Religious studies careers

What skills will a degree in religious studies give me?

A degree in Religious Studies focuses on issues that involve values, ethics, morality and power - and their expressions through individuals and institutions around the world. A degree in Religious Studies does not qualify you for ordination, though many theology students find our courses give a helpful and broadening perspective to their studies.

Today, in the midst of moral, ethical, political and other dilemmas, Religious Studies graduates have an advantage. They are trained to grapple with the problems of colliding belief systems. They are wise to the ways in which conflict - even good intentions - can serve the interests of the powerful. They have mastered the critical evaluation of competing claims, and methods of resolving them.

Religious Studies develops marketable skills and aptitudes:

  • appreciation of human diversity, belief systems, cultural and spiritual experience
  • understanding of the motivational power of belief
  • understanding of the dynamics of justice and social equity
  • understanding of ethics as different from expedience.
  • analytical and strategic thinking
  • research skills
  • critical judgement
  • the ability to work with abstract, conceptual ideas
  • strategic decision-making skills when information is incomplete or ambiguous
  • formulation of persuasive argument
  • leadership skills
  • understanding of the power of moral authority
  • understanding of the impact of conflicting ideologies
  • problem-solving skills
  • ability to 'understand both sides' and negotiate and resolve conflict
  • relationship management skills.

Religious Studies graduates also possess a range of generic graduate skills, including:

  • intellectual curiosity
  • mental flexibility
  • research and information-gathering skills
  • ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • organisational ability
  • well-developed communication skills
  • the ability to set realistic goals
  • the desire to achieve.

Where do religious studies graduates work?

Graduate destination surveys show that recent Religious Studies graduates work as journalists, researchers, school teachers and university lecturers, policy analysts, in libraries and archives, in management consultancy and conservation - and one is a career DJ. The skills and aptitudes gained in completing a degree in Religious Studies will equip you for myriad occupations.

Analytical and strategic thinking skills are needed to become a:

  • policy analyst
  • government researcher
  • probation officer
  • negotiator
  • project manager.

Leadership skills are valued in jobs such as:

  • international aid adviser
  • volunteer coordinator
  • trainer and facilitator
  • counsellor
  • fundraiser
  • care worker

Problem-solving skills are required in jobs such as a:

  • lawyer
  • mediator
  • human rights adviser
  • union organiser
  • professional development consultant.

Relationship management and people skills are valued in a:

  • psychologist or counsellor
  • investigation or complaints resolution officer
  • teacher
  • political party worker
  • business analyst
  • marketing consultant
  • sales consultant.

Read the Religious Studies Career View pdf731KB

Other skills and experience

You can add value to your Religious Studies degree by developing additional skills and experience, or associated qualifications, such as:

  • computer skills, including database management and desktop publishing
  • research
  • education qualifications.

A double major within your degree, for example in Religious Studies and Political Science, Psychology, History or Philosophy will be useful for particular careers.

Remember - a Master's degree is valued in the workplace for the level of independent thinking and research skills it demonstrates.