History

Religion and Society
MasterHistory
SpecialisationReligion and Society

The MA History programme Religion and Society focusses on understanding the changing role of religion(s) in society from Antiquity up until the present. Courses deal with questions such as: what is the relationship between religion, politics and society since Antiquity? How can we understand the gradual separation of Church and State and new forms of worship, dissent and devotion since the western Middle Ages? And what has been the impact of broader processes such as secularisation, globalisation and colonialism?

Study programme

Long-standing tradition of expertise
The History department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a strong tradition in teaching and analysing the role of religion throughout history. Religion is studied in its societal and political contexts and from a long-term perspective, which makes our programme unique. Students are trained in the latest interdisciplinary approaches to study religion, including history, cultural anthropology, archaeology, philology and digital humanities. They can improve their knowledge, network and skills by participating in activities of research institutes such as the Amsterdam Centre for Religious History and CLUE+. The programme has great societal relevance as topics such as clashes between religion and secularism, the entangled relations between politics and religion and the future of religious heritage are discussed.

The programme is taught by staff from the Chair of Religious History (prof. dr. Fred van Lieburg) and the Chair of Ancient History (prof. dr. Bas ter Haar Romeny).

A programme that trains you to become a professional
This programme is a specialisation within the Master’s degree programme in History, which trains students to become professional historians with specialised knowledge and transferable skills such as writing, presenting and analytical skills. Students, personally mentored by a member of the academic staff throughout their studies, take several core courses and choose specialised tutorials or opt for an internship.

A combination of core courses and specialisations
The master’s degree course in history at the Vrije Universiteit has a unique character due to the combination of a broad common curriculum and specialisations. All students follow an introductory core subject, two research subjects and the subjects ‘History and Theory’ and ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’. The subjects of the broad master’s course offer a basis from which you can specialise. The introductory course and the course ‘History and Theory’, given in the same period, ensure a common basis from which to progress, regardless of your disciplinary background. ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’ helps you to develop your specialisation. In the research courses you examine a specific historical problem in depth and develop your research skills. It is also possible to do an internship.

You become acquainted with new methods of the e-Humanities and are brought regularly into contact with the working practices of historians. You are free to choose the subject of your master’s thesis from the field of your specialisation.

Master of Arts
A master’s title in History make you an attractive employment prospect because you have broad-based knowledge and have developed an analytical way of reading and writing. Among other areas you could work for government institutions, business or international institutions. Many historians do not enter the business world but go into politics or journalism. In addition, after a further specialised year of master’s courses, you could find a position in teaching or research. 

Academic
With a master’s title in History you can embark on PhD research at a university or research institute. If you aim at an academic career you could also consider following the two-year research master’s degree course in History. This master’s degree course trains you specifically as a (university) researcher.

Amsterdam
Studying in the city of Amsterdam is a unique experience. The urban setting and the multicultural mind-set of the people of Amsterdam, combined with the presence of a thriving cultural city life give your education a special dimension.

Unique programme
This is a unique specialisation that focusses on the role of religion in Europe and beyond, including the Mediterranean World and the Middle East. Moreover, the relationship between religion, society and politics from Antiquity until the ‘War on Terror’, of dominant and minority religions, ranging from Judaism and Christianity to Islam and Eastern religions are thoroughly studied. We also pay ample attention to the history of the Reformations and Protestantism in Europe and the Netherlands, and introduce our students to relevant collections, including important ones at VU Amsterdam. Students are encouraged to write their thesis in one of these subjects and are welcome to contact our staff members beforehand to discuss their field of interest.

Nederlandse Studenten

WO
Met een bachelordiploma Geschiedenis word je rechtstreeks toegelaten tot de master Geschiedenis. Toelating op basis van een ander, verwant bachelordiploma is ter beoordeling van de Toelatingscommisie. Denk hierbij bijvoorbeeld aan Europese studies, Antropologie, Politicologie, Cultuurwetenschappen en Religiewetenschap. 

Wie toegelaten wil worden tot de master Geschiedenis moet zich voor 1 juni aanmelden via Studielink voor de opleiding Geschiedenis (60 studiepunten). 

Na aanmelding in Studielink ontvang je binnen twee dagen een e-mail met je inlogcodes voor VUnet (VU studentenportal). In VUnet rond je je aanmelding af. Vul bij het veld specialisatie de gekozen specialisatie in.

In deze fase dien je de volgende documenten te uploaden:

  • cijferlijst (scan van origineel)
  • vakbeschrijvingen (m.n. voor de vakken in het vakgebied van de master, en op het gebied van algemene academische vaardigheden)
  • literatuurlijst (de belangrijkste literatuur die gebruikt is voor deze vakken)
  • CV

Zorg er dus voor dat je deze al klaar hebt, wanneer je je aanmelding in VUnet gaat afronden!

NB: Het indienen van deze documenten geldt alleen als je geen student bent van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit.

Je verzoek tot toelating tot het masterprogramma wordt vervolgens door de toelatingscommissie van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen in behandeling genomen. Als de toelatingscommissie besluit dat je eerst een premasterprogramma moet volgen voordat je toelaatbaar bent, krijg je daarover bericht. Als je rechtstreeks toelaatbaar bent tot de opleiding, ontvang je hier bericht over van Studielink.

HBO
Als je een student bent met een afgeronde, verwante HBO-opleiding zoals de tweedegraads lerarenopleiding Geschiedenis, dan kun je niet direct instromen in de master. Je moet eerst een premaster van maximaal een jaar volgen. In alle gevallen kan met dit programma, dat vastgesteld wordt door de examencommissie, uitsluitend in september gestart worden.

Het is verplicht deel te nemen aan een assessment voor je kunt beginnen met de premaster. Heb je een eerstegraadsakte (MO-B) Geschiedenis? In dat geval kun je, na goedkeuring van de Toelatingscommissie, wel direct worden toegelaten tot de master. Je hoeft dan ook niet mee te doen aan het assessment. Kijk op vu.nl voor meer informatie over het premasterassessment.

Je kunt je tot uiterlijk 1 juni aanmelden via Studielink voor de premaster Geschiedenis. Kies in Studielink eerst 'Bachelor of andere niet master opleidingen' en daarna de premaster. Na aanmelding in Studielink ontvang je binnen twee dagen een e-mail met je inlogcodes voor VUnet (VU studentenportal). 

In VUnet rond je je aanmelding af. Vul bij specialisatie 'premaster Geschiedenis' in.

In deze fase dien je de volgende documenten te uploaden:

  • cijferlijst (scan van origineel)
  • vakbeschrijvingen (m.n. voor de vakken in het vakgebied van de master, en op het gebied van algemene academische vaardigheden)
  • literatuurlijst (de belangrijkste literatuur die gebruikt is voor deze vakken)
  • CV

Zorg er dus voor dat je deze al klaar hebt, wanneer je je aanmelding in VUnet gaat afronden!

Zodra er een toelatingsverklaring afgegeven wordt, ontvang je hier bericht over van Studielink. Deze toelatingsverklaring wordt afgegeven door de Toelatingscommissie van de Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen.

Aan de VU vinden wij het belangrijk dat je na je studie een goede baan vindt en daarom helpen we je een heel eind op weg. We hebben mentoren die jou kunnen adviseren, een stagecoördinator en we organiseren loopbaanoriëntatiedagen. Voor meer informatie over stages, neem je contact op met dr. Wybren Verstegen (s.w.verstegen@vu.nl)

Je studie vindt niet alleen plaats binnen de muren van de universiteit, er is ook ruime gelegenheid om je breder te ontwikkelen. Er is veel persoonlijk contact met de docenten mogelijk. Hierdoor zijn ook de lijntjes naar de arbeidsmarkt kort. Onze docenten en hoogleraren zijn meer dan bereid om hun professionele netwerk van alle mogelijke belangrijke historische instellingen binnen en buiten Amsterdam voor hun studenten aan te spreken. Wil je bijvoorbeeld stage lopen bij het Rijksmuseum, het Scheepvaartmuseum, of het Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis? Dat kan! Ook kun je ervoor kiezen om stage te lopen bij een toekomstig werkgever, zoals een ministerie of bedrijf. Wil je het verder van huis zoeken? De VU biedt uitstekende mogelijkheden om een halfjaar (of langer) in het buitenland door te brengen.

Opleidingsdirecteur (voor vakinhoudelijke voorlichting en advies in de master)

Dr. Ronald Kroeze
Email: d.b.r.kroeze@vu.nl

Voorlichting
Je bent van harte welkom op één van onze voorlichtingsactiviteiten!

International students

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 History:
The Master’s History is designed for students with an academic Bachelor’s in history. You may also be accepted if you have an academic Bachelor’s in other disciplines of the Humanities (including theology or philosophy) or in anthropology or sociology, with a significant historical interest, apparent from a major or specialization equal to a minimum of 30 ECTS.

For international students the level of studied academic theory needs to be based on the course description, literature list and sample of academic writing, due to a lack of distinction between applied and academic universities abroad.

You must always present official test results proving your proficiency in English. Only students who have completed a  full high school/International Baccalaureate in English or bachelor’s degree in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia may be exempted. You can already apply online without having the test results. In case you haven’t taken a test yet we advise you to plan a test date as soon as possible. Below you will find the minimum English test scores for the English taught programmes at the Faculty of Humanities:

  • TOEFL score (score 600 paper based with a minimum of 55 in each of the subtests plus 4.0 in TWE, score 250 computer based or score 100 internet based with a minimum of 20-23 in each of the subtests).
  • IELTS score of 7.0 overall band score (with none of the separate section scores dropping below a minimum score of 6.5).
  • Cambridge English: Cambridge Proficiency Exam A, B, C, or Cambridge Advanced Exam A, B, C.

Please refer to the Admission and language requirements page for the general requirements.

If you have read the admission criteria below 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.

  • Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU residents) 
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation Letter
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcript of records 
  • Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)
  • A description of the relevant courses you have taken during your previous higher education 
  • A list of all the main literature used during your previous higher education 

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 email.

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
Accommodation
Visa
Tuition fees
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For questions about the Master’s programmes or the application procedure
Please contact your International Student Advisor at the International Office:
Irena Paap
T: +31 (20) 59 85252
E: masters.hum@vu.nl

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Our Alumni about the History Master

Overview History: Religion and Society

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English, Dutch

DURATION

1 year

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 June

START DATE

1 September

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

Admission Requirements


FIELD OF INTEREST

Art, Culture and History