What Can I Do with a Religious Studies Degree?

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In addition to the wide variety of ministries in faith communities, a degree in Religious Studies provides excellent preparation for careers in justice advocacy, political activism, law, journalism, social work, government, education, business, and public policy.

A second major or minor in religious studies will provide students of history, peace and conflict studies, political science, or religion and public life with a better understanding of religious communities and the many longstanding ideological conflicts that have shaped the contemporary world.

Students in the natural sciences who intend to enter the fields of medicine and health sciences will find that religious studies courses equip them to evaluate the moral complexity of current scientific advances and to appreciate the spiritual dimensions of health.

Students in the humanities will find that the study of the religious texts and traditions will afford them greater insight into literature, philosophy, music, and visual art.


Areas of Employment






Potential Employers

Local churches, synagogues, mosques

Denominational boards and agencies

Religious organizations



Strategies for Success

Become involved in related campus activities.

Possess high moral and ethical standards.

Obtain excellent written and verbal communication skills.


Protestant clergy positions require denominational ordination and usually a Master of Divinity.

Develop leadership ability and self discipline.


Areas of Employment




Conventional Institutions


Potential Employers

All branches of military service

Homes for children, youth, senior citizens

Police and fire departments

Hospitals, hospices

Correctional institutions


Strategies for Success

Obtain ordination and two years' service in local church.

Enroll in Clinic Pastoral Education (CPE) programs at regional hospitals.

After acceptance into branch of service, attend chaplaincy school.

Local Ministries

Areas of Employment

Youth Ministries

Leisure Ministries

Day Care, Children and Adult

Food bank/ Emergency Ministries


Television, Radio and Films


Adult Ministries

Counseling/ Recovery

Family Life Center Management

Missionary Outreach

Public Relations



Potential Employers

Local churches, synagogues and mosques

Denominational boards

Religious organizations


Strategies for Success

Get additional training or double major in specialized areas.

Obtain Master's degree in Divinity or counseling.

Obtain an internship at denominational headquarters.

Get experience in communications areas and develop a portfolio.

Get performance experience through campus groups.

Obtain certification for specialized areas.

Gain experience by volunteering in local church and campus religious organizations.

Build relationships with local church and denominational leaders.

Double major in music; take additional courses in religious music.


Areas of Employment

Church and Community Development


Community Centers


Metropolitan Ministries


Potential Employers

Denominational boards or agencies

Local churches

Evangelical organizations, e.g. Cultural Ministries, CHRISTLIFE, National Evangelical Team

Missions boards

Religious Institutions

Social Missions - World Vision

Strategies for Success

Obtain any needed advanced degrees, certification, or licensing for area of interest.

Foreign language skills are a plus.

Seek related volunteer or work experience with group of interest.

Develop fundraising skills and contacts.

Religious Communities

Areas of Employment

Denominational groups including: Roman Catholic (Order of Sisters, Brothers, Priests), Episcopal, Greek Orthodox, Buddhist


Strategies for Success


Desire to combine career with life / living arrangements.Requires self-discipline.

Apply to religious order for admittance.

Religion and Public Life

Areas of Employment

Public Life



Peace and Justice


Strategies for Success


Political Science

Philosophy of Peace

ENV Studies minor

Liberation Theology


Areas of Employment

Administration/ Management

Building Management

Ethics Office / Environmental Ethics

Human Resources


International Corporations


Potential Employers


Local churches, synagogues and mosques

Religious publishers

Seminaries/ schools of theology

Denominational hospitals, homes, schools, boards and agencies

Religious bookstores

Denominational boards/ agencies

Religiously affiliated schools


Strategies for Success


Double major or minor in Business.

Get related experience.

Develop research and writing skills.

Take electives in Management, Psychology, and Accounting, as appropriate.

Dual degree in engineering helpful.

Study World Religions + Specific Language


Areas of Employment




Commercial Art


Public Relations

Television/ Film




Potential Employers


Denominational boards/ agencies

Local churches, synagogues and mosques

Secular publishing house

Interdenominational organizations

Denominational publishing houses of books and magazines

Secular radio, television and film industry


Strategies for Success


Take courses in English, journalism,social sciences.

Submit articles for publication in religious and nonreligious papers and journals.

Obtain specialized technical training such as a second major or minor in broadcasting.

Electives or second major in Graphic Design/ Illustration.

Develop excellent writing skills.

Learn desktop publishing techniques.

Develop artistic talent.

btain related experience through internships.


Areas of Employment




Campus Ministry


Administration/ Staff

Religious Life Programming

Educational Administration


Potential Employers


Private / Public schools

Private, public or religiously affiliated colleges and universities

Youth Campus and Organizations such as Young Life, YMCA / YWCA, Islamic Student Associations

Peace Corps

Preparatory schools

Schools of theology/ seminaries

Hillel (Jewish Campus Ministry), Buddhist Monasteries (e.g., DEER PARK in Oregon, WI)


Strategies for Success


May require certification/licensure to teach.

Complete Master of Divinity plus additional training for campus ministry.

May require multiple skills such as providing ministerial services as well as administration, teaching, coaching, etc.

Seek leadership positions and internships or summer employment opportunities.

Ph.D. usually required for teaching, research and administration in colleges and universities.

Master of Divinity or Ph.D., D.Min. or Th.D. usually required for teaching, research and administration in seminaries and schools of theology.

Become involved in specific campus ministry organizations.

Health and Welfare

Areas of Employment


Residential Living


Social Services

Religious Activities Programming

Counseling: Mental Health or Pastoral


Potential Employers



Nursing homes

Assisted living homes

Social Services

Mental health treatment facilities

Retirement homes

Children/ youth homes


Strategies for Success


Second major or minor in Business, Social Work, Human Services, Health Care Ministry or interest area.

Volunteer time in related organizations.

Complete Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at regional hospitals.

Take courses related to special populations.

Obtain advanced degrees and certification for counseling and chaplaincy.

May need ordination for pastoral counseling.


Areas of Employment





Financial/Debt Counseling


Vocational Training

Public Relations


Crisis Services (pregnancy, housing, etc.)

Camp Administration


Potential Employers


Nonprofit organizations including: United Way, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc.

Religious hospitals and hospices


Youth organizations and camps including: YMCA, YWCA, Young Life, etc.


Churches, synagogues and mosques

Correctional institutions

Nursing homes

Adoption agencies/ Foster Care

Religious political organizations, e.g. NETWORK and Wisconsin Catholic Conference NETWORK, Sojourners, TIKKUN, Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Council of Churches


Strategies for Success


Volunteer with local organizations for experience.

Obtain excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.

May need specialized training/ certification for some areas.

Legal experience and law degree may be required.

Seek summer campus experience and leadership roles, such as director or assistant director.