Bachelor of Arts in Interreligious Studies

The Faculty of Theology at the University of Bern was the first German-speaking faculty to offer a degree program in ‘Religious Studies’ in 2005. Today’s multicultural societies increasingly include people of diverse religious identities. Sound and well-reasoned knowledge of our own and others’ religions is indispensable. Specialists knowledgeable about the different traditions are therefore essential.

Bachelor Interreligiöse Studien
Basic information
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Interreligious Studies, Universität Bern
Number of credits: 180 ECTS credits
Degree programs:
  • Major Interreligious Studies 120 ECTS credits

Other degree programs:

  • Minor Interreligious Studies 60 ECTS credits
Options of combination: several
Duration: 6 semesters
Language: German
Beginning of studies: Fall semester or with the approval of the responsible study counsellors responsable also in the spring semester

The Interreligious Studies program incorporates different areas of study. Students attending classes at the Faculty of Theology examine various historical and current developments in Christianity.

Individual classes in the traditions of the world religions (Judaism, Islam, religions of India, Buddhism) in cooperation with other institutes at the University of Bern (Institute for the Science of Religion and Central Asian Studies, Institute of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies) are part of the program. Developing a personal perspective on the diversity of religions also forms part of this course of study.

The course of study for the Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies requires 6 semesters. Students also pursue a minor course of study at another faculty parallel to this major.

Each program covers the following subjects (numbers refer to the number of ECTS points allocated to each area of study)

A Bachelor of Arts in Interreligious Studies degree requires a major consisting of 120 ECTS points and one or more minors totaling 60 ECTS points.

The major includes a choice of 15 ECTS points of electives from all minors offered at the Faculty of Theology or from numerous other minor subjects offered at the University of Bern with the exception of Interreligious Studies and Empirical Study of Religions.

Program Design (Studienstrukturen) (replace Freie Leistungen with Electives in the list of ECTS points)

Minors at the University of Bern

Minors that can be combined with a Bachelor of Interreligious Studies

Structures of Study
 Major ECTS
120 60 
120   30 + 30
120 30 + 15 + 15
120 30 + 30 Electives
30 + 15 + 15 Electives 
15 + 15 + 30 Electives 
Welche Minor Sie kombinieren können

‘Religion’ is no longer equivalent to Christianity or Judaism; many people in our Western industrial world claim to have religion. If one understands religion as re-ligare (interconnective), then it must be found, on the one hand, where mechanisms function to connect people with themselves (Identity). On the other, these mechanisms are responsible for interconnecting people together in relationships and groups.

In the BA and MA Religious Studies degree program, I gained a foundational knowledge of the traditions of world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu religions, Buddhism). Also, I received impulses to see religion from a broader perspective – a perspective which, namely, is currently a time of a worldwide network individualization process and no longer locked into limiting institutions. This multi-faceted view of ‘religion’ will surely be a great help for my career as a High School teacher.

Jonas Widmer (MA Religious Studies)

Globalization also influenced religions. They moved closer together and suffused each other, not least of all due to the process of global migration. The promise of meaning, but also religion’s conflict potential—for conflict opened a world in the West—is no longer mandatorily rooted in a religious tradition and despite this persistently and sometimes uncritically seeks orientation. This is reason enough to learn more precisely about religions, to work with them systematically, and to think about learning to deal with the demands they make of us. The Interreligious Studies program provides an opportunity to acquire knowledge and abilities that are necessary to shape a society that has grown very pluralistic responsibly.

Prof. Dr. Benz H.R. Schär, former leader of the Agency for Migration of the Reformed Church, Bern-Jura-Solothurn and retired Lecturer at the Faculty of Theology, University of Bern