Stockholm university logo, link to start page

History of Religions

Religion is a complex cultural phenomenon that impacts our lives as individuals and society as a whole. Therefore knowledge of religion is crucial for our understanding of the world around us. Religious studies offer you insights into religion and its significance for individuals and society, currently and throughout history, globally and locally.

Subject description

Religion has always been an integral part of human societies, attempting to answer questions of how the world came into being and how and why the world is organised in the way it is. Religion addresses questions of the place of humans in the universe and the meaning of life. Religion is a central part of many people’s identities and guides their choices in their everyday life and social relationships. Religion is also a powerful force that influences society and political life locally, nationally and globally.

As a student of the history of religions, you will meet a wide range of religious traditions from different parts of the world both historical and extant. We study Judaism, Christianity and Islam besides Asian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism and Shinto. The ancient religions of Greece and Rome, as well as the Old Norse religion are explored together with new religious movements.

The studies focus on the historical development of these religions, the variety of their ideas and practices as well as their significance for the individual, society and culture. You will become acquainted with institutions, ideas and rituals of the great religious traditions but even religion as it is lived by ordinary people in their everyday lives. Since we view religion as a historical, cultural and social phenomenon we will study it from historical, anthropological, psychological and sociological perspectives.

Career opportunities

The History of Religions is an interdisciplinary field involving both the arts and social sciences. Therefore the History of Religions provides the student with knowledge and skills beyond its own field. Religious studies is highly useful for teachers, journalists, librarians, museum curators, aid workers or for those working with migration issues. It is also possible to act as a consultant in religious issues for different authorities and enterprises.

Courses and programmes


In order to obtain a bachelor degree in the History of Religions you can study freestanding courses or study within the following programme:

  • Cultural Studies Program, 180 hp

In order to obtain a magister-/master exam in the History of Religions you can study:

  • Magister-/Master’s programme in the History of Religions, 120 hp


The section of History of Religions possesses research competence within the following fields: The ancient religions of Europe, including religions of ancient Greece and Rome, pre-Christian religions in the North (Old Norse, Finnish and Saami Religions); b) New Religions and Western Esotericism; c) Asian religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism, and d) Islam and Christianity.