Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Education Master's and PhD degree programmes Theology & Religious Studies
Header image Theology & Religious Studies

Theology & Religious Studies

Everyone has an opinion on religion, but few people can interpret this complex phenomenon accurately. This Master's programme trains you to become a specialist in the field of religion and culture.

The one-year Master's programme in Theology and Religious Studies focuses on the relationship between religion, culture and society. You will learn to understand and analyse their dynamics.

You can choose from four specializations:

  • Religion, Conflict and Globalization
    You will acquire knowledge of the relationship between religion, conflict and peace building.
  • Religion and Cultural Heritage
    Specialization in material and immaterial heritage
  • Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern
    Focus on the relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the antique world and how these relations have formed our modern society.
  • Religion, Health and Wellbeing
    Examines what it means to be ill or healthy in diverse, individualized and highly technological societies.


You will finish the programme by writing a thesis. All programmes are taught in English, with the exception of Spiritual Care.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MA in Theology & 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?
  • Best MA programme in Theology and Religious Studies in the Netherlands
  • Vibrant research tradition with international links.
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation at Top 100 University.
  • You can follow your own research interests.
  • International teaching staff and international classroom.
  • Expertise on various religions, taught at non-denominational university.
Programme

The tracks comprise of several course modules (30 ECTS in total), an internship (10 ECTS) and a master's thesis (20 ECTS).

Study load

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

Curriculum

In all of the English taught specializations there are compulsory modules (30 ECTS), a placement of 10 ECTS and the thesis of 20 ECTS. Check the individual websites of our tracks for specific information.

Programme options
Religion, Health and Wellbeing (track)

What role does religion and spirituality play in our experience of health and wellbeing? How does the biomedical focus of current healthcare practice affect us?

This interdisciplinary degree programme examines what it means to be ill or healthy in diverse, individualized and highly technological societies, from psychological, cultural, ethical, and political perspectives. Not only does religious, cultural, political, physical, and technological diversity influence how we try to recover or maintain our health, it also influences what we think 'health' is in the first place.This track within the Master's Programme in Theology and Religious Studies, has two specializations: 'Spiritual Care [Geestelijke Verzorging]' and 'Ethics and Diversity'.› The specialization in Ethics and Diversity imparts the academic knowledge and skills to examine the anthropological, sociological, and ethical dimensions of health and well-being. This specialization is taught in English.› The specialization in Spiritual Care imparts the academic and practical knowledge and skills needed to examine the psychological, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of health and wellbeing, enabling you to become a registered spiritual care giver [geestelijk verzorger]. This specialization is mainly taught in Dutch.

More information about this option

Religion, Conflict and Globalization (track)

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.

More information about this option

Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern (track)

How did the Romans view religious-political differences? How did ancient Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authorities use authoritative texts? What potential for pluralism exists in modern monotheisms and secularisms?.Tension between group solidarity and productive relations with 'others' has been part of human history for as long as evidence exists. In Europe, it has played out most enduringly in relations among the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Today, in the face of mass migration from Muslim regions, questions of political identity and belonging remain bound up with religious affiliation. This one-year degree programme focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims in the antique world and how these relations have formed our modern society. We will explore concepts as religious pluralism, politics, and their many interfaces globally in particular.

More information about this option

Religion and Cultural Heritage (track)

How and why do we creatively make use of the past to forge new identities in the present? How do we negotiate the tension between heritage preservation and engaged ownership? What is at stake in the "musealization" of religion?.Religion and Cultural Heritage is a unique one-year interdisciplinary MA-programme focusing on a major trend at the interface of religion, identity, politics, and heritage studies. It also addresses a gap in critical heritage studies, studying the shifting place of religion in heritage debates.Heritage and religion are in the news and on the political agenda both nationally and internationally. In the coming years, 30-80% of religious buildings will lose their original function in the Netherlands. National and European budgets are dedicating millions of euros to the development of plans to address vacant religious heritage buildings. Tourism and pilgrimage to religious objects, sites, and festivals are booming, which raises questions about sustainability and impact.

At the same time, heritage has become a significant subject in contemporary cultural debate. Large-scale migration and secularization are changing the religious identities of communities and the way they perceive the past. Urgent new questions are arising, like how migrant communities can maintain their religious identities while grappling with the material and intangible heritage of their new homes? And how does the new diversity affect the sense of identity and heritage of dominant cultures?The demands of preservation of at risk material and intangible heritage in the face of war, displacement, population shifts, and climate change are great. How are preservation concerns balanced with local resources?This programme challenges you to analyse and contribute your own voice to these debates.

More information about this option

Master's Honours Programme: "Leadership: making the difference' (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

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Arabic Language and CultureAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Arts and CultureAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
History (part-time)All Research universitiesNo additional requirements
GodgeleerdheidAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Classics (part-time)All Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Hebreeuwse en Joodse StudiesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Hebrew Language and CultureAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Islam en ArabischAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Islamic StudiesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Latin Language and CultureAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Middle Eastern StudiesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Ancient Near Eastern StudiesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Ancient CulturesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Religie en LevensbeschouwingAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Religie in Samenleving en CultuurAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Religious StudiesAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
SociologyAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Theology (part-time)All Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Theologie KlassiekAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Theologie PlusAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
WereldgodsdienstenAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Study programmeOrganizationTransition
Religious StudiesUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
TheologyUniversity of GroningenNo additional requirements
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.

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 (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 premaster's programme.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the programme, including your motivation and expectations (max. 1 page), accompanied with a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) Thesis.

other admission requirements

If you are a bachelor's student and planning to enroll in one of the master tracks Religion and Pluralism, Religion and Cultural Heritage, Religion, Conflict and Globalization ofrReligion, Health and Wellbeing, or the Research Master's programme in the academic year 2020-2021, then you are allowed to have 15 ECTS of your bachelor's degree programme left for a conditional admission.

Registration procedure

Students with Dutch degrees send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw rug.nl.

Students with non-Dutch degrees send all their documentation via OAS (Online Application System).

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students01 May 202101 September 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021

Nota bene: voor 2020 is de aanmelddeadline verschoven naar 1 juni 2020.

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 (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 premaster's programme.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions board, outlining your interest in the programme, including your motivation and expectations (max. 1 page), accompanied with a writing sample of an academic paper, preferably your Bachelor's (or Master's) Thesis.

other admission requirements

If you are a bachelor's student and planning to enroll in one of the master's tracks in Religion and Pluralism, Religion and Cultural Heritage, Religion, Conflict and Globalization or Religion, Health and Wellbeing, or the Research Master's programme in the academic year 2020-2021, then you are allowed to have 15 ECTS of your bachelor's degree programme left for a conditional admission.

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 202101 September 2021
EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
non-EU/EEA students01 May 202101 September 2021
Tuition fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2020-2021€ 2143full-time

Talent Grants available for Non-EU students, check this and other funding options here: https://www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/talent-grants-and-scholarships-theors

Practical information for:

After your studies

Job prospects

With a degree in Theology and Religious Studies, you can work as an advisor or policymaker. You can find a job in the media and in journalism, or enter the field of education. You can also pursue a research career at a university or research institution. As a spiritual caregiver you can work in care facilities.

Check our alumni page to find out where our alumni ended up after graduating.

Research

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 organise events where students, PhD students and staff engage in lively discussions.

Apply nowBrochureEventsContact
Online Master's WeekMore information

Contact

  • student Hanna (Our master's student ambassadors are happy to tell you more about the programme.)
  • Kees van den Ende MA (studieadviseur)
    Email: k.van.den.ende rug.nl
  • Drs. Thea de Boer (Studieadviseur)
    Email: t.m.l.de.boer rug.nl

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. Below, you will find the complete programme. There are various electives from which you can choose, depending on your preferred specialization within the master's programme.

1st semester (30 ECTS)

2nd semester (30 ECTS)

If you have followed minor courses in Theology or Religious Studies, it might be possible to follow a shorter premaster's programme. Please contact our student advisors to see what the options are.

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

Other degree programmes in religion

If you are interested in a master's degree programme in religion, you might also be interested in:

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 community exists since April 2003 and is named after Gerardus van der Leeuw the first theologian who introduced religious studies to the UG
https://www.facebook.com/gerardusvanderleeuw/
Read more
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.