Symbols of world religions

Religious Studies: World Religions in the Past and Present

What exactly is a religion? How are its dynamics? And what are its views on peace, liberty and righteousness? If you are interested in these questions, this is the programme for you!
Symbols of world religions
Image: Barbara Mack/Pixabay
Key facts
Bachelor of Arts
Supplement to degree
major in a multi-subject bachelor’s programme
6 Semesters
Teaching language
Tuition fee
Semester contribution
€ 265,60
Start of studies
Winter semester
Part-time possible
Application & Deadlines

Content of the study programme

More than just gods, spirits and higher beings!

The world’s religions play a role in our everyday lives, sometimes through obvious symbols like crosses, kippahs and hijabs, but sometimes more inconspicuously through customs and ways of thinking.

The bachelor’s programme in ‘Religious Studies’ mainly focuses on the five major religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism. You will explore what people believe(d) in and the extent to which cultures and societies are influenced by religion. However, you will also look at the world’s minor religions.

You definitely won’t get bored, as every religion has its own cosmologies and ideas on the role of mankind in the world, as well as its own ethical principles and philosophies on the meaning of life, earthly existence and the afterlife.

Of course, an important role is also played by various rituals, scriptures, buildings and paintings, and these will be examined in greater detail to identify similarities and differences between religions.

Religious studies is an interdisciplinary field that studies religious traditions of the past and present, identifying their historical development, emergence and passing with a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.


major subject major subject Graphic: Sophie Bartholome

The bachelor's degree is the first professional qualification. The standard period of study is a total of six semesters, during which various forms of courses (e.g. seminars, lectures or exercises) are offered for the individual modules.

A multi-subject bachelor’s programme consists of a major subject with 120 credit points (CP for short; 1 CP = 30 hours for attendance, preparation and follow-up work, private study, assessed coursework and examinations) and a minor subject with 60 CP.

‘Religious Studies: World Religions in the Past and Present’ is a major subject that can be combined with all minor subjects at the University of Jena. It is open to members of all religions and denominations, as well as non-religious students.

How might your study programme shape up?

The following table shows the possible structure of your course with ‘Religious Studies’ as your major subject: 

Semester Modules
1st Introduction to Religious Studies
(10 CP)
Ancient Christianity: Jesus and the Jesus Movement
in the 1st Century CE (10 CP)
Special History of Religions I: Judaism
(10 CP)
2nd Special History of Religions II: Christianity
(10 CP)
3rd Special History of Religions III: Islam (10 CP) Emergence and Strategic Focuses of Religions
(10 CP)
4th Special History of Religions IV: Region-Oriented History of Religion and Interreligious Relations (10 CP) Environment, Nature, and Ethics
(10 CP)
5th Internship
(10 CP)
Expression and Mediation in World Religions
(10 CP)
6th Bachelor’s thesis (10 CP) Special History of Religions VI: Buddhism
(10 CP)

Abbreviations: CP = credit points

More detailed information can be found in the module catalogue for the study programme [in German]External link.

Why study in Jena?

  • excellent teaching: comprehensive historical training, individual selection of focus areas from a wide range of options, and an integrated internship
  • focus on cross-religious issues, such as everyday life, ideas on the afterlife, understanding of the body (health, diet, body symbolism, etc.), ethical issues and the interaction of religion and society (religion and art / music / literature and religion and gender)
  • excellent supervision: The University of Jena has an international team of religion experts, who will be happy to answer your questions.
  • adventures abroad: global network of partner universities, e.g. São Bento (Brazil), Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Sibiu (Romania)

What can you do after your studies?

Areas of employment for graduates

  • life coaching / counselling, migration support and adult education
  • journalism, public relations and publishing
  • mediation
  • economic/business consultancy
  • tourism
  • peace and conflict research

Postgraduate master’s programmes at our University

What are the personal requirements?

  • knowledge of the world’s religions and their ethical ideas 
  • interest in religious issues and popular traditions
  • sensitivity to issues in multi-faith societies

‘Religious Studies: World Religions in the Past and Present’ is a field of study open to members of all religions and denominations, as well as non-religious students.

Admission requirements

University entrance qualification

A university entrance qualification, such as a general secondary school leaving certificate, is required for admission onto the study programme.

More information on university entrance qualifications can be found here.

Language requirements

The study programme is taught in German. You must therefore have a very good command of German at the start of the study programme.

Proficiency in English is required; another modern or classic foreign language is also recommended; students must submit evidence of their language skills (except German—see above) when registering the subject of their bachelor’s thesis at the latest.


Subject-specific academic advisory service — Tommy Drexel
Subject-specific academic advisory service — Prof. Dr Dr Bertram Schmitz
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