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Religious Studies Careers

The Oak Grove in SpringPreparation in religious studies offers a wide variety of job and career opportunities.

Click here for a list of religious studies career opportunities from the career center.

The study of religion provides many occasions for personal and intellectual growth, but most departments of religion are also committed to transmitting a set of very practical skills to their students:

  • In religion courses, you’ll gain a fundamental cultural literacy.
  • You’ll be trained in the skills associated with data gathering and direct observation.
  • As a religion major, you are also asked to interpret and express your position on perplexing phenomena, exercising both your analytical skills and your originality.
  • Your critical intelligence will constantly be tested and developed, along with your ability to empathize with your fellow human being in order to understand his or her perspective.

As many have said, our society thrives on information. In today’s multicultural workplace and global economy, basic knowledge about other cultures and religious perspectives is indispensable. In addition, good interpreters of information are in high demand. Gathering data, organizing it, understanding it, and presenting it are vital skills in the study of religion, and, in most professions, these skills are absolutely required.

But success in your chosen career is not just about interpreting information: it also depends on making connections with people. Studying religion is about people and their many perspectives. In jobs that require relating to others, reaching out to them, building bridges, or incorporating many perspectives at once, a religion major will provide an excellent foundation.

Starting with a bachelor’s degree in religion, there are many places to go. As an academic major in the humanities (or social sciences), the study of religion is like a history or English major; it imposes no limitations. But it also lends its own particular strengths to a number of different career choices. Religion majors have successfully gone on to professional training in:

  • Business (particularly international business)
  • Counseling and social work
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Medicine

Others have moved directly into the job market, taking up positions in:

  • Event planning, hospitality, or the service industry
  • The government, foreign service, or the Peace Corps
  • Marketing and management
  • Museums and the arts
  • Nonprofit or non-governmental organizations
  • Publishing

For more information, visit the American Academy of Religions’ site Why Study Religion?

If you are interested in a career requiring graduate education, please visit our Tools and Resourcespage.

Current Job Listings

If you are considering a career in teaching, the following current employment listings in the field of religion are a great place to start considering various possibilities and specializations:

Famous Majors

Many religious studies majors have gone on to make significant social contributions. Below is a short list of some majors you might be familiar with:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr., minister and civil rights leader. Boston University, Ph.D. in Systematic Theology
  • Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago and former White House chief of staff under President Obama. Sarah Lawrence College, B.A. in Liberal Arts
  • Shane Battier, professional basketball player. Duke University, Religious Studies
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, actor. Columbia University, B.A. in Eastern Religions
  • Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire, activist for refugees and against poverty, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958. Collegio Angelico in Rome, Ph.D. in Theology
  • Willard Scott, TV personality. American University, B.A. in Philosophy and Religion
  • George Stephanopoulos, political commentator, M.A. in Theology at Balliol College, Oxford University
  • Religious Studies Department
  • Sutton Hall, Room 452
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    Indiana, PA 15705
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