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Religion in a Changing World

N.B. Minor description is up-to-date / course descriptions are subject to change

Religion is everywhere. Knowledge of religion is essential for anyone who wants to understand the world. If you are fascinated by the diversity of religions, their development throughout history and their meaning today – both in people’s personal lives and in society – the minor Religion in a Changing World is the right choice as a supplement to your major.

This minor includes mandatory and elective courses and is designed to acquaint students with the tools essential for studying, interpreting, and analysing religion as a (human) phenomenon. The first mandatory course, Religion in the World, provides an introductory survey of religion as a human cultural endeavor from prehistory to the present and from a global perspective. The second mandatory course, Comparative Religion, introduces the method of comparison and the difference between contextualised and decontextualised approaches in the study of religion. Students then have a choice of two electives that focus on specific religious traditions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, etc.) or themes (e.g. Politics, Science and Religion, Media, Education, etc.), as well as one elective exploring a social scientific approach (Sociology of Religion or Psychologie van Religie).

The course list for the minor includes both English and Dutch courses, but it is possible to take the minor entirely in English (either entirely in semester 1, or spread across both semesters).

You can register for this minor in uSis between May first and 15 July 2021
Maximum number of participants: 70
Prospectus number: 5000MRELN
Class number: 1027
Language: English/Dutch


Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

Two mandatory Courses:

Religion in the World 5
Comparative Religion (10ec) 10

Choose two of the below courses:

Introduction to Buddhism 5
Jews and Judaism: An Introduction 5
Introduction to the Study of Islam 5
Introduction to Hindu Religions 5
Het Woord gaat voort: Geschiedenis, inhoud en socioculturele impact van de Bijbel 5
Apocalypse Now! Christian Expectations on the End of the World, 1500-1800 (and Beyond) 5
African Religions: Ancient, Indigenous, and New 5
Religie, levensbeschouwing en burgerschap in het onderwijs 5
Gilgamesh, Mozes, Echnaton: godsdienst in het oude Nabije Oosten 5
New Religions 5
Antieke Godsdiensten 5
Religion and Politics 5
Christendom: de basics 5
Religion and media 5
Literatuur, Cultuur en Religie van het Oude Israël: Introductie tot de Hebreeuwse Bijbel 5

Choose one of two

Sociology of Religion 5
Psychology of Religion 5

More info


  • Extent: 30 EC

  • Intended for: All students with an interest in the subject matter who have passed a first bachelor year of 60 EC.

  • Language of Instruction: English and Dutch. You can opt for a completely English taught package or a mix of Dutch and English taught courses.

  • Websites: Centre for the Study of Religion Leiden Religie Blog

  • Programme Coordinator: Dr. C.J. Pearce

  • Information: Coordinator of Studies

  • Board of Examiners: Religious Studies

  • Enrolment: via uSis from May 1st until July 15th 2021. NB: After registering for the minor, you must also enroll for the individual courses.

Follow-on master’s programme

Master Religious Studies Students with a university BA degree within the humanities or social sciences, who successfully finished the minor ‘Religion in a Changing World’, will be admitted to the Master Religious Studies at Leiden University.

Master Religie en Levensbeschouwing Students with a university BA degree in History, Theology/Divinity, Islam Studies, Middle Eastern Studies with specialization Islam, or Ancient Near Eastern Studies, who successfully finished the minor ‘Religion in a Changing World’, will be admitted to the two-year educational Master Religie en Levensbeschouwing at Leiden University. Students who think about following the master Religie en Levensbeschouwing after completing the minor are advised to choose the introductions to Christianity and Islam as part of the minor.