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Theology and Religious Studies

The Theology and Religious Studies Master consists of the following specialisations:

See the “Meer info / More info” tab for more information about the programme structure and the objectives.

Meer info

Objectives Entry requirements Programme Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation


The Leiden Institute for Religious Studies represents a wide range of teaching and research interests. The Institute comprises two branches of study:

  • The study of the history of Christianity and Islam from a theological and philological approach, and

  • the study of religious phenomena in general from a comparative social-scientific and philosophical approach. This expertise has been combined in the Master Programme in Religious Studies that spans two semesters. Students can choose a Master programme in one of five fields of specialization: the Master Tracks.

Entry requirements

Students who have a BA in Theology or World Religions from Leiden University do not have to apply for admission to the MA in Religious Studies, and will automatically receive a registration form in June. Students are requested to return the registration form before August 1, but no later than August 31.

  • BA in Theology or World Religions from Leiden University or equivalent BA degree (Religiestudies, Godsdienstwetenschap) from a recognised university.

  • BA degree degree from another relevant discipline (Arts, Social Sciences of History) on the condition that they are able to show their knowledge of the field of specialisation is sufficient. In some cases knowledge of the original language of a religion is required.

  • Proficiency in English. Non-native English speakers must provide proof of English proficiency with the following scores: IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 570/230. Dutch students with VWO level English are exempt from this requirement.

  • Students are also expected to meet the admission criteria specific to their chosen specialisation. These can be found at the programme descriptions of the specialisations.



The programme has seven tracks:

  • Biblical Studies

  • Judaism

  • Christianity

  • Islam in the Contemporary West

  • Religion, Culture and Society

All of these tracks contain a number of compulsory elements, including one ‘required general course.’

The master programmes of the Leiden Institute of Religious Studies have a required general course, in which topics from the domain of Religious Studies, as well as several issues pertaining to an academic attitude are discussed. This course, which makes use of various methods of instruction, continues through two semesters. It aims at training students in academic skills, so that they are able to conduct research; report about it, both in writing and speech, in a professionally acceptable and morally responsible way; and discuss it in a multidisciplinary context. In bi-weekly classroom meetings per semester, all students come together to hear and discuss topics from the domain of Religious Studies, approached from interdisciplinary perspectives. There are different themes for each semester.

The programme consists of the following elements: 5 ec Required general course 5 ec Comparative religion: themes and topics in the study of religion 15 ec core programme, i.e. three courses of the chosen track (3 × 5 ects) 15 ects additional studies/electives 20 ec master thesis

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

All students write a master’s thesis of 20 ects. This thesis amounts to min. 18.000 – max. 20.000 words. The master’s thesis is written in English, unless the supervisor approves of the use of another language (which may include Dutch). In all languages, correct use of grammar and style is expected from the student. Also see: Regulations