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Master in History: Religion and Society

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
1 year
Full time
Associate's degree
Scholarships available
September 2019
Application deadline: 01 June 2019
2,083 EUR

Program description

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 specialization.

Admission requirements

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.

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About school

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880 . The university offers over 120 English taught programs at Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral level. Students and staff of 84 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The...

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Contact info

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands, the

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