Graduate Degree Programs
The Leiden Institute of Religious Studies (LIRS) offers a wide range of Master and Research Master programs. As part of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Humanities, the Institute also provides several Ph.D. programs. Our graduate programs aim to provide comprehensive training in a variety of disciplines in the vast field of religious studies, both ancient and modern. Each candidate has the opportunity to individually plan her or his study program in consultation with teaching staff and academic advisors, making the best use of the unique research resources Leiden University has to offer. Graduate degrees from LIRS open the door to a broad range of professions in scholarship, education, arts and culture, public service, journalism, the media as well as ordained or lay ministry.
LIRS is located in the center of picturesque Leiden (LINK), and combines outstanding resources with the atmosphere of the oldest university in the Netherlands.
Language of instruction for both the MA and the Ph.D. programmes is English.
LIRS offers two MA programmes: Master of Arts in Religious Studies and Master of Arts in Islamic Theology.
Master of Arts in Religious Studies
The one-year MA program in Religious Studies comprises seven tracks, each with its particular focus and methods and with many opportunities for cross-disciplinary research.
- Biblical Studies
- Christianity in the Middle East
- Comparative Religion
- Enlightenment and Modernism in Christianity and Judaism
- Islam in Western Europe
- Religion, Science and Ethics: Philosophical Approaches
- Religion in Contemporary Society
Master of Arts in Islamic Theology
The one-year MA programme in Islamic Theology focuses on contemporary Islam in a European context and is based on a thorough knowledge of sources, studied from a literary and historical perspective. In addition, different trends and groups in contemporary Islam are examined from a sociological perspective. The MA-program in Islamic Theology greatly benefits from interdisciplinary cooperation with Institutes in the Faculties of Social Sciences, Law and Humanities (here especially the Institute of Area Studies).
Prospective Student Website
The highest degree awarded in public universities in the Netherlands is that of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD from Leiden University is recognized as one of the most prestigious academic degrees worldwide. Earning a Ph.D. at Leiden University takes four years of full-time work, but part-time arrangements are also possible.
The Leiden Institute of Religious Studies organizes its PhD program through the Graduate School of the Faculty of Humanities.
There are various options to apply for grants and subsidies for Ph.D. students from the Netherlands, citizens of EU or associated countries or non-EU nationals.
Many Institutes also offer paid PhD positions through a competitive application process (the Humanities website should record openings from throughout all institutes).
Students with a BA in Theology or comparative degrees can also enrol in a two-year MA program to prepare them for ministry in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) or the Remonstrantse Broederschap. These programs are taught in Dutch. For more information about content and admission procedures consult the WEBSITE PThU / REMSEM (in Dutch).