Online Master's in Philosophy, Theology and Religions (PhilTeR)
Digital Open Day with Ryan Mullins (Lucerne) and Peter Adamson (LMU Munich / King's College London)
On Monday, June 12th at 6pm (CET) our next digital open day takes place. Register now and attend the debate «God and the Eternity of the World.» with Ryan Mullins and Peter Adamsons - both professors of the Online Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Theology and Religions. Use also the chance and get to know more about the curriculum and have your questions answerd by our Tutors.
Academic programs in philosophy often proceed as if God didn’t exist, and do not consider the documented growing interest in religion.
In those rare cases where religion is indeed considered, only the relationship between philosophy and Christianity is delved into, as if other religions, especially Judaism and Islam, did not exist and played little to no role in the history of philosophy.
Our program fills these gaps with an international and interreligious online course of graduate study.
The three Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) on Philosophy, Theology and Abrahamic Religions will be a continuing education program at the University of Lucerne, with an anticipated launch date in September 2023. The program will be taught by an international team of leading scholars.
The courses will usually extend over 1 or 2 semesters:
CAS Philosophy, Theology and Christianity
CAS Philosophy, Theology and Islam
CAS Philosophy, Theology and Judaism
The courses will be aimed at students of philosophy, theology, and religious studies, as well as other professionals who would like to acquire a deeper understanding of the history of philosophy and theology and one of the Abrahamic religions.
The courses will be particularly suited to professionals employed in the fields of culture, education, media, politics, public administration, consulting, church and religious services and NGO work, journalism, media & publishing, public relations & marketing, personnel services, political consulting, political and cultural foundations, management consulting, archives/museums/libraries, religious non-profit organisations (Caritas, Fastenaktion, Gassenarbeit), international aid organisations (ICRC).
“The assumption that we live in a secularized world is false. The world today, with some exceptions, is as furiously religious as it ever was, and in some places more so than ever.” (Peter Berger)
Interest in religion has arisen sharply in recent decades: according to the data of the Pew Research Center, the percentage of non-believers is set to fall from 16 % to 12.5% by 2060. Nevertheless, academic programs in philosophy are often designed in an agnostic way—as if the question of God’s existence did not matter, to say nothing of the place of the monotheistic religions predicated on his existence. Such programs neglect the growing interest in religion at a global level and particularly among students of philosophy.
Furthermore, in many such programs, philosophy is studied exclusively in a topical way, examining particular questions and problems while neglecting the history of these problems and of philosophy more broadly. Finally, the study of the millennia-long history of dialogue between philosophy and religions—which took place within, e.g., among the ancient Greeks, and within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—is not emphasized by any postsecondary program in philosophy, despite such study’s foundational nature for ongoing dialogue between cultures and faiths in an increasingly globalized world.
The Online MA in Philosophy, Theology and Religions (PhilTeR) fills all these gaps. The course of study it offers is centred on the mutual relationship between religions and philosophy from both a historical and a theoretical point of view. Moreover, it was conceived and designed as an online program and is thus ideally suited for a student body drawn from over the world. This online format also allows for a similarly international faculty: our course instructors are all leading experts in their given area of philosophy and/or religious thought, and include some of the world’s most well-respected scholars working in these fields.
The program runs for two years, with two semesters (or terms) per year. The first three terms comprise two modules each, with 4-6 courses per module. The fourth and final term will be dedicated to writing the MA thesis. Thus, the program comprises three half-year semesters of full-time courses, followed by one semester spent writing the thesis.
Students receive instruction from a team of professors from around the world, selected for their leading expertise in their respective fields. Lectures take place entirely online. Students can thus choose the pace at which they work through the lectures. Additionally, students enjoy the academic support and guidance from multiple tutors, all of whom are highly qualified to respond to questions and to help guide research.
The program is designed to encompass the best aspects of two formats for postsecondary education, ensuring the pedigree of a Swiss education together with the flexibility of online study. The benefits of online study in an increasingly globalized and industrialized world are clear:
- Work-life balance: No commute and a flexible schedule allow for more time for family, friends, career, and personal development without compromising the quality of study.
- Enhanced communication: Far from limiting interpersonal interaction, a centralized online platform allows students to contribute and to be heard more clearly when sharing ideas and concerns, without getting lost in the crowd.
- Participation in an international community: An entirely online format allows for an otherwise uniquely international student body, which in turn grants students the opportunity to gain a global perspective by engaging with the diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences of their classmates.
We have also taken several additional measures to ensure that students remain connected with each other and form a genuine community:
- Each year, students set up a group chat and/or recurring video meets. These methods enable them to discuss their classes and research with each other on a daily basis, and have already been an indispensable part of establishing camaraderie and mutual support among the students of the inaugural PhilTeR cohort.
- Students are encouraged to keep in regular contact with the tutors, who are available to answer even minor or mundane questions via email, chat, or video call, often even during evenings or weekends. The tutors may also coordinate events with the students, such as general video calls or study sessions.
- In a more official capacity, discussion forums related specifically to course readings will be made available on the program platform, and moderated by the tutors.
- Students have the opportunity to take part in an annual week-long research conference in Lucerne (Switzerland) or in Palermo (Italy). Participating students attend in-person lectures by leading scholars, give their own talks, and enjoy various opportunities for discussion and conviviality as well as for exploring the beauty and history of the two cities. Participants also receive several credits towards their degrees. Participation is encouraged, but not mandatory, and students have the option of attending online.
History of Philosophy and Religions: Basic Concepts
Module 1: Basic Concepts I (CAS,* 15 CP)
1. History of Philosophy across Religions: an Introduction (Peter Adamson) (3 CP)
2. Foundational Concepts and History of Judaism (Simon Erlanger and Tyron Goldschmidt) (3 CP)
3. Foundational Concepts and History of Christianity (Ursula Schumacher) (3 CP)
4. Foundational Concepts and History of Islam (Erdal Toprakyaran) (3 CP)
5. Philosophy and Non-Abrahamic Religions (Ferenc Ruzsa) (3 CP)
Module 2: Basic Concepts II (CAS, 15 CP)
6. Philosophy and Religion in the Greek-Roman World (Christoph Helmig) (3 CP)
7. God as Being according to Plato and Aristotle (David Anzalone and Giovanni Ventimiglia) (1,5 CP)
8. Translatio Studiorum. Translations and Philosophical Exchanges in the Middle Ages between Jewish, Islamic and Christian Cultures (Charles Burnett) (3 CP)
9. Philosophical Lexicons across Traditions: coming from Greek, Latin, Jewish and Arabic/Persian Philosophical Texts (Marienza Benedetto, Davide Falessi and Mostafa Najafi) (3 CP)
10. Religious Sense across Religions (Santiago Ramos) (1,5 CP)
11. Summer School (End of August – beginning of September): Philosophical Issues across Religions (4,5 CP)
Total Credit Points: 30
History of Medieval/Modern Philosophy and Religions**
Module 3: God in the History of Philosophy (“Middle Ages”) (CAS, 15 CP)
1. Judaism (Marienza Benedetto) (4,5 CP)
2. Christianity (Pasquale Porro and Giovanni Ventimiglia) (4,5 CP)
3. Islam (Olga Lizzini) (4,5 CP)
4. Philosophical Books across Religions: The Liber de Causis and its Different Traditions (Maria Evelina Malgeri) (1,5 CP)
Module 4: God in the History of Philosophy (“Modernity”) (CAS, 15 CP)
5. Judaism (Warren Zev Harvey) (4,5 CP)
6. Christianity (Marco Lamanna and Paul Richard Blum) (4,5 CP)
7. Islam (Ulrich Rudolph) (4, 5 CP)
8. Does God Exist? Classical Arguments (Richard Cross) (1,5 CP)
Total Credit Points: 30
Contemporary Philosophy and Religions: Topics and Problems
Module 5: Topics and Problems I (CAS, 15 CP)
1. Philosophy of Religion I: Epistemology of Religion (Maria Rosa Antognazza) (3 CP)
2. Philosophy of Religion II: God’s Existence and Attributes (Gyula Klima) (3 CP)
3. Philosophy of Religion III: God, Freedom and Evil (Ryan Mullins) (3 CP)
4. Divine Attributes across Religions (Maarten J.F.M. Hoenen) (3 CP)
5. Interreligious Relationships I (Emanuele Colombo) (3 CP)
Module 6: Topics and Problems II (CAS, 15 CP)
6. Jewish Contemporary Philosophy (Tyron Goldschmidt) (3 CP)
7. Christian Contemporary Philosophy (Winfried Löffler) (3 CP)
8. Islamic Contemporary Philosophy (Gary Carl Muhammad Legenhausen) (3 CP)
9. Philosophy in the Modern Islamic World and the Reception of Western Philosophy (Roman Seidel) (3 CP)
10. Interreligious Relationships II (Jehoschua Ahrens) (1, 5 CP)
11. The Unknown God: Agnosticism and Mysticism (Anthony Kenny) (1, 5 CP)
Total Credit Points: 30
MA Thesis: 30 CP
The credits associated with the program are as follows:
- 120 credit points obtained over the course of 2 years or 4 semesters. Each semester consists of 2 modules of 15 credit points each, for a total of 30 credit points per semester. The final semester is devoted to the Master’s thesis, and is also 30 credit points.
- Eight elective courses (3 credit points each) in select topics (e.g. Dogmatic Theology, Fundamental Theology, Theological Ethics, Church History) to complement and/or substitute the standard curriculum.
- Option for CAS (Certificate of Advanced Study) made up of 15 credit points – start planned in September 2023 – consisting of either one of 3 subject specific complements (Jewish, Christian or Islamic Philosophy).
- Examinations will consist of  a free-topic written paper and  a written general test per Module (approx. mid-January and end of June). They will be conducted on the web platform Moodle, and will be identical in content and requirements to in-person exams.
* Certificate of Advanced Study.
** “Medieval,” “Middle Ages,” “modern” and “modernity” are used in a conventional manner.
Anyone with a bachelor’s degree recognized by the University of Lucerne in philosophy, theology, or religious studies can be admitted to the program. Applicants with an equivalent undergraduate degree can also be admitted after a formal check by the University. Relevant other subjects include: Cultural Studies, International Studies, International Law, Comparative Constitutional Law and Religions, Languages (Hebrew, Arabic), and History.
Peter Adamson (LMU Munich / King’s College London)
David Giuseppe Arie Anzalone (Lucerne)
Paul Richard Blum (Loyola University, Maryland)
Charles Burnett (Warburg Institute, London)
Richard Cross (Notre Dame, Indiana)
Simon Erlanger (Lucerne)
Tyron Goldschmidt (Rochester, New York)
Gyula Klima (Fordham University, New York)
Gary Carl (Muhammad) Legenhausen (Qom)
Maria Evelina Malgieri (Turin)
Santiago Ramos (Rockhurst, Kansas)
Ursula Schumacher (Luzern)
Roman Seidel (FU Berlin)
Erdal Toprakyaran (Tübingen / Lucerne)
Autumn semester: Late registrations can still be made until 31 August 2023 and must be submitted online. Spring semester: All applications must be submitted online no later than 30 November 2023 (or no later than 31 January 2024 for late registrations). For online registration, a one-time registration fee of CHF 100 will be added. In the event of late registration, an additional processing fee of CHF 150, i.e. a total of CHF 250, will be charged.
If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements for this program please get in contact with us.
- The tuition fee per semester (including exams and use of the Moodle learning platform) is CHF 810 for educational residents (students who were residents of Switzerland when they obtained their certificate qualifying them for university admission) and CHF 1110 for educational foreigners. (students who resided outside of Switzerland when they obtained their certificate qualifying them for university admission). More information is available here.
- Scholarships may be available that cover 100% of tuition fees and in some cases even the registration fees.
If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please contact us via info-masterphilter. @ unilu.ch
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Should you require any further information about the Master's in Philosophy, Theology and Religions, please contact our Academic Advisor and/or Student Advisor:
E-Mail: info-masterphilter or @ unilu.chContact form
The program imbues students with expertise in philosophy, logic, theology, and cultural history, as well as fundamental methodological skills essential for academic and professional study. The broad range of topics and cultures studied in the program ensures that students are well positioned for any one of several different later career trajectories:
The program trains students in various fields crossing traditional disciplinary lines, including history of philosophy, historical theology, philosophy of religion, contemporary analytical philosophy, and non-Western philosophy. This course of study widens the scope of possible subsequent studies at the doctoral level: graduates are in a competitive position to apply not only to programs in philosophy, but also in theology and religious studies. For instance, the Faculty of Theology of Lucerne has recently created a PhD (Dr. Phil. in Theological Studies) for which graduates of this program would be ideally suited.
Aptitude in interreligious collaboration
In a multicultural society challenged by global migratory phenomena, the demand for professionals who are knowledgeable about history, as well as the history of philosophy and intellectual history of cultures other than their own, continues to grow. A strong command of the mentality and intellectual history of different cultures is an indispensable tool for interreligious dialogue. The specific training offered by this program meets these needs.
Graduates of the program will possess competitive credentials for international careers in culture, education, media, politics, public administration, consulting, church and religious services, and NGO work, such as journalism, media & publishing, public relations & marketing, personnel services, political consulting, political and cultural foundations, management consulting, high school philosophy and humanities teaching, archives/museums /libraries, church non-profit and international organizations, social employment, and asylum systems.