History of Religions

This master’s programme uses interdisciplinary approaches to study history and religion in the pre-modern world.


Language of instruction

2 years (120 ECTS)

Application deadlines
Feb 1st
Nordic citizens: June 1st

Online application opens November 1st

  • Why is Jerusalem still such a contested place?
  • What are the reasons for the systematic destruction by the Islamic State (IS) of the cultural heritage of the past?
  • Why do sacred texts produced centuries ago continue to shape the lives of people today?
  • How are they used and abused?
  • Why does the sword sometimes replace the word in religious matters?
  • How did religious groups, ideas and artifacts travel from one continent to another and how did that migration transform them?
  • In other words, how did religious conflicts and encounters shape the modern world and why do they still matter today?

These are some of the topics MF Norwegian School of Theology tackles in its M.Phil programme in History of Religions, with a primary focus on Religion in the Pre-Modern World: Encounters and Conflicts.

Generell informasjon

Hvordan søke?

Application deadlines:

1st February: International applicants

1st June: Applicants with a Nordic citizenship.


Admission to the programme is applicable for applicants with a BA in related disciplines (history, religious studies, theology, archaeology, art history, etc.).


Kontakt studieveileder, avdeling for teologi.

Mer om programmet

Beskrivelse av programoppbygging

Master in History of Religions

Thesis for Master in History of Religions:
(60 stp)
Thesis for Master in History of Religions:
(60 stp)
Encounters: Common Categories and Concepts in Abrahamic religions
(10 stp)
Conflict and Negotiation: Selected topics
(10 stp)
Methodology: Texts and History
(10 stp)
The historical study of religion: Multidisciplinary theoretical perspectives
(10 stp)
Religious change, exchange and counterchange: A long-term historical perspective
(10 stp)
Owning and sharing holy matter: texts, artefacts and places
(10 stp)
Semester10 ECTS10 ECTS10 ECTS

Mer om programmet

The programme is focused on the issues of religious cross-pollination, coexistence and conflictwith particular emphasis on Europe and the Middle East. Addressed in a long historical perspective stretching from Antiquity to the European Renaissance, the programme seeks to illuminate the roots of present peaceful coexistence and interchange, as well as of today's antagonisms and conflicts. The underlying idea of the programme is that, in order to fully grasp current religious conflicts and alliances, we need to understand how the perceptions of past and present are intertwined, reciprocally dependent and constantly reshaped.

Based on a multidisciplinary approach and applying various theoretical frameworks and interpretative methods, the core courses of the programme aim to reveal historical dynamics, privileging 'how' and tentatively 'why' over 'who' and 'when'.

The programme is conceived at the intersection between political history and history of religions, but relies also on other disciplines, such as the history of ideas, art history and archaeology. These are meant to provide the depth of field expected in Big History by illustrating and clarifying the macro-historical perspectives.

Hva lærer du? – Beskrivelse av mål og læringsutbytte


The candidate..
has advanced knowledge of the historical development of the main religious traditions and specialised insight in the role that religion played in the evolution of society
has thorough knowledge of the principal theories about religion and religious phenomena
can understand and interact with academic discourses in the field of the history of religions
The candidate..
can critically analyse and use the existing theories within the history and phenomenology of religions as well as their specific methods and interpretative patterns in both practical cases and theoretical debates
can apply knowledge to new areas within the history and phenomenology of religions, history proper or social sciences and address relevant challenges in society
can carry out independent scientific research on topics related to the history and phenomenology of religions
can analyse and address critically different types of empirical data and use it to structure and formulate theoretically valid arguments
can assess the historical background of current social issues related to religious beliefs and practices and propose valid and balanced frameworks for relating to them
General competence
The candidate..
can analyse within a valid methodological framework problems related to religious conflict
can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas of society in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects in connection with people’s religious beliefs
can communicate the results of scientific work in the history and phenomenology of religion and masters the specific terminology of these fields
can communicate about issues in the history and phenomenology of religion with the general public
can contribute to theoretical research and practical conflict-solving in the areas of the history and phenomenology of religion

Undervisning og gjennomføring


Teaching and learning are driven by a hands-on and case-oriented attitude and core courses are complemented by lectures and seminars of theory and method.

The programme coordinator is Victor Ghica, Professor of Antiquity and Early Christian Studies. The core courses of the programme will be taught by Kristin B. Aavitsland, Professor of Cultural History, Liv Ingeborg Lied, Professor of the Study of Religions, John Kaufman, Associate Professor of Church History, Iselin Frydenlund, Postdoctoral Researcher and historian of religions, as well as by Victor Ghica and several other specialists.

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