Are you interested in the vibrant world of religions? Do you want to study how sacred texts such as the Bible or the Quran have been formed and interpreted throughout the ages? Do you want to understand why religious images, buildings, clothes, and everyday practices often provoke fierce debates or even violent conflicts? Do you want to be able to contribute to analyses of the interplay between religion and politics in the context of globalization and migration?

The Research Master's program in Religious Studies is a challenging, research-oriented program that prepares you for participation in current debates in the international community of scholars of religion and to make your own contributions to the field.


The program combines an advanced grounding in the central themes and theories of the study of religion, with ample opportunity for specialisation. You can choose and develop your specific expertise in relation to one of the key research areas of our institute such as:

  • Religious texts and interpretative practices: This research area focuses on the study of religious traditions from the perspective of sacred texts: their interpretation and the religious rituals and practices associated with them, and discussions on the authority of religious texts.
  • Materiality and physicality of lived religion: This area focuses on the study of the use of the body and the senses in religious practices, such as praying, dancing, fighting, and fasting, and the function of objects within the context of religion, such as images, buildings, food, clothing, money, movies, and digital media.
  • Religious diversity in contexts of globalization and migration: This research area focuses on the role of religion in public controversies and political developments concerning, for instance, gender equality, socio-cultural transformation, political and religious fundamentalism, and conflict resolution.


As a student of this program, you will become part of an international community of students, PhD researchers, postdocs, and senior scholars working together at a leading research institute. You will attend small-scale seminars and learn from renowned scholars, who will actively involve you in their own research. Read more about our teaching and research environment, including our teaching staff.


During this Research Master’s program, you will develop the knowledge and skills to independently develop and carry out high-quality research in various branches of Religious Studies. As a graduate of this program, you will have:

  • A broad understanding of the entire field of Religious Studies.
  • Thorough knowledge and methodological skills in a specific subfield.
  • The knowledge and skills to present research results both orally and in writing.
  • An international network of junior and senior scholars in the field of Religious Studies.

After successful completion of the program, you are fully equipped for further advanced research, such a PhD in Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, or cognate disciplines such as Anthropology. Your training also equips you to pursue non-academic career paths requiring advanced research skills.


After completion of the program, you are fully prepared to compete successfully for PhD positions in Religious Studies, Islamic Studies, or cognate disciplines (such as Anthropology). Your training also equips you to pursue non-academic career paths requiring advanced research skills. The multidisciplinary and transnational approach of this Research Master’s program is especially beneficial here. The skills and expertise you will acquire in this program are in demand with a wide range of organisations within and outside of Europe, such as NGOs dealing with religious and cultural diversity or cultural heritage, media and publishing houses, museums, and so forth. In combination with a didactic qualification, you will also be qualified for positions in the educational sector.


The Research Master’s program in Religious Studies is designed for students with the ability and ambition to pursue an academic career. You will learn from internationally leading scholars, including laureates of prestigious awards and research grants. You will actively participate in their research projects and their international networks. This significantly enhances your prospects of being offered a funded PhD position, either at Utrecht University or at another research university.


Graduates of Religious Studies work in diverse jobs in which analytical skills and advanced multidisciplinary research competencies, and insights in historical and transnational developments are important.

Concrete examples of possible non-academic employers of alumni of Research Master’s programs in Religious Studies are governmental and non-governmental organisations dealing with religious and cultural diversity or cultural heritage, news- and media organisations and museums.

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Last updated December 1, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,083 EUR
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee 2019-2020): € 2,083. Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee): 2018-19: € 15,575, 2019-20: € 16,600
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