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Turning your most deeply held beliefs into academic research

Theology and Religious Studies: Research

Are you interested in religion?

Then the masters in Theology & Religious Studies: Research is the programme for you!

Academic year 2021-2022
VU Amsterdam expects all students to be able to attend classes on campus again as of September 2021. We look forward to meeting you on campus. Should the current events concerning Covid-19 in the Netherlands give rise to changes in (online) education, we will report it on the website.

Check whether you meet the programme requirements and apply

  • Coronavirus: additional information admission

    Generally speaking, students* must complete their Bachelor’s or pre-Master’s before starting on their Master’s programme. This is known as the ‘Ba-before-Ma rule’. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, some students have had to partially stop their studies, resulting in an unfortunate delay.

    Under certain conditions exceptions to this Ba-before-Ma rule can be made for Master’s programmes at VU Amsterdam. This means that students who meet these conditions and are lacking credits for no more than a few courses, will still be able to start their Master’s at VU Amsterdam next year. The missing credits must be completed during the 2021-2022 academic year, in other words no later than August 31st 2022. Please read carefully below which rules apply for admission into this Master’s programme.

    The following rules apply this year for admission into this Master’s programme:

    • You have earned at least 162 EC of the WO Bachelor’s programme that confers entitlement to admission. You must have completed your bachelor thesis or other final work in order to qualify for this scheme.
    • You must complete all educational components of your current programme before 1 september 2022 or before you obtain the Master’s degree certificate, whichever comes first. If this condition is not met, you will not be able to continue or complete the Master’s programme.
    • The average grade for all Bachelor’s educational components obtained at the start of the master's programme must be at least 7.5.
    • You must meet the stipulated language requirements.

    For students who come in through an integrated programme, an additional requirement is that a maximum of 6 EC may still be open at the start of the master's programme.

    *The above supplements do not apply to non-EEA students who must complete a Bachelor’s programme outside of the Netherlands.

    All conditions can be found in the Addendum Pertaining to the 2020-2021 Teaching and Examination Regulations

    Request exceptional admission
    Do you meet these conditions or do you expect to meet these conditions by 31 August at the latest? If so, you can request exceptional admission no later than 1 August.

    • Do you want to start a Master’s programme in September? Complete and submit this form.
    • Do you want to start a Premaster’s programme in September? Complete and submit this form.

    Do you not yet meet all of the criteria, but do you expect to meet them by August 31st at the latest? Please apply for exceptional admission already.

    This scheme is meant for students that were faced with unavoidable study delay as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Please note that you are expected to obtain all missing credits in the academic year 2021-2022 (before 1 September 2022), and will therefore have a higher study load.

  • I have a Dutch university level (WO) Bachelor’s degree (VU Bachelor’s degree, VU premaster or Bachelor’s degree at another university)

    Students holding a Bachelor's degree in Theology or Religious studies from a Dutch University are directly eligible for admittance in this Research Master's programme, if they can show an average of 7,5 in their Bachelor's degree programme and at least a 7,5 for the Bachelor's thesis (or an accepted academic article in the field of their study).

  • I have a Dutch higher vocational education (HBO) Bachelor’s degree (premaster)

    A pre-master programme is not available since applicants must have a university degree to apply for admission to the Master of Arts in Religion and Theology (research).

    However, if you do the general premaster, apply for admission in the one-year master Theology and Religion and your average grades are 8.0 or higher in the first semester, you can switch from the one-year master to the Research Master by the first of February.

  • Application with a Dutch degree

    If you want to apply for and enrol in a Master's programme at VU Amsterdam, the procedure you need to follow depends on your prior education and whether you obtained your diploma in the Netherlands or abroad.

    Please first check whether or not you are eligible for this programme and then apply.

    You can apply for the Master's programme Theology & Religious Studies: Research via Studielink. The application deadline is: 1 June.

    If you have a Dutch diploma, follow this application procedure.

  • I have an international degree

    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.  

    Specific admission requirements for the Master’s Programme Theology and Religious Studies

    • Students with a Bachelor’s degree in Theology or Religious Studies from a university abroad will only be admitted following an assessment of their degree by the admissions board. Your grade average needs to be equivalent to (or higher than) a 7.5 in the Dutch grading system.

    English language requirements

    VU Amsterdam requires all applicants to take an English test. You can, however, begin your application without having the test results. Exceptions are made for students who have completed a bachelor or master in Canada, USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand or Australia.

    The minimum English language proficiency requirements for admission to this master programme are:

    IELTS: 6.5 overall
    TOEFL Internet-based test: 92 overall
    Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A, B, C
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A, B, C

    Please note that students who need a study visa must submit their English test results before 1 June. All other students have to submit the test certificate before 31 August (preferably sooner).

    TOEFL and IELTS tests must have been completed no more than two years before 1 September of the year in which your course starts. Note that TOEFL MyBestScore is not accepted. Our institution code is 7947.

    A PDF copy of your English language test results can be sent to the following email (for non-Dutch degree holders):
    The general requirements regarding language proficiency can be found here.

  • Application with an international degree

    If you have read the admission criteria and feel you are eligible for admission, please take the following steps to submit your application. Note that the initial application procedure is fully online and that scans of your original documents are required.

    Step 1: Review the admission criteria

    Step 2: Prepare your documents and apply online 

    Please prepare the following documents. You can find an explanation of each document on the application page. All documents should be provided in English and in PDF format.

    •   Copy of your valid passport or ID (ID only for EU citizens)
    •   Curriculum Vitae
    •   Motivation letter/Personal Introduction
    •   Two Letters of Recommendation
    •   Transcript of records (and the degree obtained/to be obtained)
    •   A description of the courses you have taken during your previous higher education. Please use this format.
    •   Thesis (or another sample of academic writing, at least 5 pages plus a list of used literature)

    Step 3: Await the decision on admission

    The admission board will review your application as soon as it is complete. Normally this takes about three weeks, but it might take longer in busy periods so be sure to apply as soon as possible. If you are admitted to the programme, you will receive a letter of conditional admission by email. 

    Step 4: Finalise your registration!

    Make sure to finalise your registration as a student before the start of the programme. Here you will find an explanation on what to do after you are admitted. When all of the conditions are met, you will be ready to start your programme at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam! 

    Application fee & deadlines

    All students seeking admission to an international Bachelor’s or Master’s programme with an international degree are required to pay a non-refundable €100 application fee. Only after you have paid this fee will we be able to start the evaluation of your application file. If you are applying for more than one programme, you will only need to pay the application fee once. Your application fee payment is valid for two years.

    Information on how to apply with an international university degree and deadlines can be found here.
    For more information, international students may also contact the International Student Advisor:

    Grants and scholarships

    As an international student planning to study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, you can apply for a variety of grants and bursaries. Detailed information about scholarships and deadlines can be found on or

    Student Ambassadors

    Some International students are happy to tell you about their experience with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various Bachelor's and Master's programmes.

    Our Student Ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam.

Want to know more?

Don't hesitate to contact us!

For questions about the programme contact the coordinator of the Master of Theology and Religious Studies (research): Coordinator dr. L. (Lourens) Minnema,

Send an e-mail to:

Call us on +31 20 5985000 (on working days from 10.00 till 16.00)

International diploma applicants

International diploma applicants are welcome to send an e-mail to or book a phone appointment to get in touch with the International Student Advisor of this programme

Send an e-mail to:


  • Stipo Jeleč
  • International Student Advisor
  • Faculty of Religion and Theology