How are religion, conflict and peace related? What is at stake in the "musealization" of religion? What role does religion and spirituality play in our experience of health and wellbeing?
Religion is an important factor in many national and international social themes. Sometimes this is obvious, especially when we read news about religious radicalization. Other times, it is much less obvious and we are not as aware of the influence religion has in social phenomena, such as in cases of sexual health or climate change. Experts on religion are needed in a world in which religion is a permanent part of everyday life.
We train these experts in our master’s programmes on religion, discussing subjects ranging from heritage studies to peacebuilding, from health & wellbeing to politics.
Will you join us to make a difference?
Sophisticated academic research made diverting and fun
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.
Understanding the "bigger picture"
When I followed the minor “Religion in the Modern World” at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies during my bachelor's in Pedagogical Sciences, I realized how important it is to learn to understand different perspectives in today's society. After my bachelor's degree, I was seeking a master's degree where students would be broadly trained so that the "bigger picture" could be better understood.
So far I have been very enthusiastic about the Religion, Health & Wellbeing - Ethics & Diversity master's programme. Social issues are approached from different disciplines such as anthropology (my personal favorite), philosophy and history. Additionally, we are challenged to think critically about the texts we read. Because of the small scale, there is a positive atmosphere and there is a lot of room for discussion and feedback.
Until now, Gender, Religion and Sexuality has been my favorite course unit. The construct gender was approached from different religions, from a Western and non-Western point of view and from different disciplines. I enjoyed this course with great pleasure and it was often really eye-opening. It was interesting to understand a little better how the meaning of gender and sexuality is shaped by religion, culture and history, among other things.
I am going to write my thesis about the possible consequences of the new law on citizenship education for a diverse society. I don't know exactly what I want to do after my master's, but I think I would like to work for a non-profit organization.
Encouraged to engage with professionals from both academic and non-academic disciplines.
After I finished a placement at a museum, I was certain of my choice to follow the Master's degree programme track in Religion and Cultural Heritage. I greatly valued the emphasis on forming a strong theoretical foundation on the one hand, while simultaneously putting acquired knowledge into practice during excursions and seminars on the other. By visiting museums and conferences, we as students were encouraged to engage with professionals from both academic and non-academic disciplines.
This, along with various relevant guest lectures, significantly contributed to the broadening of my career prospects.
For my Master’s thesis, I conducted field research on exhibitions of human remains in museums. More specifically, this was a comparative study of the ethical aspects surrounding such exhibitions in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. What does the law say about displaying human remains in the Netherlands? And how does that differ compared to regulations in the United Kingdom? As well as holding in-depth interviews with museum curators, I observed how human remains were displayed. What I found was that the United Kingdom has a more strict and extensive policy regarding these type of exhibitions, whereas the Dutch law seems significantly less comprehensive on this topic. In my conclusion, I wrote a piece of advice on how the Netherlands could implement a more expansive policy. My supervisors were very enthusiastic and at the moment, we are looking for ways to bring my thesis to the attention of policymakers.
Finally, what I loved during both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree was the atmosphere at our beautiful faculty. The fact that it’s a small faculty contributes to a positive study experience as a whole, as both staff and students are very dedicated to their course units and to one another!
One of my interests in religions is how they help in the formation of identities
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.
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.
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