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First year

Compulsory for all students Religious Students: General Required Course.

Students are advised to contact their supervisor well before the start of their master year, so that a suitable programme can be put together in good time: Masterplanning

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2
General Required Course Religious Studies 5
MA Thesis Religious Studies 20

Specialisation courses (15 ec)

Course to be chosen according to specialisation.

Electives (20 ec)

Meer info

Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion
Entry requirements
Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation


The Leiden Institute for Religious Studies represents a wide range of teaching and
research interests. The Institute comprises two branches of study:

  • The study of the history of Christianity and Islam from a theological and philological
    approach, and
  • the study of religious phenomena in general from a comparative social-scientific and
    philosophical approach.
    This expertise has been combined in the Master Programme in Religious Studies that
    spans two semesters. Students can choose a Master programme in one of seven fields of
    specialization: the Master Tracks.

The master’s diploma in Religious Studies of the Leiden Institute of Religious Studies
provides access to the Dutch-language ecclesiastical programme of the Remonstrant
Brotherhood and the Dutch-language training for minister at the Protestant Theological
University, provided the candidate also holds a bachelor’s diploma in theology from
Leiden. If the latter is not the case, and if the candidate has decided to follow one of the
ecclesiastical training programmes after the master’s programme, it is then advisable to
obtain information from the study coordinator of the ecclesiastical programme as soon
as possible.
Protestantse Theologische Universiteit: N.A.A. Grooters.
E-mail:, telefoon: 088 337 17 04.
Remonstrantse Broederschap: Drs. M. Tolsma.
E-mail:, telefoon: 071-527 25 91 (on Thursday)

Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (NOSTER)

The Netherlands School for Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion (NOSTER)
offers several courses on Research Master level. These courses are open for students of
accredited Research Masters and for PhD students. Participation in one of the courses
is possible after consultation of the supervising teacher. All courses have a scope of 5
Ects and can be extended to 6 Ects. A course certificate will be supplied, which can be
transformed into credits at the own institution. For more information, please contact dr.
Charlotte van der Leest (
For the academic year 2011-2012, NOSTER announces the following course modules:

to be announced

For detailed course-information and general information on admission and costs, please
consult the NOSTER-website: For specific questions and wishes
with respect to courses that could be offered, please contact the curriculum coordinator,
dr. Ch. van der Leest, via

Entry requirements

Students who have a BA in Theology or World Religions from Leiden University do
not have to apply for admission to the MA in Religious Studies, and will automatically
receive a registration form in June. Students are requested to return the registration form
before August 1, but no later than September 1.

  • BA in Theology or World Religions from Leiden University or equivalent BA degree
    (Religiestudies, Godsdienstwetenschap) from a recognised university.
  • BA degree degree from another relevant discipline (Arts, Social Sciences of History) on
    the condition that they are able to show their knowledge of the field of specialisation is
    sufficient. In some cases knowledge of the original language of a religion is required.
  • Proficiency in English. Non-native English speakers must provide proof of English
    proficiency with the following scores: IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 570/230. Dutch students
    with VWO level English are exempt from this requirement.
  • Students are also expected to meet the admission criteria specific to their chosen
    specialisation. These can be found at the programme descriptions of the specialisations.



The programme has seven tracks:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam in the Contemporary West
  • Religion, Culture and Society

All of these tracks contain a number of compulsory elements, including one ‘required
general course.’

The master programmes of the Leiden Institute of Religious Studies have a required
general course, in which topics from the domain of Religious Studies, as well as several
issues pertaining to an academic attitude are discussed. This course, which makes use
of various methods of instruction, continues through two semesters. It aims at training
students in academic skills, so that they are able to conduct research; report about it,
both in writing and speech, in a professionally acceptable and morally responsible
way; and discuss it in a multidisciplinary context. In bi-weekly classroom meetings
per semester, all students come together to hear and discuss topics from the domain of
Religious Studies, approached from interdisciplinary perspectives. There are different
themes for each semester.

The programme consists of the following elements:
20 ects core programme, i.e. three courses of the chosen track (3 × 5 ects) and one
required general course (5 ects);
20 ects additional studies/electives
20 ects master thesis

Master’s thesis and requirements for graduation

All students write a master’s thesis of 20 ects. This thesis amounts to min. 18.000 – max. 20.000 words.
The master’s thesis is written in English, unless the supervisor approves of the use of
another language (which may include Dutch). In all languages, correct use of grammar
and style is expected from the student. Also see: