TFF4005 – Theory and Method in the Study of Theology and Religion

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course introduces students to research methods in the study of religion and theology, with the explicit goal to assist students in the development of their MA thesis project. The course will be equally concerned with empirical approaches (as one approach to data collection) as with the analysis of already existing data/material. The course highlights issues and concerns pertaining to moral presuppositions, situatedness and positioning in designing research projects, as well as to the normative content of any concept, term or theory used to analyze data/research material. In particular, the course gives insight into the development of a coherent research design, the development of research questions, processes of data collection and analysis, and sample various approaches of methods and theories. The course will also provide a keen attention to the production of texts and their interpretation.

Learning outcome

  • Knowledge of different research methods in the study of religion and theology
  • Ability to make informed choices about planning and designing a research project for a MA thesis
  • Ability to critically assess the use of methods and theories in relation to data/ material
  • Understand the use of method and theory/concepts/terms to produce new knowledge about religion and theology and the skills needed to interpret the data.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Mandatory requirements:

Around midterm there will be two mandatory course assignments:

1. A critical reflection on a reading from the syllabus. The reflection paper (maximum of two pages) to be submitted in canvas. The reflection papers will be discussed among students in assigned groups.

2. Draw up a short plan for a research design. The design paper (up to 2 pages) to be submitted in canvas. In class, students will receive cohort supervision on their research design (cohort supervision: supervision in groups consisting of students and lecturers).

The language of this course is English.


The term paper consists of two parts:

Part 1: Develop a draft for a research design (for the MA project description). The project description is to include the following: research question, the material/data to be examined, method, and theory/analytical tools.

Part 2: The project description should also include a critical reflection about the process of selecting research question/s, materials/data, methods, and analytical tools, including a consideration concerning moral presuppositions, positioning and goals of research project.

Part 1 should count for about 2/3 of the paper.

The paper should not exceed 5000 words.


Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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