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MA in Practical Theology

Course Description

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.

Change perspective

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

Career prospects

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.

Job positions

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

Visit the MA in Practical Theology page on the Radboud University website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Samuel Ekpo

I got to know about Radboud University from Nuffic scholarship publication when I was in search of a university I could study for a master’s programme. I checked the university’s webpage to know more and that triggered my interest to apply for admission. I choose Radboud University, based on the track records; offering quality research studies.

I joined the Orientation week. It was quite relaxing to know that I can find interesting places around the campus and the city of Nijmegen. I noticed that the Dutch society has an individualistic culture. I felt bored initially but with time I got to meet new friends and interacted with them. The food was also a challenge and a new experience too.

I mostly had contacts with other international students. In my view, this is a good way to have cultural exchange. At a point, I picked up interest to learn some Dutch words. I also learnt to have coffee and chocolate cookies at break time which is an interesting habit I cultivated here too.

The programme is quite intensive and mind broadening. Studying theology in Radboud University makes you a critical thinker, having deep reflections on issues relating to societies, religions and cultures. This will develop the individual to approach inter-religious debates from a balanced point of view.

Initially I wasn’t comfortable with the course contents because it wasn’t biblical theology in focus, but I later realised that this is a new learning experience for me. So I decided to motivate myself more to engage in my studies to have a new theological reflection from public/secular domains. I understand that Radboud University has a Roman Catholic tradition, but I would appreciate if attention is given to Biblical teachings that will help individuals both professors and students to develop an intimate relationship with Christ and give room for an evangelical approach of engaging in theological debates.

My plans for the future are broad; I have a better platform to operate as an educational consultant in theological matters and my studies in Radboud University is serving as a preparatory ground for such future job.

In conclusion, my stay in Nijmegen is a success so far. I also enjoy using the university’s sport facilities to keep body and soul fit for personal well being.

(Student Profile)

Dona - India

'It enabled me to explore the richness and beauty of being intercultural.'
The Congregation of the Sisters of the Little Flower of Bethany, Mangalore, India chose me for the Master's Intercultural Theology at Radboud University, Nijmegen as I belong to this Congregation. India is a vast country consisting of many cultures, languages, and religions. Since I am engaged in religious formation in India, the knowledge of intercultural theology will enable me as a Formator to meet the needs of the present day youth for religious life.

The studies at the Radboud University have broadened my vision and gave me a new perspective of Christian faith in a religiously and culturally-diverse world. What I specifically liked about my study programme is the importance given for the scholarly study of theology, critical thinking, scientific research, the expertise and experience of the professors in their respective subjects, and the individual supervision of students are a few positive elements among many. The space and time allotted for students enabled me to be creative, responsible, and independent.

Studying and living with intercultural atmosphere taught me to appreciate diverse cultures and the experience of interconnectedness and interdependence. It enabled me to explore the richness and beauty of being intercultural.

The initial challenges with regard to study structure, getting acquainted with the students from different countries and denominations, Dutch culture, and climate were learning experiences for me. I appreciate the dedicated staff at the faculty, the administration, and the library. The gentle and kind approach in dealings, freedom to express views, punctuality, and openness inspired me very much. Having completed my Masters, I am happy to pursue my PhD at the Faculty of Theology at RU.


Fullbright-Radboud Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The Fulbright Center, sponsored by Radboud University, is offering scholarships to excellent American students for study and research purposes at graduate and PhD levels at Radboud University Nijmegen. The Fulbright Center's mission is to promote mutual understanding between Dutch and American citizens by providing financial assistance for study, research and teaching. To qualify for a scholarship, applicants must have American nationality, have excellent academic marks, engage in extracurricular activities and be admitted to Radboud University Nijmegen.The grant will be paid in 12 monthly instalments of €1050. International travel will be reimbursed up to a maximum of €900. The cost of the residence permit (approximately €350) will be covered as well. An extra allowance of €1150 will be paid on arrival, and can be used to cover the cost of the tuition fee or the costs of settling in. Tuition fees are not waived, and differ per program.
Application for 2016-2017 opens on 1 May 2016 and closes on 13 October 2016.

Value of Scholarship(s)

12 monthly instalments of €1050 + extra allowance for travel and additional costs


For American students.
The Fulbright Centre, sponsored by Radboud University, is offering scholarships for talented American students to study at Radboud University.

Application Procedure

For more information please see the Fulbright website.

Further Information



The Holland Scholarship Programme - 12 Awards

The Holland Scholarship (HS) gives excellent students the opportunity to study at Radboud University. The HS is open to students with the following nationalities: Canadian, American, Indian and Turkish. All English-taught Master’s programmes are eligible for the HS and amount to € 5,000.-

Value of Scholarship(s)

The scholarship amounts to £ 3.700


The HS is open to students with the following nationalities: Canadian, American, Indian and Turkish. All English-taught Master’s programmes are eligible for the HS.

Application Procedure

You can apply for the Holland Scholarship at Radboud University when you apply for a Master's programme in Osiris. That means that the application for admission and the application for the scholarship are fully integrated.
The application deadline is 1 February. If not all scholarships will be given out, the second deadline is 1 May.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

(1) In order to get admission to this Master's you will need a completed Bachelor’s degree in Theology or a related discipline. (2) An adequate command of English. This requirement is satisfied if the student can submit a testimonial of a TOEFL test, certifying a minimum score of 575 (paper test) or 232 (computer test), plus an Essay Rating of at least 4.5, or an IELTS with a minimum required overall score of 6.5 and 5,5 for Writing.

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