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Independent Project Religious Studies


Admission requirements

Students in the MA Religious Studies may substitute one of the two electives for an Independent Project.


The Independent Project enables students to work with traditions, topics, and theories within the study of religion that are not covered by any of the electives. Fieldwork is a possibility within the independent Project.

Students who wish to carry out a Independent Project are required to find a suitable supervisor among the LUCSoR staff members. Note that staff members may not be available to act as supervisors. Student and supervisor together agree on the topic of the Independent Project. In scope, the Independent Project is comparable to the BA thesis, but it is graded using the MA thesis form.

For Independent projects that start in the second semester: the indendent project plan and supervisor request should be submitted to the Board of Examiners no later than 15 january.

Course objectives

After successfully completing the Independent Project,

  • students have gained a solid overview of a self-chosen topic of within the study of religion; and

  • students have demonstrated their ability to formulate a research problem regarding the chosen topic, to set up a research design employing the most suitable methods and theories from the study-of-religion toolbox, and to carry out and report on their research according to the standards of the study of religion.

Transferable skills

After successfully completing the Independent Project,

  • students have demonstrated their ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity, to draw conclusions concerning the reliability of information provided by available sources, and to offer suggestions for further research;

  • students have demonstrated their ability to communicate conclusions of their research, as well as the knowledge and rational underpinning of these conclusions, clearly and unambiguously, in written, academic English;

  • students have refined their research skills, including their skills at formulating an independent research problem, at locating both primary and secondary sources, and at identifying the most suitable methods and theories to tackle the problem at hand;

  • students have demonstrated their ability to work independently and disciplined on an individual research project of considerable size and bringing it to a successful conclusion within a set time limit; and

  • students have refined their skills at responding constructively to feedback from their supervisor.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Individual supervision.

Assessment method

The Independent Project is completed by a paper of max. 10.000 words (excluding apparatus). The paper is written in English, unless the supervisor and the Board of Examiners approve of the use of another language (which may include Dutch). In all languages, correct use of grammar and style is expected from the student.
For the assessment of the Independent Project paper, the assessment form for the master thesis is used.

Reading list

The booktitles and / or syllabi to be used in the course, where it can be purchased and how this literature should be studied beforehand.
Students are required to identify the relevant primary and secondary sources for their own projects.


Enrolment through MyStudyMap is mandatory. General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.


If you have general questions about the Independent Project, please contact Dr. M.A. Davidsen.