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Structure of the curriculum

The Master’s programme in Theology has a course load of 180 EC* (three years). All the courses are 5 or 10 EC and the Master’s thesis is 15 EC.

The structure of the programme differs slightly depending on your choice of specialisation. Please see the programme outlines of the specialisations for more details. The four core disciplines are:

Each curriculum consists of the following components (year 1 and 2)

Discipline seminars

In the first and second year, you attend at least three of the four seminars that are offered by the four core disciplines of Biblical Exegesis, History of Church and Theology, Practical Theology and Systematic Theology.

You can replace one seminar by another seminar or specialisation course, to the discretion of the examination board. Coordinators will help you select your electives to make sure the best possible programme is constructed for you.

Specialisation courses

In the first year you choose a specialisation (10 EC) in the course for which you will write a thesis in the second year. Specialisation courses will be given as individual tutorials. You should contact the lecturer of the specialisation course of your choice at the end of the first semester.

Specialisation courses include:

  • Exegesis of the Old Testament (S. Bledsoe)

This course focuses on the development of professional research skills, with a specific focus the study of the Hebrew Bible and Early Judaism. It further allows you to participate in the monthly meetings of the Biblical Research Seminar (formally known as the Studies in Text, Contexts, and Concepts Seminar, or STCC Seminar, for short). In doing so you gain insight into experiencing what biblical scholars do while doing their research, how they formulate their questions, develop their methods, and use advanced methods, resources and literature in writing their articles and books. This course requires you to develop your own research using these skills, to collaborate with other researchers, and to make your own contributions to the seminar.

  • Exegesis of the New Testament  (?)

We will analyse central texts of the New Testament whilst focusing on the linguistic, literary, historical and theological dimensions of these ancient source texts of Christianity. The texts will firstly be read in light of their original background and then in the context of their present-day implications. The focus of the New Testament texts (i.e. ethics, Christology, soteriology, etc.) may vary from year to year.

  • Church History (R. van Luijk)

This specialization focuses on the methodical and methodological demands of historical research. We will pay special attention to the students’ selected thesis topics. We will cover all periods of Church History. Individual tutorials with reading assignments will offer you the necessary methodical training and opportunities for methodological reflection and prepare you for writing a Master's thesis in the field of Church History - for which you may suggest topics for papers.

  • Canon Law (G. Ackermans)

The specialisation course focuses on the present state as well as on the history of the judicial system of the Latin tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. You may suggest topics for your research, for instance: Marriage Law, Canon Law and the Missions, Canon Law and Vatican II.

  • Dogmatic theology (J. Furnal)

This MA Tutorial in Dogmatic Theology lets you explore a key issue or debate in classic or contemporary Dogmatic Theology. The focus of this tutorial is to help you obtain the necessary and transferrable skills for conducting high quality research in Systematic Theology. In this tutorial, you will read primary texts, present a literature review of this material, and produce an argument about a topic in Dogmatic Theology.

  • Theological Ethics (C. Hübenthal)

A specialisation in theological ethics first involves that you improve your knowledge of the historical making of moral theology and theological ethics. This does not entail a simple iteration of well known positions just as Augustine’s, Thomas Aquinas’s or Luther’s ethics, rather it means a reconstruction of the intrinsic dynamics that led to the forming of theological ethics as we find it today. While analysing these positions you will encounter a range of systematic problems some of which will be dealt with in the second part of the course. Among these problems are: the relationship between God’s and human freedom, the particularity or universality of Christian ethics, the Proprium Christianum etc.

  • Pastoral Theology (C. Sterkens)

At the start of this course, students together with the lecturer will decide on the content of the literature study. This literature study should help you in constructing a theoretical frame for your thesis in pastoral-/practical theology. Your thesis needs to be connected to the expertise of the lecturer(s) in Nijmegen. Topics of choice are contingency and spirituality in life narratives; (inter)religious learning and communication; religion and conflict, and narrative identity of local congregations.

  • Missiology (F. Wijsen)

Due to colonization and mission, Christianity has become a worldwide religion. The Dutch Church played a huge role in this globalizations process. It had an overwhelming number of missionaries overseas. And at home, there were numerous fundraising and missionary animation projects. The overseas mission also influenced the Dutch church. It enhanced its Catholic, universal identity. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there is a new era in mission. Whereas fundraising and missionary animation for mission ad extra go on, foreign missionaries come to The Netherlands and dioceses start their own programs for mission ad intra, taking into account that the overwhelming majority of the Dutch population has no affiliation with Christianity. From a practice theory perspective, this course offers a critical reflection on old missiological issues in a new context, global and local: the relationship between ‘sending’ and ‘receiving’ churches, between church and world, between pastoral and missionary work, between direct and indirect mission means: evangelization or diakonia?

Elective courses

In the first year, you must take at least one of the following courses:

  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Greek & Hebrew
  • Religious Studies

Coordinators will help you select your electives, to make sure the best possible programme is constructed for you.

Master's thesis

Your Master's thesis consists of an individual research project, which allows you to investigate a topic of your choice under the close supervision of our expert staff. You choose a topic that falls under your chosen specialisation. Please register in Osiris for the master thesis (code FTR-THMA251-1 t/m -8).

Professional specialisation (year 3)

You can choose one of four professional specialisations. This professional specialisation will determine the structure of your third year. You can choose:

Read more about the courses, reading requirements and course schedules in the other parts of this study guide.