Study of Religions

General Information

This doctoral fee-paying study programme (in both full-time and combined form) is open to graduates in the Study of Religions or related fields.

The objective of the doctoral degree study programme in the study of religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, is the systematic preparation for academic work in the study of religions or related fields. The programme involves original and creative work under the guidance of a supervisor. Students go through all stages of the research process, from designing a research project proposal through collecting and analysing data to publishing the results and writing a dissertation.

The curriculum is organized on the basis of a credit system, offering the possibility for individual choices concerning the study timeline and thematic modifications, including opportunities for fieldwork and study stays abroad. The core of the curriculum consists of four doctoral seminars in which students finalize their dissertation project, read and discuss complex theoretical texts, improve their academic writing, decide about their publication project, get acquainted with the peer-review process and other practical and ethical aspects of academic publishing, and write their dissertations. During their studies, students submit at least one academic book review related to their dissertation project, one grant application, and one article concerned with the central topic of the dissertation. They develop their presentation skills and participate in at least one local and one international conference. In other courses they deepen their competence in theory and methodology and participate in further theoretical, methodological, subject-oriented, or language courses according to their specialty and dissertation project. Under the guidance of their supervisor, they participate in teaching undergraduate students, thereby gaining valuable teaching experience.

The doctoral programme in the study of religions is open to graduates with a Master’s degree in the study of religions or a related discipline, particularly sociology, anthropology, history, or psychology, who intend to develop their academic skills and pursue a career in academia.

The profile research areas of the supervisors at the Department for the Study of Religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts include the prosocial effects of ritual, the use of network analysis in research into the spread of religious innovations, non-religion, and atheism, religions of the Roman Empire, early Judaism, and early Christianity, nonconformist movements in medieval Christianity, medieval Christian missions to Asia and Christianity in India, Islamic reformism, visual culture of Buddhism, Czechoslovak Oriental Studies in the 20th century, ancient Chinese texts, Japanese Buddhism, discourse analysis of online media, field research in contemporary religiosity, and the dynamics of sacralisation and disenchantment in the modern world.

The doctoral programme in the study of religions at Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts, benefits from the facilities of the oldest department for the study of religions in the Czech Republic, which is well-established and internationally recognized. Among comparable doctoral programmes, it stands out for its focus on strong interdisciplinary research (the use of network analysis and geographic information systems, cognitive science, experimental psychology, and historical anthropology), its emphasis on transferable skills, the involvement of students in team projects, and an extensive network of international contacts in the profile research areas which enhances the chances that the graduates will obtain positions in academia and/or submit successful post-doctoral projects.

A successful graduate is able to
  • understand complex theoretical texts in humanities and the social sciences
  • connect the general/theoretical and empirical/practical aspects of research in the humanities and social sciences
  • use selected methods of data collection and data analysis in the humanities and social sciences on an advanced level
  • design and conduct complex, systematic, original, methodologically sound, and theoretically relevant research in the study of religions
  • clarify the foundations of independent research
  • put the results of independent research in the context of the international state of research on the topic
  • understand the practical and ethical aspects of research and academic publishing
  • write a high-quality and relevant academic text meeting international standards
  • communicate the acquired knowledge and experience in teaching, lectures, and publications
  • apply teaching experience and organizational skills in practice

Forms of study

Doctoral studies are exclusively one-subject study programmes. The length of study of all study programmes is four years. Graduates of Doctoral degree study programmes are awarded an internationally recognized scientific degree of philosophiæ doctor (Ph.D.). The doctoral study represents the highest degree of university education.

Full-time and combined forms of study

It is possible to study in two ways.

Full-time study means that your study duties are spread over the working days (Mon-Fri) according to your timetable. Full-time students participate in lectures, conferences, and educational and research activities of the workplace.

Combined form of study is more often chosen by those applicants who have other responsibilities (e.g. employment or family) that do not allow them to attend classes daily.

Graduate Employment

Graduates are qualified for positions in teaching and research in the study of religions and related fields; in preparing grant applications in the public and private sector; in non-governmental organizations focusing on minorities and intercultural translation; in state administration where the position requires knowledge of different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups and decision-making based on facts; in education; in the media; and in translation of literature in the humanities and social sciences.

In academia, the graduates can offer an outstanding and state-of-the-art orientation in the contemporary study of religions including major recent international developments in theory and methods; interdisciplinary thinking; skills in theoretically founded and empirically precise research; and experience in research as well as in teaching, publishing, and preparing grant applications and projects.

Employers outside academia will benefit from the graduates’ analytical skills, their ability to work on demanding and long-term projects, independent and critical thinking, and skills in the preparation of well-founded materials for decision-making.

Admission Requirements

Terms of Admission
  1. Submission of an electronic application in the Masaryk University Information System.
  2. Submission of the doctoral research project (in English) on the official form (available for download at /do/phil/Pracoviste/urelig/formulare/research-proposal.docx) by October 31st (for the expected enrollment in the Spring semester) or by April 30th (for the expected enrollment in the Autumn semester) accompanied by an academic curriculum vitae (in English) containing a list of publications (if applicable). These materials need to be submitted in digital form as part of the online application.

The admission procedure has two rounds. Based on the quality of the project, its compliance with the research profile of the department, and the availability of a suitable supervisor, projects can be shortlisted for the second round. The second round consists of a presentation of the project in front of the admission committee, followed by discussion and defense of the project. The time dedicated to the presentation is 15 minutes. A presentation in PowerPoint or another program is encouraged. Based on this interview and the availability of a potential supervisor, the admission committee decides about recommending or not the admission.

In addition, all applicants with foreign degrees (except as set out below) must submit their Master's degree for official recognition in the Czech Republic. Applicants without this official recognition are not permitted to enroll at the University. Detailed instructions can be found here.

  • Holders of degrees from universities located in countries with which the Czech Republic has a treaty on the bilateral recognition of academic degrees and titles (at the present time: Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia), please find out more here.
  • Holders of degrees from universities located in Slovakia should follow the instructions set out here.
Important notice

It is recommended that you choose and contact your supervisor before sending your application. For more information, please contact doc. PhDr. David Zbíral, Ph.D. at

Application Deadline

1 January - 30 April for the enrollment in the Fall semester
1 July - 31 October for the enrollment in the Spring semester

Documents set out above in the Terms of Admission are required to be provided in digital form and attached to the online application by April 30th or October 31st.


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Tuition Fees

Tuition fees: € 500/academic year (degree program taught in English).

    Students who require a visa and who are denied one will be refunded 90 % of the school-fee only if they send us confirmation that their visa was denied. The money will be returned by bank transfer only.

Courses of Czech for Foreigners

All students of this program are entitled to study two semesters of Czech for foreigners free of charge. It is not obligatory but it might be handy.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding the application and admission procedures or the tuition fees, please contact us at

However, if you would like to know more about what is it like to study at Masaryk University, how is the life of a student at the Faculty of Arts or if you have some questions that require personal experience, we have a solution for you as well! You can contact our student ambassador Stefan Veleski at

Stefan speaks Macedonian, English, Czech, and Russian. His favorite motto is:

“I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.” 

― Elon Musk

Mgr. Stefan Veleski, B.A.


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