The goal of this Master's programme is to expand and deepen students' initial education in Theology and Religious Studies, whether obtained at KU Leuven or elsewhere. It prepares students to engage in independent research in the various domains of Theology and Religious Studies and equips them to function as experts in Church and society.
The curriculum has a twofold focus. On the one hand, students are given the opportunity to specialise and write a Master's thesis in one of the faculty's six research disciplines or majors: biblical studies, systematic theology, theological ethics, history of Church and theology, pastoral theology, and religious studies. On the other hand, the curriculum continues to offer a general orientation towards the interdisciplinary academic investigation of the Christian faith tradition in a multi-cultural and multi-religious social context.
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
Degrees in Theology and Religious Studies prepare students for a variety of careers, including secondary and higher education, publishing, the media, academic research and the various domains of pastoral care. Graduates who wish to engage in further specialisation, can continue their study career in the programme of the Master of Arts in Advanced Studies in Theology and Religion.
The Theology and Religious Studies curriculum is aimed at the interdisciplinary and scientific study of the Catholic faith tradition in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society and world.
The full curriculum (comprising a Bachelor, a Master and an Advanced Master programme) aims at promoting academic excellence leading up to an increasing personal academic contribution and to a growing commitment with regard to theology and religion in society. Academic formation intended to prepare men and women to judge and act maturely in matters related to theology and religious studies ought not only to pass on the broad lines of the tradition of research in these domains, but also to develop the capacity to analyse closely the context in which theology and religion are set, and to focus in depth on developments in the various fields of study that contribute thereto.
It is for this reason that the teaching programmes offered by the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies endeavour to make a contribution to the overall formation and development of the students and to prepare them to engage in independent theological and interdisciplinary reflection on the Catholic faith tradition. At the same time, the programmes also intend to stimulate interest in the mutual relationships between the various Christian churches and between Christianity and the other world religions.
The Master's in Theology and Religious Studies is aimed at the further elaboration of the formation acquired in the Bachelor's Programme with a view to (a) preparing students for increasingly independent research in the domains of theology and religious studies and (b) equipping students to participate as responsible experts in both church and society. The study curriculum thus comprises of a double focus: on the one hand students are given the opportunity to specialise in one of the six research disciplines available in the faculty while on the other the curriculum continues to offer a more general, interdisciplinary academic formation whereby students are enabled to study the Catholic faith tradition as a whole in the context of a multicultural and multi-religious society.
The faculty's programmes in English place additional emphasis on the international character of theological research and on the international context of religion and theology. Students are consciously encouraged to familiarise themselves with the diverse cultural backgrounds of their fellow students thus facilitating and augmenting their theological endeavours at a variety of levels. Research and engagement thereby acquire an international dimension.
Final attainment levels with respect to the Programme of Master of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies as a whole:
1. a profound understanding of the contents and methods of Theology and Religious Studies.
2. thorough acquaintance with and practice of the contents and methods of one of the subdisciplines (majors).
3. the ability to identify and distinguish religious problems in their multifacetedness (sources of a particular religion, ethical questions, etc).
4. insight into the relationship between the study of problems addressed in religious sciences and the actual social context, which is marked by an ever growing globalization and a plurality with respect to religion, world-views and ethics.
5. the ability to recognize and formulate new questions relating to the meaning of human existence, theological problems and religious challenges.
6. the capacity to critically read and put to use scientific and other forms of literature pertaining to Theology and Religious Studies.
7. the aptitude to grasp and assimilate the subject matter in an independent fashion and to propose creative solutions for problems raised by theology and religious studies with respect to the plurality of approaches found in international theological and religious literature.
8. the ability to clearly explicate and interpret problems, concepts and insights in an educational or pastoral setting whilst having a sense for the social and global context within which they are situated.
9. the ability to write an academic and formally correct (i.e., according to accepted academic s tandards) article on a topic related to Theology or Religious Studies.
10. an adeptness to put to use the theoretical insights.
The Faculty of Theology of the KU Leuven has an Admissions Committee especially devoted to its theology programmes in English. All applications for the Master's Programme are screened by this Admission Committee which meets on a regular basis.
Admission decisions are based upon evaluation of a complete application file:
After an Abridged Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies (120 credits):
TOEFL (Computer-based test 213 pt., Internet-based test 79 -80 pt., Paper-based test 550 pt.) or IELTS (6.5 - 7 pt.)
No work experience is required.
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The University of Leuven is a modern university, located within the vibrant city of Leuven in the centre of Belgium and close to Brussels, the centre of Europe.