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University of Groningen to launch new Religious Studies Programmes

08 November 2016

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Groningen will launch several new Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in September next year. These will enable it to train students as experts in the field of religion with a focus on topical issues relating to globalization, migration, heritage management and the multicultural society. Prospective master's students can find out more about the new programmes at the Faculty’s open day on 25 November.

Bachelor's programme in Religious Studies

From 1 September 2017, the Bachelor’s programme in Religious Studies will be taught in both Dutch and English, making the University of Groningen the only university in the Netherlands to offer an English-taught version of this programme. Dutch students can choose in which language they wish to follow the programme. By offering an English version of the programme, the Faculty is opening it up to students from abroad. Dr Sipco Vellenga, Director of Studies at the Faculty, says, ‘We are investing in making our students international in outlook. They will be challenged to compare their different cultural backgrounds, and the lecturers will capitalize on this in class.’

Religion and Cultural Heritage: Jesus Christ Superstar
Religion and Cultural Heritage: Jesus Christ Superstar

Religion and Cultural Heritage

The Faculty will offer two new Master’s programmes: Religion and Cultural Heritage and Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern. Recently appointed American specialist in the cultural history of Christianity Dr Todd Weir will be largely responsible for teaching Religion and Cultural Heritage. Although there are various cultural heritage programmes in the Netherlands, religion does not play a significant role in a single one. A clear omission, says Dr Weir: ‘Religion lies at the core of all intangible and living culture, and the study of religion helps us ask important questions about heritage practice. Our combined expertise allows us to place Christian heritage in a broad context that includes other religious traditions and even secularism.’

Religious diversity

Leading British scholar Steve Mason has been appointed Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Cultures for the Master’s programme Religion and Pluralism, Ancient and Modern . The programme examines interactions between Jews, Christians and Muslims in Antiquity and how these interactions have shaped modern society. ‘Religious pluralism has never been a more timely theme. Religious interactions, especially among Christians, Jews and Muslims, have taken a central place in Western societies’, says Mason. The unique feature of this track is that it fuses contemporary concerns such as the tolerance (or not) of religious minorities with a substantial investigation of the ancient origins of the three monotheistic traditions. An important dimension is the study of ancient social-political discourse on minorities, both then and now.

Religion, Conflict and Globalization

The Master’s programme in Religion, Conflict and Globalization has been successfully running at the Faculty for a number of years. It has now been updated and from 1 September 2017 students will be able to specialize in one of three different themes: Migration , Gender or Religions, Conflict and Peacebuilding . The programme is unique in its multidisciplinary approach. From the perspective of anthropology, sociology and political science, students learn to analyse the pivotal place of religion in the dynamics of globalization and conflict that shape present-day societies.


On 25 November the Faculty is holding an open day for its Master’s programmes. Alongside finding out about the new Master's programmes, prospective students can register for information sessions on the Research Master's programme in Theology & Religious Studies.

Last modified:12 June 2023 8.19 p.m.
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