Universiteit Leiden

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Religious Studies (MA)

Career prospects

Where do our graduates work? 

Our graduates have pursued successful careers in research and in the public, private and non-profit sectors as editors, journalists, policy advisors, counsellors, and teachers of religion or philosophy. The MA programme in Religious Studies offers excellent preparation for students seeking a profession that requires advanced analytical skills and specialised knowledge of religion and its cultural, geographic, and historic context.

Examples of the diverse roles of our graduates include:

  • Teacher of religion and society at a secondary school
  • PhD candidate at an international university
  • Political party officer
  • Consultant at McKinsey & Company
  • Member of staff at the Dutch Ministry of Defence
  • Traineeship for the Municipality of The Hague
  • Policy officer in Diversity and Inclusion

If you are interested in a career in the educational sector or if you want to work with communication or knowledge utilisation in relation to religion, you may want to consider the two-year variant of our programme, the MA Religie en Levensbeschouwing.

Josine Heijnen

Graduated in MA Religious Studies

Josine Heijnen

"I'm an entrepreneur, which means that I am able to do many different things. Currently I am working at Museum Naturalis Biodiversity Center, I have my own Dutch Organic Gin brand ‘Goeie Mie’ and I am a councillor at the Leiden city council."

Valuable combination

"I chose my MA because I found the subject fascinating and knew that it was taught by great lecturers from whom I could learn a lot. I would make the same choice again: I had a fantastic time! In addition to my studies, I was active in many extra activities, from a student society to freelance journalism. The combination was very valuable: not only did it help me combine practical things with brainwork, but I learned to multitask and keep my cool. The work I do is very versatile and I have to be ready for anything. You have to be stress-proof: also something I learned."

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA in Religious Studies 2016-2020.

In which sectors do students find jobs?

  • 33 % Education
  • 22 % Research
  • 22 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 11 % Healthcare and welfare
  • 12 % Other

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

The master in Religious Studies will equip you with a range of important skills and knowledge that will help you stand out in any future career. Our students' specialised knowledge is complemented by a broad and contextual understanding as well as critical-thinking skills that can be applied to the most complex conceptual problem.

Many of our students choose to do an internship during their study. Internships are a great way to gain indispensable firsthand experience in your area of interest before you decide on making it a career. In recent years students from the Religious Studies programme have been doing internships at the following organisations:

  • Representative Office of the Netherlands in Ramallah
  • The Meertens Institute
  • Centre of Learning and Dialogue (CLD), a NGO based in Nes Ammim
  • Kids4Peace, Jerusalem

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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