The study of religion is a meditation on cultural difference. This multi-cultural scope is not unique to the study of religion, but it is one of the paramount values that the study of religion offers the liberal arts student in an increasingly cosmopolitan world. Our sources, the objects of our study, elude neat categorization. They challenge our own ways of life, and often pose severe tests of self-examination. Some of them represent traditions of learning as rigorous as ours and far more ancient. Many religion majors move on to graduate study in religion or other fields, such as archaeology, classics, comparative literature, history, philosophy, political science, or sociology. Others go on to law school, medical school, or other professional programs, like business, journalism, or information science. Others enter careers in government, business, education, public service, or ministerial professions.
The study of religion and theology facilitates the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. A sample of these skills and abilities follows.
- Taking a reasoned approach to problem solving
- Critical evaluation of religious questions
- Integration of cross-cultural theological thought
- Analyzing new ideas
- Awareness of individual and cultural differences
- Appreciating diversity
- Helping others organize and express unique points of view
- Objective listening
- Effective writing
- Conveying complex information
- Speaking to groups
- Reading critically
SAMPLE INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
- Advocacy Agencies (e.g., The Children’s Defense Fund, International Women’s Democracy Center)
- Communications (e.g., CNN, APCO Worldwide, Institute for Women's Policy Research)
- Education/Training (e.g., universities, Points of Light Foundation)
- Service Ministries (e.g., General Board of Global Ministries, Catholic Network of Volunteer Service)
- Social Service Agencies (e.g., Starlight Children’s Foundation, Shelter House, Inc., Green Door, Catholic Charities, DC Rape Crisis Center, So Others Might Eat)
- Religious studies equips students with an understanding of global issues and trends in both historical and contemporary contexts. This understanding of multiculturalism and interculturalism is valued by a wide variety of employers in many industries including education, government, and business.
- Student who seek international careers may find that religious studies provides a good background in global issues.
- Many transferable skills such as analyzing and synthesizing data, research, communication skills, and critical thinking are associated with the religious studies degree.
- People who major in religious studies may or may not consider themselves “religious.” Expertise in religious ideas can be a plus for secular work environments as well as more traditional religious ones.
- An undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in business, law, medicine, counseling, higher education, and other fields. Check for prerequisite classes needed to enter various graduate programs.
- Obtaining relevant experience through internships or volunteer experiences is critical to finding employment opportunities. Dual majors or minors can also help open the door in some fields.
- Join relevant organizations and seek leadership roles.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are related to your career interest. To search, select “groups” under the “interests” tab. Also, review the groups that professionals in your field of interest have joined and consider joining them as well.