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Welcome to the University of Gävle and Master Programme in Religious Studies!

On this page you can read more about your programme, the introduction for international students and how to get started with your studies!

Get started with your studies!

To be able to use the university web services, register for your courses, take out library books and more, you need to first go through our "Five steps to get started".

Introduction Day for all our international students Autumn 2024

About the programme

Programme introduction and registration

Programme introduction and registration

Registration and an introductory session to your programme is held on Tuesday 3 September at 10:15–12:00 via Zoom.

Here you will receive a short introduction to your programme by your programme director, Jari Ristiniemi.

We use Zoom for web meetings, please download the app. You are able to participate in the introductory session and even in other seminaries through zoom.

Web meetings with Zoom

Presence in the introduction is non-mandatory, but we presuppose that you contact Jari Ristiniemi at jari.ristiniemi@hig.se to confirm your participation in the programme. If you have not confirmed your participation either through e-mail or during the introduction, you will lose your place on the programme.

Programme information

Programme information from your programme director

The Master program in Religious Studies is a distance-based educational program that offers the possibility to obtain a Master of Religious Studies entirely off-campus. The official language throughout the studies is English. There are no restrictions related to geographical location. All courses can be followed online. The lectures will be available online on a web-based learning management system Canvas for watching at any time.

At the University of Gävle you have the unique possibility to study Religious Studies at the master’s level. Here, we study the interaction between individual, society and culture during different historical epochs. The influence of religion on current politics, the relationship between aesthetics/art and religion, the relationship between mentality and forms of organisation, as well as different forms of action strategies for a sustainable society, are all issues in focus. The Master Programme in Religious Studies includes four specialisations, you choose one of these during the second semester: Ethics and leadership; Religion in post-secular society; Environment, health and working life; Religion and folklore in the past and in the present.

A great majority of the world’s population say that they are followers of different religious traditions. At the same time, religion is heatedly debated in media. The picture is complex and demands specific tools to avoid simplified assumptions: How can we understand the development of terror organisations like the Islamic State, compared to the parallel growth of Muslim feminism and the struggle for civil rights in the Middle East? How about Syria, is Syria the last secular state in the middle of the growing conservative Islam? How about the scientific worldview, does it really offer an alternative to religious world-views? What kind of leadership does the world need today? The spiritual leadership, what is it? How about the burn-out phenomenon, what is its genesis and how to cope with it? How do the indigenous African religious traditions see on the human/nature interaction?

As a student in the master programme, you will be offered the opportunity to pose the above-like questions and learn more about diverse religious phenomena. We explore a variety of religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as expressions of “New Age” like Spiritism and shamanism. The religious ways of living are all expressed in a multitude of ways, for example as beliefs, rituals, codes concerning food and dressing, politics, gender roles, and different art genres. The master programme studies these phenomena from historical, contemporary, behavioural and existential perspectives. All are used to understand the interaction between individual, society and culture in today’s local/global world. The diminishing influence of traditional religion in different contexts and religious change are also studied. In addition, we also ask the question if there is a difference between what we call religion and spirituality, and if they are related.

The course communication will happen both through the learning management system Canvas and through e-mail contacts.

Programme timetable

Programme timetable

In preparation for your first courses

In preparation for your first courses

Below you will find welcome letters for the first course(s) that you will take as part of your programme. You will find information about course registration, links to the course syllabus and reading list, timetable and more in your course welcome letter. Welcome letters for courses are published at the latest four weeks before the course start date.


If you have any questions about the programme, please contact the programme director, Jari Ristiniemi.

E-mail: jari.ristiniemi@hig.se
Phone: +46 70 721 49 21

Service and Support


You need to apply for accommodation yourself. Please remember to do it in good time before your arrival. The University of Gävle does not provide any student accommodation.

Free Microsoft Office

As a student at the University of Gävle you have the opportunity to install
Microsoft Office on up to five computers. The Office package includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Onenote.

  • Library

The library is located in the middle of campus and is open to everybody. You can reach all digital resources such as e-books and e-journals after logging in with your user account.

  • Residence permit
    • If you are a non-EU citizen you need to apply for a residence permit. Start the process of applying for a residence permit as soon as possible. This can be a slow process and take several months. It is therefore good to get started as soon as possible!

Student Centre

At the Student Centre you will meet knowledgeable staff that can assist you in just about anything regarding your studies at the University of Gävle. The Student Centre is located in building 22. You will also find a café in this area and TV displays showing current information and the daily timetabling. If you have any study-related questions, you can contact the Student Centre at studentsupport@hig.se

Student Support

  • Sometimes you need help to manage your studies and student life. At the University of Gävle we have several support functions to help you deal with various study-related situations, such as, for example, study guidance counselling, student health and welfare, and support for disabled students.

Tuition fees

  • If you have any questions about tuition fees, please find more information in our FAQ.

Web meetings with Zoom

  • Zoom are a services for web meetings at the University of Gävle. You usually need a webcam and headset with a microphone.
  • Web meetings with Zoom

Wireless network (wifi)

Eduroam (EDUcation ROAMing) gives you access to the Internet when you are staying on the University campus. It also provides internet access at other universities and colleges that are connected to eduroam. Eduroam also works at many airports, railway stations and hotels.

Published by: Satu Moberg Page responsible: Satu Moberg Updated: 2024-03-06
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)