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What is Religious Studies?
Religious studies is the area of study involved with religions, including history, methodology, and development from a secular perspective in order to better fully understand the nature of religion. Individuals in this field will use a variety of disciplines in order to compare and understand the various aspects of religion, and as such individuals will develop a variety of skills that are not limited to employment within a religious or academic context.
Individuals are able to pursue religious studies from the associate to the doctoral level, and higher levels of education are recommended for individuals seeking employment within the field of religious studies. Bachelor degree holders are common and are able to pursue graduate studies outside of their major. Students in this field will become familiar with a variety of religions, comparing their developments with one another, utilizing historic sources and texts to validate ideas, and to objectively approach the growth and development of a given religion within a defined context.
A curriculum may include:
- History of Religion
Many individuals who pursue an education in religious studies do so through seminary with the intent of becoming a religious leader, such as a minister or pastor, within a given community. Some may choose an academic tract, utilizing their education in order to study and research religions as part of a career in higher education. Others will have earned a specific degree, such as a bachelor's, and seek education or opportunities outside of these areas through the utilization of skills developed during their studies. This includes jobs in business, marketing, social work, or any other area that requires strong written and verbal skills, the ability to communicate, or competency in research skills.
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
Individuals with a degree in religious studies will experience growth or shrinkage in areas of employment based on the type of work pursued. Because there is no direct career linked to religious studies, the options available are varied and so is the resulting demand. As such, salary is also relative, for example ministers make $44,0000 per year on average, as opposed to a professor who makes $86,000 per year on average. The differences are based on type of work and education.