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Master’s in Theology and Religious Studies going for gold

Guide to Higher Education puts Groningen in second place
03 March 2014

For the second year running, the Master’s degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen has come second in the ranking list of the Keuzegids Masters 2014 [ Higher Education Guide 2014 – Master’s programmes]. The list of eight Dutch institutions offering a Master’s in Theology and Religious Studies reveals that experts and students really appreciate the programmes in Groningen. Just as in 2013, the Guide has ranked Groningen in second place.

The quality of the general Master’s programmes in the Netherlands is good, but Groningen scores even better on a number of points – there is praise for the quality of the graduates and for the level of the study programme. Groningen students are particularly appreciative of the academic training and of the lecturers. They also gave high grades to the communication and the facilities.

Next year in first place

According to Prof. Mirjam de Baar, Faculty Board member for Education, the University of Groningen is aiming to end up next year with at least the same score as the current number 1, the Theological University Apeldoorn. ‘Our Faculty has recently introduced placements in the Master’s phase. Students are now gaining more practical experience than the Guide took account of, and that’s where Apeldoorn, as a seminary school, scores the highest.’

De Baar thinks it just a question of time before Apeldoorn is overtaken. ‘We were successful with the Bachelor’s in Theology, and we’re going to be successful with the Master’s too’, she says. ‘Our particular strength is the wonderfully broad training we offer, with no fewer than five different specializations. We are also getting better at presenting them, which results in clearer communication.’

Research Master

De Baar thinks that it is a shame that the Research Master was not included in the recommendations because the response rate was too low. She emphasizes: ‘We have a very close connection in Groningen between teaching and research conducted by the staff, not only in the Research Master but also in the one-year Master’s programmes. That is a strong point and will emerge as such even more in the future.’

The Guide separately mentions the specializations Religion, Conflict and Globalisation and Religion and the Public Domain on offer at the University of Groningen. It leaves out the specializations Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism and Origins of Abrahamic Religions: Texts and Contexts and the Master's degree programma Spiritual Care.


The Guide aims to properly prepare students to choose the right Master’s programme, particularly with an eye to the current study climate where there is hardly any room to change your mind. In the 2014 Guide, the compilers used a system of ten criteria, seven of which were student assessments and three expert assessments, in line with the NVAO accreditation format, from which the expert assessments were derived.

Last modified:02 September 2016 11.01 a.m.
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