Study of Religions

Towards the foundations of human culture.

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The two-year Master’s degree study programme in the Study of Religions develops the understanding of religious traditions in one of the four offered specialties from which the students choose during their studies (Archaic Religions, Western Religious Traditions, Eastern Religious Traditions, or Religion in Modern Society). The programme also deepens student insight into the theory, methodology, and history of the study of religions in a wide interdisciplinary context. Students can develop their knowledge of a chosen source language. The Master’s degree study programme accentuates understanding, writing and presentation skills, qualified work with resources, and the understanding of the main theoretical paradigms in the contemporary study of religion and related fields rather than knowledge tests. Students deepen their insight in phenomena of human culture, develop creative thinking and an interdisciplinary approach, and choose their further course towards teaching, research, or work in the media, non-governmental organizations, or other branches. This Master’s degree study programme offers a high-quality social scientific and humanistic education which can be compared with similar programmes at the world’s leading universities.

The curriculum is organized on the basis of a credit system, offering the possibility of individual choices concerning the study timeline and thematic modifications according to the individual field of interest. Required courses cover mostly theory and method in the humanities and social sciences and practical seminars related to the thesis. Optional courses, opened with regard to the special topics of current Master’s degree study programme students, help deepen the knowledge and competences in the chosen specialty. Students are also free to register in courses outside their chosen specialization.

The Master’s degree study programme is suitable for graduates of the Bachelor’s degree programmes in the study of religions and related fields such as anthropology, sociology, ethnology, cultural studies, history, and psychology who intend to deepen their understanding of religious traditions viewed in the light of current international debates and from a fundamentally interdisciplinary perspective. It prepares students for occupations requiring excellent analytical skills and insight in the religious, cultural, and ethnic contexts of the functions and changes of human societies.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • use the concepts of the historical disciplines, sociology, cultural and social anthropology, ethnography, cognitive sciences, and psychology for a critical, consistent, and grounded understanding of human social behaviour
  • search for information in various resources, evaluate and analyse them, and synthesize them
  • characterize the major religious traditions in the chosen specialization (Archaic Religions, Western Religious Traditions, Eastern Religious Traditions, or Religion in Modern Society) and understand their dynamics
  • use, on an upper-intermediate level, selected methods of data collection and analysis in humanities and the social sciences
  • prepare a high-quality research project
  • evaluate research projects from the point of view of feasibility, social impact, and research ethics
  • write formally and factually correct, useful, and original texts on phenomena of human culture using relevant resources
  • consider phenomena of human culture in a global and deeply interdisciplinary perspective
  • apply social scientific approaches and knowledge in professional activity as well as in personal understanding of human phenomena in a nuanced way
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Graduates are qualified for positions requiring critical thinking and cross-cultural adaptability. They usually work in teaching, journalism, administration, specialized sectors of the tourist industry, non-governmental organizations, media, project writing in both the public and private sectors, companies focusing on the development of games and on leisure activities, and start-ups requiring creative thinking. They can offer employers very strong analytical skills, creative thinking, flexibility, intercultural orientation, familiarity with the assumptions and methods of several disciplines within the humanities and the social sciences, the skill of writing original and formally as well as factually correct texts, the capacity to think in global and interdisciplinary perspectives, and the ability to methodically pursue complex, demanding, and long-term projects.

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The standard duration of studies is four semesters. For admittance to the final state examination, students need to earn a total of 120 ECTS credits in a specified structure. Type A/required courses constitute the basis of the study programme. Type B/selective courses include either two semesters of reading in a chosen source language or extended methodological training. Students also choose from a number of other courses according to their interests and specialization. Type C/elective courses include all courses at Masaryk University.

During the course of their studies, students should follow the study catalogue valid for their year of matriculation. The study catalogues for the individual years of matriculation are available at the Faculty of Arts website.

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The curriculum does not include any obligatory training stay. Comprehensive practical training in finding and evaluating information, critical thinking, and presentation and writing skills are an integral part of the entire study.

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During their study, students prepare and write up their theses. They have the right to suggest the topic and choose their supervisor. They can also decide to choose one of the available topics published by the supervisors in the Information System of Masaryk University. The Master’s degree diploma thesis is 120,000 to 140,000 characters (ca. 65-80 standard pages) long. In a double-subject study programme, students choose which programme will be the major one and which the minor one. For the minor programme, students submit a Master’s degree minor thesis; in the Study of Religions programme, the Master’s degree minor theses are 70,000 to 80,000 characters (ca. 40-45 standard pages) long.

The Master’s degree study programme ends with the final state examination. A prerequisite of the final state examination is to have earned at least 120 ECTS credits in the given structure. The final state examination in the Study of Religions takes place in front of a committee, has an oral form, and is composed of the defence of the Master’s degree thesis and of an oral examination consisting of the defence of a research project, a discussion on a given topic, and answers to the questions of the examination committee. In the double-subject study programme, the defence of the Master’s degree thesis only takes place in the major field.

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After completing the Master’s degree study programme, it is possible to continue further studies in a doctoral degree study programme in the Study of Religions or related fields such as anthropology, sociology, ethnology, cultural studies, history, and psychology. The international recognition of the Master’s degree study programme in the Study of Religions at Masaryk University facilitates the continuation of studies at universities throughout the world.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Study of Religions
Abbreviation: RL
Code: 6101T014
Type: Master's degree programme (following the Bachelor's one)
Degree: Mgr.
Accreditation: to 20/7/2015
Programme: N6101 N-PH Philosophy
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D.