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Religious Studies (B.A.) (2 subjects)

Programme name: Religious Studies (B.A.) (2 subjects)
Degree: B.A
Standard period of study: 6 semesters
Beginning semester: Winter semester only
Language of the programme: German

Admission to the winter semester 2018/19:

  • 1st subject semester: open admission (enrolment without previous application)
  • 2nd to 6th subject semester: open admission (enrolment without previous application)
  • International applicants (non-EU): open admission (application to International Student Services)



Programme description
"Religious Studies" gives a scientific, descriptive and comparative perspective on the world of religion. In the context of the history of science, the term had its origins in the University of Göttingen towards the end of the 18th century. It is a discipline pertaining to cultural studies, concentrating on the variety of religious aspects of life as they occur in empirical or historical form and addresses a multitude of methodological approaches (for example empirical social and behavioural science perspectives, historical-philological perspectives, and hermeneutical or analytical-comparative perspectives). Research results of individual religious issues, which always appear in an intercultural diversity, are conceptionally captured and bundled. Topics include: Which typical forms of religious life and its rituals and social organisation can be observed? Which historical processes of development, change and meeting of religions can be determined? How are religions and new religious formations constituted and reorganised in the context of modernism and the present? Can the seemingly self-explanatory terms syncretism, fundamentalism, mysticism or similar terms be sensibly used in an intercultural horizon? Are there approaches to a prognostic of religious developments?


The subject in Göttingen, subject areas and research foci
In Göttingen, the Department for Religious Sciences is firmly rooted in interdisciplinarility. It is institutionally located within the Faculty of Theology and oversees the programmes offered for religious studies in the Faculty of Humanities. It therefore forms a religion-related "interface" of different subjects. Education in the subject of Religious Studies is embedded in numerous neighbouring disciplines of philology and social empirical disciplines. These subjects even possess integral references to subjects of religions (Arabic Studies / Islamic Studies, Indology, Ancient Oriental Studies, Christian Theology, Jewish Studies, Egyptology, Ethnology, European Cultural Anthropology, History, etc.). Ideally, Religious Studies can be combined with a subject that conveys historical-philological or empirical qualifications. Without these qualifications, access to certain primary sources is not possible. These sources included religious texts (holy scriptures, myths, ritual chants) or empirically observed forms of religiousness in different cultural regions. The Department for Religious Studies offers courses with thematic and comparative perspectives on religion and religions. Courses also offer knowledge in areas that are not covered by other subjects, for example the topic of new religious movements (from the Mormons to UFO religions and modern discourse in esoterics and New Age) or East Asian religions.
Research foci currently lie in the area of religious present-day culture and religious movements.


Language requirements to be fulfilled during the programme
It is desirable that students combine the subject Religious Studies with a philology that includes religion (Arabic Studies, Indology etc.) or at least acquire the corresponding key qualifications for the source studies. Students studying the subject Religious Studies with the profile in-depth specialisation must spend at least 12 AP in the area of such philological competencies.


Programme structure
The programme is divided into three years of study.
In the introductory phase (1st year of study), students acquire basic knowledge in the general history of religions (world religions, traditional religions, new religious movements) and orientate themselves in terminology, the history of the discipline and methodology up to the systematic perspectives of religious studies. During the two following years, religious scientific knowledge in a historical and comparative regard is deepened in two advanced modules. In addition, a large selection of import modules are offered through Islamic Studies, Indology, Iranian Studies, Jewish Studies and further subjects. These additional modules offer the possibility for an individual, deeper examination with the traditions of religion from certain language and cultural regions.

Subject combinations
Self-evident and well-proven are subject combinations with related disciplines of cultural science: Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Indology, Arabic Studies /Islamic Studies and related subjects. A combination with History or German Studies and similar subjects is sensible and possible based on personal interest constellations.

Possible/suggested profiles
Religious Studies can be studied as a regular subject (66 AP) in the 2-subject BA; in addition, the profile "in-depth specialisation" (additional 18 AP in the subject Religious Studies) is possible. In the profile for a career in teaching, it is only possible via the subject "Values and Norms" to study several topics of religious studies. Many modules of religious studies are open for everyone in the profile "General Studies"; a consolidated "module package" (18 AP in religious studies) can also be taken in the occupational qualifying profile of the 2-subject BA.

Combination of module packages
Courses with religious-scientific contents and topics can be taken in special modules that are available to all students as "key qualifications". One variation is the "module package" religious studies with each 18 AP in B.A. and M.A. programmes that is offered as a type of "minor" profile in the area of key qualifications of the B.A./M.A. programmes (see below).

Religious studies can also be selected as a subsidiary subject within the mono-B.A. of the Faculty of Social Sciences (42 AP).
Good combinations for students of religious studies also arise with the module packages "Jewish Studies" and "Theology", for example!


Occupational fields
As in many cultural scientific programmes, possible occupational fields depend very strongly on the selected subject combination and additional key qualifications. The programme for religious studies is strong in the area of intercultural and interreligious competences and offers good opportunitues to go into adult education or publishing, or to take on intercultural tasks. It is important to have broad knowledge in "classical" topics as well as modern topics and topics related to the present day, as well as forms of religion.