Religious Studies

What is a religious studies degree?

Religious studies programs examine the historical and cultural relevance of religion. Through studies, these programs provide a closer look at various bodies of thought and values. Rooted in these studies are elements of psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and history. Consequently, these programs lend themselves to various career paths.

Degrees in Religion

Whether you choose to take online religious studies courses/programs or opt for a university-based program, there are comprehensive and specialty programs available. It really comes down to finding the program that best suits your needs and career goals.

Associate Degree

Programs vary in length, but many associate degrees in religion can be obtained in under two years. But just because this is a smaller time commitment than a traditional four-year program, it doesn’t mean you’re any less committed to personal betterment. Ultimately, this education will allow you to grasp a strong foundation in the basics of religious studies.

Bachelor’s/Minor/Dual Degree

Those seeking a bachelor’s degree in religious studies have the choice to declare a major or minor in religious studies, with some programs offering a dual degree option.

Alternative Programs

For individuals seeking something more focused, online Christian ministry classes, biblical studies online courses, and church leadership programs online are growing in popularity. Additionally, there are many programs that offer a theology, divinity or biblical studies focus. As the name would suggest, these programs offer an in-depth look at sacred texts specific to a specific religion.

Careers for a Religious/Theological Studies Degree

Because of the elements of religious studies, such as psychology, sociology and history, this background and training is applicable to many careers in government, not-for-profit and social work, education, and business. There are even journalists who specialize in this topic of discussion. On the other end of the spectrum, a more traditional career path might include work within specific religious organizations, possibly contributing to the following efforts: community outreach initiatives, pastoral counseling courses, and education programs.

Earning Potential

Because there is no one path to employment for religious studies majors, it’s difficult to assign a range of earning potential. The following examples may provide more insight, though. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that those pursuing postsecondary research/teaching careers in the area of theology, philosophy, or religion earned a median salary of $69,590 last year. Individuals working in social work, on the other hand, earned approximately $47,980 in 2017.