The Master’s degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies has achieved a great result in the
Keuzegids Masters 2015
[Higher Education Guide for Master’s degree programmes]: first place! The University of Groningen scored highest in the assessments by both students and experts.
According to Faculty Board member for Education Prof. Mirjam de Baar, ‘This is a great result, and we are delighted that our five Master’s specializations have reached first place.’ Although in both 2013 and 2014 the Master’s degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen was in second place, De Baar already suspected that it was just a matter of time before Groningen would reach top position: ‘We only introduced our new Master’s specializations in 2012 and I have been expecting since last year that the longer they ran, the further the positive student assessments would improve – and so they have.’ However, it is the lecturers that the Groningen students were most enthusiastic about and who received the highest possible score. The degree programme also stands out in terms of academic character: the University of Groningen was the only institution to receive a very positive assessment score on the ‘academic development’ item.
The students also awarded high scores to the content of the curriculum, the communication and the facilities. The University of Groningen scored a total of 70 points, followed by Tilburg University and TU Kampen, both with 66 points. Of all universities that were assessed, VU University Amsterdam scored lowest: 48 points. According to the Higher Education Guide: ‘The ranking list of Theology Master’s degree programmes this year shows significant differences in quality. If you want to follow a one-year academic programme at a regular university, Groningen is highly recommended.’ Mirjam de Baar confirms this: ‘The total scores vary between 70 and 48 points – that is a great range. Students who want to opt for quality now know what their best options are.’ She does, however, have one point of criticism of the text in the Higher Education Guide: ‘It only seems to focus on Theology, whereas the strength of the University of Groningen lies in the strong religious studies perspective of its Master’s degree programmes. That aspect could have been highlighted a bit more. It is no coincidence that we named our Master’s degree programme “Theology and Religious Studies”.’
‘Our Research Master’s degree programme in Theology and Religious Studies also scored very well, but thus far we have not received sufficient numbers of student assessments to compete in this category. I hope and expect that the Research Master’s programme will qualify for ranking next year, and that it will achieve similarly good results. The expert assessments already indicate that the Groningen Master’s programme is the best Research Master’s programme, mainly thanks to the quality of its graduates.’
In October 2014, the Bachelor’s degree programmes in Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen were also assessed as the best in the Netherlands by the Keuzegids Universiteiten [Higher Education Guide for Universities]. They were even awarded the predicate ‘Top Programme’, which is exclusively reserved for degree programmes that score 75 points or more. The separate Keuzegids Masters [Higher Education Guide for Master’s degree programmes] for Master’s degree programmes taught at universities (WO) and universities of applied sciences (HBO), was published yesterday. The Higher Education Guides are published by the Centre for Higher Education Information (CHOI; Centrum Hoger Onderwijs Informatie) and are intended for prospective students who want to orientate themselves for their future study careers.
Mirjam de Baar concludes: ‘I am actually expecting the scores on the “practical orientation” item for our one-year Master’s degree programmes to increase even further thanks to the compulsory placements where students can orientate and familiarize themselves with professional practice. I’d say let’s go for 75 points and the Top Programme predicate, just like our Bachelor’s programmes!’
The Bloomsbury Handbook of Religion and Heritage in Contemporary Europe
Editors: Todd H. Weir and Lieke Wijnia
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