Program in Religious Studies majors venture out into the job market
What can I do with a degree in religious studies? We hear this question frequently.
Like all liberal arts degrees, the religious studies major trains students in critical thinking and communications skills that are the foundation of most career paths. These include asking significant questions and identifying problems, developing logical interpretations, and identifying inherent biases in communication strategies.
Religious studies students have an added "leg up" on the job market. The market is becoming an increasingly diverse religious space. Religious studies students spend hours in the classroom learning about the beliefs, practices, and histories of different religions; about inter-religion relations under various historical and sociological circumstances; and about issues that bear upon the lives of practitioners of different religions. As a result, they have the ability to comfortably address religious issues in a straightforward manner--without the fear, paranoia, or embarrassment that is so often the response to conversations about religion. Religious studies majors can draw upon their knowledge to foster communication and awareness across religious traditions in "real life" situations. And this ability is of enormous benefit to employers.
Because all career paths these days bring individuals into contact with co-workers and clients of a variety of religious backgrounds, the ability to understand and speak comfortably with everyone is a skill that is increasingly prized by employers. Our recent graduates are pursuing careers in many fields--non-profit work, N.G.Os, government, public policy, publishing, business, education, law, and health care. Many alumni have reported that their religious studies major has been a key asset during interviews and contributes to their on-going success.
As long as religion remains an important marker of identity among people in the workplace, the skills obtained through the Religious studies major will remain highly sought after.