History: Religion and Society

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

M.Sc. On Campus
12 months
16630 EUR/year
2168 EUR/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The MA History programme Religion and Society from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam focusses on understanding the changing role of religion(s) in society from Antiquity up until the present. 


The MA History programme Religion and Society focusses on understanding the changing role of religion(s) in society from Antiquity up until the present. Courses deal with questions such as: what is the relationship between religion, politics and society since Antiquity? How can we understand the gradual separation of Church and State and new forms of worship, dissent and devotion since the western Middle Ages? And what has been the impact of broader processes such as secularisation, globalisation and colonialism?

Long-standing tradition of expertise 

The History department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a strong tradition in teaching and analysing the role of religion throughout history. 

Religion is studied in its societal and political contexts and from a long-term perspective, which makes our programme unique. Students are trained in the latest interdisciplinary approaches to study religion, including history, cultural anthropology, archaeology, philology and digital humanities. They can improve their knowledge, network and skills by participating in activities of research institutes such as the Amsterdam Centre for Religious History and CLUE+. 

The programme has great societal relevance as topics such as clashes between religion and secularism, the entangled relations between politics and religion and the future of religious heritage are discussed.

The programme is taught by staff from the Chair of Religious History (prof. dr. Fred van Lieburg) and the Chair of Ancient History (prof. dr. Bas ter Haar Romeny).

A programme that trains you to become a professional 

This programme is a specialisation within the Master’s degree programme in History, which trains students to become professional historians with specialised knowledge and transferable skills such as writing, presenting and analytical skills. Students, personally mentored by a member of the academic staff throughout their studies, take several core courses and choose specialised tutorials or opt for an internship.

A combination of core courses and specialisations 

The master’s degree course in history at the Vrije Universiteit has a unique character due to the combination of a broad common curriculum and specialisations. All students follow an introductory core subject, two research subjects and the subjects ‘History and Theory’ and ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’. 

The subjects of the broad master’s course offer a basis from which you can specialise. The introductory course and the course ‘History and Theory’, given in the same period, ensure a common basis from which to progress, regardless of your disciplinary background. ‘Key works in Contemporary Historical Thought’ helps you to develop your specialisation. In the research courses you examine a specific historical problem in depth and develop your research skills. It is also possible to do an internship.

You become acquainted with new methods of the e-Humanities and are brought regularly into contact with the working practices of historians. You are free to choose the subject of your master’s thesis from the field of your specialisation.

Career Prospects

Master of Arts 

  • A master’s title in History make you an attractive employment prospect because you have broad-based knowledge and have developed an analytical way of reading and writing. Among other areas you could work for government institutions, business or international institutions. Many historians do not enter the business world but go into politics or journalism. In addition, after a further specialised year of master’s courses, you could find a position in teaching or research. 


  • With a master’s title in History you can embark on PhD research at a university or research institute. If you aim at an academic career you could also consider following the two-year research master’s degree course in History. This master’s degree course trains you specifically as a (university) researcher.

Promotion alumni sessions Master’s day

During the Master’s day, you can also meet our (international) alumni during several workshops. In these sessions they will tell you more about career opportunities after finishing your Master’s degree.

Programme Structure

Courses included:

  • Internship Master History
  • Master Thesis Colloquium History
  • Master Thesis History
  • Tutorial Master History
  • From Source to Public: The Historian's Flowchart through Imperial Eyes
  • Key Works in Contemporary Historical Thought
  • Selected Issues: European Politics and Policymaking
  • Selected Issues: Global Environmental Governance
  • Selected Issues: International Security

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 12 months

Start dates & application deadlines

More details
  • EU/EEA or Dutch students: 1 June
  • Non-EU/EEA students who do not need a study visa and/or a residence permit: 1 June
  • Students who need a study visa and/or a residence permit: 1 April.




On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

English requirements

TOEFL admission requirements TOEFL® IBT The TOEFL iBT® is given online through the internet at designated testing site. The test measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The score refers to the total score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading), each subject has a range of 0 - 30.
IELTS admission requirements IELTS The International English Language Test System (IELTS) tests your English-language proficiency on a scale of 1 – 9. The score refers to the combined average score of 4 subjects (writing, listening, speaking, and reading).
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Other requirements

General requirements

  • Admission is based on a strict selection procedure. The Faculty’s Admission Board will decide upon your admission after having evaluated your complete online application. 
  • In order to gain admission to one of our Master’s programmes, you will need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited research university including at least three full years of academic study amounting to a minimum of 180 ECTS or equivalent. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    16630 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 16630 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.
  • EU/EEA

    2168 EUR/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 2168 EUR per year and a duration of 12 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Due for update

Updated over a year ago

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

Our partners

History: Religion and Society
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam


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