Pre-master Orthodox Christianity

During the academic year 2020-2021 a cohort of students is following the Minor and Pre-Master programmes Orthodox Christianity through the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Enrolment has closed. Below you find information about the Pre-Master as planned in the future.

The Pre-Master Programme is designed to provide a solid basis in Orthodox theology at an academic level. The entry requirements are a Bachelor’s degree, which may be in a subject other than theology, from a regular Dutch university of applied sciences (HBO) or an equivalent foreign degree and general familiarity with the Bible. In the first year of the Pre-Master we will study the rudiments of Orthodox history, the reading of Scripture, theology, liturgy and spirituality. In the second year we will further deepen and broaden the knowledge of these subjects and engage with contemporary issues.

The teaching faculty consists of: Fr. John Behr, Fr. Michael Bakker, Fr. Joan Lena and guest lecturers.

The Pre-Master/Minor programme is set at 60 European Credits (1 EC = 28 hours of study), and consists of eight modules (each of 7,5 EC) during two academic years. During each of the two semesters two courses are taught concurrently. The study load is half of a full-time programme.

Simon Saliba, alumnus and Orthodox spiritual caregiver in four different hospitals.

During its first three years, the Pre-Master was offered as a one-year programme (of 30 EC), serving also as a Minor programme for bachelor students from various Dutch universities. The very positive evaluations from the students, together with their request that more courses be given, have prompted us to add an additional year, beginning with the academic year 2021/22.

The programme is taught in a ‘blended’ or ‘hybrid’ format, that is, it utilizes both online and residential components: most of the studies are done at home and at your computer, followed by a two-day residential session—the ‘intensive’—towards the end of the semester. Each course consists of about eight modules and concludes with two final weeks in which you prepare your research paper for submission. This format involves what is known as the ‘flipped’ classroom, where, instead of hearing from the teacher during the class session and then working independently outside the class, you learn collaboratively online and bring the fruits of your work to the session, where you present and discuss your work.

The first year of the programme consists of the following four courses: History of Orthodox Christianity, Scripture in Orthodox Christianity,Liturgy in Orthodox Christianity and Patristics. The second year has the following courses: Themes in Orthodox History, Orthodox Anthropology, Themes in Orthodox Liturgy, Themes in Contemporary Orthodox Theology.

The online component of the programme consists of both reading and writing assignments, which can, within the framework of the deadlines assigned, be completed at the student’s convenience. The amount of travel is thus minimal; the intensive, over two days, is a necessary (and mandatory) component of the course. The first intensive takes place towards the end of the first semester and the second towards the end of the second semester. They will be held at an Orthodox monastery in The Netherlands. At the start of the programme there is a general orientation online meeting to acquaint yourself with your fellow students, the programme and the learning management software.

The classes are taught in English.

During the first year, Pre-Master students study together with Minor students. In order to register for the Pre-Master programme, please contact us through this form. You will be contacted and will receive information about the admission procedure. If you are interested in the minor programme, please contact us through this page.