Religious Studies
Bachelors In

Religious Studies Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.

Why We Love It

  • $45,160
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes212021.htm for 21-2021 Directors, religious activities and education 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

With a bachelor of arts in religious studies, students study a broad curriculum that covers religious history, the belief systems of different religions, and the belief systems within specific denominations of religions. A degree in religious studies is commonly mistaken as being for students interested in careers in the church. However, graduates often take roles as educators, cultural ambassadors, and public servants.

What is a Degree in Religious Studies?

In a religious studies degree program, students study a wide range of religious. Taking courses in Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and others, students begin to better understand the cultures, beliefs systems, and motivations of people around the world. Students study both the belief systems and histories of different world religions, allowing them to understand how religions have been shaped over time—and how religion has shaped the world and how people interact with each other.

Students in religious studies degree programs may also choose to study a foreign language in order to better understand and translate religious texts written in Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, and others. Graduates can find work in a variety of roles. Some take on administrative or counseling positions in the church, some teach religion and theology courses in private elementary, middle, and high schools, and some become public servants or choose to work as ambassadors to foreign countries in the U.S. and abroad.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Religious Studies?

  • Religious Thought
  • Approaches to Studying Religion
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Hinduism
  • Religion and Violence
  • Religion in America
  • Buddhist Philosophy

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Religious Studies?

For many citizens of the world, religion is an integral and all-important aspect of their lives. For this reason, people who understand world religions and can cater to cultural differences are able to find careers in a variety of positions across many industries. From teaching theology in private schools to helping business owners and managers understand the cultural and belief differences when working with a new international customer, there are many ways graduates of this program can build their careers.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Religious Studies will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Religious Studies Degree

Religious studies are not popular to students as it does not directly qualify to financially rewarding careers. However, it is common for people who have the passion to seek for the truth and the origin of knowledge. There are several universities that offer religious studies with some programs offered completely online. Students are required to complete around 120 credit hours to earn the bachelor degree which can usually be completed within 4 years by full time students.


What Can You Do With a Religious Studies Degree?

Religious studies are a branch of humanities that focus on the origin, history and structure of religions. Unlike theology, religious studies aim at understanding religious beliefs and origins without any particular viewpoint. Religious studies integrate several fields of study including anthropology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and history of religion. Religious studies were previously known as comparative religion and the science of religion. Studying religious studies is a common choice for people who advocate certain religion. It is also an important tool to understand the culture and psychology of communities which makes it important for people working in politics. Most students enrolling in such academic programs aim mainly at increasing their knowledge and understanding of the world regardless of an impact on future career.

What does a religious studies student learn?

Religious studies refer to multidisciplinary studies that deal with all the factors contributing to the origin, development and spread of current religions. This involves subjects related to history, anthropology, philosophy and psychology. The following list shows the courses commonly offered in religious studies degree programs:

  1. Anthropology of religion: this course focuses on the common basic needs fulfilled by religions. It is also concerned with the religious beliefs of ancient civilizations.
  2. Cultural anthropology of religion: this topic deals with the cultural aspects of religion including rituals, religious arts, beliefs and practices of piety.
  3. Economics of religion: this course presents the relations between religion and economy. For example, it was found that religion plays more profound role in countries with lower living standards. There are few exceptions to this general observation as the United States.
  4. Geography of religion: this topic focuses on the spatial elements related to religious practice and embodiment. It deals with holy places of various religions as the Vatican City for the Roman Catholic Church and Mecca for Muslims.
  5. History of religion: this topic deals with topics as the historicity of religious figures, events, and the evolution of doctrinal matters.
  6. Literary approaches: this course presents a method for studying sacred texts as a literary object which includes identifying the metaphor, thematic elements and the motives for characters.
  7. Psychology of religion: this topic deals with the psychology and behavior of religious practitioners, groups and communities. It presents some topics as the psychological nature of religious conversion, the making of religious decisions, and religion and happiness.
  8. Law and religion: this course presents the relation between the religion and law. In some countries, religion is the main source for legalization. Laws may also provide limitation or support for religious groups and practices.

Now I have the religious studies degree…where can I work after graduating?

Religious studies are not directly related to the job market and may be insufficient to get a job. However, a degree in religious studies is valuable for a variety of careers. The degree is also important for people working in religious institutes. The following list shows a number of jobs that are available for religious studies graduates or that may benefit from the degree:

  1. Religious writer: you will have solid knowledge that qualifies you to write clear and effective religious content that respond to people inquiries.
  2. Outreach worker: the role of this job is to communicate with people in specific communities. Understanding the religious beliefs of people is one of the most effective tools to communicate with people.
  3. Missionary: it is a similar job to outreach worker but it refers specifically to people who work or travel to advocate for a certain religion.
  4. Teaching: religious studies are commonly part of school and university curricula particularly in religious countries.

Should I choose a religious studies degree?

Religious studies are not directly related to the job market and may not be financially rewarding. However, it is one of the most rewarding academic programs on the personal level fulfilling curiosity and the passion for knowledge. Earning a degree in religious studies is a definite way to develop a number of useful personal skills that are needed in all aspects of life:

  1. Leadership: earning a degree in religious studies is a powerful tool to lead people following the values and beliefs of these religions.
  2. Team working: religion is the largest bond forming worldwide communities. People working in religious studies learn how to work effectively in teams.
  3. Independence: understanding the origin of religions will help you develop your own views and opinions. You will not be resistant to mind manipulation.
  4. Writing skills: you will have the ability to write well structured, organized and rational content to ensure the effectiveness of the content.
  5. Analytical skills: you will be trained to analyze facts, events and opinions and reach your reasonable valid conclusions.

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Best Jobs for Religious Studies Degrees

There are many opportunities for graduates of religious studies programs. Some go into church administration and work as missionaries, ministers, or counselors. Some go into education and teach theology in private elementary, middle, and high schools. Some go into public service, business, or government, working with other countries and cultures to build healthy and happy working relationships.


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