Master of Theology and Religious Studies (Leuven)


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Looking to build on your Bachelor's degree in Theology or Religious Studies? Or perhaps you are engaged in pastoral work and seeking to deepen your theoretical insights? Where better than at KU Leuven, where theology has been taught and practiced for nearly 600 years? KU Leuven's Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has always acted as a think tank within the Catholic community. Leuven's famed theology professors will put you in a great position to determine your own future, whether it is in pastoral work, at NGOs throughout the world, in the media, or in politics.

What is the program all about?

The goal of this Master's program is to expand and deepen students' initial education in theology and religious studies, whether obtained at KU Leuven or elsewhere. It prepares students to engage in independent research in the various domains of theology and religious studies and equips them to function as experts in Church and society.

The curriculum has two key focuses:

  • Firstly, you’ll be given the opportunity to specialize and write a Master's thesis in one of the Faculty's five research disciplines or majors: biblical studies, systematic theology, and the study of religions, theological and comparative ethics, the history of Church and theology, and pastoral and empirical theology.
  • Secondly, the curriculum offers a general orientation towards the interdisciplinary academic investigation of the Christian faith tradition in a multi-cultural and multi-religious social context.

This program can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.


All of the Faculty’s programs are taught in both Dutch and English and are open to students of every nationality. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe, which adds a valuable intercultural element to your experience. We also encourage students to participate in exchange programs that allow them to spend a semester abroad. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has 89 agreements in 26 different countries.

Tradition, Research, and Excellence

The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has built a rich history and tradition for excellence ever since its founding in 1432. The Faculty focuses on training students and researchers in scientifically-based, and methodological reflection and application, where theology and religious studies mutually enrich one another. The Faculty’s research news website (Theology Research News or TRN for short) imparts the Faculty’s unique and distinguishing profile, with its multicultural, international, and (inter)disciplinary character to a worldwide audience.

Is this the right program for me?

The Master of Theology and Religious Studies will equip you with knowledge of:

  • the fundamental concepts and methods of theology in relation to its distinct methodological perspectives.
  • the fundamental concepts and methods of religious studies, inter-religious dialogue, and methods of canon law.
  • the fundamental concepts and methods of philosophy, social sciences, and psychology, with specific attention to the manner in which these disciplines endeavor to clarify and explain the phenomenon of religion.

And the capacity to apply that knowledge to:

  • problems in theological and non-theological disciplines, questions and statements related to religion, fundamental life options, and society.
  • analyzing matters related to church and religion and locating them within a broader framework.
  • enter into discussions on matters related to theology and religion in a broader social context and to adopt a reasonable and responsible standpoint in such discussions.
  • the capacity to independently and adequately assimilate literature (including foreign language literature) in the field of theology and religious studies.
  • write an academic and formally correct (i.e., according to accepted academic standards) article on a topic related to Theology or Religious Studies.

Concerning certificate proving proficiency in English:

Prospective students who obtained an English bachelor's degree at the faculty or who are citizens of Australia, English-speaking Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK or the United States of America, speaking English as their mother tongue, are not required to submit a certificate demonstrating their English knowledge.

All prospective students (regardless of their background) are allowed to submit an application file without including a TOEFL/IELTS test. However, prospective students must submit an English motivation letter, CV and sample of work. The Faculty’s admissions committee will assess the application file without TOEFL/IELTS test and decide whether the student will be admitted based on the submitted file or whether the student has to present a TOEFL/IELTS certificate after all. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies requires a minimum score of 79-80 for the Internet-based TOEFL test, 550 for the paper version of the TOEFL test, 213 for the computer version of the TOEFL test or an IELTS score of 6.5-7.

Concerning the translation of your diploma and official transcripts:

If your documents are not in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian or Spanish, please arrange for these documents to be translated by a registered translator. These documents must be also be certified by the educational institution that issued them or by a Belgian diplomatic office.

Career perspectives

Degrees in Theology and Religious Studies prepare students for a wide variety of careers, including teaching in secondary and higher education, publishing, the media, academic research and the various domains of pastoral care. You will also develop skills that are valued by a large number of employers. These include research, analytical and presentation skills, critical thinking, organizational and time management skills, teamwork, and communication and writing skills. Many graduates use these skills while pursuing an international career as experts in the Church and society.

Graduates who wish to engage in the further specialization can continue their academic career by enrolling for one more year, for the second year Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.

Start your career, during your studies

During your bachelor's and master's program you can already shape your own profile by choosing a certain specialization, studying abroad (Erasmus), doing a work placement, or starting your own business.

The Student Career Center is happy to put you on the right track towards your first work experience. The center also coaches you in the search for an interesting job and helps you with job interviews. For students wanting to start their own business KU Leuven also has Lcie, the KU Leuven community that encourages students with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.

Don’t know where to start? The Student Career Center's databases contain offers for jobs, volunteer work, innovation projects, and student jobs. You can also visit one of the events organized by the Career Center.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked ... Read More

KU Leuven is an institution for research and education with international appeal. All programmes at this University are based on the innovative research of its scientists and professors and are ranked among the top 100 in the world. Read less
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