What Can You Do with a Major in Religious Studies

 What Can you Do with a Religious Studies Degree?

Almost anything! Religious studies majors do the same things—in approximately the same percentages—that other humanity and social science majors do.

Like other liberal arts majors at the College of Charleston, religious studies provide skills in critical thinking and reading, observation, and written and oral communication essential to any successful career. It also tends to open students’ minds to new experiences and ways of approaching the world and to expose students to the diversity and complexities of the world around them. Some majors go on for professional training in law, business, medicine, or journalism. Others pursue advanced degrees in the study of religion or neighboring disciplines such as anthropology, area studies, classics, history, literature, or philosophy. A small number enter seminaries and pursue religious vocations. Most do not.

Most religious studies graduates apply the skills they acquire as liberal arts majors to find satisfying careers in the public, nonprofit, government, or private sector. The superficial equation of the academic study of religion with pre-professional training is no more applicable to religious studies majors than it is to majors in any other discipline in the humanities and social sciences. In this, it is no different from a degree in art history, communications, English, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, or sociology.

Religious studies graduates may pursue careers in teaching, business, advertising, print or electronic journalism, radio, television or film, information technology or library sciences, Web design, publishing, museum, and archival work, travel, politics, marketing, and merchandising. Others spend time working for social service programs such as the Peace Corps or Teach for America or for NGOs, like alumna Katie Browne (class of 2009), who describes in the video how her RELS training prepared her for three years of service in the Peace Corps in Madagascar.

Still, others work, teach, or study abroad.

    •    Graduate school in religious studies, history, sociology, anthropology, education, and more
    •    Graduate or professional school in law, political science, medicine, business, and more
    •    Teaching at all levels, from elementary school to college
    •    Researching and grant-writing for government agencies, nonprofits, corporations