How do religions come into being? How do they affect people and societies? What role does religion play in various cultures and conflicts?

Most cultures are profoundly shaped by religious phenomena. Of the seven billion people on Earth, six billion call themselves religious. Religion does not occur in isolation; it connects with people's daily behavior, economically, politically, socially, and psychologically. Wherever there are people, there is religion, always and everywhere. Religion is one of the forces driving humankind, which is why knowledge of religion is so important. The central question you will learn to ask yourself is not to what extent religions are 'true', but how religion affects people's lives and what people do with it. The interaction between religion, culture, and society is the main focus of this bachelor's programme.

In this Bachelor's programme, you will:

› deepen your knowledge of various aspects of the major religions in the world (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Judaism);
› use different perspectives to analyze religious expressions – texts, rituals and visual art – and place them in their cultural context;
› gain knowledge on concepts underpinning and shaping the relationship between religion and politics from ancient times through to the present day.


1st year

In the first year, you will study the great world religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism). You will consider the historical origin of these religions and their modern-day manifestations. You will be introduced to various approaches to the study of religion, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, and philosophy. You will address questions such as: What is a religious experience? What are the claims to truth made by religions?

2nd year

In the second year you will learn to use different perspectives to analyze religious expressions – texts, rituals and visual art – and place them in their cultural context. In addition, you will follow lectures on the social impact of religion. What influence does religion have on a secular society? What media do religious groups use to promote their image? Is the role of religion in politics different in the West than in the East? What is the position of women in a migrant community?

3rd year

In the third year, you can follow course units from other degree programmes, study for six months abroad, or follow a placement. You will also conduct research within your chosen specialization, for example among immigrants: Do they experience their religion differently in their new homeland? You will report on your research in your Bachelor's thesis

Programme options

University of Groningen Honours College (honors program)

The Honours College gives talented, motivated students the opportunity to challenge themselves even more.

The main aim of the Honours programme is to develop talent and initiative. In the Bachelor's Honours Programme, the emphasis is therefore on greater depth and breadth.

Job prospects

If you complete a follow-on Master's degree after your Bachelor's degree, you increase your chances on the job market. If you choose a Master's programme at our Faculty, you will do a placement at an organization, institute or company that is involved in religion and culture. Most of our graduates end up in one of six clear job profiles after gaining a Master's degree:

  • Care
  • Policy & Management
  • Education
  • Academia
  • Church
  • Media

In addition, a significant number of our graduates are self-employed in one of these sectors. Below you will find a list of the jobs held by our alumni.

  • Care: spiritual carer at a care institution, independent therapist.
  • Policy & Management: policy officer/advisor with a government institution, cultural institution or political party, staff member/advisor for an aid organization, embassy staff, security advisor to the military, etc.
  • Education: religious studies teacher, education officer
  • Academia: researcher at a university or research institute.
  • Media: journalist, editor.

Program taught in:
  • English

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Last updated October 11, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
3 years
2,085 EUR
EU/EEA students. € 8200 non-EU/EEA students.
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