Religion in Contemporary Society
MA Religion in Contemporary Society: Public Issues - Global Perspectives provides advanced knowledge of the interplay between religions as cultural and historical phenomena and contemporary societal processes. The programme is interdisciplinary, with an emphasis on social science perspectives.
As a student, you will meet questions such as:
- How and why does religion mobilize in political conflicts today?
- What is “religion”? Is it a useful term?
- How are global changes expressed in local religious practices?
- What is the best way to understand those who feel as if they belong to religious traditions they neither believe in, nor are active in?
Students on this programme will acquire tools to understand and interpret relevant social processes and challenges that shape, and are shaped by, religious traditions and practices. The programme provides both analytical skills and practical skills to study and discuss religion using social scientific methods.
The programme is taught in English. All written assignments, including the exam and master’s thesis, can also be written in Norwegian or other Scandinavian languages
More about the programme
- Bachelor's degree
- A combination of relevant social sciences and religious studies: A minimum of 80 ECTS credits including specialisation in one subject area, and a minimum of 20 ECTS credits in the other subject area.
- A minimum average grade of C in the specialisation subject area.
- International students must document necessary English language competencies according to MF’s requirements.
Additional Information Concerning Requirements for Admission
By “relevant religious studies” we mean the study of religion as cultural and historical phenomena explored in fields such as religious studies, history of religion, sociology of religion and anthropology of religion. Other academic studies of religion, such as theology and interdisciplinary study of religion may also be relevant, and will be considered individually.
By “relevant social sciences” we mean studies that include qualitative social and cultural studies, such as sociology, anthropology, human/cultural geography and politics. Other studies that provide skills to work with empirical methods and social analysis can also be relevant and will be considered individually. These might include studies in the humanities such as education studies/pedagogy, media studies, history, history of ideas, and philosophy. These might also include studies that emphasise quantitative studies, such as economics and psychology.
The basis for admission should document basic knowledge of the most important religious traditions in the world, and knowledge of empirical research methods. The following courses at MF can be used to meet both the religiuos studies and social science requirement:
SAM1070 Religion og samfunn: Norge i dag
SAM2040 Demokrati, menneskerettigheter og religion
SAM2070 Religion og samfunn II: Religionssosiologisk fordypning
SAM2075 Religion og samfunn III: Globale perspektiver
SAM2270 Sociology of religion
The one-year programme in Intercultural Communication is a social science study programme that also counts as 10 ECTS credits within the religious study field in terms of admission to the MA Religion in Contemporary Society: Public Issues - Global Perspectives.
The MA in Religion in Contemporary Society: Public Issues - Global Perspectives is a two-year education which gives 120 ECTS credits.
The first year includes four compulsory courses:
i) Theories of religion. Key debates in the modern study of religion
ii) Overview of the state-of-the-art research on contemporary religion, key debates and selected substantial topics
iii) Academic skills, including academic writing and professionalism in the study of religion
iv) Empirical research methods
In addition, the student chooses two elective courses.
Examples of elective courses at MF:
SAM5041 Religion, Education and Development
SAM5135 Religion and Contentious Politics
SAM5150 Religion, Identity and Populism
All these courses count as 10 ECTS credits, giving a total of 60 ECTS credits in the first year.
The second year consists of a thesis (60 ECTS credits). In this course there will be some compulsory teaching and course requirements connected to research design and theoretical framing of the student's research. The texts produced as part of the course requirements can be included as one or more chapters in a completed thesis.
Thesis for Master in Religion in Contemporary Society
Thesis for Master in Religion in Contemporary Society
Empirical Research Methods
Theoretical Perspectives: Religion in Contemporary Society
Maps and Key Issues: Case Studies of Religion in Contemporary Society
The craft: Research Skills and Professional Engagement in the Study of Religion
Description of the programme
The MA in Religion in Contemporary Society: Public Issues - Global Perspectives provides knowledge about religion in contemporary society, from the perspectives of social science, the humanities and different kinds of religious studies. There is an emphasis on social science perspectives.
Religion in contemporary society is understood as interpretations of religious traditions, how religion is expressed in practice, and the interplay between religion and ongoing societal processes at the local, national and global scale.
The study programme provides in-depth study of recent theories of religion in contemporary society. There is an emphasis on methods from the sociology of religion and qualitative empirical studies of contemporary religion. The programme gives tools to understand and interpret relevant social processes and societal challenges that shape, and are shaped by religious traditions and practices. The study programme provides both analytical skills and practical skills to study and discuss religion using methods from social science.
The MA thus combines a broad introduction to social scientific methods and ways of thinking with perspectives from the humanities and the study of religion. There is an emphasis on the social scientific study of the role of religion, ideology and values in (post)modern societies in different parts of the world in our times. This equips students to discuss relevant societal challenges, including themes such as religion and politics, globalisation, climate change and migration. Elective courses provide the opportunity to focus on a specific topic, and give the education a unique profile suited for specific career interests or academic interests.
Compulsory courses and elective courses during the first year will enable the student to do an independent piece of research which will be presented in the form of a master's thesis in the second year. The thesis shall shed light on religion in contemporary society and the interplay between religion and society locally, nationally or globally. The coursework will train the students for doing empirical research and writing about it, but the students may choose to write a theoretical thesis as well.
As a main rule, 40 ECTS at the master level, including the course in methodology, must be completed before students can register for the master's thesis.
As a main rule, all courses in the programme must be completed before the thesis can be submitted.
The MA is open for students from the whole world, and the teaching is in English. All written work, including exams and dissertation, can be written in English, Norwegian or other Scandinavian languages.
Relevance of the Study Programme
Knowledge about religion and the role of religion in society is necessary and in demand in a range of societal domains. This master's programme will provide students with this kind of knowledge about religion and society, and help them develop the ability to think independently and critically. It will also equip the student with the ability to work with relevant questions of religion and society in a methodically rigorous way, locally as well as nationally and globally.
The programme is relevant for work where there is a demand for knowledge about the interplay between religion and society, and about how religion shapes and is shaped by contemporary social processes and societal challenges. The programme is relevant for positions in Norwegian and international institutions and organisations within the public, private and voluntary sectors.
The programme qualifies students for positions within research and education, including further studies at the PhD level.
What will you learn?
The student shall:
- have advanced knowledge about different forms of religion in contemporary society and the interplay between religion and society.
- have advanced knowledge about theories of contemporary religion from the social sciences, the humanities and religion studies.
- have advanced knowledge about research methods from the sociology of religion.
- have good knowledge about how religion and be understood and studies from different social science and humanistic perspectives.
- have good knowledge of questions concerning the philosophy of science of the study of religion.
The student shall:
- have experience with, and the ability to, conduct an independent research project.
- have the ability to communicate knowledge and perspectives on religion in contemporary society to people from different academic disciplines and in ongoing public debates.
- be able to use theoretical knowledge in different work situations.
- be able to work methodically and discuss relevant experiences from the perspective of a researcher on religion.
The student shall:
- be able to stay up-to-date with research literature and apply new knowledge to relevant problems and societal challenges.
- be enabled for work within different roles in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
- have the necessary academic skills to communicate social scientific insights in a critical and reflective way to people coming from other academic traditions, and in a way relevant to challenges that face contemporary societies.
- be able to conduct further research in an ethically responsible way.
Students can take part of their studies abroad. MF recommends that students that wish to do an exchange do so in their second semester. MF's partner institutions provide a range of options for studying abroad.
For more information about studying abroad, see https://www.mf.no/en/study-abroad