Theology in its broadest sense is an intellectual account of Christianity both historically and in the present day. As such, it combines different research areas: the study of Christianity’s Biblical sources and their original languages; the exploration of its different forms over the centuries, in terms of ideas, institutions and mentalities and its current forms in different contexts. Christianity’s effects on culture and society are also explored.
The institutional integration of theology programmes varies according to regional tradition (e.g. in France, it is mainly offered in institutions outside universities). In Switzerland, theology is mainly based at Theology faculties within universities. This university setting enables theology faculties to develop further interdisciplinary study programmes in addition to theology, which have different focuses (see links below).
Different career paths are open to theology graduates. In general, however, theology equips students to take on pastoral activities in various churches where the university component (generally completed to Master’s level) is complemented by practical training resulting in a church qualification.
Theology is rooted in the Christian traditions that shaped the location where it is studied. This is seen at university level, particularly with regard to ecumenical aspects:
- Old Catholic: Bern (Department of Old Catholic Theology)
- Protestant: Basel, Bern (Department of Protestant Theology), Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich
- Roman Catholic: Chur, Freiburg, Lugano, Lucerne
Across Switzerland, theology can be studied in different languages:
- German: Basel, Bern, Chur, Freiburg (German-speaking department), Lucerne, Zurich
- French: Freiburg (French-speaking department), Geneva, Lausanne
- Italian: Lugano
Links to study programmes in Switzerland
Studying theology (some full course, some major combined with minors or another major):
Universität Bern (with christian-catholic or protestant focus):
Theologische Hochschule Chur
Université de Genève:
Université de Lausanne:
Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano:
theological studies online:
Kanonisches Lizenziat (römisch-katholisch):
Specialised courses, minors, continuing education courses, etc.:
History of Ancient Oriental Religions:
gender and religion:
hebrew language and literature:
interreligious studies, religious studies:
Swiss theological faculties have developed Jewish Studies courses in various forms, some with a theological and some with a history of religion/religious studies focus. These courses are described in this portal under the Swiss Society for Jewish Studies (SSJS/SGJF).
church history, historical theology:
law and religion:
cultural history and archeology:
Religion, Wirtschaft und Politik (Joint Master Degree):
philosophy of religion:
Working with other faculties, Swiss theological faculties have developed courses in Religious Studies. These are described in the section for the Swiss Society for Religious Studies.