Master's specialisation in Practical Theology
This course is about searching for traces of meaning in everyday practices, and looking beyond traditional shapes of religiosity.
Have God and religion disappeared from modern society? According to some scholars of religion there is a global resurgence of religion, yet there is vast secularisation in most European societies continues. How can theology explain the transformation of the Christian religion in society? We need fresh expressions of theological concepts and new methods of research to understand religion beyond traditional studies of religiosity.
In the Master’s specialisation in Practical Theology, students are introduced in theological theory-building to understand the dynamics and meaning of lived religion at four different levels: the personal, inter-group relations, organisational and societal. Students learn to use empirical research methods to build new theological theory based on lived religion. Graduates of this Master’s specialisation in Practical Theology can become researchers, policy makers, educators or spiritual caregivers.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/practicaltheology
Why study Practical Theology at Radboud University?
- The new theoretical approach of Practical Theology at Radboud University manifests itself in the search for theological concepts that match the changing shape of the Christian religion in the life of individuals as well as fresh expressions of religious institutions.
- Our department has constructed new, unique methodologies that focus on a qualitative study of narratives, communication, and ritual (liturgy). We have expertise in spiritual biographical research, practice-oriented research and discourse analysis.
- We have a long-standing expertise in survey research, with a specialisation in cross-religious surveys where Christian believers are compared with believers of other religions (Islam, Hinduism).
- This programme is not just geared towards Europe, but also places developments in a global perspective.
- With electives, students have plenty of room to choose a direction that meets their professional and academic interests. Taking a few seminars from the other theology disciplines of choice (Church History, Literary Theology or Practical Theology) is mandatory to broaden students general knowledge on Theology.
- The third year is aimed at training students for a specific profession. Students can choose research (English), education (Dutch), religion and policy (Dutch) or spiritual care (Dutch).
- Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups, allowing for ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
- Radboud University and its Theology department are Roman Catholic in origin, but its Master’s programme in Theology is open to all students. Our students have very diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.
Graduates of Practical Theology will be able to pinpoint how certain groups of people view spirituality today, how they give meaning to lives and how this, sometimes, is at odds with traditional religious conventions. You will get insight in the different forms that religion takes in contemporary society and will be able to take that on board when participating in debates in the public arena.
Admission requirements for international students
1. A completed Bachelor's degree in Theology or related area
2. A proficiency in English
In order to take part in this programme, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. Non-native speakers of English without a Dutch Bachelor's degree or VWO diploma need one of the following:
- An TOEFL score of >575 (paper based) or >232 (computer based) or >90 (internet based)
- A IELTS score of >6.5
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher
In a globalising world, more and more institutions require skills in theological communication and hermeneutics. Practical theologians search for traces of meaning in everyday practices and look beyond traditional forms of religiosity. Our graduates have an analytical attitude and the skills to make sound judgments which will help them participate in debates in the public arena. Using arguments based on Christian faith, they can convey their faith in society. In addition, the programme teaches you how to think independently and critically about the way that Christian doctrine can give meaning to contemporary issues.
The Master’s programme in Theology has a strong emphasis on career prospects by allowing students to focus on one professional path in their third year: research, education, spiritual care or religion and policy.
Our approach to this field
Radboud University’s Master’s specialisation in Practical Theology is all about studying lived religion and lived spirituality. How do people today connect with Christian stories? The role of practical theologians is to research new religious motives. Where and in what way do people find inspiration? How do they give meaning to their lives?
Searching for new forms of religiosity
In other words, at Radboud University, we train our practical theologians to search for new forms of religiosity in order to gain an understanding of the transformation of religion. The church is not the only place for contemplation; sometimes people turn to the beach, the woods or even a health club. Symbols are given new meanings. Metaphors get a different connotation. The challenge is to deal with the tension between religious traditions and the many contemporary forms of spirituality.
We look at the role that religion and spirituality play, not only for individual people, but also for inter-group relationships and on organisational and societal levels. We try to get a grasp on differences between religious practices, how faith schools profile their religious character in their education policy, and how municipalities give religion a place in the services they offer, among other topics.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/practicaltheology