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The award
MA

How long you will study
12 months

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Religion, Health and Wellbeing at University of Groningen

What role does religion and spirituality play in our experience of health and wellbeing? How does the biomedical focus of current healthcare practice affect us?

This interdisciplinary degree programme will examine what itmeans to be ill or healthy in diverse, individualized and highlytechnological societies, from psychological, cultural, ethical, andpolitical perspectives. Not only do religious, cultural, political,physical, and technological diversity influence how we try torecover or maintain our health, they also influence what we think'health' is in the first place.

This track within the Master's Programme in Theology andReligious Studies, has two specializations: 'Spiritual Care[Geestelijke Verzorging]' and 'Ethics and Diversity'.

› The specialization in Ethics and Diversity imparts theacademic knowledge and skills to examine the anthropological,sociological, and ethical dimensions of health and well-being. Thisspecialization is taught in English.

› The specialization in Spiritual Care imparts theacademic and practical knowledge and skills needed to examine thepsychological, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of health andwellbeing, enabling you to become a registered spiritual care giver[geestelijk verzorger]. This specialization is mainly taught inDutch. 

Welke rol speelt religie en spiritualiteit in onze beleving van gezondheid en welzijn? Welk effect heeft de huidige biomedische focus van de gezondheidszorg op ons?

Deze interdisciplinaire opleiding onderzoekt wat het betekent omziek danwel gezond te zijn in pluralistische,geïndividualiseerde en technologische samenlevingen vanuitpsychologische, culturele, ethische en politieke perspectieven.Niet alleen beïnvloedt religieuze, culturele, politieke,fysieke en technologische diversiteit hoe wij herstellen van eenziekte of hoe wij gezond blijven. Deze uitgangspuntenbeïnvloeden ook wat wij denken wat 'gezondheid' überhauptinhoudt.

Deze track in de master Theologie en Religiewetenschappen heefttwee specialisaties: 'Geestelijke Verzorging' en 'Ethiek enDiversiteit'.

› In de specialisatie Geestelijke Verzorging ontwikkel jeacademische onderzoeks- en praktijkvaardigheden gericht op depsychologische, ethische en spirituele dimensies van gezondheid enwelzijn. De specialisatie leidt op tot geregistreerd GeestelijkVerzorger en wordt grotendeels in het Nederlands aangeboden. Dezespecialisatie kan ook in deeltijd gevolgd worden.

› In de specialisatie Ethiek en Diversiteit leer je deantropologische, sociologische en ethische dimensies van gezondheiden welzijn te onderzoeken. Deze specialisatie wordt in het Engelsaangeboden.

After your studies

Job prospects

This Master's degree qualifies you to work in a careinstitution, such as a hospital, nursing home or psychiatrichospital, for example as a spiritual carer. You could also become apolicy officer in public health, global (mental) health andhealthcare, or a consultant on a medical-ethical committee. Thesedays, it is becoming increasingly common for spiritual carers tostart their own practice.

Met dit masterdiploma kun je aan het werk in zorginstellingenzoals ziekenhuizen, verpleeghuizen en instellingen voor mensen meteen verstandelijke beperking, bijvoorbeeld als geestelijkverzorger. Je kunt aan de slag als beleidsmedewerker bij deoverheid. Het is ook mogelijk te werken als adviseur in eenmedisch-ethische commissie. Tegenwoordig beginnen steeds meergeestelijk verzorgers een eigen bedrijf.

Job examples

  • Spiritual Carer

    During your degree programme, you will study a wide range ofreligious traditions and personal convictions. You will learn howto counsel groups and individuals, helping them to find meaning andstability in their lives. You can also train company employees andoffer advice and opinions at policy level. Spiritual Carers canfind jobs in care institutions, for example general or psychiatrichospitals, nursing homes or institutions for people with a mentaldisability. These days, it is becoming increasingly common forspiritual carers to start their own practice instead of working for an institution.

  • Policy Advisor Health(care)

    You will gain knowledge and understanding of ethical questions,diversity and health, based on case studies and care practice. Youcan work as a policy officer for the government, a patientorganization or a care institution, or in an advisory position, for example on a medical-ethical committee.

  • Teacher

    Once you have completed this Master's programme you will haveenough knowledge of the subject to become a secondary schoolteacher in the subject of Religious Studies. You could also opt for a position in higher vocational education, for example teachingTheology at a university of applied sciences. As you also needdidactic skills as a teacher, it is advisable to do a Master's inEducation after you have completed your regular Master's programme,or follow this track within the two-year Master's programme inEducation.

  • Academic Research

    Traditional forms of religion are making way for new ways ofsearching for meaning and purpose in your life. How do modernopinions of health and wellbeing fit in? What is the role ofspirituality and religious convictions? How do present-day dilemmasand divergent ideas about these dilemmas affect both our wellbeingand the way we organize our care system? What is the function ofprofessional spiritual counselling in our current healthcaresystem? This Master's programme will equip you to answer these and other questions. The two-year Research Master's degree programmealso offers a specialization in Religion, Health, and Wellbeing.The Research Master's is the best way to prepare for a career inacademic research.

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Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMAHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course startsSeptemberDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Entry requirements

Bachelor-Master connections

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
ReligiewetenschappenAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
TheologieAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
GodgeleerdheidAll Research universities

Additional requirements

Additional requirements:
  • written request
PsychologyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Medicine, profile Sustainable CareUniversity of GroningenAdditional requirements
SociologyUniversity of GroningenAdditional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesUniversity of GroningenAdditional requirements
Interdisciplinary Social SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Algemene CultuurwetenschappenAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Cultural Anthropology and Development SociologyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
MedicineAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Health SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Gezondheid en LevenAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Health and SocietyAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
HumanistiekAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universitiesAdditional requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 oneach part) (not for native speakers)

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts,Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology,Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a readingpackage will be provided. We assume that you are aware of theconcepts and theoretical discussions outlined in thisliterature.

Students with another bachelor's degree can be permitted via abridging programme.

written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions committee explainingthe choice for this study programme (max. 1 page) is required, justlike an overview of your bachelor's programme, a Curriculum Vitaeand a writing sample of an academic paper in OAS (OnlineApplication System).

other admission requirements

Students with a Dutch Bachelor's degree send all thedocumentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw@rug.nl, evenif a direct access is applicable. The specialization in SpiritualCare has additional admission requirements, see: http://www.rug.nl/(...)sion-and-application

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
language test

TOEFL: 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet; IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 oneach part) (not for native speakers)

previous education

Bachelor's degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts,Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology,Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a readingpackage will be provided. We assume that you are aware of theconcepts and theoretical discussions outlined in thisliterature.

Students with another bachelor's degree can be permitted via abridging programme.

written request

A letter of motivation to the admissions committee explainingthe choice for this study programme (max. 1 page) is required, justlike an overview of your bachelor's programme, a Curriculum Vitaeand a writing sample of an academic paper in OAS (OnlineApplication System).

other admission requirements

Studenten met een Nederlands Bachelordiploma sturen hundocumentatie naar onderwijs.ggw@rug.nl, ookals er sprake is van een drempelloze toelating. Voor despecialisatie Geestelijke Verzorging geldt een verplichtepremaster, ook als je al een Bachelordiploma in Theologie ofReligiewetenschappen hebt. Voor de toelatingsprocedure, zie: http://www.rug.nl/(...)sion-and-application

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
IELTS listening6
IELTS reading6
IELTS writing6
IELTS speaking6
TOEFL paper based580
TOEFL computer based237
TOEFL internet based92

What students think about University of Groningen

    If I had to choose a Master's programme again, I would be on a flight to Groningen.

    Ana Quintana, Mexico, Strategic Innovation Management

    I gained a Bachelor's degree in Management & Marketing in Mexico City before I came to the Netherlands to undertake my Master's programme. During my Bachelor's studies, I spent a semester in Canada and I wanted to expand my international (study) experiences before starting work. I was keen to focus on innovation which is not usually offered in Mexico hence the combination of Innovation and Strategy in one programme directed me to Groningen.

    My Master's thesis dealt with Innovation in family businesses and I now benefit from the intense research modules offered during the programme. Now I am working as a Promotion Manager in charge of the several customer loyalty programs offered by one of Mexico's biggest hotel chains. Although the Master's program was rather theoretical, I feel that it prepared me very well for my current job. 

    There was nothing about Groningen that I did not like: the city is just beautiful. I especially enjoyed going everywhere by bike, the variety of offers for students and, of course, the Queensday (now Kings Day) celebrations. Groningen has everything to make (foreign) students feel at home.

    Looking back a year after my return to Mexico, I feel that I especially enjoyed getting to know Dutch culture. In addition, the courses offered and the beauty of the city made my stay in Groningen an unforgettable experience. If I had to choose a Master's programme again, I would be on a flight to Groningen.

    I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand my knowledge in the field of law

    Lejla Terzimehic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Global Criminal Law

    Thanks to the European Commission Scholarship and the Talent Grant from the University of Groningen, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to expand my knowledge in the field of law that I am most passionate about, at one of the oldest and most prestigious European universities.

    Being very intellectually challenging, the master programme truly met my expectations. Sharing knowledge with my colleagues, all coming from different legal traditions, and learning from inspiring professors enriched me with the skills I hadn't attained during my previous education.

    What I found to be the most beneficial is that the Dutch education system which, taught us to develop a critical opinion on law-related issues. Moreover, this master programme had a unique approach in tackling controversial contemporary legal issues. Due to its strong comparative emphasis, it encouraged us to keep at constant track with our national law, which is of a huge significance.

    Both the master and a 6-month long internship at the International Criminal Tribunal for The Former Yugoslavia strengthened my belief in Justice. Furthermore, besides this academic benefit, I believe that studying abroad unequivocally broadens our horizons and tests prejudices we even are not aware of.

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