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BA Theology and Religious Studies

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Program overview
3 years
Full time/part time
Bachelor's degree
Dutch, English
Start dates
Amsterdam
Fall 2021

Amsterdam
Fall 2021

Program description

BA Theology and Religious Studies

What role does religion play in violent conflicts? Does faith help you become a better person? How does religion contribute to shaping identity—yours and other people’s? How does religion help us to think about climate change?

In the Bachelor of Theology and Religious Studies programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you will investigate religious and social themes and gain a solid foundation in the principles of religions and theology. This enables you to contribute to important social debates.

Are you curious about the origins of different religions? Do you want to understand what drives people of faith? Gain deeper insight into the legacies that migrants and refugees bring with them to their new countries? The international Bachelor Theology and Religious Studies (full-time and part-time) at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam provides academic space for dialogical learning in an interfaith setting.

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Admission requirements

Are you a good listener? Are you open to other people’s perspectives, and keen to improve mutual understanding between different points of view? Are you interested in and inspired by the world of religion and faith? 

Then the Theology and Religious Studies programme at VU Amsterdam is just the thing for you.

Applicants holding a non-Dutch pre-university diploma apply via the International Office. We check if your previous education meetsa number of requirements. If you do not yet meet the requirements but expect to do so in the future (such as obtaining your diploma), you can already apply. We will evaluate your application and inform you of our admission decision.

Requirements that apply:

1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO-diploma

See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country.
Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be asked to sit (an)entry exam(s)to prove they are eligible for admission.

2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English

Although complete applications are preferred, you can begin your application before you have completed the test and then submit your passing score once you have been conditionally admitted. You can find all accepted tests and scores on our Language Requirements webpage.

Application documents:

  • Transcript of records; a transcript in English of the grades obtained over the final two years of your high school and any further education up to the moment of your application. IB and A-level applicants are asked to upload their predicted grades.
  • A scan of your diploma (if you have already graduated).
  • Curriculum Vitae; the curriculum vitae should include your personal details and list your previous education and relevant work experience (± 1-2 pages).
  • English language test results (if already obtained).
  • Copy of valid passport or ID (ID for EEA students only).

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Program content

When you choose Theology and Religious Studies, you enter the rich and fascinating world of religion and faith. VU Amsterdam is known as a safe space where different religions coexist, side by side. You develop an academic view of what religion and theology mean. You are in constant dialogue with your fellow students.

In the Theology and Religious Studies programme, you can choose your own path. The programme consists of core courses, in-depth courses related to your profile, and electives. The core courses are taught in English and followed by all students, meaning that you study alongside students from different countries, cultures, and faiths. You will learn about the principles and practices of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam. Attention is paid to historical developments, doctrines, ethics, and the shared practices and imagery of different religions. You also delve into hermeneutics and the social sciences.

The courses linked to your profile familiarise you with specific disciplines. There are three options: 

  • Interested in academically studying religion in historical and contemporary contexts? You can focus on courses in Religious Studies. If you want to specialise in Buddhism or Hinduism, select this profile.
  • Want to delve into the Koran and Hadith? Select Islamic profile courses.
  • Prefer to focus on the theology of a the Christian tradition? Then the theological profile is for you. If you want, you can choose to follow courses within the tradition of one of the Christian seminaries, such as the Baptist seminary, the Evangelical-Reformed, or the Mennonite-Anabaptist seminary.  You can also opt for following an Evangelical-Reformed track within this profile.

Program delivery

Hybrid education at VU Amsterdam

During the corona crisis, teaching will be offered in hybrid form: online and where it is possible and permitted, on campus. 

  • All lectures will be taught online
  • All exams will take place remotely
  • All other educational activities; mostly online, but on campus when possible

By making our education available in a hybrid form, we create scope for (location based) on-campus educational activities and meetings. Face-to-face contact between individual students and with teaching staff is crucial to personal and academic development, because studying is a joint effort.

If you are enrolled in a course taught on campus but you are not able to come to the university, various online alternatives are available to you. This will unfortunately not be possible for location based education, such as practicals.  

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About this institute

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...


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Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.

They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Human Health and Life Sciences
  • Science for Sustainability
  • Connected World
  • Governance for Society

As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.

In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.

The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.

At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.

Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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