Looking to build upon 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 practised for nearly 600 years? KU Leuven's Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has always acted as a think tank within the Catholic community. We offer a history of critical dialogue conversant with tradition, but situated in the present and yet ever conscious of the future - why not make this openness your own? 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. The choices are endless. But with Leuven's MA in Theology and Religious Studies, they become meaningful.
The goal of this Master's programme 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 a twofold focus.
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Bachelor programme offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies endeavours to make a contribution to the overall formation and development of the students and to prepare them to engage in independent theological and interdisciplinary reflection on the Catholic faith tradition. At the same time, the programme also intends to stimulate interest in the mutual relationships between the various Christian churches and between Christianity and the other world religions.
The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has built a rich history and tradition 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. All of the Faculty’s programmes 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.
The Theology and Religious Studies curriculum is aimed at the interdisciplinary and scientific study of the Catholic faith tradition in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society and world. The full curriculum (comprising a Bachelor, a Master and an Advanced Master programme) aims at promoting academic excellence leading up to an increasing personal academic contribution and to a growing commitment with regard to theology and religion in society. Academic formation intended to prepare men and women to judge and act maturely in matters related to theology and religious studies ought not only to pass on the broad lines of the tradition of research in these domains, but also to develop the capacity to analyse closely the context in which theology and religion are set, and to focus in depth on developments in the various fields of study that contribute thereto. It is for this reason that the teaching programmes offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies endeavour to make a contribution to the overall formation and development of the students and to prepare them to engage in independent theological and interdisciplinary reflection on the Catholic faith tradition. At the same time, the programmes also intend to stimulate interest in the mutual relationships between the various Christian churches and between Christianity and the other world religions.
The Master's in Theology and Religious Studies is aimed at the further elaboration of the formation acquired in the Bachelor's Programme with a view to (a) preparing students for increasingly independent research in the domains of theology and religious studies and (b) equipping students to participate as responsible experts in both church and society. The study curriculum thus comprises of a double focus: on the one hand students are given the opportunity to specialise in one of the six research disciplines available in the faculty while on the other the curriculum continues to offer a more general, interdisciplinary academic formation whereby students are enabled to study the Catholic faith tradition as a whole in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society. The faculty's programmes in English place additional emphasis on the international character of theological research and on the international context of religion and theology. Students are consciously encouraged to familiarise themselves with the diverse cultural backgrounds of their fellow students thus facilitating and augmenting their theological endeavours at a variety of levels. Research and engagement thereby acquire an international dimension.
Degrees in Theology and Religious Studies prepare students for a variety of careers, including secondary and higher education, publishing, the media, academic research and the various domains of pastoral care.
Graduates who wish to engage in further specialisation, can continue their study career by enrolling for the Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies.
Theology students today are faced with the momentous task of contributing to modern culture. This requires a thorough and interdisciplinary academic training. With this in mind, the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies insists on developing well-rounded and highly trained scholars with critical minds. The two-year Research Master equips students to function as experts in Church and society and prepares them for further research specifically oriented towards the Doctoral Programme in Theology.
The Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion offers you a broad perspective on what theology and religious studies are all about. After graduation, you will have obtained a broad yet profound theoretical foundation in the great European traditions of thought and you will be able to move with ease as a dialogue partner in diverse theological fields.
The (full-time or part-time) programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies which ever since its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. Guided by our world-renowned faculty members, whose individual areas of expertise span the breadth and depth of theology, you will learn to give shape to your own independence, and transform it into a project with the potential to lead into doctoral studies. And rest assured: research at Leuven is second to none. Just ask Jansenius, Erasmus, or Louis Janssens – names from Leuven’s rich and ongoing history that spring to life in the Faculty’s peerless library, containing countless priceless volumes and ancient manuscripts. At Leuven, your research is sharpened by the newest digital tools, and bolstered by subscriptions to a rich variety of international journals, ranging from the mainstream to the cutting edge of today’s theology. The Faculty also confers on qualified students the degrees of Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (S.T.B.) and Licentiatus (S.T.L.) in combination with the Research Master.
This is an Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The 120-credits programme comprises the following:
The research master’s programme attracts students from all over the world, which adds a valuable intercultural element to your experience. The Faculty currently has students from more than sixty countries and thus from virtually every part of the globe. We also encourage students to participate in exchange programmes that allow them to spend a semester abroad. The Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies has 68 agreements in 23 different countries within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme. All of the Faculty’s programmes are taught in both Dutch and English.
The programme is offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, which from its founding in 1432 has built a rich history and tradition. 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. All of the Faculty’s programmes 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.
Final attainment levels with respect to the Programme of Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion as a whole:
The graduate has acquired
1. a general familiarity with theology and religious studies;
2. specialization in a particular discipline with a view to the provision of a constructive contribution to the study of theology;
3. thorough acquaintance with the sources, problems and methods characteristic of one's own major and area of specialization;
4. the ability to apply both the knowledge acquired as well as the methods relevant to one's particular discipline in a manner which contributes to the reflection of the faithful within the Church;
5. insight into the relationship between the study of theological and social-religious issues and the actual social context which is characterized by religious and ethical plurality and a multiplicity of fundamental life options;
6. the ability to conduct independent theological research, as well as to pass on the acquired attitudes, methods and knowledge;
7. an openness to interdisciplinary inquiries and the ability to contribute and engage in interdisciplinary research from within one's own area of specialization;
8. the ability to set up a theological or religious studies project: the formulation of a relevant research issue and the development of a method of argumentation pertaining to the formulated problematic;
9. the ability to complete a project-oriented research thesis;
10. the ability to comprehensively present one's research results;
11. the ability to write a theological or religious studies article in an academically appropriate manner.
The research master’s programme prepares you for admission to the Doctoral Programme in Theology, but also for a variety of careers in sectors including secondary and higher education, business, publishing, academia, the media, the socio-cultural sector, and the various domains of pastoral care.
The DTh is a professional doctorate programme in practical, ministry–focused theology. This programme offers strategic leadership training to senior level ministry personnel, seeking to broaden their applied theology in pastoral and missiological areas. The programme focuses on using research to develop theological practice.
There are two entry points for this programme. Stage 1A is for those with a good undergraduate degree and professional experience, and initially take a selection of preparatory taught modules. The second route, Stage 1B is for post-Masters applicants, and is an accelerated form of the course.
Regardless of entry point this programme will help those already engaged in Christian Ministry to develop the advanced research, evaluative and reflective skills necessary to further their professional and career profile. Students will prepare for more senior level, national or international roles, as leaders, advisors or consultants in ministry-related fields. As a practitioner of Practical Theology, this course will encourage you to reflect technically and theologically on your ministerial practice, and on the application of scholarship and research to a range of ministerial contexts.
In order to develop your research skills, the programme will provide you will extensive knowledge and understanding of areas of Practical Theology and the critical methods practiced at the forefront of the discipline. Students will then be able to reflect on these research methods in looking at their own practice, and you will be capable of producing findings that satisfy peer scrutiny and are deemed to be of publishable quality, making an original contribution to knowledge.
There is a wide range of areas in which students will develop their skills on this programme. You will enhance and apply your ability to handle written sources and empirical data, using appropriate advanced critical methods and controls. A further key skill is your ability to marshal coherent and effective arguments and communicate conclusions in oral and written form. The programme will moreover enable you to demonstrate a competent grasp of a range of technical skills arising within the discipline, including a range of approaches to textual historical, hermeneutical and cultural issues. You will also look at quantitative and qualitative approaches to the investigation of individual and social experience and behaviour, and be able to respond critically to their use by others.
Throughout the course, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of practical theology, alongside formal academic and practical skills.
Stage 1A: This introductory stage of the course offers a variety of taught modules on topics in contemporary ministry and religious studies taken from our Masters’ programmes in Christian Ministry and Theology and Religious Studies, respectively. Tutors will assist any student taking this phase of the course to make an appropriate selection of modules.
Stage 1B: In the first year of this stage, you will study advanced methods and approaches to practical theology, as well as undertaking a major literature review relevant to your proposed area of research. During this in–depth investigation, you will identify gaps or problems in the literature and identify one or more research questions around which you can structure your research project.
In the second year, you will conduct an in–depth study of a more focused topic, developed to the level of a publishable article, before going on to draft and present a full project proposal which must be approved before transition to the dissertation phase.
Stage 2: The final phase of the course will allow you to work closely with staff members with particular expertise in your chosen research area, developing an original and substantial investigation of potential significance both to academic inquiry and professional practice. The thesis, which will build upon your work in years one and two, will typically run to 50–60,000 words, and will be defended in a viva voce examination. Departmental research strengths include empirical, pastoral and public theology across a range of UK and global church traditions and mission contexts, including Roman Catholic, Anglican, Baptist and Pentecostal. We also have a particular strength in Black Majority Churches.
Stage 1A: (representative selection)
The DTh is intended to enable existing professionals working in church ministry, mission, education, development or the para–church sector, move into senior or national positions within visionary research–led organisations.
The research interests of academic staff and graduate students in Ethics and Practical Theology encompass a range of theoretical and practical approaches to ethics, religion and theology, including environmental ethics, peace-building and reconciliation, ethical theory, and pastoral and practical theology.
You can find out more and identify a potential supervisor by looking at the School of Divinity’s * Staff Profiles, which give details of research interests and publications, and email addresses.
You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application. In the Ethics and Practical Theology research area, projects are often interdisciplinary. If this is the case, you may be jointly supervised with a subject specialist from another School in the University.
At the School of Divinity you will join a community of around 150 research students, drawn from around the world, and from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds.
You will study in a stimulating environment. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 ranked the School’s research environment at 100% world-leading / internationally excellent, second in the UK on this front in theology and religion. This outstanding result reflects the vibrancy of the School’s research culture.
The ethos of the Graduate School is to promote excellence in postgraduate study, within a stimulating and supportive environment. We value equality and diversity in the School community, and an academic culture that is both critical and constructive.
A University review (2015) commended the Graduate School for providing excellent support: responsive to student feedback; proactive in helping new postgraduates to adjust to their studies and to life in Scotland; enthusiastic and practical in promoting career development. The postgraduate student committee works closely with the School to make the research student experience the best it can be.
The School of Divinity, one of the largest centres for the study of religion in the United Kingdom, is located in the historic setting of New College, close to Edinburgh Castle and overlooking Princes Street.
Resources for research are excellent. You can draw on the outstanding holdings of New College Library, the University of Edinburgh’s main library, and the nearby National Library of Scotland. New College Library has one of the largest theology collections in the UK, with more than a quarter of a million items and a large and rich manuscript collection. The University library exceeds 2.25 million volumes. The National Library of Scotland – a ‘legal deposit’ library like the British Library in London and the university libraries of Oxford and Cambridge – is just around the corner.
The School provides an extensive programme of weekly research seminars and special guest lectures. In addition, three research centres provide a special focus for activity: the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins; the Centre for Theology and Public Issues; the Centre for the Study ofWorld Christianity.
You will have access to excellent study facilities, dedicated to postgraduates. PhD and MPhil students have access 24/7, and can request an allocated desk. Masters by Research students have shared study space. All areas have printing/scanning and computer facilities. The main postgraduate study wing has a kitchen. New College has an on-site cafe that is open during term time.
If you have academic training in theology or religious studies (or another relevant subject), and would like to develop your interest with a focus on a particular area, the Masters by Research may interest you. This programme can be taken either as a ‘Master of Theology by Research’ or as a ‘Master of Science by Research’ – the difference is only in the name. You can study full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Your pattern of study can either be three supervised research essays followed by a 15,000 word dissertation, or a 30,000 word dissertation. Most students take the ‘research essays + shorter dissertation’ path. All students receive research training.
This flexible programme will give you a sophisticated understanding of theories and methods at the forefront of Theology and Religious Studies. You’ll study diverse religious traditions in the UK and beyond, as well as their impact on the world around us.
Core modules explore the relationship between religion, theology and the public sphere in areas such as human rights, wealth and wealth creation, terrorism and social justice. You’ll also gain an understanding of research methods in the humanities and social sciences.
Then you’ll select from optional modules focusing on topics that suit your interests such as philosophy of religion, the links between religion and global development or gender, multiculturalism and more.
With the support of leading researchers, including those working in our Centre for Philosophy of Religion and Centre for Religion and Public Life, you’ll develop a wide range of skills while exploring a subject that is vital for understanding the world we live in.
You’ll find plenty of resources at Leeds to inspire and inform your studies. The Special Collections housed in our world-class Brotherton Library include extensive collections of archive and early printed material, including hundreds of theological works from the 17th century onwards.
We also hold the library of Ripon Cathedral and the archives of the Dean and Chapter, spanning from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century, as well as extensive archives relating to Quaker history. There are even a large number of early printed books and manuscripts connected with Jewish theology and history. All the major world religions are also fully represented in our excellent library resources.
This programme is also available to study part-time over 24 months. You can also study for a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) or diploma (PGDip) qualification, where you take fewer modules overall.
Your first semester will equip you with the knowledge and skills to study theology and religion. You’ll take core modules introducing you to research methods in the subject, using approaches from across the humanities and social sciences, as well as exploring the relationship between theology and public life. You’ll learn about political, urban, systematic and practical theologies among many others, focusing on issues such as racism, criminal justice and social cohesion.
This foundation will enable you to gain specialist knowledge in the areas that suit your interests. You’ll choose two optional modules from the range we offer, allowing you to focus on topics such as Muslims and multiculturalism, or philosophical approaches to spirituality.
During the programme you’ll acquire skills in research and interpretation and good social and cultural awareness. You’ll demonstrate this with your dissertation – an independent study on a research topic of your choice – which you’ll submit by the end of the programme in August. You can even go into greater depth if you swap one optional module for an extended dissertation.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
If you study for the PGCert or PGDip qualification, you’ll take fewer modules. You’ll also specialise in either theology or religious studies, depending on the modules you choose.
There are three compulsory modules throughout the year including the Dissertation (60 credits). You’ll then choose two optional modules, or just one if you select the Extended Dissertation (90 credits).
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, seminars and tutorials where you can discuss the issues arising from your reading in greater depth. Independent study is also an important element of the programme, allowing you to develop your skills and pursue your own interests more closely.
To help you gain and demonstrate a range of skills, you’ll be assessed using a range of different methods. These include essays and assignments as well as literature reviews, project reports and presentations.
This programme will give you a range of in-depth subject knowledge, as well as valuable transferable skills in research, analysis, interpretation, communication and cultural awareness. All of these qualities are valuable in a wide range of careers.
Graduates pursue careers in a variety of sectors including the charity sector, NGOs, education, local government, civil service and policy work, business and legal services, the media and social work. Many also continue their studies at PhD level, and even pursue academic careers after this.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.