Faculty of TheologyProtestant Theology
A degree in Protestant theology is more than just preparation for the rectory or a teaching degree: Studying theology means discovering people, texts and ideas in the past and the present. Students learn to investigate Christian religions with the help of a unique variety of methods.
Protestant theology is a diverse subject as both content and methodology can also be found in linguistics, cultural studies, history, social sciences, philosophy and pedagogy. The diversity of methods enables students to analyse the plethora of different topics, issues and research topics of the individual theological sub-disciplines.
Theology is traditionally divided into six separate disciplines. The two exegetical subjects Old Testament and New Testament present the biblical texts in their original languages (Hebrew and Greek). These subjects also focus on the creation of the books (literary history), the theological conditions of the texts (theology of the OT/NT) as well as on the (social-) historical backgrounds and influences of the ancient oriental or antique environments and cultures.
In Church history, sources associated with the 2000-year history of Christianity are interpreted in their historical context. The main objective of systematic theology is to investigate Christian teaching traditions and develop an autonomous theological ability to judge issues associated with Christian teaching (dogmatics) and Christian life (ethics). Religious studies / intercultural theology conveys theoretical approaches and knowledge of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as of new religious movements and esoterism. It further focusses on the theology and history of Christianity in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and considers central questions within intercultural theory (inter-religious dialogue, theology of religions, Christian mission, contextual theologies etc.). Practical theology combines the scientific theological disciplines with ecclesiastical life. Methods founds in sociology, psychology and pedagogy are used to investigate in what ways faith is experienced in society.
Special Features and Characteristics
The Faculty of Theology offers introductory courses and employs its own language lecturers specialising in Hebrew, Greek and Latin to support students in learning a language when they start the degree programme.
Boasting 15 professors, the Faculty is able to offer a diverse range of seminars and lectures, guarantee the interdisciplinary nature of the degree programme, and offer students a high level of support.
The Faculty holds five chairs with different areas of specialisation within the field of exegetical study. This gives students the opportunity to study biblical texts in great depth, and from a variety of perspectives. Unique in Germany, the Faculty reserves one of these chairs for the investigation of the history of Christianity in America. The existence of an Ecumenical Institute is also unique to Heidelberg. Research at the Institute focusses on the Christian church and confessions, and questions relating to inter-confessional and inter-religious dialogue. With internal academics specialising in the science of preaching (in relation to the exegesis), pastoral work, congregational development and church theory, religious pedagogy and diaconal studies, the Faculty is able to offer a broad range of courses in practical theology.
The modern faculty library at Heidelberg University offers a very particular learning atmosphere. Situated directly below the castle in Heidelberg, the library contains over 220,000 volumes and is one of the largest specialist theological libraries in Germany.
The Faculty of Theology also forms part of an international network and offers students the opportunity to participate in archaeological digs, as well as exchange programmes with institutions in countries including the USA, France, England, Israel and South Africa.
Graduates of the degree programme in protestant theology can enrol in doctoral programmes to become a doctor of theology, or doctor of philosophy (Dr. theol or PhD). With around 100 doctoral students, the Faculty of Theology at Heidelberg University plays a considerable role in the promotion of junior researchers in the field.
The Faculty of Theology is involved in national and international research projects.
Depending on the intended degree, graduates of protestant theology work predominantly in churches or schools. In addition to the traditional areas of rectory or teaching degree, there are also numerous opportunities to work in media, (adult) education, cultural organisations, information management, knowledge management, social and health services, proofreading, publishing, or public relations.
One of the reasons I chose this degree programme is the scientific analysis of the Bible, our faith and the history of the church. Further, the career prospects after graduation are very diverse and range from pastor to head of education centres. And I never tire of the set reading, discussions or practical exercises.
Johanna Karcher, 27, Protestant Theology, 13th semester Magister Theologiae