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Religious Studies

Religious Studies

Career Possibilities

Some possible career fields within this area are:


Based on your career objectives, a religious studies degree could need a variety of certifications. After you finish school, you might need to get a teaching certificate if you plan on becoming a religious educator, could enter seminary or another theological school if you want to become a minister, or could return to school to get a master's degree or a PhD. Common religious studies programs offer these degrees:
  • Associate's Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Master's Degree


Those who are drawn to religious studies often turn toward careers involving religious life, education, or social service – and these are all fields that are in constant need of trained, qualified workers. If you want to work in non-profits or the social services, a religious studies background might be an excellent foundation.


Based on your ultimate goals, you could complete coursework in religious studies or philosophy in 2 years (if you want an associate's degree). However, if you want a bachelor's degree, expect to spend 4 years in school, longer if you want to get a master's, PhD, or a special certification.

Religious Studies Degree Programs

For many people, faith is more than something to think about on the weekends. It can be a vocation, a career choice and even the foundation for an entire education. Whether you want to be a member of the clergy, a scholar of theology, a counselor or an educator, a degree in religious studies could lead you where you want to go.

Check out these basics if you are passionate about religious studies careers and degrees:

How long it takes to complete a religious studies program?

Religious studies programs are rooted in philosophy and theology and come in a diversity of formats. Public colleges and universities offer them, as well as private or religious schools. You could finish a religious studies program at a junior college in 2 years, major in religious studies or similar programs to earn a 4-year bachelor's degree, or continue your education for a master's degree or PhD. Based on your goals, you could complete your coursework in as little as 2 and as many as 6 or 7 years.

Where could a religious studies degree take me?

You might be astonished to learn that not all students who study religion or theology are destined for life in the clergy or ministry; as a matter of fact, many students select religious studies or divinity college for its broad base of knowledge and research.

Students who are attracted to religious studies tend to work in fields such as social work, counseling, psychology, education, and community service. Many people who want to work in non-profits also study theology or religious studies.

Because of this diverse career track, you might also find religious study majors who leave college and join organizations such as the Peace Corps or other volunteer organizations. In short, a religious studies major or degree can take you throughout the world.

Interest in religious studies has flourished as it has the range of careers you can train for. An associate of arts degree could give you a solid theological foundation, as well as train you for effective ministry. Bachelor's degree graduates are completely prepared for a wide range of church-related positions. Master's students focus on pastoral, missionary, and religious education studies. Doctorates in ministry and theology are reserved for those who wish to expand their education.

What types of religious studies degrees are offered

Religious studies encompass a variety of academic disciplines, including theology, philosophy, sociology, and social work. Based on the college or school you attend, the name of the religious studies program you select could vary slightly. However, in general, these types of degrees are offered throughout the nation:

  • Associate's degree: A 2-year degree, students earn this degree after they have completed a series of basic coursework in religious studies.
  • Bachelor's degree: A 4-year degree, religious studies students who earn these degrees tend to mix their coursework with studies of philosophy, theology, and even world history. These programs tend to involve a variety of faiths and compare and contrast different belief systems throughout areas of the world.
  • Master's degree: A 2- or 3-year degree earned after a bachelor's degree, master's programs in religious studies offer deep and intensive focus in theology. Many people who select this educational option plan to enter ministry for a profession or education.
  • PhD: Many men and women who devote their life to the study of faith and the religious life earn doctorates in religious studies or theology. Some stay in academia and teach students for their careers.

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