Master's degree in science of religions: history and society


Program Description

Deepening the knowledge of religions has become urgent. On the one hand, the 21st century has begun marked by conflicts that, under the label of "religious", hide a complex network of factors that go far beyond religion, but are inextricably linked to it. On the other hand, population movements are becoming more frequent, and we are especially aware today that peaceful coexistence between cultures requires both knowing one's identity and understanding and respecting the identity of others. The Master of Science in Religions: History and Society offers solid knowledge and methods of analysis on the great religious traditions of the History of Humanity, as well as tools for the management of religious diversity in contemporary societies. The first part of the Master, of an introductory nature, includes methodological, historical and legal contents. The second part is divided in two itineraries, designed for the student to specialize in "History of Religions" or "Management of religious and cultural diversity". Participating in the Masters are specialists of recognized trajectory of the Pablo de Olavide University, Carlos III University of Madrid, the University of La Laguna, as well as other universities and institutions.

This master's degree is interuniversity and is taught in a total of 3 universities: Pablo de Olavide University, Carlos III University of Madrid and La Laguna University.

Justification title

Social demand and academic, scientific and / or professional interest

As explained below, the new Master's Degree in Sciences of Religions: History and Society is born of the conviction that it is necessary to strengthen with an interuniversity alliance the regulated offer of academic studies on religions in the Spanish Public University, bringing us this way to the already century-old and brilliant tradition of studies on religions in other European countries.

Need for scientific study of religions

Religions have always been a present factor in the configuration of societies as well as cultures. Not only have they influenced the history of the world, but also in the day to day of people. These external and objectifiable cultural, social, political, etc. dimensions. they are a phenomenon that, first of all, takes place in the interiority of each human being, in the form of an anthropological and ethical challenge to which many different answers fit. The self-understanding of the human being in the world requires him to take a stand, explicitly or implicitly, in the face of the challenge of the religious. Religion or belief goes through our lives, whether or not some creed is professed.

And given the radically social nature of the human being, this self-positioning also tends to profess, to utter, to declare, of course in very varied forms. The religious fact is an inescapable argument of the human reflection, and also of the conversation between the men throughout the times. Thus, the history of thought, art, literature, music, cultures and civilizations can not be understood by amputating this member of its religious dimension, nor can it be understood without pondering it from the different human responses to the challenges that religion has raised the man in the different times. But politics, science, law, economics, demography, or sexuality are equally influenced by the spiritual.

Today such grandiloquent expressions as the "end of religion" or the "death of God" coexist along with others such as the "resurgence of religions", "God's return" or "God's revenge." They give an example of the two positions that are confronted by religions in today's world of ideas. In a globalized world, ideas, and with them also beliefs have become globalized. What is produced today are more plural societies, with more plural identities.

The religious is today, more than ever, a complex problem. To this condition of problematicity have contributed powerful and multiple factors. The end of the Cold War seems to replace the ideological record as a place where convictions and conflicts are articulated and knit by the religious record. As if the stage of supremacy of ideologies would have left, once again, an opportunity for the resurgence of the great religions.

However, the specific details should not hide the whole situation: a few decades ago religion was not about to disappear, nor today is reduced to violent movements that make it a political use, however much their existence is very tangible. These movements are, in fact, the emerged, and indeed "furious," part of an immense religious iceberg whose submerged parts are generally and fortunately the most tranquil. Increasingly, current times are echoed by scandals and religious passions, but the social reality is much more diverse and consists of a thousand and one "no events", that is, of human actions and behaviors where nothing dramatic happens, nor perceptible to the mass media, where the threads of social ties are woven, and the way of men and women who try to discover the reason for their existence or who believe that they have found it and can live with it are drawn. Every week hundreds of millions of human beings from all over the world flock to pagodas, mosques, churches or temples, a Shinto shrine, synagogues or any other place of worship where they meet the "divine."

The omnipresence of religion in society throughout history requires its scientific study, as necessary is the study and analytical critique of all social phenomena; hence the title chosen for this Master: Sciences of Religions: History and Society. The different analytical perspectives that have been applied to the study of religion since the nineteenth century will be cited in our master's degree, which has a clear interdisciplinary vocation: History, Law, Sociology and Anthropology make up the set of "Sciences of the Religions ".

Entry and exit profile

Admission Profile

The Master is especially directed towards people characterized by interest in the cultural manifestations of societies throughout history and in the present. In general, the Master is aimed at graduates, graduates and graduates, both Spanish and foreign, of any branch of knowledge; graduates or graduates in Humanities, History, Law, Political Science, Philosophy, Philology, Sociology, Anthropology, History of Art, Information Science, Social Work will have priority.

As for the skills that are considered desirable for the master's degree, there are no special requirements, beyond the usual for any university-type study: readability, readiness for analysis, synthesis and writing, and above all interest in criticism and knowledge.

Graduation profile

The Master's Degree in Sciences of Religions: History and Society, specializes in the following areas:

  • Theoretical and practical research on religions and religious-cultural heritage (PhD programs in History, Ecclesiastical Law of the State, Anthropology, Sociology, Social Sciences, etc.).
  • Design and management of public policies for the management of religious diversity.
  • Training for teaching professionals of all levels (Primary, Secondary, Baccalaureate and university studies) that teach specific subjects or contents related to religions.
  • Preparation of teaching materials for the teaching of religions at all educational levels.
  • Scientific consultancy to public or private institutions in matters of interreligious dialogue.


The general objective of this Master is to provide a high degree of training in the Sciences of Religions to future researchers and professionals from different fields (professors, politicians, administration technicians, diplomats, journalists, cultural managers, social workers, ).

The Master will offer training on religion as a cultural system and a theoretical and methodological apparatus for the analysis and understanding of the religious phenomenon. Special attention will be given to the formation of a specific sensitivity for the analysis of the testimonies proper to each religion. This reflection will be linked to the historical development of the religious phenomenon, so special attention is given to religions in diachrony, the basis for the perception of their own transformations in conceptual, moral and liturgical terms, in the face of the idea of ​​immovability of buildings religious

The Master also aims to provide the necessary training for the management of diversity in multi-religious societies from the different spheres of state administration (local, autonomous and state), and from the elaboration of public policies, especially concerning to legislation and educational foundations.

It is therefore a question of two complementary and parallel itineraries, the first dedicated to the historical analysis of the religious phenomenon and the second to provide adequate tools for those who are faced with the tasks of regulating or facilitating the coexistence of communities in a multireligious society.


Basic skills

  • Knowledge and understanding that provide a basis or opportunity for originality in developing and / or applying ideas, often in a research context.
  • That students know how to apply the acquired knowledge and problem-solving skills in new or little-known environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their area of ​​study;
  • That students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments from information that, incomplete or limited, includes reflections on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments;
  • That the students know how to communicate their conclusions - and the latest knowledge and reasons that support them to specialized and non-specialized audiences in a clear and unambiguous way;
  • Students must possess the learning skills that enable them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous.

Transversal Competences

  • Ability to make judgments and scientific knowledge. Ability to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments from information that, incomplete or limited, includes reflections and decision-making based on evidence and arguments linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments; respecting the data, its truthfulness and the ethical criteria associated with science; and being responsible for their own actions.
  • Ability to communicate and social skills. Communicate their knowledge in all areas of knowledge, in a clear and unambiguous way, showing interest in interaction with others. Have the ability to maintain a critical and constructive dialogue, as well as public speaking if necessary. Understand and express written and / or spoken in multiple modalities.
  • Skills in the use of ICT. Use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a tool for expression and communication, for access to information sources, as a means of archiving data and documents to create content, for presentation tasks, for learning, research and cooperative work. Students should know the rights and risks in the digital world and respect their ethical principles during their use.
  • Capacity for criticism, initiative and entrepreneurship. Demonstrate a mental behavior that questions things and is interested in the foundations on which the ideas, values, actions and judgments, both own and outside of societies and trade union and business organizations. To foster the capacity of initiative in the analysis, planning, organization and management. Act creatively, proactively, enterprising and innovative in both private and social life as well as in professional life.
  • Ethical commitment and cultural awareness. Ability to think and act according to the principles of a universal character based on the value of the person, cultural heritage and are directed to the full personal, social and professional development of the student body. Respect the right to cultural diversity, dialogue between cultures and societies, value freedom of expression, integration and collaboration in an active and assertive way in a team to achieve common goals with other people, areas and organizations, in national and international contexts.
  • Social competence and global citizenship. Respect the fundamental rights of justice and equality between men and women, regardless of their culture or country of origin. Ensure human rights, the values ​​of a culture of peace and democracy, environmental and development cooperation principles that promote a global, intercultural, socio-economic, free and fair society.

General Competencies

  • Acquisition of knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and / or application of ideas in contexts in which religions play a key role.
  • Ability to carry out research or work that includes or is based on the use of bibliographic and documentary sources, taking advantage of the collections and computer tools available to them.
  • Ability to integrate knowledge and analytical tools to deal with the complexity of making judgments based on information that, incomplete or limited, includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities related to the application of their knowledge and judgments.

Specific Competences

  • Deepening of the different approaches to analysis and methods applied to the study of religions, and the ability to detect religio-centrism and ethnocentrism.
  • Acquisition of a high level of knowledge on the general lines of the genesis and evolution of the great religious traditions.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize juridical-social problems in the relations between political power and religious power, both in history and in comparative law.
  • Ability to analyze the scriptural tradition of the great religious traditions.
  • Acquisition of a high level of knowledge on the most recent evolution and future prospects of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), with special emphasis on the tensions between the most current political phenomena and their reflection on religions.

Orientation and tutoring

Students enrolled will receive attention and continuous guidance through the Moodle platform that will offer enrolled students a constant and detailed update of each of the aspects of the Master that concern them, as well as the possibility of raising doubts or suggestions to any of the participants of the Master to those who wish to address.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of this care, a tutor will be assigned to each student enrolled who will be responsible for solving their doubts and guide you in choosing the elective subjects and in choosing the subject and the tutor of the Master's End Work.

Students will have direct communication with the Quality Commission, to which they can send their complaints and suggestions through the e-mail enabled for this purpose.

In the moodle platform will be enabled the space Monitoring of the Master where students enrolled in the master can follow the news related to it, participate in forums and access the emails of all teachers and students of the master.

External practices

This Master does not contemplate the completion of external Practices.

Master's thesis

It has been programmed the completion of a Master's Degree Project of 12 ECTS, with which it is intended that the students acquire knowledge of a high level of specialization on the subject that they have selected, and above all that put into practice and develop the competences in which they have been forming throughout all the teachings.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of this care, a tutor of the Master's End Work will be assigned to each enrolled student, who will be responsible for solving their doubts and guiding them.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad ... Read More

La Universidad de La Laguna ha ejercido una importante función de liderazgo educativo, científico y cultural en Canarias durante sus dos siglos de historia, impulsando el progreso de nuestra comunidad y contribuyendo decisivamente a su modernización. Read less
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