A religious studies bachelor’s degree provides a strong liberal arts education that can lead to a variety of careers. Whether you’re planning on attending a divinity school or professional seminary, applying to law or medical school, or aren’t sure what you want to do after graduation, a degree in liberal studies could be for you. During this degree, you’ll objectively study major religious systems and faiths, their history and beliefs, and their influence on society. It is also a multidisciplinary degree that draws on philosophy, anthropology, history, politics, and cultural studies.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
If graduate school is in your future, a bachelor’s degree is necessary. And a religious studies bachelors degree in particular can provide a strong foundation for professional areas in law, business, Christian ministry, health sciences, and more. A bachelor’s in religious studies can also equip students with critical thinking, analytical, research, and writing skills that can benefit them in a variety of areas, such as teaching, non-profit work, or service work. The degree can also complement many areas of study as a double-major.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Application requirements vary by school. For an idea of what to expect, here are some qualifications and materials typically requested:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- GRE or ACT score
- Letters of recommendation
Inside a Religious Studies Bachelor’s Degree Program
Bachelor’s degrees are designed to take four years to complete. This may be shorter if a student already has an associate degree or other college credits. A religious studies degree would provide a comprehensive, in-depth look at the history, literature, beliefs, and development of religious systems and faiths. Students can expect to study the major world religions — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism — as well as lesser-known practices. Some religious studies programs may have a specific focus on Christian studies, theology, and ministry.
Students in religious studies programs can expect to complete significant reading and writing assignments, analyzing religious texts, theoretical studies, and historical studies. They may also participate in discussions with their classmates and professors through live chat or message boards. Some programs may also encourage internships to gain real-world experience, or missions for service experience.
What’s Next for Religious Studies Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Given its strong liberal arts foundation, a bachelor’s degree in religious studies can lead to any number of careers. The American Academy of Religion lists potential professions of religious studies majors here, which include jobs in event planning, government, marketing, museums, non-profit organizations, and publishing. Graduates may also go into church administration or ministry.
Students may al so continue their education at the graduate level, attending professional schools to study law or business, or other fields like education, public service, politics, or journalism. Religion, of course, is another potential area of study, and students may go on to seminary or divinity school, earning a master’sˇin religion or theology and becoming a religious leader. Students interested in becoming religious scholars or postsecondary teachers may consider earning their Ph.D.