MA in Theology & Religious Studies (Research)

University of Groningen

Program Description

MA in Theology & Religious Studies (Research)

University of Groningen

How can we interpret the influence of religion on local and global developments? What are the relationships between religion and other cultural domains such as science, philosophy, and politics?

In this Research Master's Programme, you will study how religion is embedded in present-day and in historical cultural contexts. You will explore the impact of local and global socio-economic and political developments on religion, and how religion contributes to such developments. A staff member whose research interests in religion matches yours best will act as your supervisor throughout the programme.

You will acquire an overview of central debates in the study of religion and develop key research skills by following three compulsory core modules.

We offer three specialization routes within which you can develop your individual research profile and skills. Your individual, tailor-made route within the programme consists of a combination of optional modules from one of the one-year master specializations, research traineeships, (individual) tutorials and writing a thesis and a research proposal.

The modules, traineeships, and tutorials are designed to equip you with in-depth knowledge of specialized subjects, together with subject-specific methodological skills. The final specialization occurs in the Research Master's thesis, which forms the basis of a Ph.D. thesis proposal or an application for research funding.

Student profile

The two-year research programme is offered to highly qualified and motivated students, who have a wide-ranging interest in religion and who wish to study in a challenging academic environment that stimulates personal ambition and development. You will be prepared to carry out postgraduate academic research.


1st year

In the first year the programme consists of the three compulsory core modules (30 EC), three specialization modules (15 EC), a tailor-made (individual) tutorial (5 EC); a research traineeship (5 EC), and a specialization elective (extra module, tutorial or research traineeship) (5 EC).

2nd year

The first semester of the second year you preferably go abroad to take extra courses, tutorials, and research traineeships. Alternatively, you do your tutorials and research traineeships in the Netherlands. The programme will be completed with a master's thesis (25 EC) and a research proposal (5 EC).

N.B.: Presentational skills, and skills to write a research proposal are trained throughout the two years programme in a series of workshops and in monthly meetings with Ph.D. members of the Graduate School.

Programme options

Religion, Conflict, and Globalization (specialization)

What is the role of religion in modern society? How does globalization affect local religious traditions? When does religion appear to inspire both violence and peace?

Looking around the world today, it is clear that religion plays a role in many of the major conflicts going on at various levels. Furthermore, religion plays an important role in people's lives worldwide and has become one of the major ways people connect with each other across the globe. However, the persistence and prominence of the role of religion in contemporary societies are still not sufficiently understood in academic research and in the work of policy-makers, NGO's and journalists.

This degree programme addresses the pivotal place of religion in the dynamics of globalization that shape present-day societies. The programme is interdisciplinary, examining political, social, psychological and cultural dimensions. You will learn to:

  • investigate the consequences of globalization for religious practices and individual, ethnic and national identities
  • examine how secular frames and identities are implicated in conflicts involving religion
  • understand the relationship between religion, conflict, and peace-building
  • analyze national and international conflicts, and learn how they are interwoven with religious interests and opinions

Religion and Pluralism, Ancient & Modern (specialization)

How did the Romans view religious-political differences? How did ancient Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authorities use authoritative texts?

Tensions between group solidarity and productive relations with ' others' have been part of human history for as long as evidence exists. In Europe, it has played out most enduringly in relations among the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Today, in the face of mass migration from Muslim regions, questions of political identity and belonging remain bound up with religious affiliation. This one-year degree programme focuses on relations between Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the antique world and how these relations have formed our modern society. We will explore concepts as religious pluralism, politics, and their many interfaces globally in particular.

In this track you will:

  • examine the literary sources of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in a historically informed way in order to bring critical perspectives to modern interpretations;
  • identify continuing issues in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic self-definition, toleration of difference, and exclusionary or conversions tendencies;
  • map a range of ancient possibilities for coexistence or conviviality and their opposites under changing conditions.

Religion and Cultural Heritage (specialization)

Are you fascinated by history and culture? Want to help shape today's cultural landscape? Find out what defines “heritage”? Learn how museums plan exhibitions or how heritage policies are created?

Memory produces identity. That is why heritage is crucial for our sense of continuity in rapidly changing societies.Governments, national and international organizations need to make sense of the past as they make policies for and invest in heritage. The aim of this master's degree is to give you the theoretical and practical education necessary to take an active role in this exciting and growing field.

Why study heritage at a faculty of Theology and Religious Studies? Because most of the heritage around us stems, one way or another, from religious practices and ideas. If you want to understand heritage in all its facets, you want to study with experts who know the full story behind material and intangible heritages both locally and abroad.

The track Religion and Cultural Heritage in the Master's Programme in Theology and Religious Studies combines broad cultural competence with a high-level academic research training and the practical skills relevant for today's job market. Through concrete projects and internships, you can gain hands-on experience in the field.

Religion, Health, and Wellbeing (specialization)

What role does religion and spirituality play in our experience of health and wellbeing? How does the biomedical focus of current healthcare practice affect us?

This interdisciplinary degree programme will examine what it means to be ill or healthy in diverse, individualized and highly technological societies, from psychological, cultural, ethical, and political perspectives. Not only do religious, cultural, political, physical, and technological diversity influence how we try to recover or maintain our health, they also influence what we think 'health' is in the first place.

Master's Honours Programme: "Leadership: making the difference'(honors program)

Honours programme of the University (15 EC).

For students who have a Bachelor Honours degree and who have attended a University College or were actively involved in (student)organizations besides the regular master programme.

Job prospects

A degree in Theology and Religious Studies (research) provides a perfect background for:

  • admission to Ph.D. programmes at national and international institutes and universities;
  • positions outside academia for which outstanding academic research skills are required;
  • positions as a civil servant, advisor or policymaker with the local and national government;
  • teaching positions.

Job examples

  • Ph.D. position
  • Independent scholar
  • Secondary education teacher
  • Civil servant or policy advisor at national or local government
  • Position in publishing

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 25, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
24 months
Full time
2,060 EUR
EU/EEA students. € 11500 non-EU/EEA students.
Request Info
non-EU/EEA students. May 1st EU/EEA students.
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
non-EU/EEA students. May 1st EU/EEA students.
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
Netherlands - Groningen, Groningen
Application deadline Request Info
non-EU/EEA students. May 1st EU/EEA students.
End date Request Info