Research course

Biblical Exegesis (specialisation)

Radboud University · Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies
MA by research

Entry requirements

A completed Bachelor's degree in Theology or related area

A proficiency in English

In order to take part in this programme, you need to have fluency in both written and spoken English. Non-native speakers of English* without a Dutch Bachelor's degree or VWO diploma need one of the following:

  • A TOEFL score of ≥550 (paper based) or ≥80 (internet based)
  • An IELTS score of ≥6.0
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with a mark of C or higher

A proficiency in Hebrew and Greek

In order to take part in the 'Biblical Exegesis' specialization, you need to have a basic knowledge Hebrew and Greek. Students need to be able to show, in the form of successfully completed electives or degrees that they have the required proficiency. In order to take part in the other specializations (Practical Theology, History of Church and Theology, Systematic Theology), knowledge of Hebrew and Greek is not required.

* Applicants are considered to be a native speaker of English if they are from Australia, Canada (with exception of Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UK, USA or South Africa.

Months of entry

February, September

Course content

Words, texts and meaning: Investigating the Old Testament and the New Testament in their historical contexts.

How do you determine the meaning of biblical texts? By following Radboud University’s Master’s specialisation in Biblical Exegesis you will be well-equipped with analytical instruments to discern the crucial decision points in giving meaning to a text. Core concepts in biblical texts are explored in connection to their cultural and historical context.

Students will also investigate and discuss the relation between biblical texts and ethics. How do the texts aim to change the behaviour of their readers? These texts lie at the heart of many modern cultural and religious views and form crucial points of reference for theological reflection that provide direction in contemporary society and church.

Students are expected to read the Old Testament and the New Testament in their original languages and will be taught to understand these books in the original context in which they were written. They will be handed the necessary tools to study the biblical texts, focussing on such aspects as grammar, sentence structure, literary devices and plot construction. And since these texts function in distinct cognitive environments, students will get acquainted with various ancient Near Eastern and ancient Eastern Mediterranean frameworks of experiencing and thinking.

Although heavily focussed on the Old and New Testament, students will learn skills that can be used to analyse any kind of text. This programme can therefore be compared to other academic literary subjects in that students are taught the general skills of literary criticisms as well as contextualisation. Important to note is the academic approach; students will be able to critically and thoroughly analyse texts. Graduates of Literary Theology will be able to provide explanations and give meaning to the foundational texts of Judaism and Christianity, whether they do that in their role as researcher, spiritual caregiver, pastoral care worker, journalist, policy maker, or educator.

Why study Biblical Exegesis at Radboud University?

  • This Master’s specialisation offers a beautiful mix of literary criticism and theological reflection.
  • A distinctive characteristic of Biblical Exegesis at Radboud University is the unique combination of cognitive linguistics with literary criticism.
  • Attention is equally given to both the Old and the New Testament and the relationship between their language, cultural framework and historical context.
  • Thanks to electives, students have plenty of room to choose a direction that meets their professional and academic interests. Taking a few seminars from the other theology disciplines of choice (Church History, Literary Theology or Practical Theology) is mandatory to broaden students general knowledge on Theology.
  • The third year is aimed at training students for a specific profession. Students can choose research (English), education (Dutch), religion and policy (Dutch) or spiritual care (Dutch).
  • Teaching takes place in a stimulating, collegial setting with small groups, allowing for ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
  • Radboud University and its Theology department are Roman Catholic in origin, but its Master’s programme in Theology is open to all students. Our students have very diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.

Change perspective

Students of the Master’s specialisation in Biblical Exegesis are taught critical engagement with the Bible. Engagement because students are invited to involve themselves in these texts and in their academic examination. Critical because the analyses will often open up their minds to the fact that Jewish and Christian traditions of interpretations have developed over time, sometimes in ways that distance themselves from the biblical texts’ meanings in their original contexts. Students will get an in-depth understanding of Christian traditions and values and will be encouraged to analyse them thoroughly. They will come to understand that things came to be as they are due to choices made in the past. Students will see that both Bible and tradition have been and will be formative for our present engagements.

*This is an specialisation of the Master's in Theology

To apply for this course, please contact us by e-mail.

Fees and funding

UK students
€ 2,083 p/a
International students
€2,083 p/a for all students

There are various scholarships available for studying at Radboud University. Some of the opportunities are described below. A full list, including detailed information, can be found on our scholarships and grants page at our website.

Radboud Scholarship Programme

Open to a select number of excellent international students. Instead of the institutional tuition fees, non-EEA students pay the legal tuition fees (€2,083 in 2019/2020). Visa and residence permit costs, liability insurance and health insurance are also covered.

Orange Tulip Scholarship

Open to students from Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Indonesia, South-Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. Instead of the institutional tuition fees, non-EEA students pay the legal tuition fees (€2,083 in 2019/2020). Visa and residence permit costs, liability insurance and health insurance are also covered.

Fulbright-Radboud Scholarships

Open to excellent American students. The grant will be paid in 12 monthly instalments of 1,050 euros. International travel and the cost of the residence permit will be covered, and an extra allowance of €1150 will be paid on arrival.

Sino-Dutch Bilateral Exchange Scholarship

Open to excellent students from China. Consists of a contribution of € 16,113 towards the total costs of one year of study or research in the Netherlands.

DIKTI-Neso Scholarships

Aimed at lecturers at higher education institutions in Indonesia who wish to pursue a PhD or Master's at a university in the Netherlands. A DIKTI scholarship includes allowances for living expenses, insurance, travel costs, tuition fees and more.

Indonesian Education Scholarship (LPDP)

Open to excellent Indonesian students under the age of 35. Involves a full scholarship.

Holland Scholarship Programme

Open to excellent students from Canada, America, India and Turkey. Scholarship consists of 5,000 euros payed at the start of study.

Dutch Student Finance

EU/EEA students and Swiss students under 30 years of age are eligible if they are working at least 56 hours per month in the Netherlands, or have been living in the Netherlands for five years or more. Dutch student finance consists of four components: a basic grant, a supplementary grant (depending on the parental income), a student travel product, and a loan.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA by research
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Study Information