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MA in Religious Studies (in 30% English)

Why Religious Studies at Ibn Haldun University?

MA Program in Religious Studies at Ibn Haldun University offers a unique, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary approach to religion that emphasizes research and teaching. The program focuses on philosophical, historical, social, and psychological dimensions of religion and explores how beliefs shape and are shaped by the individual, society, and historical and social changes. In addition, the program investigates theories that emerged in the history of ideas and their impacts on communities in a religious sense. Going beyond the investigation of intellectual heritage, our program also studies, researches, and reviews contemporary works in the field. We intend to train and prepare our students to develop an agenda for further research and to engage with “religion” as an intellectually provocative concept.

About Program

Head of The Department:

Prof. Hasan Kaplan

We invite those

  • who hold active academic curiosity,
  • who dare to determine contemporary challenges and who are eager to develop solutions to these,
  • who plan to acquire creative perspectives in religion, philosophy, and social sciences.

Application Requirements

Visit the MA Programs Application Requirements page.

Teaching Staff

Visit the department page for Teaching Staff.


Visit the curriculum page.

Course Contents

RLST 500 Seminar

This non-credit course, given by the student's thesis advisors, has preparatory content for the students’ theses. Within the framework of preparing a roadmap for thesis studies, the course includes students preparing and reporting a presentation by the academic rules generally related to their thesis.

RLST 501 Scientific Research Techniques and Publication Ethics

The main objective of this course is to provide in-depth knowledge, experience, and skills in the methodology of academic research and to train the student in critically reviewing scholarly literature and scientific writing. Thus, students will learn how to search and review literature; design research; collect and analyze data; and report, write and present scientific papers in the frame of academic ethical guidelines. By the end of the course, students are expected

  • to become familiar with the processes of academic research, especially in religious sciences.
  • To learn how to set up a research study by developing scientific questions and hypotheses, research design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and presentation.
  • to locate and perform a critical literature review
  • to understand ethical issues in academia and to refer to and cite from the scientific literature
  • to compare and contrast scientific literature and integrate their view about published studies in the field.


Religious Studies / History of Religions

RLST 502E Introduction to the Study of Religions

This is an introductory course in the history of religions that deals with classical theories, the modern taxonomy of beliefs, and the difference between theology and the history of religions. These issues will be discussed along with various ideas of religion(s) such as that of Edward Burnett Tylor, James Frazer, Edward Evans-Pritchard, Sigmund Freud, William James, Emile Durkheim, Joachim Wach, Mircea Eliade. Also, evolutional, colonial, and post-colonial approaches to religion will be addressed.

RLST 503E Modern Theories of Religion

This is an introductory course in religious studies/history of religions that deals with classical theories, the taxonomy of beliefs, and the difference between theology and religious studies. These issues will be discussed along with various ideas of religion(s), such as that of Edward Burnett Tylor, James Frazer, Sigmund Freud, Emile Durkheim, Joachim Wach, and Mircea Eliade. In addition, some contemporary theories and critical approaches toward these are introduced.

RLST 505 Bible Studies

In this course, the Tanakh, which is considered sacred by the Jews, and the New Testament, which is considered to be the Christian holy book, will be discussed separately by Jews and Christians. In addition, the understanding of revelation, inspiration, and prophecy in both traditions will be examined, and Muslims’ approaches to the Bible will be discussed.

RLST 506 Judaism – Christianity

This course examines Judaism in terms of its history, significant figures, sects, fundamental beliefs, scriptures, and mysticism. In this course, first of all, a chronological and general overview of the history of Judaism will be made, its main sects and their historical-geographical distribution will be examined, and information will be given about Judaism in the early and modern periods in Turkey. The second part of the course is to present general information about Christianity by addressing its central themes, such as the trinity, incarnation, revelation, prophecy, and historical theologies. In this course, first of all, a chronological and general overview of the history of Christianity/Church will be made, the leading Christian denominations and their historical-geographical distribution will be examined, councils and principles of faith, terms used while explaining Christianity in Turkey and prominent themes will be discussed.

RLST 507E Guided Readings in History of Religion I

The objective of this course is to study the New Religious Movements through English texts. Thus, the students will obtain knowledge of New Movements from authentic primary sources while developing skills in academic reading by doing translations between English and Turkish.

RLST 508E Muslim-Christian Relations

This course will primarily discuss the history of Muslim-Christian relations. Consequently, “A Common Word Between Us,” the new discipline of comparative theology and Scriptural Reasoning activities, all examples of contemporary Muslim-Christian ties, will be discussed along with primary approaches to the “religious other.” This course will also cover the history of traditional Christian-Muslim polemics.

RLST 509 Guided Readings in History of Religion I (Arabic)

This course offers Arabic readings in al-Milal was al-Nihal, a classic work written by al-Shahrastani and considered one of the earliest examples of a history of religions both in the Muslim world and in the pre-modern era. Thus, the students will meet one of the primary classical texts in the History of Religions field while developing academic reading skills by translating Arabic and Turkish.

RLST 510E Guided Readings in History of Religion II

This course is the advanced level of Guided Reading in History of Religions-I. The course aims to gain deeper insight into New Religious Movements through primary English texts. Thus, the students will obtain knowledge of New Religious Movements from authentic primary sources while developing skills in academic reading by doing translations between English and Turkish.

RLST 512 Guided Readings in History of Religion II (Arabic)

This course offers an advanced level of readings in al-Milal wa al-Nihal, a classic work written by al-Shahrastani and considered one of the earliest examples of a history of religions in the Muslim world and in the pre-modern era.   Thus, the students will meet one of the primary classical texts in the History of Religions field while developing academic reading skills by translating Arabic and Turkish.

RLST 521 Approaches to Religious Diversity

In this course, readings on religious diversity and religious pluralism, which are contemporary debates in the philosophy of religion, will be made. After an introduction to what religious pluralism is or how it is understood, the views of philosophers and thinkers who adopt the pluralist approach will be discussed.

RLST 525 Fundamental Problems and History of Philosophy

In this course, the systems and schools of Plato and Aristotle will be studied through selected texts. The course will also deal with how Aristotelian and Platonic systems changed and transformed into various other schools of philosophy. Also, medieval Church Fathers will be introduced within this course.

RLST 542 Literature of Rebuttal in the History of Religions

This course examines the literature on Rejection (Polemic), a special genre in interreligious relations. Since every religion sees itself as the most correct and the only way to salvation, when confronted with other faiths, it criticizes the other or answers the criticisms directed at it to prove its own justification and superiority. This issue, especially for universal religions, has led to the formation of an extensive literature. After giving basic information about Christianity, this course will cover the beginning and duration of the Rejection tradition, and essential works in this field will be analyzed.

RLST 543 Muslim-Jewish Relations

This course aims to examine Muslim-Jewish relations based on the Qur’an to complement the topics in the Bible Study-I (Old Testament) course in the Master’s program. In the Qur’an, the history of the Israelites, their holy books, beliefs, moral characteristics, and their relations with Muslims are evaluated. Therefore, to better understand the basis of Muslim-Jewish relations centered on the revelation of the Qur’an, pre-Islamic Jewish history will be discussed, and the distribution of Jews in the Arabian Peninsula, religious belief, worship, and social life in the period of Islam will be examined. Comparisons will be made with the information given. Finally, the relations of the Prophet with the Jews and the Muslim-Jewish relations will be discussed.

Religious Studies / Psychology of Religion

RLST 512 Research Methods in the Psychology of Religion

This particular methodological course aims to teach basic research techniques in the psychological study of religion and religious feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The course topics include empirical research design from beginning to end, determining the research paradigm, selecting the sample, collecting and analyzing data interpretation, and reporting the findings.

RLST 513 Religion in the Psychology Schools

This course covers significant schools such as Psycho-dynamic theories, Behaviorism, Humanism, and Cognitive theories in the science of psychology and their approach to religion, religious feelings, religious thinking, and religious behaviors. The course aims to discuss direct and indirect implications that stem from these significant (and some other unconventional) theories and related research and evaluate how these theories and associated research findings contribute to the study of religion.

RLST 514 Religion and Mental Health

This course approaches religiosity and psychological well-being on an objective and subjective level. The course addresses how religion and religiosity relate to mental health issues and includes topics such as the crisis of faith, religious coping, and mystical and conversion experiences.

RLST 515E Faith Development Theories

This course focuses on the concept of “faith” as defined by developmental theories and investigates how it develops from birth regarding cognition, emotion, and social interaction. The objective of the course is to provide the students with a basic understanding and estimation skills of how faith is formed and transformed in each developmental stage and its implications for spiritual growth and change.  

RLST 516E Selected Topics in Psychology of Religion

This particular course is designed for graduate students eager to develop expertise in the psychological study of religion and will be instructed in English. Topics include the history and disciplinary identity of the field, significant theories and texts, religion and health, popular religiousness, religious cults and brainwashing, religion and morality, islamophobia, and religious extremism.

RLST 518E Spiritual Care and Counseling

This course teaches how psychological counseling practice can be exercised in religious contexts, with religious counselees considering their personal and spiritual values. Thus, during the course, students will gain knowledge and skills in combining psychological counseling with spiritual matters in various support services.

RLST 526 Selected Topics in Social Psychology

The study subjects of social psychology are stimulating in terms of religious studies. In this framework, specific topics from social psychology will be selected and discussed in the course. Some cases are attribution, perception, perception of the other, attitudes, stereotypes, prejudice, persuasion, obedience, social influence, and group processes, pro-social and anti-social behavior.

RLST 527E Theories of Human Nature

Human nature is one of the most central issues in social science and humanities. From theology to the economy, philosophy to psychology, politics to education in many fields, understanding human nature shapes these areas' paradigms. General-purpose of this course is to provide an overview of selected theories of human nature. Through the chosen readings, we will explore questions such as “what is natural?” “what is innateness?”, “Why do we behave the way we do?” “To what extend do culture and the environment determine who we are?” and “Are we inherently selfish or social?”

RLST 528E Classic and Contemporary Readings in Psychology of Religion

Many notable classical and contemporary studies have emerged in the hundred-year history of the psychology of religion. This course will analyze selected texts from various psychology of religious works produced from the past to the present.

RLST 532E Issues in Science and Religion

This course focuses on the relationship between Modern Science and Islam. First, we present essential contemporary scientific theories such as the Special and General Theory of Relativity, Quantum Theory, Big Bang Theory, Theory of Evolution, and Modern Neurology. Then we evaluate and discuss some important implications of these theories for theistic religions and Islam specifically. Finally, our course also aims to outline possible approaches to the relationship between science and religion.

RLST 536 Islam and Psychology

İlmü’n-Nefs, the equivalent of today’s psychology in the Islamic world, started to develop from very early times by being fed from religious and philosophical sources. This course will introduce the religious and philosophical sources, prominent representatives, essential works, and views of this branch of science. In addition, a summary of the opinions and theories about the powers of the soul and its cognitive and religious/moral development will be given.

RLST 538E Spirituality and Health

This course is about how various aspects of spirituality impact our health at the level of body, mind, and spirit. It is intended for graduate students interested in exploring the interface of spirituality, health, and happiness. Course topics will include links between religion/spirituality and health; mind-body relationships; stress reduction; scientific evaluation of the impact of prayer on our health; spiritual approaches to our lives; lessons on living from those who are dying; and stories that heal.

RLST 540E Psychology, Spirituality, and Religion

This course is about the psychological study of religion and spirituality, beginning with examining how spirituality/religion has been defined in various psychological theories and research. The course will explore the psychological aspects of spirituality and religiousness at multiple levels, from affective and cognitive factors to social and multicultural elements. Students will learn about the field's history and how major theoretical perspectives in psychology (e.g., psychoanalytic, attachment, attribution, theories) have been applied to religion.

Particular attention will be paid to the following central topics:

  • Concepts and theories
  • Religious/spiritual formation and transformation
  • Religion, personality, and health
  • Religion and morality
  • New religious movements (NRM), cults, and brainwashing.

Religious Studies / Sociology of Religion

RLST 517 Islamic Society and Culture

Islam, one of the most important religions in the world, has shaped and continues to affect the social, cultural, economic, psychological-spiritual, political, legal, and many other aspects of various societies in different geographies. This course aims to criticize the sociological and anthropological studies on Islam and Muslims, to be included in the “Anthropology of Islam” and “Islamic Anthropology” discussions, and to encourage new epistemological, ontological, and methodological analyzes and inferences.

RLST 519 Sociology of Religion

This course aims at studying religions as social institutions. The birth of religions throughout history, their expansion, their institutionalization, different capacities of institutionalization of different faiths and their relationship with other social institutions, opportunities and constraints caused by these differences, the position of religions in the process of modernization, their effects on this process and the future of religion about modernity and secularism will be main discussion topics of this course.

RLST 520 The Ethnography of Muslim Societies

Research has been done on Muslim societies and groups by many social scientists throughout history to this day. This course aims to read and understand the theories and ethnographies of various sociologists and anthropologists and also be able to provide theoretical and methodological criticism of their works.

RLST 522 Religion and Society in the Modern World

The course will examine how the religion-society relationship is handled within the framework of modern sociological literature's basic concepts, institutions, and theories. Significant ideas, issues, and methods will be presented comparatively in this context. In addition, students will be informed about the definition and function of religion, society, social institutions, and social change, especially the approaches in contemporary Islamic thought. Thus, the student will be given both knowledges in the context of modernization theories and the accumulation of modern Islamic thought.

RLST 523E Colonialism and Post-Colonialism

This course, in which the relationship between secularization and modernization will be discussed, will focus on the reflections of this process, which started in western societies in other geographies. The social changes in Western Europe, their effects on religion, and the secularization-modernization techniques in organizations with different faiths and cultures will be emphasized. These processes, as well as the modernization experienced in the context of nation-state structures in the colonial period and after, and the effects of this process on the religious field will be evaluated. Numerous modernizations and alternative and new religiosity phenomena will be considered.

RLST 524E Secularisation and Modernisation

It deals with colonialism and post-colonialism within the framework of leading theories and approaches and focuses on socio-political and cultural changes in colonized societies. In this context, social processes in various institutions in the colonial and post-colonial periods will be examined while focusing on the changes in different geographies, especially in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian societies. Students will develop an analytical and critical approach when evaluating colonialists and colonized societies. In the context of the post-colonial period, it will be informed about the nation-state structuring and the social changes that are the subject of modernization.

RLST 537 Social Theory 

This course aims to examine a wide range of classical social theorists in the Muslim world and the West,  from Farabi to Ibn Khaldun to Marx and Weber. The main task is to make classical social theories relevant to the present understanding of human society. In other words, the course’s primary goal is to help students to develop a way of looking at past and contemporary issues “sociologically.” In doing so, the theory will be discussed as a tool for organizing existing knowledge to generate new knowledge. Furthermore, each theorist will be understood within their own time so that specific social and historical contexts, which gave rise to their particular theory,  can be thoroughly understood.

RLST 541 Religion and Society in Turkey

This course examines Turkey's relationship between religion and society from the Tanzimat to the present. The modernization efforts in the Ottoman Empire after the Tanzimat and the relationship of this process with religion, the effect of the Committee of Union and Progress on the establishment of the Republic of Turkey and the determination of religious policies, the impact of the modernization policies applied after the establishment of the Republic on religion, the transition to multi-party life and afterward. The main issues that shape the relationship between religion and society in Turkey, such as the religious revival experienced in Turkey, the liberalization and democratization process that took place in Turkey after 1980, and the emergence of new Islamic classes, will be discussed from a sociological perspective.