including political, social, psychological, cultural and legal dimensions.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Theology and Religious Studies
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60824
Language of instruction
English
Start
September
Faculty
Theology and Religious Studies
Why study this programme in Groningen?
  • Combination of anthropology, sociology and political science is unique in the world.
  • Unique focus on the place of religion in a globalized world from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Relates latest research and theories to current developments.
  • Internships at embassies, ministry of foreign affairs, national and international NGO's.
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation at a Top 100 University.
  • Best MA programme in Theology and Religious Studies in the Netherlands.
Programme

The MA programme Religion, Conflict and Globalization consists of a compulsory introductory course (10 ECTS), a compulsory course unit on Research Methods (5 ECTS), three electives (15 ECTS) and a thesis (20 ECTS). 10 ECTS are reserved for a practical placement.

All students take the introductory course, which lays out the dominant theoretical approaches used when considering and studying religion within this setting. Disciplinary approaches include those from anthropology, sociology, political philosophy and theory, and international relations theories. One of the main stresses within the course is expounding the significance of 'culture', 'society', 'politics', and 'power'. These are presented both as contested concepts, but also as factors that affect relationships.

The second compulsory course is 'Social Scientific Research Methods', where students are introduced to and develop the necessary research skills for completing a research project- such as the thesis.

Additionally, you choose three out of seven course units: 'Religion, Violence and Conflict Transformation', 'Migration, Culture and Religious Identity', 'Religion, Gender and Sexuality', 'Global Dynamics and Local Cosmologies: Studying Religious Change', 'Religion and the Politics of Human Rights', 'Gender, Religion and Sexual Nationalism', 'Forced Migration'.

Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Migration, Culture and Religious Identity (5 EC, optional)

You will study the impact of migration on one's sense of identity and home and belonging. Also you will learn to analyse how religion and culture inform the development of personal and collective dimensions of identity.

Religion, Conflict and Globalization: a critical introduction (10 EC)

You will be introduced to the dominant theoretical approaches applied to the study of 'religion', 'conflict' and 'globalization'. Additionally, you will learn the mainstream approaches, including anthropological, political sociological, political philosophical and approaches in International Relations, to defining these three concepts

Religion, Gender and Sexuality (5 EC, optional)

You will focus on learning to recognize and conceptualize the links between religion, gender and sexuality. You will be introduced to classic authors on these topics whilst in the second part of the course you will focus on discussing ethnographic research detailing how sexuality and gender are shaped culturally and religiously.

Religion,Violence and Conflict Transformation (5 EC, optional)

You will examine the fundamental questions at the intersection of the discourse and practice of religion, violence and conflict transformation. You will examine how these concepts interrelate and will investigate assumptions that lie behind their use, as well as how they are put into practice

Forced Migration (5 EC, optional)

Through analysis of mass displacement historically and in contemporary settings, you will develop an understanding of current international approaches to forced migration in law, policy and practice, both in general and specifically in relation to issues around religion.

Gender, Religion and Sexual Nationalism (5 EC, optional)

You will explore the highly politicized themes of gender and sexuality in today's globalized world. You will learn how religious actors and transnational religious networks (e.g. evangelical, Catholic) are very influential in these processes and how we can understand such processes locally.

Global Dynamics and Local Cosmologies (5 EC, optional)

You will gain insight into the processes that are involved in the interaction between local cultural and religious systems and global economic, political and ideological forces like capitalism and colonialism.

Religion and the Politics of Human Rights (5 EC, optional)

You will consider, in particular, the right to freedom of religion, and the consequences of efforts to export 'universal' standards in a particularistic world. By examining the interaction of religion and rights, you will explore such themes as the relationship between religious norms and state and non-state law.

Social Scientific Research Methods (5 EC)

You will be prepared for researching and writing your thesis.You will be taken through the steps of designing your own research, in consultation with your supervisor and learn research methods and ethics at the same time.

Placement (10 EC)
Thesis + Thesis Seminar (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's level.

Curriculum

The programme consists of two compulsory courses and three electives. Through these electives, you can choose to focus on topics related to either Conflict and Peacebuilding, Migration, or Gender. It is possible to follow some course units from the track Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern. For information about these electives, see: https://www.rug.nl/ocasys/ggw/vak/showpos?opleiding=6006

You can also follow this track within the two-year Research Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies. See: http://www.rug.nl/masters/theology-religious-studies-research/

Programme options
Master's Honours Programme: (honours program)

Honours programme of the University (15 EC).

For students who have a Bachelor Honours degree and who have attended a University College or were actively involved in (student)organizations besides the regular master programme.

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: http://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/exchangeprogrammes/partneruniversities

Entry Requirements

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.

language test

A (English) language test is only important if you do not have a VWO-diploma. Minimum requirements: TOEFL 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet or IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part)

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts (e.g. International Organizations, Middle Eastern Studies, Philosophy), Political Sciences or Social Sciences (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 bridging programme.

written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions committee explaining the choice for this study programme (max. 1 page) is required, just like an overview of your bachelor programme, a Curriculum Vitae and a writing sample of an academic paper are part of the admissions procedure.

other admission requirements

Students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw@rug.nl, even if a direct access is applicable.

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
GodsdienstwetenschapAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

GodgeleerdheidAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Religie in Samenleving en CultuurAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Theologie PlusAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Theologie KlassiekAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Interdisciplinary Social SciencesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

WereldgodsdienstenAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Cultural StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

HumanistiekAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Latin American StudiesAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Religious StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

TheologyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

HistoryUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Middle Eastern StudiesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

International Relations and International OrganizationUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

PhilosophyUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview results bachelor program, Curriculum Vitae, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Psychology (EN)University of Groningen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyLeiden University

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Political ScienceLeiden University

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Religious StudiesRadboud University Nijmegen

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Religious StudiesRadboud University Nijmegen

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Religie en LevensbeschouwingVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Theology (joint degree)VU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Liberal Arts and Sciences (joint degree)VU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Philosophy, Politics and EconomicsVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Political ScienceVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

SociologyVU University Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Religious StudiesUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.

Arabic Language and CultureUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Liberal Arts and Sciences (joint degree)University of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

Political ScienceUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

Politics, Psychology, Law and EconomicsUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper. 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.

SociologyUniversity of Amsterdam

Additional requirements

More information:

Required: letter of motivation, overview of results of your bachelor program, CV, writing sample of academic paper.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.

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.

language test

TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part) (not for native speakers)

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 can be permitted via a bridging programme.

written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions committee explaining the choice for this study programme (max. 1 page) is required, just like an overview of your bachelor's programme, a Curriculum Vitae and a writing sample of an academic paper in OAS (Online Application System).

other admission requirements

Students with a Dutch bachelor's degree send all the documentation by email to onderwijs.ggw@rug.nl, even if a direct access is applicable.

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
IELTS listening6
IELTS reading6
IELTS writing6
IELTS speaking6
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 April 201901 September 2019
01 April 202001 September 2020
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2018-2019€ 2060full-time
non-EU/EEA2018-2019€ 11500full-time
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 12500full-time

If you already have a master's degree, gained after 1 September 1991, you have to pay the University tuition fee II. This is a higher tuition fee than the statutory tuition fee. See: https://www.rug.nl/education/tuition/fees/master-degrees

After your studies

Job prospects

Following completion of this degree, you will be able to advise or write policy documents on different subjects - including developmental assistance, or multicultural society. Job tracts include working for a government, in business, or at an NGO. Other options include media, or indeed education.

Those who wish to pursue an academic career can follow this track as part of the 2-year Research Master’s programme.

Job examples

  • Consulting & Policy

    In a globalized world, there is a need for experts who can help explain and solve conflicts that are further-reaching than ever before. More specifically, this could mean working for the think-tank of a political party, for a body such as the Netherlands Institute for Social Research, or indeed the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael.

  • Media & Journalism

    The media often mis-portray religion, whether it is to do with terrorism or integration issues. Graduates of this programme will be able to add some much-needed nuance to the picture, whether at a publishing company, broadcasting, or a newspaper/news magazine.

  • Education

    Upon completing the degree, you will have enough knowledge to teach in Religious Studies, Philosophy, Social Studies and others - in secondary education. You could also opt for a position in higher vocational education. As didactic skills are required for teaching, it is advisable doing a Master's in Education, once having completed this course.

Research

The course units in the MA track Religion, Conflict and Globalization are taught by anthropologists, sociologists, religious studies scholars, and political scientists who are recognized as experts in their respective fields, all studying religion as a cultural and social phenomenon. In the course units, 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.

Teachers and their expertise

  • Brenda Bartelink: She is currently researching health, well-being and family relations in African initiated churches in the Netherlands.
  • Marjo Buitelaar: The themes of globalization and identity formation feature prominently in her recently started research on the hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca).
  • Peter Berger: His ongoing research into the current religious changes in indigenous highland societies in India provides insight into how the local and the global are related.
  • Kim Knibbe: Expert on the worldwide spread of Pentecostal churches from Nigeria. She investigates the many faces of religious globalisation and looks at the role of religion in conflicts in Africa and Europe. Her new research on the relationship between religious and secular notions concerning sexuality in the African Diaspora will look into how religion, globalization and health are intertwined.
  • Julia Martínez-Ariño: Her research concentrates on the policy and governance issues related to religious diversity in European post-immigration societies.
  • Méadhbh McIvor: She is a social anthropologist with a particular interest in where law and religion intersect.
  • Joram Tarusarira: Director of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and Globalization. Specializes in conflict transformation and research into peacebuilding. He is an expert on religion, society and politics in Zimbabwe.
  • Erin Wilson: She is a specialist on the contentious position of religion in the modern Euro-American public domain. She focuses on refugee and asylum issues.

These researchers regularly discuss ongoing research and events on the weblog The Religion Factor. Students are also asked to contribute to this.

Research Centres

Much of the research by the department connects with the activities of:

These centres regularly invite speakers and organise events on the role of religion in contemporary societies, where MA students, PhD students and staff engage in lively discussions.

We hope to inspire your own research and further career choices through this lively research environment!

Apply nowDownload brochureOpen days and eventsContact
Master's dayBroerstraat 5More information

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Religion, Conflict and Globalization, please contact:

  • 
								Testimonial of Carolien Lindeman - The Netherlands

    Understanding contemporary religious conflicts and society

    – Carolien Lindeman - The Netherlands
    Read more

    As a future journalist I chose a specialization in Religion, Conflict and Globalization to enrich my knowledge about contemporary global conflicts. I also took a Master's in Journalism and wrote my thesis on the use of social media during the 2011 revolts in Egypt. However, it wasn't until I started my Master's programme in Religion, Conflict and Globalization that I gained a true understanding of the role and significance of social media in Egypt's revolts.

    The many different case studies that come to the fore during this programme are what I liked best. I got to study the specifics of the religious conflict in Israel. I learned to question and define the meaning of fundamentalism and studied different forms of fundamentalism. These ranged from Christian fundamentalism in the US, to Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, to terrorist attacks in Tokyo by a Japanese sect. Together, we discussed the role of religion in the public sphere and the effects of globalisation on the psyche, in a religious sense and otherwise.

    The multiple angles from which my committed teachers taught about religion, be it anthropological, philosophical or psychological, opened my eyes to the many ways religion can be understood. The freedom I was then given to explore these in my own essays, allowed me to combine Religious Studies with my previous Master's in Journalism and Bachelor's in American Studies. This multi-faceted Master's is definitely intended for those not only interested in theoretical insights into religion but also into real-world reflections on contemporary society and religious conflicts.

    I had placements at the Dutch newspaper Het Parool and the Dutch broadcasting news agency NOS. At the moment, I'm working as a freelance journalist and copywriter

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of Dr Kim Knibbe - The Netherlands

    The role of religion in contemporary societies is still not sufficiently understood

    – Dr Kim Knibbe - The Netherlands
    Read more

    Many disciplines do not explicitly address the role of religion in conflict, in the ways present-day societies are shaped, and in the ways people themselves shape their lives in a globalised world. This is puzzling but understandable given the dominance of the narrative of secularisation: social scientists long expected that the world would become less religious, following the example of Europe.

    Although the recognition that this is not happening has begun to sink in, the persistence and prominence of the role of religion in contemporary societies is still not sufficiently understood either in academic research or in the work of policy-makers, NGO's and journalists. This is what we are trying to do in this MA programme.

    Within this programme, I am involved in the course unit Global Dynamics and Local Cosmologies. This course unit is intended to give a broad background to the confrontation between different - religious and cultural - ways of ordering, perceiving and acting in the world that have taken place throughout history. We look at the confrontations between explorers and local populations, at the experience of colonialism, the globalisation of capitalism and our current, thoroughly globalised society. What has changed as a result of these confrontations and what remains the same? The Fundamentalism and Religious Violence course unit has a focus on more contemporary issues: what is fundamentalism and what are its causes? What are the consequences of labelling a certain group 'fundamentalist'? Is there something specific to religion that is connected with violence?

    My own research in recent years has focused on a form of 'religious globalisation' radiating from Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the most religiously dynamic countries in the world, especially in the south where there are many Pentecostal churches that are very ambitious: they want to convert the whole world to Christianity. They use the most modern methods of evangelisation, media, and organisation. To many people, these kinds of churches form a gateway to a globalised, modern lifestyle. Several of these churches have established a presence in many different countries worldwide. The church I have been following has 'parishes' in most countries of the world, and is also present in the Netherlands.

    In the Netherlands and Europe in general, religion and modernity are often thought to be antithetical - religion should be a private affair. This is very different from the way these Pentecostal churches see things. How do these opposing ways of viewing religion in relation to modernity interact and perhaps conflict, for example when it comes to gender and sexuality? That is what interests me.

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of Dr Joram  Tarusarira - Zimbabwe

    Reconciliation is both a social and a political process

    – Dr Joram Tarusarira - Zimbabwe
    Read more

    The links between religion and conflict, peace and reconciliation in pre-modern and modern times are undisputed. However, recent religiously articulated violence and conflict both locally and globally has added another layer of complexity to the role of religion in the public sphere. Although religious motifs can be used to promote peace, religion can also be used to justify conflict and violence.

    The Religion, Conflict and Globalization track provides an opportunity for the interdisciplinary study of the role religion plays in socio-economic and political conflicts, as well as in promoting sustainable peace and reconciliation. You will study how religion around the world influences people’s lives and connects them. Our teaching philosophy allows you to study and to conduct high level research that has a practical impact in the public domain. 

    I am the Coordinator of this track and am responsible for the Thesis seminars and Methodology clinics. I teach the course unit ‘Religion, Violence and Conflict Transformation’. This course unit examines the discourse and practice of peacebuilding and conflict transformation. We will address topics such as the history and development of religiously articulated violence and religious peacebuilding, religion and reconciliation, transitional justice and religion, religion and conflict,  fundamentalism and religious violence,  women, religion and peacebuilding, and religion, ritual and peacebuilding.                          

    My own research is conducted where religion, conflict, politics, peace and reconciliation intersect. It’s very important for me to conduct research that has a practical influence in the public sphere. A specific example of the practical application of my studies and research into reconciliation and transitional justice is my work as a consultant for various civic organizations in Zimbabwe. I’ve given workshops on peace, recovery and reconciliation, following two decades of political conflict, and have developed policy documents on these themes. I consider transitional justice to be part of the reconciliation process because I believe that reconciliation is both a social and a political process. So if you talk about reconciliation, you need to include events from the past and administer both retributive and restorative justice. My teaching is research driven, so students benefit from my past, present and on-going work.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Thomas Ansell - UK

    Sophisticated academic analysis made diverting and fun

    – Thomas Ansell - UK
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    I read Theology at the University of Durham in the UK for my Undergraduate Degree and following two years of working in the media industry in London I decided that I wanted to know more about the interplay of religious belief, modernity and theories of conflict- which has led me to study Religion, Conflict and Globalization here at the University of Groningen.

    Religious choices and religious thinking are so close to the hearts of many millions of people around the world and religion’s interaction with modernity and secularism has formed the basis and breeding ground for many of the challenges faced by governments, international organisations and policymakers around the world. Religion is a very fluid concept, which almost always adapts to its contextual situation and so being taught its role within diverse modern societies and in relation to  theories of conflict, intersectionality, culture and peacemaking is incredibly important when hoping to develop a better understanding of the world.

    The course is multi-faceted, drawing in influences from the social sciences, religious studies and political theory (and much, much more!). The course designers have worked incredibly hard to ensure that all the readings for classes are relevant, interesting and appropriate to the topic. Most pertinently, academic theories are applied to real-world case studies and many of the teaching staff in the department are leading experts in applying theory to practice. The Theology and Religious Studies Faculty at UG has a brilliant teaching style, where independent study is encouraged but expert advice and support is only a short e-mail, coffee or chat away!

    Religion, Conflict and Globalization has a diverse range of focus topics; I chose ‘Religion, Violence and Conflict Transformation’ and have really enjoyed the mixture of topics- having had tasters of the other focusses (migration and gender) I can quite happily state that all of the focusses are equally interesting and well-taught.

    The University has a focus on the real-world application of your degree programme and part of that is and internship. I hope to undertake my internship within Groningen and work with one of the Non-Governmental Organisations that have clustered around the exceptional university.

    As a place to live and study in, Groningen is unmatched. It is vibrant, everyone is very friendly and there is a vast array of things to see and do. There is a festival, or university-led event nearly every weekend and I hope to extend my time in Groningen further than my 1-year programme. I cannot recommend my course highly enough to anyone who would like to gain a more sophisticated understanding of our highly interconnected world, develop their thoughts on religion in the public domain and experience life at a renowned university in a beautiful city.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Jessica Clark - UK

    Encouraged to engage with current events

    – Jessica Clark - UK
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    After I graduated from the University of Stirling, Scotland with a BA in Religious Studies and Journalism Studies, I chose to study Religion, Conflict and Globalization as I have always been fascinated with how religion plays a role within societies and cultures. I wanted to explore this further by doing a master's degree.

    I was also very aware about the negative attitudes held by many in my home country (the UK) towards religion, with the assumption that it causes conflict. I also felt this assumption relates to the fear people have about the migration ‘crisis’ Europe is experiencing, with this fear particularly aimed towards Islam. I felt the Religion, Conflict and Globalization programme would satisfy my interests as it explores the role of religion within the context of globalization, conflict and peace, and migration.

    I enjoyed the fact that this programme is interdisciplinary and that the classes are more like seminars as oppose to lectures. The weekly readings were thought-provoking and challenging and I gained a lot from the class discussions with my peers and lecturers. We were encouraged to engage with current events and apply academic theory to case studies which we have a personal interest in. This style of programme requires a lot of independent study and in turn, allowed me to gain confidence in my own research capabilities which prepared me for writing my thesis.

    In my master’s thesis, I researched Faith Based Organizations (FBO) within the local setting, paying specific attention to the religious narratives used by the Dutch FBO, the International Network of Local Initiatives with Asylum Seekers (INLIA) and how this – if at all – affects the day-to-day practices and decision making processes of the organization. I explored how FBOs operate in assisting displaced persons and elaborated on current literature by applying theory to my personal experiences of working as an intern at INLIA.

    After graduating, I started as an intern in Research and Development at the Humanitarian Academy for Development (formerly Islamic Relief Academy), based in the UK. Now, I am Programme and Grants Coordinator at that same institution. In this role, I am responsible for developing relationships with institutions and funding agencies and I develop proposals and reports based on the funder's requirement.The projects I am involved in, aim to enhance the knowledge and skills of the humanitarian sector through capacity building, applied research and leadership development.


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  • 
								Testimonial of Nick Alexiev - Bulgaria

    Important to show the impact religion has on people's lives

    – Nick Alexiev - Bulgaria
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    I graduated from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. After my Bachelor's, I was wondering how to continue my education. I started browsing different European universities' websites in search of a Master's programme. The University of Groningen, one of the best educational institutions in the world, appealed to me.

    I am interested in politics, social affairs and conflict resolution, so the programme ‘Religion, Conflict and Globalization’ was the perfect choice. It is really interesting to see how religion engages with both the public and the private spheres, and to study its role in past and present conflicts. I think it is important to show the impact religion has on people’s lives. Perhaps religion could provide answers in some of the biggest debates, ironic though this may sound to some.

    I like learning about different scholarly perspectives through the academic literature. The discussions in class are also beneficial and motivate students to formulate their ideas in a friendly environment. The most challenging parts for me are the assignments and the academic analysis. I find it challenging to conduct my own research, and I am learning every day. At first I found it difficult to reflect critically on the literature, especially since I did not have a religious background, but the lecturers are really good at helping us to develop our thinking.

    I will do a placement at the Foreign Ministry in Sofia next year. In the future I hope to work with people. I like analysing a situation and being a buffer between two or more conflicting sides. At the moment I am looking at politics for my future career.

    So far, my stay here has been quite an adventure. The Netherlands is a colourful and vibrant place with a multicultural atmosphere.

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  • 
								Testimonial of Nikki Haze - The Netherlands

    Looking at the world without a Eurocentric lens

    – Nikki Haze - The Netherlands
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    After gaining my Bachelor's degree in History, I applied for admission to the Research Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies. I chose to specialize in Religion, Conflict and Globalization because I wanted to study the role of religion in the contemporary world.

    In this programme, you do not try to ‘prove’ the existence of religions, but rather focus on religions as phenomena that influence people’s lives, identities and behaviour. You are encouraged to observe the world from a non-Eurocentric perspective. We may have become secular nations here in the West, where religion doesn’t play a large role, but that is not the case for the rest of the world. My fellow students have various backgrounds. This makes the discussions in class very interesting. I believe this Master’s programme not only helps you to expand your knowledge, but also transforms you personally.

    My thesis focuses on the role of religion in international development programmes. Since Western Europe dominates international politics, the development agenda is highly secular, and local religious and cultural systems are often not taken seriously. In my thesis I look at religious NGOs, and inquire whether they bring something new to the table in this regard. After graduating, I would like to pursue a PhD degree in order to learn more about this topic. In the future, I hope either to work as an academic or to establish my own NGO, one that strives to serve the interests and goals of local communities, not those of politicians or big companies. 

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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 community exists since April 2003 and is named after Gerardus van der Leeuw the first theologian who introduced religious studies to the UG
http://gerardusvanderleeuw.nl/
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Student profile

You are fascinated by religion, socio-cultural and political developments in a globalized world. You wish to better understand the interaction between religion, peace and conflict, migration, and gender. You want to know what impact various religions have on society and people and you are open to different worldviews. You are interested in sociology, politics, psychology and anthropology. Most of all, you want to know how religion is deployed in the public domain!

Study support

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, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university as well as international students 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.