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Discover the changing role of religions up until today

Studying religion from an interdisciplinary approach

History: Religion and Society focusses on the role of religion in Europe and beyond, including the Mediterranean World and the Middle East. You will develop a thorough understanding of the relationship between religion, society and politics from Antiquity until the ‘War on Terror’. You will cover dominant and minority religions, ranging from Judaism and Christianity to Islam and Eastern religions. You will also study the history of the Reformations and Protestantism in Europe and the Netherlands and will be introduced to relevant collections, including important ones at VU Amsterdam. Your discussions will link to topics that are socially relevant today, such as clashes between religion and secularism, the entangled relations between politics and religion, and the future of religious heritage.

Learn from the experts

The History department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has a strong tradition in teaching and analysing the role of religion throughout history. The programme is taught by staff from the Chair of Religious History (Prof. Fred van Lieburg) and the Chair of Ancient History (Prof. Bas ter Haar Romeny). You will learn about the latest methods and research from our experts in the field.

You will also have the opportunity to improve your knowledge, network and skills by participating in activities of VU research institutes such as HDC Amsterdam Centre for Religious.

The start date of this programme is September 1st.

Study Programme

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. In addition, you will take specialised courses, such as From Constantine to Mohammed: Religion and Society in Late Antquity (6EC). Next, you choose from one of the many specialisation tutorials (6EC) on offer. Tutorials offer a great opportunity for students to discuss historical topics in a small scale, open and personalised setting. The tutor is an expert and will provide students with feedback on prepared short assignments. Specialisation tutorials on offer that are part of the programme Religion and Society cover topics such as The History of Antisemitism; Dutch NeoCalvinism; Religion and Diversity

Furthermore, you will have the option to choose an internship, an extra tutorial of your choice or an elective (6EC).

Finally, you will finish your specialisation programme with a master’s thesis on a topic of your choice within the field of the history of Religion and Society.  

Find an overview of the courses below. Or view all the courses in our Study Guide.


  • Internship Master History
  • Master Thesis Colloquium History
  • Master Thesis History
  • Tutorial Master History
  • From Source to Public: The Historian's Flowchart
  • Key Works in Contemporary Historical Thought
  • Religion and Society: Another Enlightenment: Religion, Renewal and Modernity 1500-2000
  • History and Theory
  • Slavery, Abolition and Compensation in the Dutch Colonies in the West and in the East
  • Knowing by Sensing
  • Specialisation Tutorial Master History

You will find the study programme in our studyguide.

Huig de Koning

Huig de Koning

"I chose this programme because it is wide-ranging. You have the possibility to acquire general skills that are necessary for your profession as a historian. Additionally, you take courses where you can deepen yourself into topics that you find most interesting. I appreciate this programme because you get individual assistance. For example there is a teacher-mentor assigned to you, to give you proper guidance to become a professional historian."

Change your future! Take the Master’s in History: Religion and Society

Change your future! Take the Master’s in History: Religion and Society

On completing this master’s programme in History: Religion and Society you can start searching for a job. Our alumni have found jobs in a great variety of sectors: from private companies, to NGO’s and media. You can also opt for extra courses to become a teacher or continue with a research master programme.

Explore your future prospects
St Pauls cathedral reflected in the glass of the New Change shopping centre

Want to know more?

For questions about the Master's Programme:

Contact the coordinator dr. Erika Kuijpers via