Religious Studies is a challenging, research-oriented Master's programme that prepares you for participation in international research and for a career in domains where religious diversity and difference are significant factors - in culture, art, and politics. Together, we use religious studies to think about hard questions fueling the fire of public debates. What should museums do with religious objects collected in the colonial past? How and what should children learn about religions in schools? What are the limits of religious tolerance? How do we create a society that is more welcoming to the stories of Others? 

Icon of International students
30 EC
research internship or study abroad option
during 2nd year of the RMA programme

Key research areas

The programme combines an advanced grounding in the central themes and theories of the study of religion, with ample opportunity for specialisation. You can choose and develop your specific expertise in relation to one of the key research areas of our institute such as:

  • Materiality of lived religion: This research area focuses on the use of the human body and objects in religious practices. Topics include practices such as praying, dancing, fighting, and fasting, and the function of objects within the context of religion, such as images, buildings, food, clothing, money, weapons, and digital media. 
  • Religious diversity in contexts of globalisation and migration: This research area focuses on the role of religion in public controversies and political developments. Topics include debates about religion in relation to diverse societies, calls for gender equality, or the study of conflicts
  • Religious texts and practices: This research area focuses on the study of religious traditions from the perspective of authoritative texts and religious practices associated with them. Topics include hermeneutics, rituals, and the diverse uses of texts.

Partner programme

In this research Master’s programme, we collaborate closely with our partner programme at the University of Amsterdam. You will take core courses at both universities, and through electives and specialised tutorials you will have the opportunity to choose and develop your specific expertise. 

Study programme


Religious Studies is a selective research Master’s programme. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master? 

Check the entry requirements

Why this programme in Utrecht?

Our students share their experiences with the RMA programme

Active involvement in research

As a student of this programme, you will become part of an international community of students, PhD researchers, postdocs, and senior scholars working together at a leading research institute. You will attend small-scale seminars and learn from renowned scholars, who will actively involve you in their own research.

Meet our teaching staff

Multidisciplinary programme with emphasis on methodology

This programme has a strong emphasis on transnational approaches and the multidisciplinary use of methodology - you will learn to work with theories and methods from Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Media Studies.

Integrating different approaches

The Religious Studies programme focuses on Christianity and Islam, but also addresses Jewish and Buddhist traditions, local traditions (e.g. in Africa), and hybrid religious phenomena in contexts of diversity and in popular culture. 

Uitreiking scriptieprijs aan Veerle Dijkstra. Foto: Vanessa Los-Van Oostrum
Veerle Dijkstra receives the prize for the best research master’s thesis. Photo: Vanessa Los-Van Oostrum

Thesis awards

Students who pursue a degree in Religious Studies are intrinsically motivated and this shows in their study results. Our graduates are regularly awarded prizes for writing excellent theses. 

Read more about Thesis Awards

After graduation

After successful completion of the programme, you are fully equipped for PhD research in Religious Studies and related disciplines such as Anthropology, Media Studies, Islamic Studies, Gender Studies, and History. Your training also equips you to pursue non-academic career paths requiring advanced research skills.

Career Prospects

The concern for social relevance strengthens our sense of social responsibility and makes us aware of the many modern contexts in which religion has not disappeared but rather transformed and continues to impact lives.

Key facts

Arts & Culture (research)
Language of instruction: 
Mode of study: 
Study duration: 
2 years
Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2024-2025: € 2,530

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2024-2025: € 20,043

More information about fees
Croho code: 
Graduate school: 
School of Humanities