!Deze opleiding communiceert alleen in het Engels.
We tonen daarom de Engelstalige opleidingsinformatie.
Are you interested in the history of 'alternative Christianities'? Ever wondered how occultism and magic shaped modern science and psychology? Or whether New Age is indeed new?

Knowledge of the mystical and esoteric currents in the history of religion in Europe, as well as the impact of Hermetic and Gnostic spirituality, is important for a better understanding of European religious and cultural identities.

This Master's degree programme is unique due to its multidisciplinary nature. It combines philological, religious-comparative and cultural-historical approaches. In addition, we offer the first diachronic overview of esotericism from the very beginnings of our Western Culture in ancient Greece to its latest manifestations in modern multicultural society.

After a solid introduction to ancient philosophical esotericism, and to Hermetic and Gnostic lore, you will:

  • learn about mystical traditions and the influence of Kabbalistic esotericism in Western culture from Late Antiquity down to the present day
  • be able to analyse and understand ancient and modern esoteric discourses
  • study the processes of exchange between East and West that have shaped contemporary religious landscapes
  • uncover underlying connections between ancient and modern religiosity and ponder the persistence or rebirth of religious conceptions and rituals.

Waarom aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

  • New vistas to understand complexities of European religion and culture
  • Function of esotericism, mysticism and Gnosticism in the entangled histories of religion, philosophy and science are explored in an interdisciplinary way
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation
  • A highly stimulating learning environment
  • You can follow your own research interests
program websitestudy website Print this pageprint
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
MA Theologie & Religiewetenschappen
type opleiding
regulier onderwijs, 60 EC
12 maanden

geen numerus fixus
heeft een honours programma

Open dagen en meeloopdagen

no known events


Hoe is de opleiding opgebouwd?
Master's Honours Programme:
Honours programme of the University (15 EC).
For students who have a Bachelor Honours degree, who have attended a University College or were actively involved in (student)organizations beside the regular master programme.
taal van onderwijs100% en
onderwijsopzet70% zelfstudie
20% theorie
10% praktijk
onderwijsvormenliterature study, oral presentation, internship, research, tutorial, lecture, group discussion, individual assignment, self study, seminar
# contacturen


This program has been accredited on 20 by the Dutch-Flamish Accreditation Organization (NVAO) and has received the following grades:

bron: NVAO
study guidance
Master's students are expected to show a large degree of independence. If necessary you can make use of various forms of study supervision and study support. For example, you can contact a mentor or your study advisor. While writing your thesis, you will receive personal supervision from one of the lecturers.
Immediately after arrival, students who gained their Bachelor's degree at a different faculty or university as well as international students will be allocated a mentor who will help them get to know the Faculty. You can also go to the study advisor if you have doubts about your abilities or for whatever reason run the risk of study delay. You will receive intensive supervision while writing your thesis. The Master's programme includes a thesis seminar, where attention is paid to how to tackle writing a Master's thesis, and where the progress of the process is monitored closely. You will also receive structural supervision from the lecturer who is the specialist in the field of your thesis.

For information about the courses see:
study abroad
The master programme Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism has various exchange possibilities for students with other universities within the European Union, but also at non-European university to take part of the study programme at the university abroad. Another option is to take an internship or to do part of the research work abroad.
  • Aarhus Universiteit Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Denemarken
  • Universität Bremen Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • Ruhr Universität Bremen Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • Universität Erfurt Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • Göttingen Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • Philipps-Universität Marburg Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • Universität Münster Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Duitsland
  • University of Oslo Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Noorwegen
  • ITU Istanbul Erasmus Uitwisselingsprogramma - Turkije
  • Princeton Theological Seminary PhD Uitwisselingsprogramma - USA
    Uitwisselingsverband PhD

Toelating en kosten

toelatingstart date and tuition fee
1 februari 2017
deadline aanmelding 1 november 2016
collegegeld nog niet bekend
1 september 2016
deadline aanmelding 1 mei 2016
wettelijk tarief : € 1984
instellingstarief : € 1984
niet-EU/EER studenten : € 11200
1 september 2017
deadline aanmelding 1 mei 2017
collegegeld nog niet bekend

additional costs

bron: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
bedrag kostenpost periode
€ 12000cost of livingyear
€ 740study materialyear
€ 400visa/permityear

application requirements

cijferlijstA grade list of the marks of your bachelor's degree programme with an explanation of the followed courses.
taaltoetsA (English) language test is only important if you do not have a VWO-diploma. Minimum requirements: TOEFL 580 paper/237 computer/92 internet or IELTS: 6.5 (6.0 on each part)
vooropleidingBachelor degree in Theology, Religious Studies, Arts, Philosophy or Social Science (e.g. Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology). Depending on your former study and courses a reading package will be provided. We assume that you are aware of the concepts and theoretical discussions outlined in this literature.

Students with another bachelor degree may be admitted via a bridging programme.
motivatiebriefA letter of motivation to the admissions committee explaining the choice for this study program (max. 1 page) is required, just as an overview of the results of your bachelor program, a Curriculum Vitae and a writing sample of an academic paper are part of the admission procedure.

Dutch students send all the documentation by mail to onderwijs.ggw@rug.nl, even if a direct access is applicable.
included in tuition fee
registration fee


Een indicatie van de vakken die je kunt verwachten

1e jaar

The MA programme in Concealed Knowledge consists of three thematic course units (30 ECTS) and a thesis (20 ECTS). 10 ECTS are reserved for a practical placement.


In contemporary culture, medieval mystics such as Hadewijch, Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, but also Jewish and Islamic mystics such as Abulafia or Rumi, exert an enormous appeal. This course aims at research of the work of medieval mystics in their cultural and intellectual context, from the roots of Christian mysticism in Platonism and the early Church to the late Middle Ages. The module also addresses the movement of kabbalah (Hebrew for -tradition" or -transmission") that emerged from a twelfth-century Neoplatonic Jewish context (and in close contact with Islamic and Christian groups in Southern France and Spain). The mystical tradition of kabbalah influenced not only large parts of European Jewry but also—through the writings of Pico della Mirandola, Johannes Reuchlin, Christian Knorr von Rosenroth, and others—the majority of Christian esoteric authors. It had an often underestimated impact on the formation of modern philosophy and science. The course has a two-fold intention: it will familiarize students with important personalities and their interaction in the field of medieval and early modern mysticism; and it seeks to account for these mystics' renewed popularity in contemporary culture.
Knowledge in Greek antiquity was cherished as a scarce good and its character and transmission was always colored with an esoteric allure: Not only was knowledge intended for a select group of followers; it also seemed to provide a higher form of consciousness that not everyone was willing to bear. Secrecy then was more a result of its functioning and goal than of its control by a religious or political caste. Such a -democratization" or -popularization" of secrecy is perhaps the most obvious Greek contribution to ancient and modern Western esotericism. Already traceable in Pre-Socratic philosophy, the esoteric conception of knowledge received impetus from Plato onwards with the integration of Pythagorean and Orphic lore. Mystery cults enhanced this perception in so far as the secrecy that surrounded their practices was associated with the character and goal of a knowledge that now provided a mystical union of neophyte and divinity. With the confluence of philosophy and religion in late antiquity, knowledge, secrecy, and revelation become object, character, and goal of the message of both philosophical schools and religious groups. Christian Gnosticism and pagan Hermeticism are excellent examples of this fusion or confusion that culminates with the Chaldean Oracles and provide an interesting precedent for later forms of mysticism and esotericism.
On this Master's programme you will write a thesis worth 20 ECTS. This includes a thesis seminar (5 ECTS). The seminar guides you in drafting a good research question and outline, in the technical aspects of conducting research, in writing texts and in presenting your work to the outside world when you enter the job market. You can choose from several method workshops to help you develop your thesis research.
During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, religious and cultural landscapes—not only in Europe and North America—have been transformed by processes of migration, globalization, the rise of modern science, new forms of group formation and spiritual quests, new forms of communication (Internet and media), and related dynamics of change. These developments also changed the esoteric discourse in Western culture, which is the topic of this course. Students will become acquainted with the major developments of esotericism since the Enlightenment, with special attention to the influence of the Theosophical Society (founded in 1875), the rise of new esoteric orders as a confluence of occultism, magic, psychology, science, and the study of religion, and the following changes that reshaped the religious landscapes of the twentieth century (Anthroposophical Society, Wicca, Neopaganism, and the revival of Celtic and medieval Christian spirituality). Subsequently, the course addresses the so-called New Age milieus that emerged in California in the 1960s (with the Esalen Institute as a major hub) and which make clear that the 'Westernization' of Eastern spiritualities—and the 'Easternization' of the West—gained new momentum in the second half of the twentieth century, following the Orientalist fascination that characterized the Theosophical movement and related currents at the beginning of the twentieth century.
The MA programme has a practical component in an organization, company of institute to prepare you for the job market (10 ECTS).

Studenten en studentenleven

Wat kost studeren?

gemiddelde kosten voor een student Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism in Groningen

bron: Nibud
303kamerhuur in Groningenrond het landelijk gemiddelde
158collegegeldop basis van € 1906 per jaar
80studieboeken en -spullen
77uiterlijkkleding, kapper, schoenen
132vrije tijdstappen, uit eten, vakantie
42vervoernaast de OV-kaart

€ 1171 aan totale maandelijkse uitgaven landelijk gemiddelde is € 1181
Hiernaast staat een overzicht van de gemiddelde kosten die een uitwonende student heeft. Niet iedere student heeft met iedere kostenpost te maken. Het totaalgemiddelde is dus niet gelijk aan de optelsom van alle kostenposten.

Bekijk ook de uitgebreide toelichting: wat kost studeren?

Studenten en docenten aan het woord


vergelijking met Theologie & Religiewetenschappen bij andere instellingen
bron: Nationale Studenten Enquete, DUO, studieData



NSE 2015
# 1e jaars

% vrouw
  • Master's Honours Programme:
  • New vistas to understand complexities of European religion and culture
  • Function of esotericism, mysticism and Gnosticism in the entangled histories of religion, philosophy and science are explored in an interdisciplinary way
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation
  • A highly stimulating learning environment
  • You can follow your own research interests

  • Master's Honours Programme
  • rated best Master's programme in Theology & Religious Studies in the Netherlands;·
  • unique combination of broad cultural competence and academic research skills with practical skills relevant for job market;
  • strong heritage region
  • excellent network for internships
  • taught by internationally recognized experts in the field
  • vibrant research hub with global links

  • Cultural Track
  • Political Track
  • Master's Honours Programme:
  • The combination of anthropology, sociology and political science is unique in the world.
  • Quality: rated the best Master's programme in Theology & Religious Studies in the Netherlands.
  • Relates latest research and theories to current developments.
  • Vibrant research tradition with international links.
  • Internships at embassies, ministry of foreign affairs, international NGO's.
  • Taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation.
  • You can follow your own research interests.

  • Master's Honours Programme "Leadership: Making the Difference"
  • Unique combination of cultural history and philosophy and profit from the input and network of 2 leading research institutes
  • Focus on the intertwining of religion, philosophy and cultural change in the Western world
  • Understand the role of religion in Western societies in history and today
  • Do a placement that boosts your career prospects
  • Programme taught by leading experts with a world-class reputation
  • A stimulating learning environment
  • You can follow your own research interests

  • Master's Honours Programme: "Leadership: making the difference"
  • Insteek bij de geestelijk verzorger als professional in de hedendaagse zorg
  • Open benadering van levensbeschouwing en religie
  • Bijzondere aandacht voor godsdienstpsychologie, psychopathologie en voor de geestelijk verzorger als deskundige op het gebied van ethiek
  • Opleiding is geaccrediteerd door de Stichting Kwaliteitsregister Geestelijke Verzorging
  • Aandacht voor praktijk én onderzoek
  • Persoonlijke begeleiding
  • Veel ruimte voor eigen invulling van stage en scriptieonderzoek

  • Master's Honours Programme: "Leadership: making the difference"
  • integral and comparative study of the origins of the three monotheistic religions
  • moves beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines and religious traditions
  • strong focus on historical context: ancient Near East, Graeco-Roman and late antique cultures
  • excellent teaching by leading experts
  • stimulating academic environment
  • opportunity to pursue your own research interests

  • Ancient Scriptures and Cultures: Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism
  • Religion, Conflict and Globalisation
  • Religion and the Public Domain
  • Master's Honours Programme: "Leadership: making the difference'
  • Internationaal unieke programma's
  • Je werkt met jouw docent in kleine groepen
  • Onderwijs en onderzoek zijn nauw met elkaar verbonden
  • Gedoceerd door toonaangevende deskundigen met een uitmuntende reputatie
  • Uitermate stimulerende leeromgeving
  • Je kunt je eigen onderzoeksinteressen volgen

Omdat de opleiding een specialisatie van de master Religiewetenschappen is, hebben de afgestudeerden geen zendingsopdracht van een kerkgenootschap.

Deze master volgt het actuele onderzoek van de hoogleraren/docenten.

  • expert knowledge of highly qualified lecturers, 75 percent of whom are full professors
  • a multidisciplinary program taught by theologians, sociologists, economists, law specialists and philosophers
  • small classes (5-10 students), allowing for individual attention and personal contact
  • an international classroom with students from various countries, religions and academic backgrounds
  • excursions to organizations and museums focused on the interaction between Christianity and society

  • Exploring a Discipline
  • Leadership
  • Media
  • Teaching Religious Diversity
  • Spiritual Care

Feiten en / studie in cijfers

bron: Nationale Studenten Enquete 2015
algemeen oordeel43.7


De Nationale Studenten Enquete is het grootschalige onderzoek van de overheid onder studenten in Nederland naar de kwaliteit van opleidingen aan hogescholen en universiteiten.
In 2015 hebben meer dan 200.000 studenten hun oordeel gegeven over hun studie en instelling.

Concealed Knowledge: Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen is beoordeeld door 21 respondenten. Gemiddeld waarderen ze de opleiding met 4 uit 5.