This programme explores the spiritual and religious values in various philosophical and religious traditions.
The Master of Religious Studies teaches research methodologies and approaches to understanding Asian religions. Historical developments and contexts of religions are explored and their practices and beliefs compared. Christianity, as a religion originally from Asia, is set in dialogue with religions from China, India and Japan, as well as the Islamic faith with a view towards deeper mutual understanding and relating. In the second year, students prepare a dissertation integrating their understanding and knowledge of the field of Religious Studies.
The programme coordinator is Franz Gassner.
During the two years of evening course work, Master of Religious Studies students hold full-time student status.
- Students study various philosophical, spiritual and religious traditions of Asia, e.g. Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Christianity, and Islam
- Students discover the relevance of religious traditions in shaping cultures and societies
- Students demonstrate mastery of independent research topic of their choosing
- Students share their insights and reflections among an international academic community
- Leadership and community development
- Pastoral ministry
- Media and journalism
- Have an interest in spiritual and religious traditions
- Are open to the search for meaning and truth
- Have a strong interest in reading, writing, and systematic presentation
Study plan & description of modules
For the programme’s government approval [in Chinese and Portuguese] click here.
Please click on any specific module below to see its description.
Students will be introduced to the various approaches and methods of doing research. Practical exercises in aid of understanding such approaches and methods will be provided in view of their application to the field of religious studies research.
The module tackles pre-historic roots of Chinese religion, Ancient Chinese beliefs and practices, Confucius and his followers, philosophical and religious Daoism, the introduction and adaptations of Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism, and the gradual development of the major Chinese religious movements in China today.
Tackles Brahmanical religion in India from introduction of the Vedas and Upanishads to the modern period. Explores Hindu beliefs, ethics, everyday and ceremonial practices, philosophies, mythologies, and movements.
The module includes Early Shinto and its developments, importation and modifications of Korean and Chinese cultures and religions up to the modern era. Also the emergence of the Japanese empire in the 7th century, and the developments of Tendai, Kegon, Zen, and Shingon beliefs and practices.
Studies the historical and scriptural foundations of Islam, its theology, religious traditions and ethics and social structures, Sunni-Shiite divide, reform and renewal movements, spread of Islam, Muslim contributions to world culture.
An overview of the historical development of Christianity in Asia from its inception to the present-day. Major events and their consequences are presented and analyzed from an Asian perspective. Special attention will be placed on the “accommodative” strategies by the missionaries and questions regarding the indigenization of the Church.
This module examines the identity and mission of the Church in the context of religious pluralism and its challenges; proposes a theology of religious dialogue as well as theological principles in inter-religious dialogue. Special attention is given to Christian adaptation to the life of Asian peoples and to inter-cultural and inter-religious relations.
"New Religious Movements" (NRMs) has become, in recent years, the preferred term for what used to be called "cults" and "sects." They refer to a religious faith, or an ethical, spiritual or philosophical movement of recent origin and different from existing religions. Examples are Hare Krishna movement, Falun Gong movement, Japan’s Tenrikyo and PL Kyodan, and Korea’s Unification Church.
The Dissertation is the capstone module for the course, which integrates the taught materials and tests the student’s depth of understanding of the field and their ability to work independently within it. For the Dissertation, students work individually with a supervisor on a project related to their specialization. The Dissertation topic is chosen in consultation with the supervisor and work cannot commence until an individual and his /her formally written Dissertation Proposal have been accepted by the university.