Taught course (will run subject to approval)

Religion and the Public Domain

University of Groningen · University of Groningen

Entry requirements

Required level of education: Bachelor degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Sciences (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

Is the West really as secular as we think? Equip yourself to understand how the world we live in is shaped by religion through our unique programme, combining cultural history, politics & philosophy.

Although often described as secular, Europe is in fact more religious than we think. Western culture, politics, art, literature, and law have been fundamentally shaped by Christian ideas and practices. Learning to detect the role of religion in Western history and society will provide you with unique skills for a thorough understanding of contemporary cultural, social and political phenomena.

Religion, in particular Christianity, has set a deep mark on Western culture – in land- and cityscape, in art and architecture, and in literary traditions. Christian concepts continue to be strongly manifest in the history of ideas. Domains including human rights, liberty and democracy, and social policies have all been stimulated and shaped by Christianity. Even the very concept of the secular stems from Christian theology. The analysis of us living in a secular world is thus too unsophisticated to do justice to the relevance of the 'religious factor' in our culture.

This programme focuses on such diverse topics as texts, practices, objects and places. You will acquire the essential skills to analyze and asses the fundamental role of religion in Western culture in history and today.


The programme consists of four course units (30 EC), a placement (10 EC) and a thesis (20 EC including a thesis training course unit) in which key concepts and the strategy of thesis writing are taught.


  • Christian Cultural Heritage
  • The Invention of the Secular
  • Theorizing Religion in the Public Domain

Information for international students

Immediately after arrival, international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. For more information, see: http://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 the University of Groningen grantfinder

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