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Study programme

The two-year Research Master's in Religious Studies offers you excellent opportunities for pursuing your own research interests. In the first semesters, the core courses address the comparative study of concepts fundamental to human culture as well as theories and methodologies in the field of religious studies. Electives and tutorials enable you to tailor the programme to your own interests.

Programme structure 

The Research Master's programme Religious Studies comprises 120 ECTS credits:

  • 90 credits for core courses, electives and tutorials
  • 12 credits for the Master's Research Project
  • 18 credits for the Research Master's thesis

Core courses

The backbone of the Research Master's in Religious Studies comprises three core courses, to be taken in the first three semesters of the programme.

The first core course, Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion, introduces you to important debates about the core concepts and methodologies in the field of religious  studies with an emphasis on new paradigms and approaches in this field.

The second core course, Religious Experience, emphasises the specific debate about the analytical value of the concept of experience in religious scholarship and introduces various types of research concerning the topic of religion and experience.

The final core course, Nature and the Supernatural, addresses the notions of nature and the supernatural that have been fundamental to human culture since antiquity. The course introduces students to cosmogenesis, ideas of nature, myths of creation, accounts of the origin of the world and a diversity of ideas concerning intermediary beings from a variety of religious cultures in a comparative perspective.  


You can tailor the Research Master's programme to your own interests by selecting electives from the one-year Master’s programmes Islam in the Modern World, Religious Diversity in Europe and Western Esotericism. In addition, the Graduate School of Humanities offers a broad range of courses approved as electives for all Research Master’s students.


In a tutorial setting, you will work closely with one of our staff members. Tutorial subjects are suggested by staff members and informed by their current research projects, but you can also propose your own tutorial. Alternatively, you can also participate in seminars at one of the national research schools, where you will meet Research Master’s students, PhDs and researchers from other universities.


The Master's thesis reports on research carried out under the supervision of an academic staff member involved in the programme. The subject of the thesis must be mutually agreed upon by the student and the academic adviser.


For more information about available internships and the experiences of other student interns, visit the website for current students.

Detailed course information

Visit the UvA Course Catalogue for detailed descriptions of the programme's courses.