A bachelors degree in religious studies can lead to careers paths in a variety of fields, or lay a foundation for graduate work in many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Similar to a liberal arts or liberal studies degree, the religious studies curriculum offers a broad spectrum of courses that aim to develop an understanding of religious issues, encourage critical thinking and exploration of religion, and address religion in relation to broad historical, political, cultural and philosophical themes.
Why is the study of religion important?
Religion is central to all aspects of human life and it profoundly shapes the thought and values of its adherents. A Religious Studies student examines the diverse myths, rituals, original texts, and moral systems of the world's many different religious traditions. Religious Studies provides an extraordinary opportunity to think critically about the core beliefs of civilizations past and present.
Some people think the only reason you'd want to major in Religious Studies is to have a career as a priest, minister, or rabbi. While it's true that Religious Studies is a good major for students who wish to become religious professionals, it also provides excellent preparation for other professions. Because critical thinking, writing, and reading skills are essential in any field, Religious Studies majors have gone into successful careers in law, business (1/3 of Fortune 500 CEOs have liberal arts degrees), counseling, education, journalism, publishing, government service, marketing, non-profits, management, foreign service, and medicine. A few even go into careers in religion.
What are employers looking for?
A new national survey of employers describes what college graduates need to succeed in a global economy:
Thinking of graduate school?
What can you do with a major in Religious Studies?
Answer: Anything you want!
Besides a promising future, a Religious Studies major is valuable in its own right, offering what Robert Bellah calls "education for the development of character, citizenship, and culture."