For more information on what you can do with a major in religious studies, visit CLA Career Services or explore Handshake, the U of M's exclusive online career database.
Students in the religious studies program go on to work in a number of different professional fields such as government, publishing, journalism, nonprofit, health care, and social work. Our program trains students in the critical thinking and communications skills that are the foundation of most career paths. These include asking significant questions and identifying problems, finding, generating, and organizing information, applying critical frameworks and developing interpretations, assessing the influence of one’s own position or social location on those interpretations and identifying the inherent biases that may be present, and articulating one’s thoughts in writing and orally. All of these skills are in great demand in any career field.
Religious studies also gives students an added “leg up” on the job market. As we all know, the working world–globally, nationally, and regionally—is becomingly more religiously diverse. Too often, however, religious differences are avoided in the workplace; the primary strategy for dealing with religious identities is to ignore them. The result is often tense and unproductive working relationships. Religious studies students, however, have spent 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 various 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. This ability is of enormous benefit to employers.
What you do outside of the classroom can improve your confidence, enhance your skills, and build your resume. Therefore, we encourage you to seek out real-world experience through research opportunities and internships to help you feel confident in your decision upon graduation. Students may also gain valuable and relevant skills in religious studies by studying abroad. Our program educates students about the variety of world religions that can better help workplace communication.
Prioritize your next steps by building an effective strategy for applying to graduate programs, jobs, and/or service opportunities. Schedule an appointment with the religious studies director of undergraduate studies (DUS), Jeanne Kilde at firstname.lastname@example.org, and a CLA Career Counselor and attend upcoming employer and career events and workshops to start building a network.