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Research Master

Religious Studies (Theology and Religious Studies)

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The two-year Research Master's in Religious Studies offers an inspiring research environment in which you develop the research skills to conduct your own research project in the field of religious studies. You will explore key issues, theoretical perspectives and methodological questions in the field of religious studies and engage in ongoing research with faculty members.

Religious and spiritual plurality in the Western world

The Research Master’s in Religious Studies focuses on the history and presence of religious and spiritual diversity in Europe and in its wider Mediterranean, Eurasian and Transatlantic context. The programme emphasises the processes of religious diversification in different socio-cultural contexts. It trains you in both the historical as well as the empirical study of religious cultures, countercultures and spiritualities, including the interdisciplinary study of ideas, narratives, practices, institutions and their interactions.

Unique research environment

Multiple specialisations, including Western Esotericism

Study with leading specialists

Museums and libraries around the corner

A diverse programme

The Research Master’s programme offers several specialisations in the field of religious studies. You can choose to focus on Spirituality and Esotericism in Western Culture, Religion and Spirituality in Contemporary Societies or Spirituality and Religion in Islam. You can furthermore tailor your programme to your interests by taking a broad range of electives in these and other areas.

You will also have the opportunity to study with leading specialists in the field of religious studies. In a tutorial setting, you will receive supervision from these specialists for your own research projects. In addition, the presence of numerous museums and famous libraries in the city centre of Amsterdam will make the study of religion at the UvA an exceptional experience.

Why study Religious Studies at the University of Amsterdam?

  • Our programme offers you the unique opportunity to become engaged with research on spirituality and Western Esotericism, contemporary and historical topics within the study of Islam and the role of religion and spirituality in contemporary society.
  • The extraordinary research environment of our programme includes, among others, the Centre for Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents ( the world-leading institute in the field of Western Esotericism), the UvA library with its exceptional special collections, the Embassy of the Free Mind (museum and library including the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica-collection) and last but not least, the City of Amsterdam with its vibrant religious and spiritual life in history and presence.
  • The programme offers several specialisations, but you will also have the opportunity to pursue your own research interests.


As a Religious Studies graduate, you will have developed analytical and research skills relevant to a career in the field of religious studies. In addition, you will have access to a range of other employment opportunities in which a critical, curious, and academically-trained mind is essential.

Student profile

You will be considered for admission to this Research Master’s programme if you meet the entry requirements and can demonstrate the following knowledge, insight and skills:

  • you have excellent research skills at Bachelor’s level and you are able to conduct research independently (i.e. collecting material, applying theory, and writing a thesis);
  • you have a strong academic interest in the analysis of spirituality and religion in the history of Western culture and in contemporary societies;
  • you have a willingness to engage in interdisciplinary research cutting across methodological and traditional disciplinary boundaries.

You are expected to convincingly demonstrate in the motivation form that your background and academic interest in the field will allow you to successfully complete this study programme.

Degree certificate

The Research Master's programme Religious Studies is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a legally accredited Master’s degree in Theology and Religious Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

Facts & Figures
Degree programme Research MA Theology and Religious Studies (research)
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time
Credits 120 ECTS, 24 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 60827