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Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion

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. 

What is the Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religious Studies all about?

 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:

  • Courses (60 credits): you take six courses of the truncus communis (24 credits), one inter disciplinary course (4 credits), three courses from three different majors outside your specialization major (12 credits), and five electives (20 credits).
  • A research master's thesis (32 credits): you will have two years to write a thesis in which you present the results of your study of an original research topic. The thesis must provide a structured and coherent survey of the issue while including an evaluation of research already undertaken and demonstrating evidence of an awareness of problems related to the topic.
  • major (28 credits): you take seven major courses (28 credits). The major can be selected from the research areas on offer at the faculty: Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions, Theological and Comparative Ethics, History of Church and Theology, Pastoral and Empirical Theology. 

International experience

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.

Career prospects

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 educationbusinesspublishingacademia, the media, the socio-cultural sector, and the various domains of pastoral care.

Visit the Research Master: Master of Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion page on the KU Leuven website for more details!




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