PhD and ReMA Education

National research school NOSTER provides training and education for PhD candidates and research master (ReMA) students in the fields of theology and religious studies, complementing local master and doctoral programmes. This page provides general information about the design of our curriculum and introduces the types of modules organised by NOSTER. Detailed information about individual modules is available in our online learning environment Moodle. Use the guest login if you are not yet registered at NOSTER.

PhD candidates and ReMA students are free to mix and match their ideal training programme. Addressing the various needs of both target groups and NOSTER's objectives, our curriculum offers annual modules in three categories: Central Events, Seminars, and Crash Courses. In addition, NOSTER occasionally presents isolated events: Pop-up Classes.

Central Events

Annual events of one or two days contribute significantly to building and fostering an academic community. They address a wide variety of issues including research topics and methods, career perspectives, and general academic skills.

  • Kick-Off

    September (one day)

    The Kick-Off opens the new academic year, introducing new members into the academic community and fostering existing contacts. During an afternoon programme, participants explore the rich variety of topics studied and methods employed in the fields of theology and religious studies, or a general topic relevant to all emerging scholars.

    2021-2022: 24 September, afternoon programme. Keynote by Professor Dr Marianne Moyaert: 'Collaborative Research: Complementary Roles and Methods in a Research Team.'
    > More info (Moodle)

    Central Events 0.5 EC
  • Midyear Meeting

    February (one day)

    Half-way through the year, the Midyear Meeting focuses on career perspectives, both within and outside academia. As an academic community of emerging and senior scholars, NOSTER offers a valuable platform to plan and promote your (academic) career.

    2021-2022: 18 February, afternoon programme: 'Fund Your Future!' How have research opportunities in our fields evolved in recent years? Which types of funding are available, and how to apply for them? With contributions by Professor dr. Frans Wijsen (NOSTER/RU) and dr. Marlies Kluck (funding officer, RUG), and parallel sessions for ReMAs with Professor dr. Kim Knibbe (RUG) and for PhDs with dr. Brenda Mathijssen (recipient of NWO Veni, RUG).

    Central Events 0.5 EC
  • Spring Conference

    April (multi-day conference)

    The Spring Conference is the highlight of the academic year. The event offers an ideal opportunity to discover the ‘academic conference’ formula and to exchange knowledge and experiences. The conference includes a plenary lecture on a topical issue, workshops, and parallel sessions in which all junior members have the opportunity to present their current or future research projects. In short: the Spring Conference provides you with fresh energy, new ideas and skills, and relevant feedback from peers and seniors.

    2021-2022: 21-22 April 2022: spend two days at conference venue Abdij Mariënkroon near Den Bosch in order to engage with the work of peers and to attend workshops and a plenary lecture by Professor dr. Peter-Ben Smit (VU/UU). The perfect place to discover the ‘academic conference’ formula and to exchange knowledge and experiences. The conference does not have a fixed theme: all research master students and PhD candidates can present their current or future research.
    > More info (Moodle)

    Central Events 1-1.5 EC


In multiple sessions throughout the year, seminars immerse participants in a specific (sub-)discipline or a particular topical issue under supervision of experts in the field. In the research seminars, participants also discuss their own work in order to exchange feedback.

  • Intensive Text Reading Seminar ‘The Challenge of Difference’

    September-May (8-10 sessions)

    Taught by: Anne-Marie Korte

    An intensive course which aims to explore formative texts for the interdisciplinary study of religion within the humanities and the qualitative and conceptual studies in the social sciences, in particular from gender-critical, postcolonial, and post-secular perspectives. It focuses on the multiple and changing manifestations of religion in diverse social and cultural contexts, and it investigates religion from the intersection of feminist, sexuality, queer, masculinity and diversity studies. Designed for ReMA students but open to PhD candidates as well.

    2021-2022: This year’s seminar theme is: queer approaches to religious studies and theology. In seven meetings we will discuss the impact of queer studies on the study of religion, looking into a variety of religious and spiritual traditions, reading texts from both ‘outsider’ perspectives (religious studies) as well as ‘insider’ perspectives (theology). Central to all texts will be the exploration of non-heteronormative and non-cisnormative identities, practices and perspectives. 
    > More info (Moodle)

    Seminars 5 EC
  • Research Seminar Dogmatics, Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion

    September-May (5-10 sessions)

    Taught by: Peter-Ben Smith and Herman Westerink

    Multiple sessions throughout the year focusing on the exploration of current debates in dogmatics, ethics and philosophy of religion and on presenting and discussing the work of participants. The course includes discussion of a text or a book that is key to the field, either in terms of content or in terms of method, and training of academic skills. 

    2021-2021: > More info (Moodle)

    Seminars 2.5 EC
  • Research Seminar Empirical Research in Religion

    September-May (5-10 sessions)

    Taught by: Carl Sterkens

    The monthly sessions offer a forum for presentation and discussion of ongoing research by the participants. In addition, the course discusses literature related to general topics which are relevant for empirical research in religion, such as quantitative and qualitative research methods, ethical aspects, and scientific integrity.

    2021-2022: > More info (Moodle) 

    Seminars 2.5 EC
  • Research Seminar Religion, Theology, and Gender

    September-May (5-10 sessions)

    Taught by Anne-Marie Korte and Anne-Claire Mulder

    Monthly sessions offer a forum to present and discuss the research projects of the participants. The sessions alternately focus on the exploration of current debates in the multidisciplinary field of Religion, Theology and Gender and on the mastering of dissertation skills, both in relation to the research projects of the participants.

    2021-2022: > More info (Moodle)

    Seminars 2.5 EC
  • Research Seminar Religious Studies

    September-May (5-10 sessions)

    Taught by: Jacqueline Borsje and Ab de Jong

    Monthly sessions offer a forum to present and discuss parts of the research projects of the participants. In addition, we will be discussing current debates and issues in the study of religion, with special focus on the interconnection between dedicated work (historical as well as contemporary) on concrete religions, religious materials, and religious phenomena, and general theorising about ‘religion’.

    2021-2022: > More info (Moodle)

    Seminars 3 EC
  • Research Webinar Christianity Worldwide

    September-May (8 sessions)

    Taught by: Martha Frederiks and Dorottya Nagy

    The course spotlights methods and theory in the study of Christianity/ies worldwide, aiming at familiarizing PhD candidates with relevant theories and methods for the benefit of their projects. The course will be taught online to cater especially for external PhD candidates and employs close-reading of key texts and peer-to-peer coaching of draft texts as its main methods.

    2021-2022: > More info (Moodle)

    Seminars 3 EC

Crash Courses

Condensed modules that allow participants to earn credits in relatively short periods of time. They focus on one particular theme, method, or text which they address in-depth.

  • Grand Course

    Autumn (multi-day conference)

    The annual Grand Course consists of two (mandatory) elements:  a conference, usually in cooperation with a partner organisation, and a masterclass on a related theme with a renowned senior scholar. In addition, participants can earn extra credits by writing a paper related to the theme of the Grand Course.

    2021-2022: This Grand Course is a combination of the NGG conference 'Religion and Heritage: Futures of Religious Pasts' and a masterclass with one of its keynote speakers: renowned cultural sociologist Dr. Marian Burchardt (University of Leipzig). The Masterclass centers around his recent book Regulating Differences: Religious Diversity and Nationhood in the Secular West (2020).
    > More info (Moodle)

    Crash Courses 2-5 EC
  • Must-Have-Read

    Autumn and Spring Editions (4-5 sessions within 2 months)

    Reading a classic cover-to-cover: students and emerging as well as established scholars rarely find the time to do so. This course offers you the opportunity to study and discuss a classic or contemporary standard work from the fields of theology or religious studies. In four or five sessions within the scope of two months, an expert on the particular publication guides participants through its history, context, and content. 

    2021-2022 Spring: Gustavo Gutiérrez, A Theology of Liberation with Professor dr. Erik Borgman (TiU).
    > More info (Moodle)

    2021-2022 Autumn: Émile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life with Dr Pooyan Tamimi Arab (UU) 
    > More info (Moodle)

    Crash Courses 2-4

Pop-up Classes

In addition to the regular curriculum, NOSTER occasionally presents isolated and/or ad-hoc events, such as pilots for new events, meet-and-greets with senior scholars, occasional collaborations with partner organisations, etc.

  • NOSTER/NISIS Workshop Day

    15 October 2021 (one day)

    In collaboration with NISIS, NOSTER presents a special workshop day in October 2021. The perfect opportunity to engage with peers from the Islamic studies and to improve specific academic skills.
    > More info (Moodle)

    Pop-up Classes 0.5 EC