Taught course (will run subject to approval)

Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism

University of Groningen · University of Groningen

Entry requirements

Required previous education: Bachelor degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature. Students with another bachelor degree can be permitted via a bridging programme. Language requirements: TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part) (not for native speakers). A letter of motivation to the admissions committee explaining the choice for this study programme (max. 1 page) is required, just like an overview of your bachelor programme, a Curriculum Vitae and a writing sample of an academic paper in OAS (Online Application System).

Months of entry


Course content

Are you interested in the history of 'alternative Christianities'? Ever wondered how occultism and magic shaped modern science and psychology? Or whether New Age is indeed new?

Knowledge of the mystical and esoteric currents in the history of religion in Europe, as well as the impact of Hermetic and Gnostic spirituality, is important for a better understanding of European religious and cultural identities.

This Master's degree programme is unique due to its multidisciplinary nature. It combines philological, religious-comparative and cultural-historical approaches. In addition, we offer the first diachronic overview of esotericism from the very beginnings of our Western Culture in ancient Greece to its latest manifestations in modern multicultural society.

After a solid introduction to ancient philosophical esotericism, and to Hermetic and Gnostic lore, you will:

  • learn about mystical traditions and the influence of Kabbalistic esotericism in Western culture from Late Antiquity down to the present day
  • be able to analyse and understand ancient and modern esoteric discourses
  • study the processes of exchange between East and West that have shaped contemporary religious landscapes
  • uncover underlying connections between ancient and modern religiosity and ponder the persistence or rebirth of religious conceptions and rituals.

The MA programme in Concealed Knowledge consists of three thematic course units (30 ECTS) and a thesis (20 ECTS). 10 ECTS are reserved for a practical placement.

Information for international students

The courses are taught in English. Immediately after arrival, international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. For more information, see: www.rug.nl/ggw/education/prosstud/ or contact our International Office: thrs.prospectives@rug.nl

Fees and funding

UK students
€ 1984
International students
€ 1984 (EU/EEA) or € 11,200 (non-EU/EEA)

Check our grantfinder for funding: http://www.rug.nl/education/international-students/financial-matters/grant-finder

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written/ formal examinations15
Written coursework / continuous assessment15
Professional practice10

Course contact details

Kees van den Ende
+31 50 363 9382