MA in Religion, Conflict and Globalization


Program Description

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.

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • A combination of anthropology, sociology and political science is unique in the world.
  • Unique focus on the place of religion in a globalized world from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Relates the latest research and theories to current developments.
  • Internships at embassies, ministry of foreign affairs, national and international NGO's.
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation at a Top 100 University.


Year 1

The MA programmReligion, Conflict and Globalization consists of a compulsory introductory course (10 ECTS), a compulsory course unit on Research Methods (5 ECTS), three electives (15 ECTS) and a thesis (20 ECTS). 10 ECTS are reserved for practical placement.

All students take the introductory course, which lays out the dominant theoretical approaches used when considering and studying religion within this setting. Disciplinary approaches include those from anthropology, sociology, political philosophy and theory, and international relations theories. One of the main stresses within the course is expounding the significance of 'culture', 'society', 'politics', and 'power'. These are presented both as contested concepts, but also as factors that affect relationships.

The second compulsory course is 'Social Scientific Research Methods', where students are introduced to and develop the necessary research skills for completing a research project- such as the thesis.

Additionally, you choose three out of seven-course units: 'Religion, Violence and Conflict Transformation', 'Migration, Culture, and Religious Identity', 'Religion, Gender and Sexuality', 'Global Dynamics and Local Cosmologies: Studying Religious Change', 'Religion and the Politics of Human Rights', 'Gender, Religion and Sexual Nationalism', 'Forced Migration'.


  • Compulsory: Religion, Conflict, and Globalization: a critical introduction (10 EC)
  • Elective: Migration, Culture and Religious Identity (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Religion, Gender, and Sexuality (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Religion,Violence and Conflict Transformation (5 EC, optional)
  • Compulsory: Social Scientific Research Methods (5 EC)
  • Elective: Forced Migration (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Gender, Religion, and Sexual Nationalism (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Global Dynamics and Local Cosmologies (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: National Socialism and Religion: Conflict and Heritage (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Religion and the Politics of Human Rights (5 EC, optional)
  • Placement (10 EC)
  • Thesis + Thesis Seminar (20 EC)


The program consists of two compulsory courses and three electives. Through these electives, you can choose to focus on topics related to either Conflict and Peacebuilding, Migration, or Gender.

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 program at a foreign university.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirements More information
Grade list A grade list of the marks of your bachelor's degree program with an explanation of the followed courses.
Language test An English language test is only required if you do not have a Dutch VWO-diploma. Minimum requirements: TOEFL 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet or IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part).
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 bridging program.

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

Application deadlines

Type of student Deadline Start course
Dutch students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020
EU/EEA students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students 01 May 2020 01 September 2020

Tuition fees

Nationality Year Fee Program form
EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 2083 full-time
non-EU/EEA 2019-2020 € 8900 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Job prospects

Following the completion of this degree, you will be able to advise or write policy documents on different subjects - including developmental assistance, or multicultural society. Job tracts include working for a government, in business, or at an NGO. Other options include media, or indeed education. Those who wish to pursue an academic career can follow this track as part of the 2-year Research Master's program.

Job examples

Consulting & Policy

In a globalized world, there is a need for experts who can help explain and solve conflicts that are further-reaching than ever before. More specifically, this could mean working for the think-tank of a political party, for a body such as the Netherlands Institute for Social Research, or indeed the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael.

Media & Journalism

The media often misportray religion, whether it is to do with terrorism or integration issues. Graduates of this program will be able to add some much-needed nuance to the picture, whether at a publishing company, broadcasting, or a newspaper/news magazine.


Upon completing the degree, you will have enough knowledge to teach in Religious Studies, Philosophy, Social Studies, and others - in secondary education. You could also opt for a position in higher vocational education. As didactic skills are required for teaching, it is advisable doing a Master's in Education, once having completed this course.



The course units in the MA track Religion, Conflict and Globalization are taught by anthropologists, sociologists, religious studies scholars, and political scientists who are recognized as experts in their respective fields, all studying religion as a cultural and social phenomenon. In the course units, 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.

Teachers and their expertise

  • Brenda Bartelink: She is currently researching health, wellbeing and family relations in African initiated churches in the Netherlands.
  • Marjo Buitelaar: The themes of globalization and identity formation feature prominently in her recently started research on the hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca).
  • Peter Berger: His ongoing research into the current religious changes in indigenous highland societies in India provides insight into how the local and the global are related.
  • Kim Knibbe: Expert on the worldwide spread of Pentecostal churches from Nigeria. She investigates the many faces of religious globalization and looks at the role of religion in conflicts in Africa and Europe. Her new research on the relationship between religious and secular notions concerning sexuality in the African Diaspora will look into how religion, globalization, and health are intertwined.
  • Julia Martínez-Ariño: Her research concentrates on the policy and governance issues related to religious diversity in European post-immigration societies.
  • Méadhbh McIvor: She is a social anthropologist with a particular interest in where law and religion intersect.
  • Joram Tarusarira: Director of the Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization. Specializes in conflict transformation and research into peacebuilding. He is an expert on religion, society, and politics in Zimbabwe.
  • Erin Wilson: She is a specialist in the contentious position of religion in the modern Euro-American public domain. She focuses on refugee and asylum issues.

These researchers regularly discuss ongoing research and events on the weblog The Religion Factor. Students are also asked to contribute to this.

Research Centers

Much of the research by the department connects with the activities of:

  • Center for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization
  • Center for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia
  • Center for Religion, Health, and Wellbeing.

These centers regularly invite speakers and organize events on the role of religion in contemporary societies, where MA students, Ph.D. students, and staff engage in lively discussions.

We hope to inspire your own research and further career choices through this lively research environment!

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astr ... Read More

The University of Groningen has a rich academic tradition dating back to 1614. From this tradition arose the first female student and the first female lecturer in the Netherlands, the first Dutch astronaut and the first president of the European Central Bank. Geographically, the University is rooted in the Northern part of the Netherlands, a region very close to its heart. Read less
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