|Specialization of:||Theology & Religious Studies|
|Title:||MA Theology & Religious Studies|
The media bombard us with reports on clashes between different religions and faith-based cultures. Across the globe, religion holds sway over the public debate and the worldwide growth of Islam carries huge political significance. But religion is also part of popular culture. New forms of spirituality are finding their way in society alongside age-old religious traditions.
The Master’s specialization in Media enables you to reflect critically on the media’s role in constructing everyday images of social and cultural reality, religion and identity. You will analyse the influence of digital media on established religions, their institutions, communities and individual followers. You will consider the effect on the public debate and government policy. You will also see how religious movements and groups use the media to publicize their vision and bring the sacred to life in images, sound and words. Important ethical questions arise involving our information society and freedom of expression, religion and privacy.
The theoretical basis will be provided by two theoretical modules, Religion in a Media Age and Religion and Popular Culture. These will focus on issues such as religious changes in a media age; journalism/new media, the public debate on religion and the construction of religious others; new media and the rise of digital religion; the connections between religion and popular culture; and the impact of new communication technologies on lived religion, including religious practice, experience, identity, community and authority. You will study and discuss scientific research in the study of religion and media from various disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, religious studies, media studies, historical and literary studies, and theology.
A first compulsory core module, Hermeneutics, treats the skills of interpretation and reflexivity. A second core module, Research Skills, aims to train the student in academic research practices, discussing problem formulation, methodology, and analysis.
The second semester is devoted to internship and thesis work. The module Master seminar, in which students develop and discuss a portfolio of their academic and professional qualities, concludes the second semester.
Your Master’s specialization will equip you with a sound theoretical basis in media and communication in relation to religion and spirituality. You will gain the analytical, communicative and operational skills to become an independent professional in journalism, communication within religious and spiritual organizations and policy that draws on knowledge of communication and information in today’s postsecular, multireligious society.
This programme trains professionals with expertise in (inter)religious communication, (new) media, and religion in a multicultural and multireligious society. Our graduates fulfill functions in the media and communication sector, both old and new media. Others have a career in religious, cultural, political, administrative or governmental organizations. The programme also offers a solid basis for a future career as a researcher.
With this master's programme, VU Amsterdam offers a unique academic entrance into the upcoming and highly relevant field of religion and media. The programme couples an excellent academic training in research, analytical and reflective skills with attention for personal development and societal sensitivity. The programme is characterized by a focus on everyday, lived religion. Thus, research is emperically based or informed. Furthermore, the student gains working experience during an internship in a societal, cultural, polical or corporate organization.
The Faculty of Theology of VU Amsterdam consists of excellent scholars with international reputations and connections in all the major fields of theology. You will be exposed to the best that scholarship has to offer. The research conducted here is of a high academic level, and seeks to closely interact with societal issues and interests. Our faculty has strong partnerships with various societal organisations and initiatives. The Graduate School of Theology and Religious Studies offers courses for (prospective) PhD students and functions as a platform for interaction between junior and senior scholars.
Dialogue and diversity
VU Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands and has deep bonds with the Reformed Protestant tradition. In recent years, however, the student body has increasingly become interdenominational, international and interreligious. Your education will be enriched by fellow students who come from various denominations, from Pentecostal to Mennonite to Islamic to Evangelical to Buddhist. Students from other countries bring new and different perspectives on life and faith. You will learn to think about the meaning of your faith for your time and place in dialogue with others. You will discuss religious phenomena and ideas from several disciplinary perspectives, in conversation with students and teachers from various disciplinary backgrounds.
The Faculty of Theology is housed in a modern building in Amsterdam with a first-rate theological library on site. The building is equipped with the latest technology and study facilities. As a student you will have access to these facilities.
Since its founding in 1880 by the statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper VU Amsterdam has been committed to first-rate scholarship and learning combined with utmost respect for faith traditions and theological points of view. You will become part of this great tradition.
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities of the world and the cultural capital of the Netherlands. You will be able to live in Amsterdam and to benefit from all it has to offer. For students in theology or religious studies, Amsterdam is a perfect context to study, because of the multi-religious identity of the city.
Language of instruction
1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time)
15 July for Dutch students. 1 April for EU and non-EU students. EU students with an international degree who do not need housing services through VU Amsterdam can still apply until 1 June.
specialization of Theology & Religious Studies (1 year)
Field of Interest
Religion and Philosophy
Students holding a Bachelor’s degree from a Dutch University (WO) are directly eligible for admittance in this Master’s programme.
Students with a suitable HBO degree can apply for a premaster’s programme (this programme is taught in Dutch). Our Admission Board will have to approve your request for admission.
You need to apply before July 15 in Studielink. The registration has to be completed before August 31.
Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application.
In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent.
Specific admission requirements for the Master’s Programme Theology and Religious Studies, specialization in Media
Students with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology or Religious Studies from a university abroad will only be admitted following an assessment of their degree by the admissions board. Students with Bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines are also welcome to apply, provided that the degree obtained is from a research-oriented university. Before the start of the academic year the student needs to have an intake with the coordinator of the specialization. The aim of this intake is to discuss possible deficiency in theological knowledge of the student.
You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a full high school or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. We require a TOEFL score (score 580 paper based, score 237 computer based or score 92 internet based) or an IELTS score of 6.5 overall band score. Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.
Please refer to the language requirement page for the general requirements regarding the English language test.
If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your relevant documents are required.
Step 1: Meet admission criteria
Step 2: Prepare documents and apply online
Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English.
After having prepared the required documents, please follow the online application procedure. After you have completed the application, our international student advisors will contact you via e-mail.
Step 3: Await decision on admission
The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about four weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you gain admission, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. You can start planning your move to Amsterdam!
Step 4: Finalize your registration and move to Amsterdam!
Make sure to finalize your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation what to do after admission. When all conditions are met you will be ready to start your programme at VU Amsterdam!
Further information about;
As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries.
Additional Scholarship offered by the faculty
Mijntje Pruissen Scholarship
Mijntje Pruissen Scholarship is a Merit scholarship programme for strongly motivated international students with excellent study results. Eligible candidates must be able to prove their academic excellence, and they must be admitted to the Master’s programme in Theology and Religious Studies (all specializations, and both the one- and the two-year Master’s programme). This concerns English taught Master’s programmes only.
Students eligible for this scholarship are students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are applying for an English taught Master’s programme in Theology and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Theology. Students with the Dutch nationality and/or a Dutch degree (if the Dutch degree is used for admission) are not eligible for admission.
The scholarship amounts to € 5,000. Application deadline: 1 April 2017
For more information or questions about the procedure please send an e-mail to:
Mr. Stipo Jelec
If you have questions about the programme please contact Miranda Klaver (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For detailed questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:
Tel + 31 (0)20 598 8920
VU Public Relations Office
Please phone us at +31 (0)20 598 5000 (Monday - Friday, 9:00 to 17:00). You may also e-mail us at: email@example.com