Study Programme and Organisation

Module Catalogue MA Religion in the Public Sphere
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  • Study Programme

    Our degree programme lasts four semesters and has a modular structure. Thematically related courses (usually lectures and/or seminars) are combined into a module. Credit points (cp) are assigned to the modules according to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). A total of 120 ECTS must be achieved over the duration of the degree programme.


    Compulsory Modules

    • Introductory Module (10 cp)
    • Thematic Module I: Education and Research (10 cp)
    • Thematic Module II: Politics and Law (10 cp)


    • Module "Research and Debates (10 cp)
    • Methods (10 cp)
    • Thematic Module III: Society and Culture (10 cp)
    • Field Module (Home Track) (30 cp):  Internship or Reseach Project
    Master Thesis (30 cp)

    Students may apply for the double degree track in the course of the first semester. The main difference between the double degree track and the home track is the third semester: Students on the double degree track spend the third semester at one of our two partner universities.

  • Content of Studies

    "Religion" is negotiated in different social contexts (e.g. in court, in diversity management, in schools), shapes identity formation ("identity politics"), is often ascribed a central role in conflicts and serves to classify groups, practices and material structures.

    The widespread conviction that "religion" hardly plays a role in postmodern, late capitalist societies has given way to the realisation that it is still a powerful concept and perceptual scheme structuring society. The study programme "Religion in the Public Sphere" addresses precisely this structuring power of "religion" and other central concepts of contemporary societies, gets to the bottom of the prevailing conflicts and points out alternatives. The geographical focus of the programme is on European societies. However, this focus is paired with a comparative pespective including other geographic regions in the world. In the course of the study programme we problematise Euro-centric perspectives and deconstruct Europe as a so-called blueprint of universal developments.

    "Religion in the Public Sphere" serves in many ways as a common thread running through the study programme:

    1. We problematise and historicize the two central concepts "religion" and "public sphere" in order to work out the genesis of both concepts and their normative implications.This also includes other concepts and classifications that are constitutive for modern societies and interwoven with "religion" and "public sphere", for example, the oppositional pair private/public, secularity, gender, race, class, authenticity and freedom.
    2. At the same time, we analyse the reality-generating power of concepts and classifications in contemporary societies in detail with the help of case studies. This involves specific discourse and conflict constellations, negotiating positions and strategies, distribution of resources as well as the contextualisation of actors. A comparative diachronic or synchronic perspective on specific conflicts and antagonistic relations helps to reveal contingencies, genealogies and normative implications. Sustainable approaches can then be worked out on this basis.
    3. Methodology and methods play a role in all modules of the degree programme: On the one hand, we critically scrutinise studies related to "religion" and the  "public sphere" with regard to the research questions, their methodological operationalisation and the production as well as analysis of data. On the other hand, we discuss how different social science methods generate insights into social contexts and conflicts.

    In the course of our programme, you will train your critical research and reflection skills. They form the basis from where we proceed to deconstruct and analyse complex contexts and conflicts. You will be enabled to engage proactively with issues concering religion and the public sphere in your professional career by developing and implementing sustainable approaches and by conducting critical research.

  • Stay abroad

    We recommend students to plan a stay abroad - either in the form of a semester abroad or an internship - as part of the field module in the third semester. A semester abroad can take place within the framework of the Erasmus programme at one of the partner universities of the Institute for the Study of Religion and the Institute for Sociology. A stay abroad is compulsory in the double degree track.

  • Internship

    Students on the home track complete either a research internship ("Research Practice") or a professional internship ("Professional Practice") as part of the field module in the third semester. Depending on the focus, students gain in-depth experience in a relevant professional field or deepen their knowledge in the field of empirical research by conducting their own research project under supervision.

    In the "Professional Practice" profile, students complete an internship of at least four months relevant to the degree programme in a field or an occupation that corresponds to their professional plans. In the "Research Practice" profile, students train and develop their research skills. To this end, they design a research project under supervision, which they implement independently and reflect on its progress. The profile "Research Practice" thus prepares students for an academic career following the Master's degree.

  • Graduation

    The final thesis is the core of the Master's programme "Religion in the Public Sphere". The entire fourth semester is dedicated to this task. Students receive inspiration for possible topics, methods, theoretical framing and much more in the different courses they take during their studies.

    The introductory module, as well as the methods module and the module "Research Debates" are dedicated to specific research related issues: the presentation and critical discussion of research projects, the discussion of different methods and their theoretical underpinnin, and the refinement of  research skills. We give students the opportunity to systematically deepen their skills and competences under supervision in the field module within the framework of an independently developed research project before they venture to write their final thesis.

    The topics for the final thesis depend on the students' interests, their own focal points and skills. Students choose a supervisor. The expertise of the chosen supervisor should match the thematic focus of the final thesis. The supervisors usually determine the topic of the thesis in consultation with the students.

    The supervision takes place either in German or English. Students who have opted for the double degree track must write the Master's thesis in English and are supervised by both the home university and the partner university.

    The entire process includes drawing up a work plan, working on the topic, writing the thesis and a presentation in the colloquium of the module "Master Thesis".

Counselling and Programme Coordination

Dr. phil. Carmen Becker
Exchange Coordinator
Office hours
appointment by email
and by appointment
Appelstraße 11/11a
30167 Hannover
Appelstraße 11/11a
30167 Hannover