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The master's programme in Religious Studies at Leiden University gives you the opportunity to explore a broad spectrum of religions and their manifestations from a comparative perspective.The multi-disciplinary Master's in Religious Studies at Leiden University offers an expansive curriculum through which you can explore religion.

This MA offers you the best of Leiden University, from outstanding teachers to world-class resources including its library's famous collections. Choose between two specialisations: Religion, Culture and Society, which explores a spectrum of religionsm and themes including modernisation and globalisation and Christianity: the Dynamics of Diversity, which focusses on the changing role of Christianity and the impact of biblical criticism, modern historical scholarship, science and cultural transfers. A comparative approach is taken to the study of all theories and concepts, which are applied to real-world empirical findings. Topics are explored from a wide range of disciplines from history to sociology. Small classes create an informal atmosphere and valuable time interacting with lecturers. Students develop advanced critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied to any societal issue.

A comparative approach

This one-year MA programme offers you the best of Leiden University, from outstanding teachers to world-class resources including its library's famous collections. A comparative approach is taken to the study of theories and concepts, which are applied to real-world empirical findings. Topics are explored from a wide range of disciplines from history to sociology.

Customise your degree

The multidisciplinary programme offers an expansive curriculum through which you can explore religion as well as tailor your degree to reflect your interests. You will be able to choose between two specialisations:

Religion, Culture and Society is unique for its wide spectrum of religions and themes including modernisation and globalisation. The generalist approach towards the study of religion focuses on skills, tools, methods and theories. You will be equipped with everything needed to analyse situations and tackle problems in society at large. Our staff members are specialised in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Religious movements.

Christianity: the Dynamics of Diversity focuses on the changing role of Christianity and the impact of biblical criticism, modern historical scholarship, science and cultural transfers. What makes this specialisation particularly attractive is its non-confessional and comparative approach to the study of Christianity and its diverse expressions in (early) modern history and present-day society. You will study secularising developments including non-religion, agnosticism, and atheism, and underlines the importance of biblical criticism in the tradition of Erasmus and Spinoza.

An individual approach

At Leiden, you are treated as a valued member of a tight-knit academic community. Small classes create an informal atmosphere and provide the opportunity to interact with lecturers. You will develop advanced critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that can be applied to any societal issue.

Career prospects

The MA programme in Religious Studies offers excellent preparation for students seeking a profession that requires advanced analytical skills and specialised knowledge of religion and its cultural, geographic and historic context. Our graduates have pursued successful careers in research and in the public, private and non-profit sectors as editors, journalists, policy advisors, counsellors or teachers of religion or philosophy.

Positions of our graduates include:

  • Teacher of Religion and Society at a secondary school
  • PhD candidate at an international university
  • Political Party Officer
  • Consultant at McKinsey
  • Member of Staff at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment
  • Traineeship Municipality The Hague
  • Policy officer at a Christian NGO
  • Programme manager at a large Dutch city council

Visit the MA Theology and Religious Studies page on the Leiden University website for more details!

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