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Photo: Maria Seidel

Bachelor Religious Studies

For a more detailed overview of the structure of the BA Religious Studies at our department, as well as experiences of our alumni, please go to the central university website in the section ‘Studium’, here (in German).

The current study regulations for Religious Studies can be found here: „Fachspezifische Ordnung für das Bachelorstudium im Fach Religionswissenschaft an der University of Potsdam vom 15. Februar 2017." (in German)

Older study regulations you find at “Study Organization”, here.

Photo: Maria Seidel

In Religious Studies at the University of Potsdam we try to deal adequately with the complexity of the different religions. At it, the three Abrahamic religions are at the center of attention.

Understanding the Complexity of Religion

Nowadays religions are generally depicted as consistent phenomena. To be sure, globalization has levelled out many local traditions in terms of content, but in reality neither “Christianity”, nor “Judaism” or “Islam” exist as uniform entities. In their partial and folk traditions, they actually have more in common than is intimated in most depictions.

Content of Studies

The University of Potsdam has one of the most extensive and diverse programs for religious studies in the eastern states of Germany. Our courses range from antiquity to modern times and touch on complex aspects of religion such as religion in relation to history, politics philosophy, literature and art. We start with religious traditions (teachings and forms of life), historic coherences (history of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewry, emergence of Christianity, history of church and of the heretics, history of Islam, religious disputations in the Middle Ages and the modern era, historic forms of tolerance). We then press further into religious-philosophical questions (concepts of God, proofs of God, religion and reason, diversity of worlds, function of evil) and ethical challenges (ecological justice, gender difference, consumerism and asceticism). Contemporary religious studies aspire to combine an understanding of the inherent logic of religion with a critical perspective on it. To achieve this, we pursue four paths: historical contextualization, phenomenological comparison, sociological observation and interpretive understanding. The distinguishing feature of our department is that teaching and research are structured around the three religions Judaism, Christianity and Islam with their different currents and mutual relations. At the same time, we cooperate closely with the colleagues from the respective theologies.

Study Goals

Religious Studies impart an overview of the history and the diversity of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. At the same time, you will learn how religions influence societies through dominion and resistance and/or otherness and assimilation. Later you will be able to use this knowledge in all those areas where it is important to understand religion(s) in history and present, and you will be equipped to deal professionally with religious challenges.

Networking and Cooperation

Through its personnel and organization the department interconnects with the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam, the Center for Jewish Studies Berlin-Brandenburg, the Moses Mendelssohn Center, the Institut Espaces and the Canonic Department. Supervisors and teaching staff have an interdisciplinary orientation, and the Students’ Association is highly motivated. Cooperation and exchange programs exist with universities in Graz, Cracow, Leiden, Leuven, Vienna, Riga, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Zurich und Oslo among others. We frequently organize field trips to India, Istanbul, Rome and Iran.

Structure of Studies

Religious Studies are offered at the University of Potsdam as a two-subject bachelor degree course. Religious Studies can be taken both as a primary subject (90 credit points) and as a secondary subject (60 credit points). The standard period of study is six semesters, including the time allowed for writing the bachelor thesis. A detailed list of the modules and the required credit points can be found at the website of University of Potsdam, here (in German), as well as in the study regulations of the BA Religious Studies.

Prospective Fields of Employment

    • In the field of education: adult education, libraries, universities, museums
    • Social professions: political adviser, foreign departments, non-government organizations, development aid, cultural institutes, tourism industry
    • Media: publishing houses and newspapers, television and radio broadcasting, PR agencies

        In Religious Studies at the University of Potsdam we try to deal adequately with the complexity of the different religions. At it, the three Abrahamic religions are at the center of attention.

        Please direct inquiries concerning the following topics to:

        Questions concerning exams, disadvantage compensation, acknowledgement: Prof. Johann Ev. Hafner, PhD, Prof. Sina Rauschenbach, PhD, Prof. Nathanael Riemer, PhD, Joel Wardenga (= Examining Board)

        Support for freshmen: Hans-Michael Haußig, PhD

        Inquiries concerning the Federal Law on Support for Education and Training: Michael Bergner, PhD

        Coordination of internships: Daniela Schmidt, M.A.

        Student Counselling: Hans-Michael Haußig, PhD; Student Committee Religious Studies: relwifsr@googlemail.com

        Questions about study abroad and ERASMUS: Dirk Schuster, PhD

        Coordination of lecturers: Helga Völkening, M.A.

        Scheduling of courses: Helga Völkening, M.A.

        Contact person for general questions: Wenke Papenhagen, M.A.

        Language instructors: Dorothea Salzer. PhD, Ulrike Hirschfelder, M.A., Eik Dödtmann, M.A.