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MA in Systematic Theology

Course Description

Master's specialisation in Systematic Theology

Drawing on the compassionate values and insights of the Christian faith to contribute to the welfare of society.

What is the public relevance of Christian beliefs and doctrines in today’s society? Systematic theology deals in general with the meaning and implications of Christian doctrines. At Radboud University, we add the unique focus of public theology. Public theology isn't about promoting the interests of 'the Church' but rather, about drawing on the compassionate values and insights of the Christian faith to contribute to the welfare of society.
Currently, the secularisation thesis is strongly under review. On the one hand, the orientation of affluent societies has become secular even though the world as a whole is no less religious than before. On the other hand, there also seems to be a post-secular movement and a revival of religion in many societies. At Radboud University we look at these, and other developments in the public domain. What new forms of spirituality are kindled in society? How are morals changing?

By engaging with readings from both classical and contemporary theologians, and active discussions in the seminars, students learn how to formulate critical theological perspectives on questions of meaning of life and a viable civil society in our contemporary situation. Graduates of the Master’s specialisation in Systematic Theology can become researchers, policy makers, educators or spiritual caregivers.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/systematictheology

Why study Systematic Theology at Radboud University?

- Radboud University offers a unique set of subjects within Systematic Theology which includes philosophy of religion, feminist theology and spirituality studies as well as the more conventional subjects fundamental theology, dogmatic theology and theological ethics.
- The central focus of this specialisation lies on public theology, a relatively new and vibrant development within theology in which issues and debates in society are studied as possible ways of thinking about God.
- This programme is not just geared towards Europe but also places developments in a global perspective.
- Thanks to 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

This programme is aimed at enhancing students’ capacity for theological reflection so they can confidently enter the public area where debates on issues as atheism, post-secularism and science come into play. Therefore graduates can participate in debates in the public arena using arguments based on the Christian faith and can convey their faith in society. As a graduate of Systematic Theology, you will change the perspective of others and give meaning to fundamental questions and ideas that feature in science, culture and faith.

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:
- A TOEFL score of >550 (paper based) or >213 (computer based) or >80 (internet based)
- An IELTS score of >6.0
- 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. Theologians know how to formulate critical theological perspectives on questions of meaning of life and a viable civil society in our contemporary situation. Our graduates have an analytical attitude and the skills to make sounds judgements which will help them participate in debates in the public arena using arguments based on the Christian faith and can convey their faith in society. In addition, the programme teaches you how to think independently and critically about the way the 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

Systematic theology has a long-standing tradition in subjects as fundamental theology, dogmatic theology and theological ethics. At Radboud University the set of subjects of systematic theology is extended to include interesting domains such as philosophy of religion, feminist theology and spirituality studies. The central focus in all of these is on public theology, a relatively new and vibrant development in theology. It seeks to provide resources for people to make connections between their faith and the practical issues facing society.

Horizons of thinking towards God
In public theology, actual developments and debates in society are studied as possible horizons of thinking towards God. Two types of questions are investigated as they provide reference points in this search:
1. How are questions of meaning of life addressed in our societies and cultures?
2. How can a "viable civil society" be envisioned in our time?

In searching for answers to these questions, special attention is given to intercultural and cross-cultural debates.

See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/systematictheology

Visit the MA in Systematic 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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