M.Phil. Religious Roots of Europe

University of Oslo | Oslo, Norway
This joint and international programme explores the traditions, formative processes and mutual interactions of the three most influential religions of European culture and history: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The programme is a cooperation between the six Nordic universities of Aarhus, Bergen, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lund and Oslo, and is based on online teaching, as well as seminars both at the host institutions and Nordic institues in the Mediterranean area.

Description of Religious Roots of Europe


These three religions have traditionally been studied more or less separately. The aspiration of the programme is to study the three religions together in their formative period from a comparative per­spective and using a variety of approaches, which include historical, philological, social scien­tific, feminist and literary ones.

Doctrines, rituals, canonical texts, myths, religious institutions - phenomena central to each of the three religions - are studied along with their relationship to society, politics, law, gender issues, and ethics. Specific topics may include ideas of martyrdom, the justification or con­demnation of war, asceticism, religious authorities, the position of women, different strategies for interpreting authoritative religious texts and many more.

The programme offers more than themes of merely historical relevance. It will also enhance the students' general understanding of contemporary Nordic, European and Western identities, since the three religions in interaction with one another have had and continue to have a profound influence on the development of European culture and society.

Special competence in Oslo

Among the fields of special competence at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oslo must be mentioned Biblical Studies, Early Christian social and political history, Gender Studies and Ritual Studies. From the fall of 2011 the Faculty will offer courses of Islamic Studies.

An international programme

The Religious Roots of Europe (RRE) is a joint master's degree programme offered by the Faculty of Theology, the University of Oslo, in cooperation with the following five Nordic Universities:

  • The Centre for Theology and Religious Studies, Lund University
  • The Faculty of Theology, University of Aarhus
  • The Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen
  • The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Bergen
  • The Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki

Each of the hosting institutions are responsible for courses within their special competence. Compact seminars are held at host institutions.

Detailed Course Facts

Application deadline March
Tuition fee
  • Free (Non-EEA)
  • Free (EEA)
Start date August  2016
Credits (ECTS) 120 ECTS
Duration full-time 24 months
Delivery mode On Campus
Educational variant Full-time

Course Content

The Religious Roots of Europe (RRE) is a two-year programme of 120 ECTS credits. A student will normally do four terms of full-time studies.

The individual student admitted to the programme at The University of Oslo must complete studies equalling at least 60 ECTS credits, including the masterís thesis, at The University of Oslo.

Teaching and courses

Teaching combines distance learning, compact seminars, course assignments, tutorials and traditional teaching at the individual host institutions. The courses will require the students to submit tutorials and hold verbal presentations.

The modules of every single term must be examined before the student can be examined for the modules of the next. There is a steady progression culminating in the fourth term with the masterís thesis. It follows that the masterís thesis should be assessed as the final module in the Programme.

As part of the Programme there will be two to three compact seminars in the first term, two in the second, and two in the third. The seminars will be held at the host institutions. Travel and accommodation are financed by the students.

Requirements for Religious Roots of Europe

Admission to master's degree studies requires:

  • Higher Education Entrance Qualification and a completed bachelor's degree comparable to a Norwegian bachelor's degree. Applicants with foreign education, please refer to the country list.
  • a specialization defined by the programme
  • a minimum grade average of C (in the Norwegian grading scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree.
  • a language requirement documented by one of the tests/exams below:
    a) Passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) in Norwegian upper secondary school with a minimum grade of 4 (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or alternatively passed examination in English from second and/or third school year, orb) An internationally recognised English language proficiency test.
Required specialization

Applicants should have a bachelorsdegree with a specializacion within or equivilent to:

  • theology
  • religious studies
  • classical philology
  • Semitic languages
  • classical archaeology
  • ancient history

Applicants also need documented proficiency in at least one of the following "classical" languages (i.e. 20 ECTS in one, or 10 ECTS in two of the languages):

  • Hebrew
  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Arabic

In addition each applicant should submit a CV and a Letter of Motivation.

Work Experience for Religious Roots of Europe

No work experience is required.

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University of Oslo, Norway

Norway The University of Oslo is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 as The Royal Frederick University and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin. It was originally named after King Frederick of Denmark and Norway and received its current name in 1939.

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