MA in Religion and Cultural Heritage

General

Program Description

How and why do we creatively make use of the past to forge new identities in the present? How do we negotiate the tension between heritage preservation and engaged ownership? What is at stake in the "musealization" of religion?

Religion and Cultural Heritage is a unique one-year interdisciplinary MA-programme focusing on a major trend at the interface of religion, identity, politics, and material culture: heritage studies. It also addresses a gap in critical heritage studies, studying the shifting place of religion in heritage debates.

Heritage and religion are in the news and on the political agenda both nationally and internationally. In the coming years, 30-80% of religious buildings will lose their original function in the Netherlands. National and European budgets are dedicating millions of euros to the development of plans to address vacant religious heritage buildings. Tourism and pilgrimage to religious objects, sites, and festivals are booming, raising questions about sustainability and impact.

At the same time, heritage has become a significant subject in contemporary cultural debate. Large-scale migration and secularization are changing the religious identities of communities and the way they perceive the past. Urgent new questions are arising, like how migrant communities can maintain their religious identities while grappling with the material and intangible heritage of their new homes. And how does the new diversity affect the sense of identity and heritage of dominant cultures?

The demands of preservation of at-risk material and intangible heritage in the face of war, displacement, population shifts, and climate change are great. How are preservation concerns balanced with local resources?

This program challenges you to analyze and to contribute your own voice to these debates.

Placements

You are encouraged to pursue your own interests in your placement. The program has partnerships with the following institutions:

  • Museum Catharijneconvent
  • Rijksdienst Cultureel Erfgoed (National Cultural Heritage Agency)
  • Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken
  • Stichting Alde Fryske Tsjerken
  • NHL Stenden Hogeschool – Academy of Leisure and Tourism
  • Meertens Institute
  • Athenaeumbibliotheek Deventer
  • Provincie Groningen
  • Future for Religious Heritage - European Network for Historic Places of Worship

Why study this program in Groningen?

  • Expertise on religious aspects of both material and immaterial heritage;
  • A unique combination of broad cultural competence and academic research skills with practical skills relevant to the job market;
  • Expertise on various religions taught at non-denominational university;
  • Strong heritage region;
  • Excellent network for internships;
  • Taught by internationally recognized experts in the field;
  • Small scale teaching.

Program

Year 1

The MA Religion and Cultural Heritage comprise a total of 60 ECTS. The program is structured in such a way as to provide a balance between practical learning with community-based professionals, and academic research.

No matter what your goals may be, the degree gives you both a strong grounding in heritage theory and practice. It enables you to pursue your own interests in two overlapping approaches to heritage studies:

  • Material and intangible heritage: Material Religion; Heritage of Death; Museums and Religion
  • Heritage of traditions and ideas: Popular Culture; National Socialism and Religion - Conflict and Heritage; Heritage of Nature; Theological Heritages; Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Text.

Courses

  • Compulsory: Heritage, Identity, Religion: Theoretical Approaches (5 EC)
  • Compulsory: Regional Heritage: Old Churches - New Meanings (5 EC)
  • Elective: Heritage of Nature: History of Science, Spirituality, and the Idea of Nature (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Material Religion (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Theological Heritages (5 EC, optional)
  • Compulsory: Research Methods in Heritage and Historical Studies (5 EC)
  • Elective: Heritage of Death (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Museums and Religion (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: National Socialism and Religion: Conflict and Heritage (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Popular Culture, Politics, and Heritage (5 EC, optional)
  • Elective: Reception and Re-Use of Authoritative Texts (5 EC, optional)
  • Internship (10 EC)
  • Thesis (20 EC)
  • Thesis seminar

Curriculum

There are three core modules (15 ECTS), a thesis (20 ECTS) and a practical placement (10 ECTS). You can choose three out of eight electives (5 ECTS each).

You can also follow this track within the two-year Research Master's program in Theology and Religious Studies.

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. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad.

Entry requirements

Admission requirements

Dutch diploma

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 important if you do not have a VWO-diploma.TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part) (not for native speakers).
Previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy, Social Sciences (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology) or Spatial Sciences (specialization Cultural Geography). 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 can be permitted 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.

International diploma

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 TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part) (not for English native speakers)
Previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy, Social Sciences (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology) or Spatial Sciences (specialization Cultural Geography). 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.

Language requirements

Exam Minimum score
IELTS overall band 6.5
IELTS listening 6
IELTS reading 6
IELTS writing 6
TOEFL paper-based 580
TOEFL computer-based 237
TOEFL internet-based 92

Registration procedure

International students and Dutch students with non-Dutch qualifications are not automatically admitted to a Master's degree program at the University of Groningen. The full registration procedure will take longer than for Dutch students with regular Dutch qualifications and consists of three steps: application, admission, and registration.

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 € 12500 full-time
EU/EEA 2020-2021 € 2143 full-time

Talent Grant available for Non-EU students.

Job prospects

You can advise or write policy documents on heritage subjects, such as the preservation of old churches or the distribution of funding for cultural activities. You could work for cultural organizations, the government, in the tourist business or at an NGO. You may also work in the media or as a teacher of religion in secondary education after completing your Educational Master's program. If you wish to pursue an academic career, you can follow this track as a specialization within the Research.

Job examples

Cultural Education

You can work within organizations that consult upon the content and organization within the field of arts and cultural education. Or you could work at an educational department within institutions such as cultural centers or museums.

Consulting & Policy

Your knowledge about religious heritage will enable you to advise upon or write policy documents on the conservation of religious heritage. You could find a job with the central government but also at organizations and foundations in the cultural sector. This could, for example, be the Museum Catharijneconvent in Utrecht or the Stichting Oude Groninger Kerken.

Education

Once you have completed this Master's track, you will have sufficient knowledge of the subject to be able to teach Religious Studies or Social Studies in secondary education. Alternatively, you could opt for a position in higher vocational education. As you also need didactic skills as a teacher or lecturer, it is advisable to do a Master's in Education after you have completed your regular Master's program.

Media & Journalism

A number of publishers have shown renewed interest in religion and society. With your knowledge and skills, you can make an expert contribution to publications in this field. You could also use your expertise as an editor at a broadcasting company, newspaper or current affairs magazine.

Research

Onderzoek

Our MA track Religion and Cultural Heritage directly benefits from cutting-edge research carried out mainly within the Department of Christianity and the History of Ideas, and is thus an excellent example of research-based education.

The course units are taught by internationally recognized historians, philosophers and political scientists from all over the world who all specialize in the role of religion in culture. They will provide you with cutting-edge insights into religion and heritage which are directly inspired by their own research.

  • Dr. Mathilde van Dijk (Netherlands): Assistant Professor of History of Christianity and Gender Studies. She focuses on Late Medieval religious culture, mysticism, gender studies, and the representation of the Middle Ages in popular culture (for example, in a film).
  • Dr. Andrew Irving (New Zealand): Assistant Professor of Religion and Heritage, with a specialization in the material culture of Christianity. He specializes in material culture and archaeological approaches to the study of early and medieval Christianities, with a particular focus of liturgy, manuscripts, and the history of the book.
  • Professor Christoph Jedan (Germany): Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Ethics. Central terms in his research are good citizenship, religion and emotion, history of death, dying and bereavement, and 'levenskunst' (Art of Living).
  • Professor Kocku von Stuckrad (Germany): Professor of Religious Studies. In this program, he teaches on Mysticism and Science, using historical cases taken from Jewish and Christian Kabbalah, alchemy, astrology, and philosophies of nature from the Middle Ages to the modern period.
  • Dr. Stefania Travagnin (Italy): Assistant Professor of Religion in Asia. She is an expert on Buddhism and religion and society in modern China and has a special interest in religion and the media in China (online Buddhist rituals; Buddhist films and documentaries).
  • Professor Todd Weir (USA): Professor in Christianity and Modern Culture. He is a cultural and intellectual historian of modern Germany and of the transnational history of religion and secularism.
  • Dr. Erin Wilson (Australia): Associate Professor of Religion and Politics. Her research is at the interface where religious studies, international relations, and philosophy meet, and she aims to develop a new theoretical framework for the role of religion in issues in national and international politics.

Research Institutes

Much of the research by the teaching staff connect with the activities of the Research Centres in our Faculty:

  • The Center for Religion and Heritage analyzes the cultural legacy of several religions.
  • The Center for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization explores the contentious role of religion in the public sphere in contemporary Western and global society.
  • Center for the Study of Religion and Culture in Asia discusses social functions and discursive identities of religion in Asia, past, and present.

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.

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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