Symbole der Weltreligionen

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
minor in a multi-subject bachelor’s programme
6 Semesters
Teaching language
Tuition fee
Semester contribution
€ 256,48
Start of studies
Winter semester
Part-time possible
Find your application procedure

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.


minor subject Graphic: Sophie Bartholome (Universität Jena)

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 (ECTS for short; 1 ECTS = 30 hours for attendance, preparation and follow-up work, private study, assessed coursework and examinations) and a minor subject with 60 ECTS.

‘Religious Studies: World Religions in the Past and Present’ is a minor subject that can be combined with all major 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 minor subject: 

Semester Modules
1st Introduction to Religious Studies
(Lecture/Practical course, 5 ECTS)
Introduction to the History and Literature of Ancient Israel in the Context of the Ancient Near East (10 ETCS)
2nd Introduction to Religious Studies
(Seminar, 5 ECTS)
3rd Special History of Religions III: Islam (10 ECTS)
4th Special History of Religions: Region-Oriented History of Religion and Interreligious Relations (10 ECTS)
5th Expression and Mediation in World Religions (10 ECTS)
6th Special History of Religions VI: Buddhism (10 ECTS)

Short form: ECTS = credit points (European Credit Transfer System)

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

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

Education – Culture – Anthropology MA
Southeast European Studies MA

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 Show content

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 Show content

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
Room 108
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Opening hours:
by arrangement
Subject-specific academic advisory service — Prof. Dr Dr Bertram Schmitz
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07743 Jena
+49 3641 9-42760
Opening hours:
by arrangement
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Due to the current pandemic situation, the ASPA remains closed.

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The ASPA is mainly responsible for students at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Theology.
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