Faculty of PhilosophyReligious Studies – Bachelor 25%

Students of religious studies analyse religious ideas, practices and materialities from an empirical-cultural perspective and attempt to understand them in their respective historical, cultural and societal contexts. 

Facts & Formalities

DegreeBachelor of Arts
Type of programmeUndergraduate
Start of programmeWinter and summer semester
Standard period of study6 semesters
Language(s) of instructionGerman and English
Fees and contributions169.25 € / Semester
Application procedureSubjects with access restriction
Application deadlinesInformation about deadlines can be obtained after you have put together a degree program.
Part-time optionYes

Course Content

The focus of the Bachelor’s degree programme in religious studies at Heidelberg University is the analysis of various religions in the past and the present. Religious studies does not focus on the truth or accuracy of religious statements but on the roles religious actors, institutions, narrations and practices play in their respective historical cultures. The course focusses on rituals and ritual objects, statements made by religious actors in interviews, the presentation of religion in various media formats as well as written and archaeological sources. Students in the religious studies programme analyse predominantly value-free religious insights of changes in religious traditions on the basis of empirical findings. Religious studies in Heidelberg follows an empirical approach grounded in cultural studies and describes as well as studies complex religious constellations in the past and present. As a result, it conducts an analysis – in particular a contemporary analysis – of significant societal issues, e.g. related to fundamentalism, violence and religion, migration and integration.

Course Structure

M1 History of religious studies or M2 Theories in religious studies
Students must choose one of the basic modules. They provide students with knowledge of significant positions in the history of the discipline and associated theories, culminating in more current religious studies approaches, central issues and debates as well as analyses of relationships with neighbouring scientific disciplines. This knowledge enables students to conduct in-depth studies into global religious traditions in the past and the present. 

M3 Comparative approaches in religious studies
The comparative approach in religious studies is the main research focus of this module. The introduction links “traditional” approaches (e.g. religious phenomenology) and their critical assessment with newer comparative approaches from modern cultural studies as well as with theories of trans-nationality and trans-culturalism. 

M5 Introduction to religious history
Courses that focus on providing general overviews convey knowledge about major religious traditions and their current developments as well as providing introductions to specific areas of specialisation.  

M11 Elective module
Depending on the area of specialisation, students can select any module from the range offered in the department. In addition to the range of modules offered by the Institute for Religious Studies, students can also choose modules from the range of interdisciplinary religious studies modules that is based on the diverse lectures and courses of the neighbouring disciplines.  

Examination components completed during the course of study are either presentations and essays or module examinations such as term papers, oral examinations and (rarely) written examinations.

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