Master's Programme in Religious Minorities

  • Years3 Semesters
  • ECTS credits90

Main content


Objectives and content

Religious minorities live among numerically larger and/or more powerful populations of different religious identities or constitute minorities within their own religious groups or institutions. Religious minorities are sites of religious dissent in which creative religious experimentation tends to alternate with the resilient protection of tradition. They have played central roles in the secularization of many modern states and at the same time have suffered from some of the aspects of modernity they had helped to bring about. In polemics, religious minorities play the role of scapegoats or heroes. Dominated by others and sometimes in a dominant position themselves, they are beneficiaries of privilege, protection, or are tolerated or persecuted. Especially today, issues related to religious minorities are central to domestic and foreign policies and expose some of the most profound ideological conflicts and contradictions in global societies.

The Religious Minorities master's at the University of Bergen is offered fully online. Religious studies, as understood here, is the historical and comparative study of religions in their diversity; that includes anthropological, sociological, and psychological perspectives. Offering media and policy professionals (e.g. journalists, NGO workers, governmental workers), educators and teachers, activists, social workers, as well as aspiring researchers the unique opportunity to dedicate themselves to the study of religious minorities, this custom-designed program with partnerships with several influential public organizations fosters expertise, a critical and analytical mindset, creativity, and broadmindedness. The program combines in-depth explorations of religious minorities with intensive training in research and writing. Its nurturing learning community integrates a flexible learning environment with one-on-one and group-based supervision by leading international experts at the University of Bergen.

The Religious Minorities program's curriculum comprises a fixed curriculum, electives, and individual supervision of the preparation and execution of a professional research project. The duration of full-time enrollment is 2 semesters of full-time study plus 1 semester full-time writing a 30 ECTS research thesis.

In the fixed curriculum, students will work in small, supervised groups exploring major challenges that surround worldwide contemporary religious minorities and their complex historical, political, and religious roots. In addition, the students will acquire a sophisticated conceptual and theoretical apparatus. Last but not least, they are trained in professional research methods and research design competency. The five courses of the fixed curriculum are: Discrimination and Religious Minorities; Freedom of Religion; Multiculturalism; What is a "religion"?; Research Methods, Ethics, and Project Design.

The electives offer expert knowledge in various subjects related to religious minorities and serve to enrich the students' horizons. Some of the electives focus on single minorities, such as modern antisemitism, Christianity in China and India, Churches in the Middle East, Buddhism in contemporary India, the Yezidis, and Mormonism, whereas others explore religious minorities in particular regions, such as Central and Eastern Europe and Israel, or focus on particular themes, such as dissent in religious minorities.



What you Learn

Required Learning Outcomes


The candidate:

  • has advanced knowledge of the core religious minority issues in modern history and worldwide today, and has in-depth knowledge of at least four different 'situations' of religious minorities in various global and historical contexts
  • has thorough knowledge of the historical, religious, philosophical and sociological roots of modern attitudes towards religious minorities and of religious-minority mentalities
  • can select and apply core concepts and theoretical approaches from the field of religious studies to original research
  • can analyze central ethical issues relevant to the relationship between religious minorities and their social surroundings and to social dynamics within religious minorities


The candidate:

  • can critically analyze and organize written and other sources of information, and formulate on this basis professionally academic arguments
  • can engage in critical discussion and peer review
  • can find and analyze relevant research sources, theories, and interpretations in the field of religious minorities to work in an independent manner practical and theoretical problems surrounding religious minorities
  • can select and apply appropriate research methods from the interdisciplinary field of religious studies to independently research religious minorities
  • can design and carry out an independent research project under supervision on a topic related to religious minorities in accordance with the ethical and professional standards of the academic community


The candidate:

  • can analyze and appraise relevant academic, professional and research ethical problems in regard to current and past minority issues and their political, historical and religious contexts in cross-cultural and international perspective, and in particular detect and challenge hidden and overt ideologies and stereotypes
  • can select and apply appropriate knowledge and skills about and relevant to the field of religious minorities to carry out advanced research and projects
  • can utilize the appropriate academic language and specific language and terminology of the field of minority studies in specific and religious studies in general, to communicate independent analyses of complex social, political, and religious issues
  • can communicate about academic and practical discussions and issues related to religious minorities worldwide with specialists and with the general public
  • can evaluate different academic, professional and research ethical positions, and contribute to new ways of thinking and handling sensitive real-life issues

Study Period Abroad

Study period abroad

This online program has no study abroad component

Programme structure

Master's programme in religious minorities (krav 90 SP)
Master's programme in religious minorities - courses (krav 60 SP)
Mandatory course
Course codeCourse titleSPSR
RELMIN646Freedom of Religion101–32
RELMIN648What is a "religion"?51–31
RELMIN649Discrimination Against Religious Minorities Worldwide51–31
RELV309Research Methods, Ethics and Project Design 101–32
25 credits
Course codeCourse titleSPSR
RELMIN636Christianity in Contemporary China and India51–32
RELMIN637The Yezidis51–32
RELMIN638Teaching Religion and the Representation of Minorities51–32
RELMIN639Latter Day Saints and Society in the West, c. 1830-195051–31
RELMIN640Ethno-Religious Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe51–31
RELMIN641Buddhism in Contemporary India51–31
RELMIN642Dissent and Religious Minorities51–32
RELMIN643Religious Minorities in Israel51–31
RELMIN644Sami History after 175151–31
RELMIN645Middle Eastern Churches in the 20th and 21th Century51–32
RELV360Jews and Antisemitism in Modern Europe, 1789-194551–32
Master's programme in religious minorities - thesis contract
Mandatory course
Thesis contract for master's students in religious minorities
Master's programme in religious minorities - thesis (krav 30 SP)
Mandatory course
Course codeCourse titleSPSR
RELMIN650Religious Minorities Master's Thesis301–33
SP = ECTS credits, S = Semester, R = Recommended semester

More information

About the programme

See full study plan