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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.
Top Religious Studies Degrees
Students seeking information on religious studies have several options to wade through. From undergraduate degree programs to graduate degrees, the choices are expansive. In addition, many accredited colleges and universities also offer online learning options in addition to classroom-based programs effectively doubling your degree options. Online degree programs have unique benefits in terms of flexibility, access, quality curriculum, convenience, and potential cost savings from top accredited schools. To learn more about colleges offering online degrees, simply visit our matching portal or request information from top schools listed on this resource page.
Associate Degrees in Religious Studies
Online associate degrees in religious studies are typically conferred as Associate of Arts (AA). Associate degrees are 2-year programs for full-time students with part-time students taking longer to complete. AA programs in religious studies will have classes in liberal arts plus core classes to provide a set of holistic thinking skills. General education courses may include classes such as communications, history, art, creative writing, philosophy, and psychology. Core classes will depend on the school’s programs and curricular emphasis. Examples may include classes such as cultural studies, Old Testament, New Testament, Evangelism, Theology Surveys, Apologetics, history of life, global studies, scripture, research, and writing for religious disciplines.
Bachelor Degrees in Religious Studies
An online bachelor degree in religious studies is a 4-year program for full-time students. Degrees at this level can be conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA). Students will have the opportunity to take a number of liberal arts classes coupled with core studies in religion. Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree will have the opportunity to choose a general education or specialization in theology, Old Testament, New Testament, apologetics, biblical languages, or global studies. Coursework you will be exposed to will be a function of the area of specialization plus your electives in the field.
Master Degrees in Religious Studies
Religious studies at the graduate degree level become expansive. In other words, the graduate degree choices for qualified students is quite large. To illustrate, a student can elect to matriculate in divinity studies with specializations in one of the following: worship, theology, biblical studies, apologetics, pastoral ministries, church history, church ministry, pastoral counseling, leadership, homiletics, church planting, global studies, or evangelism. Likewise, a student can elect to pursue a pastoral counseling Master of Arts (MA) degree with the option to pursue a concentration in addictions, theology, counseling, crisis response, leadership, church ministry, life coaching, marriage and family, military, life coaching, or discipleship. To learn more about additional degree programs and associated specializations, simply connect with schools below today.
Doctorate Degrees in Religious Studies
Doctorate degrees in religious studies can be conferred as a PhD, DWS, DMin, EdD, or DBA. Colleges will determine the curricular design of the program which will lead to the type of degree attained upon completion. The EdD degree is a Doctor of Education which is conferred to students looking to teach. Specializations within the EdD degree can include elementary education, middle-grades education, high school education, post-secondary education, Christian ministry, law, and/or leadership. On the other hand, the DMin is a Doctor in Ministry with specialties that can include worship, pastoral counseling, pastoral leadership, preaching, evangelism, discipleship, and church planting.
Educational Requirements for Religion Majors
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
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Opportunities for Religion Majors
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 Religious 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.
Individuals interested in religious studies may also be interested in history, anthropology or sociology. A list of religious associations and organizations can be found here to learn more about regional and national chapters for you. Associations may benefit new and experienced college graduates get connected and learn more about specific trade groups in your geographic location.