Some people are surprised to find out that a major in Religion is not just for students who are headed for the life of a minister. In fact, a Religion major is one of the best ways to prepare for a wide variety of careers.
If you think about it, religion of some type is intertwined with just about every aspect of human experience, from art and literature, to law and politics, to pop culture and marketing. Reports of the ‘death of God’ (and of religion) have turned out, to paraphrase Mark Twain, to be greatly exaggerated. Studying religion means trying to understand time-tested traditions and dynamic social movements across all kinds of cultural differences. So majoring in Religion is an exemplary way to fulfill the promise of a liberal arts education and gain breadth and depth for understanding the world in which we live.
Further, the questions asked under the heading of ‘religion’ are the sorts of questions that help us gain wisdom about who we are, who we should be, and who God is that can orient us as we discern what sort of career to pursue. Once upon a time, the discipline that asks such questions, theology, was the capstone discipline in the university, the ‘queen of the sciences.’ Today, most university departments follow their own logic rather than looking to one department for direction, but the Religion department, particularly in a church-related school, remains a great place to ask the biggest questions, the cross-disciplinary questions, the questions about purpose and truth.
Religion majors are well prepared for future study leading to congregational leadership and many other areas of ministry, like religious art, campus ministry, chaplaincy, mission work, and spiritual direction. Religion majors not headed for ministry find their specific skill set and knowledge base highly adaptable for graduate school in law, business, medicine, counseling, or academic study in a number of disciplines, or for work in fields like journalism, public relations, international relations and development, non-profit, and social service.
For additional information on the benefits of studying religion, browse this site sponsored by the American Academy of Religion: Why Study Religion?