HHP is fully integrated in the University of Amsterdam’s educational system. This means that in order to enroll in our teaching programs you have to go through the normal channels of the UvA’s Faculty of Humanities. Please note: BA programs are handled by the College of Humanities, while the international MA programs are handled by the Graduate School of Humanities. Questions about how to apply should always be addressed to the appropriate office. PLEASE NOTE: our secretary and academic staff cannot help you with details about the application process – you must go through the official channels.
For your convenience, we have assembled the links that you will need to find the right information, as well as a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Our BA courses are taught as part of the BA program Religiewetenschappen. For information about the program, as well as about how to apply, when to apply, and whom to contact, see:
Our MA program exists in a one-year and a two-year variety. The one-year variety is listed in the course catalog as “Theology and Religious Studies: Western Esotericism”. The two-year option is “Theology and Religious Studies: Religious Studies (Research MA)”. (PLEASE NOTE: despite the official title we do not teach theology. This misleading label has been forced upon all Dutch programs in Religious Studies for political/bureaucratic reasons). For all practical details about the application procedure, see the Graduate School of Humanities website.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do I have to pay tuition fees to study at HHP?
A: Yes, but how much depends on your nationality (passport). For more information about tuition fees, please take a look at this page of the UvA website. Please note that an application fee of € 50 is also needed. This fee is non-refundable and will be used for diploma recognition and for maintaining other UvA services for international students. For accurate details, always make sure to check directly with the Graduate School of Humanities.
Q: Are there opportunities for funding?
A: Yes, there are a number of possibilities for scholarships and student loans. The Graduate School offers a competitive scholarship for international students of excellence (known as an AMS scholarship), and there are special student loan services offered by the UvA to students from the United States and Canada. Check with the Graduate School for more information.
Q: I don’t speak any Dutch. Can I manage your courses with English?
A: Our BA program is for the most part in Dutch, and it is not advisable to sign up for it without prior language skills. Our MA program, on the other hand, is taught entirely in English.
Q: I am not a native English speaker. Do I need a proficiency certificate to apply?
A: Yes. To be admitted into an English MA program at the Faculty of Humanities you will need to document your language proficiency through an IELTS, CAE, or a TOEFL test. For up-to-date information on required scores, check with the Graduate School.
Q: I have a BA degree, but my previous school did not provide any courses on esotericism. Am I still qualified to apply for your MA?
A: At the moment there is no other university in the world that offers a full BA program on esotericism, so we can’t be too picky about which programs our MA students have previously followed. Since formalized education in this area is so rare, and our own BA program is in Dutch, we do not demand that you have an undergraduate degree in esotericism. Thus, anyone with a BA in a relevant field in the humanities or social sciences can apply for our MA. To give you an idea: Most of our successful students have a BA in religious studies, history, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies, literature, or art history. Please also note that admission is not determined solely on your grade average: for the esotericism program, more than for any of the other MA programs at the Faculty of Humanities, your motivation letter, study plan, and writing sample will be important to determine whether you are a suitable candidate. For the formal requirements, check again with the Graduate School.
Q: I am worried about my grade average. What are the formal requirements for being admitted to your program?
A: The basic requirements set down by the College of Humanities (for admission to BA programs) and the Graduate School (for admission to MA programs) apply to our courses as well. As usual, you should always check with these institutions for details. If you are an international student coming for our MA, please note that the one-year and two-year (“Research MA”) options require different grade averages. And don’t forget that grades are not everything: you will also be assessed on the basis of your motivation letter, study plan, writing sample, and reference letters.
Q: So what are you looking for in a motivation letter and writing sample, anyway?
A: Basically, since you are unlikely to have a formalized educational background in esotericism, we are looking for evidence that you have sufficient prior knowledge of what our field is all about and know what it means to study esotericism from an academic point of view. We want to know something about your motivation, because there are some who mistake us for Hogwarts and think we can teach them how to do magic (as opposed to understanding its historical or social significance). A writing sample is required by the Graduate School to ascertain your English language writing skills – which are essential for writing a successful MA thesis. If you have written a paper related to esotericism as part of your BA, we highly recommend that you submit this as your sample, since it will furthermore document your background knowledge.
Q: I have a degree from an unaccredited school/institute for spiritual education and want to incorporate Western esotericism into my spiritual practice path. Can I apply for your MA?
A: No, you have come to the wrong place. Unless you have a BA from an accredited university, you are not applicable. Our study program is strictly academic, and students are expected to work with the valid methodologies of the academy (e.g. history, sociology, anthropology). We cannot help you with your spiritual enlightenment.
Q: You have said a lot about the MA program, but how do I apply for a PhD position?
A: That’s a different process: we only have two regular PhD positions available, and currently these are both occupied. There are, however, some other options. All you need to know is explained on this page.
Q: What about post-docs?
A: Unfortunately, we do not offer any regular postdoc positions. That is not to say that it is impossible to work as a postdoctoral researcher at HHP; it only means that if you wish to do so, you need to find the funding elsewhere. If you have the financial backing already, and want to know if we can house you as a resident postdoctoral fellow, please get in touch with our secretary and/or one of our staff members.
Q: I live outside of the European Union, and am worried that I will need a special visa to study in the Netherlands. What do I do?
A: Don’t worry; if your application succeeds, the University of Amsterdam will help you with your visa applications. For more information on moving to the Netherlands, finding housing, registering an address, getting health insurance, etc., check with the Graduate School.
Q: Can I study part-time?
A: There are options for part-time study but we do not offer a separate program. For more information about this, inquire with College of Humanities (for BA students) or the Graduate School (for MA students).
Q: Can I do my courses as online distance learning?
A: No, all of our courses require physical presence. In fact, participation in classes and contributions in the form of oral presentations and powerpoints are part of the examination methods that we use and constitute an integral part of our teaching philosophy.