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Study the societal impact of religion and theology

Theology and Religious Studies

Peace, Trauma and Religion

The one-year Master's degree programme Theology & Religious Studies focuses on specific professional fields. You will be prepared for a professional career within or outside religious institutions. Each specialization focuses on their own field.

Interreligious Studies
Globalisation has given rise to an even greater need for religious dialogue in all areas of society, from politics and business to education and daily life. Increasing mobility, changing ways of communication and flows of migrants have all made the world a smaller place – and the need for social cohesion greater than ever. This track will give you the knowledge and skills you need to help build bridges between people from different faith traditions and so contribute to that improved social cohesion. If you want to become part of that, this track might be for you.

Peace, Trauma and Religion
Religion is often misused to incite violent conflicts, but at the same time, it is one of the strongest ethical and spiritual resources for conflict resolution and transitional justice. This Master’s programme explores and teaches the knowledge, skills and insights you will need for a career in the growing field of peace and conflict studies.

Exploring a Discipline
This track offers you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of one particular topic, or discipline, within theology and religious studies. You can pursue a thematic or disciplinary focus of your own choice; the faculty’s research centres offer various specialisations. 

Spiritual Care
Read all about the Dutch track 'Spiritual Care' on the Dutch page.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Facts and figures

Which specialization do you choose?

Select the specialization of your choice and find out more about the study programme.

Summary

Globalisation has brought about a pluralisation of the religious sphere, bringing religions such as Islam and various Asian traditions, to the West. The religious ‘other’ is no longer an abstraction, but a concrete reality in the people around us: our neighbours, colleagues, friends and spouses.

To increase social cohesion in this plural society we need experts with the knowledge and skills to build bridges between people from different (faith) traditions. This need is evident in society as a whole, but more specifically in schools, (socio-political) organisations and in the corporate environment. To foster interreligious relations, we need to grow religious and interreligious literacy; this specialisation will give you the skills to help achieve that.

Through classes, reading assignments, visits to local communities and an analysis of case studies, you will learn how to become an effective, interreligious bridge builder in an increasingly multi-religious world. By the end of this multidisciplinary programme, one that involves an internship and writing a Master's thesis, you will have developed the knowledge and skills needed to work in a multi-religious context and help realise a positive transformation.

If you already work in a multi-religious setting, and want to build interreligious relations within schools, work or community environments, this Master’s programme could well be for you.

Summary

As a student of the track Exploring a Discipline, you are given both the freedom to delve deeply into a religious topic of your choice, and the guidance to get the most out of this specialisation. Studying in the inspiring environment of the city of Amsterdam and the multi-religious Faculty of Theology at the Vrije Universiteit, you will be able to pursue your own area of interest within the field of theology and religious studies.

You will find this one-year programme ideal if you:

  • want to deepen your expertise in, and knowledge of, a particular discipline or topic within theology or religious studies;
  • are already a professional in the field of theology or religious studies (minister, teacher, chaplain, etc.) and want to deepen your knowledge.

You can either create a fully personalised programme, or follow one of the specialisations; these are offered through the centres and chairs of the Faculty of Theology and its affiliated institutions.

Beyond these specialisations, the programme coordinator is always happy to engage in dialogue concerning a tailored programme. The programme can also serve as the first year of the two-year Research MA in Theology and Religious Studies.

In the first semester you choose three modules from the list of (Research) Master courses. You can choose from the following:

Exploring a Discipline courses

Summary

Peacemaking and peacekeeping skills have never been more valued than they are today. Globalisation has triggered a growth in communities that are diverse in their religious and ethnic mix. Often linked to this diversity is a rise in national and regional conflicts (the so-called ‘new wars’). In addition, the world is witnessing a growing enmity, usually triggered by unjust living conditions.

In a globalised world, every regional conflict affects, and is affected by, the wider international community. At the same time we observe the devastating influence of violent conflicts on individuals, as well as on relations within families and communities (trauma).
 
These developments have created a growing interest, both in the political and public arena, to explore and develop skills for peacemaking and peacekeeping – locally, regionally, and internationally – as well as for conflict prevention and post-conflict care, like trauma healing. These challenges are taken up in a variety of disciplines such as Political Science, Law, the Humanities and Medicine.

In the Master’s Theology and Religious Studies you will consider and critically reflect on all of these issues, in the fields of research and education as well as in practical application, from the perspective of different faith traditions.

Religion is often misused to incite violent conflicts, while at the same time it is one of the strongest ethical and spiritual resources for conflict resolution and transitional justice, between individuals, groups and in  reconciliation processes within whole societies.

During this Master’s programme you will explore and learn about theories, practices, and experiences. You will be well prepared to participate in this growing field of peace and conflict studies.

A theoretical basis for understanding Peace, Trauma and Religion

You will gain a theoretical basis of this broad topic through modules focusing on:

  • the theological and interreligious interpretations of peace and justice; 
  • the religious roots of violence; 
  • reconciliation as seen from a religious perspective; 
  • the healing of trauma; 
  • religion in the public domain.

You will explore and discuss scientific research in the fields of religion, violence, trauma and reconciliation from disciplines such as (Peace-) Theology and Ethics, Islam Studies, Psychology and Practical Theology.

Your study year may start with a summer school (to be announced).

Compulsory courses:

  • Hermeneutics, looking  at the skills of interpretation and reflexivity;  
  • Research Skills, teaching you academic research practices and discussing problem formulation, methodology and analysis;
  • Master Seminar, developing and discussing a portfolio of your own academic and professional qualities. This runs throughout the year alongside the other modules, and ensures an individual component as well as the interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue with students and lecturers from various fields.
  • Your internship and thesis account for your second semester.
  • Interreligious Studies

    Summary

    Globalisation has brought about a pluralisation of the religious sphere, bringing religions such as Islam and various Asian traditions, to the West. The religious ‘other’ is no longer an abstraction, but a concrete reality in the people around us: our neighbours, colleagues, friends and spouses.

    To increase social cohesion in this plural society we need experts with the knowledge and skills to build bridges between people from different (faith) traditions. This need is evident in society as a whole, but more specifically in schools, (socio-political) organisations and in the corporate environment. To foster interreligious relations, we need to grow religious and interreligious literacy; this specialisation will give you the skills to help achieve that.

    Through classes, reading assignments, visits to local communities and an analysis of case studies, you will learn how to become an effective, interreligious bridge builder in an increasingly multi-religious world. By the end of this multidisciplinary programme, one that involves an internship and writing a Master's thesis, you will have developed the knowledge and skills needed to work in a multi-religious context and help realise a positive transformation.

    If you already work in a multi-religious setting, and want to build interreligious relations within schools, work or community environments, this Master’s programme could well be for you.

  • Exploring a Discipline

    Summary

    As a student of the track Exploring a Discipline, you are given both the freedom to delve deeply into a religious topic of your choice, and the guidance to get the most out of this specialisation. Studying in the inspiring environment of the city of Amsterdam and the multi-religious Faculty of Theology at the Vrije Universiteit, you will be able to pursue your own area of interest within the field of theology and religious studies.

    You will find this one-year programme ideal if you:

    • want to deepen your expertise in, and knowledge of, a particular discipline or topic within theology or religious studies;
    • are already a professional in the field of theology or religious studies (minister, teacher, chaplain, etc.) and want to deepen your knowledge.

    You can either create a fully personalised programme, or follow one of the specialisations; these are offered through the centres and chairs of the Faculty of Theology and its affiliated institutions.

    Beyond these specialisations, the programme coordinator is always happy to engage in dialogue concerning a tailored programme. The programme can also serve as the first year of the two-year Research MA in Theology and Religious Studies.

    In the first semester you choose three modules from the list of (Research) Master courses. You can choose from the following:

    Exploring a Discipline courses

  • Peace, Trauma and Religion

    Summary

    Peacemaking and peacekeeping skills have never been more valued than they are today. Globalisation has triggered a growth in communities that are diverse in their religious and ethnic mix. Often linked to this diversity is a rise in national and regional conflicts (the so-called ‘new wars’). In addition, the world is witnessing a growing enmity, usually triggered by unjust living conditions.

    In a globalised world, every regional conflict affects, and is affected by, the wider international community. At the same time we observe the devastating influence of violent conflicts on individuals, as well as on relations within families and communities (trauma).
     
    These developments have created a growing interest, both in the political and public arena, to explore and develop skills for peacemaking and peacekeeping – locally, regionally, and internationally – as well as for conflict prevention and post-conflict care, like trauma healing. These challenges are taken up in a variety of disciplines such as Political Science, Law, the Humanities and Medicine.

    In the Master’s Theology and Religious Studies you will consider and critically reflect on all of these issues, in the fields of research and education as well as in practical application, from the perspective of different faith traditions.

    Religion is often misused to incite violent conflicts, while at the same time it is one of the strongest ethical and spiritual resources for conflict resolution and transitional justice, between individuals, groups and in  reconciliation processes within whole societies.

    During this Master’s programme you will explore and learn about theories, practices, and experiences. You will be well prepared to participate in this growing field of peace and conflict studies.

    A theoretical basis for understanding Peace, Trauma and Religion

    You will gain a theoretical basis of this broad topic through modules focusing on:

    • the theological and interreligious interpretations of peace and justice; 
    • the religious roots of violence; 
    • reconciliation as seen from a religious perspective; 
    • the healing of trauma; 
    • religion in the public domain.

    You will explore and discuss scientific research in the fields of religion, violence, trauma and reconciliation from disciplines such as (Peace-) Theology and Ethics, Islam Studies, Psychology and Practical Theology.

    Your study year may start with a summer school (to be announced).

    Compulsory courses:

    • Hermeneutics, looking  at the skills of interpretation and reflexivity;  
    • Research Skills, teaching you academic research practices and discussing problem formulation, methodology and analysis;
    • Master Seminar, developing and discussing a portfolio of your own academic and professional qualities. This runs throughout the year alongside the other modules, and ensures an individual component as well as the interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue with students and lecturers from various fields.
    • Your internship and thesis account for your second semester.

Multi-religious environment

Globalisation has brought about a pluralisation of society, so the faculty’s multi-religious environment represents society in a nutshell.

Throughout your study, you’ll be interacting with students from a broad range of religious backgrounds and faith traditions, who each practice their belief in different ways. This diverse environment will give you the perfect opportunity for hands-on experience with a career in a multi-religious setting.

Change your future with the Theology and Religious Studies programme

Change your future with the Theology and Religious Studies programme

After this Master’s programme you’ll be qualified for a career in any institution that demands theological or interreligious competencies: schools, hospitals, governmental and non-governmental institutions and corporate environments.

Explore your future prospects
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