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Information/Strategies

International Areas

  • Humanitarian Services
  • Development:
    • Economic
    • Community
  • Disaster/Disease Relief
  • Policy Development
  • Program Administration
  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Peace Keeping or Peacebuilding
  • Conflict Resolution/Management
  • Diplomacy/Faith Based Diplomacy
  • Public Service:
    • Foreign Affairs
    • International Security
  • International Law

  • International aid and relief organizations
  • NGO’s (Non-governmental Organizations), e.g. Amnesty International
  • Nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations, e.g. Vital Voices or Habitat for Humanity
  • Federal government agencies with an international focus, e.g. Peace Corps, USAID and the Foreign Service (State Department)
  • Private voluntary organizations
  • Humanitarian organizations, e.g. International Red Cross and CARE
  • Religious organizations, e.g. World Vision
  • National Security Council
  • United Nations
  • Think tanks
  • Many international organizations value the historical and contemporary context of religions and cultures that one learns in religious studies.
  • Learn one or more foreign languages.
  • Plan to study, volunteer, or intern abroad more than one time if possible.
  • Seek cultural experiences on campus and get involved with the international student population.
  • Join relevant student organizations such as Amnesty International and gain leadership roles.
  • Develop excellent research, writing, communication, and organizational skills.
  • Participate in an international service learning experience or go on a mission trip.
  • Federal international jobs require careful observation of a formal hiring procedure. Apply for a federal government internship.
  • Government work in the foreign service requires passage of the Foreign Service Exam and adherence to a list of requirements.
  • Research the international organization/agency’s structure and function.
  • Volunteer at relevant local social service agencies to gain experience and demonstrate interest.
  • Develop good working knowledge of international humanitarian law.
  • Demonstrate your depth of dedication, willingness to adapt, and coping mechanisms to combat stress and difficult situations
  • Earn first aid certification to assist in disaster relief work with organizations such as the Red Cross.
  • Develop skills in the areas of organizing groups, efficiency, and the ability to calm people.
  • Earn a graduate degree in an area of interest to open more job opportunities. Religious studies provides a good background for a variety of graduate programs.


Education

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Student Affairs Administration
  • Multicultural Programming
  • Programs/Study Abroad Administration
  • Library/Information Sciences
  • Religious Life Programming
  • Campus Ministry
  • Secondary schools
  • Private, public, or religiously affiliated colleges and universities
  • Schools of theology/seminaries
  • Organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ, Muslim Student Association, Hillel
  • Buddhist Monasteries, e.g. Chuang Yen Monastery
  • Earn a doctorate degree for teaching and research in colleges and universities. Earn a master’s degree in a relevant field for positions in student affairs administration or library/information sciences.
  • Earn certification/licensure to teach in public secondary schools. Choose a double major in an area such as history.
  • Complete Master of Divinity plus additional training for campus ministry.
  • Master of Divinity and Ph.D., D.Min. or Th.D. usually required for teaching, research and administration in seminaries and schools of theology.
  • Focus on a specialization such as Women’s Studies in Religion during graduate school to further employability.
  • Seek campus leadership positions such as Peer Mentor, Resident Assistant, or Orientation Leader.
  • Volunteer to assist a faculty member with research.
  • Develop relationships with faculty to secure strong recommendations.
  • Maintain a strong grade point average to gain admittance into graduate school.
  • Learn to speak a second language if planning to pursue a graduate degree in religious studies. Choose a language that will be particularly relevant to your interests.


Business

  • Human Resources:
    • Training and Development
    • Recruitment
    • Equity and Diversity Functions
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Insurance firms
  • Retail stores
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Staffing agencies
  • Service industries
  • Other large corporations
  • Learn how to sell your religious studies major to business employers that value employees who understand and appreciate cultural diversity.
  • Double major or minor in business.
  • Gain related experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
  • Get involved in relevant student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Develop the ability to write and speak persuasively, as well as adapt content for diverse populations
  • Learn how to use relevant software including those for spreadsheets, presentations, and databases.


Communications and Arts

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Publishing
  • Television/Film
  • Radio
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Sales
  • Commercial Art
  • Website Design
  • Event Planning
  • Museum Work:
    • Curatorship
    • Exhibition Design
  • Secular publishing houses
  • Secular radio, television, and film producers
  • Newspapers
  • Websites
  • Denominational boards/agencies
  • Interdenominational organizations
  • Denominational publishing houses of books and magazines
  • Local churches, synagogues, and mosques
  • Advertising and public relation agencies
  • Museums
  • Galleries
  • Plan to complete one or more internships in this area to prepare for a professional job and to build a network of relevant professionals.
  • Take courses in English, journalism, art  history, or photography depending upon interest area.
  • Develop excellent writing and editing skills.
  • Work for the campus newspaper, radio station, or tv station.
  • Submit articles for publication in religious and nonreligious papers and journals.
  • Learn web design and desktop publishing.
  • Obtain specialized technical training such as a double major or minor in broadcasting or graphic design for work in those fields.
  • Develop a portfolio of writing samples.
  • Display good planning, organizational, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, and learn to think creatively.
  • Move to larger metropolitan areas for more jobs, and be willing to relocate for promotions.
  • Consider freelance positions to work in journalism.
  • Earn a graduate degree for museum work.


Social Services

  • Case Management
  • Counseling
  • Rehabilitation
  • Administration
  • Vocational Training
  • Volunteer Services
  • Programming
  • Advocacy
  • Crisis Services (pregnancy, housing, etc.)
  • Church-based Organizing/Community Development
  • Fundraising
  • Grant Writing
  • Law
  • Nonprofit and social services organizations including United Way, Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, etc.
  • Immigrant and refugee service providers
  • Migrant service providers
  • Hospitals and hospices
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Correctional institutions
  • Shelters
  • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Youth organizations and camps including YMCA, YWCA, Young Life, Campus Life, etc.
  • Churches, synagogues, and mosques
  • Lobby agencies
  • Volunteer with local organizations to gain experience working with a wide variety of people from various backgrounds. Develop multicultural competence.
  • Obtain excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
  • Plan to earn a graduate degree in counseling, social work, or psychology to provide therapy or counseling to clients.
  • Complete an internship or part-time job in an organization of interest to gain experience and develop contacts.
  • Find ways to develop fundraising and grant writing skills. These are valued by nonprofit agencies.
  • Learn a language such as Spanish to work with immigrant and migrant populations.
  • Earn a joint degree in divinity and law to work in legal fields related to religious freedom issues.


Religiously Affiliated Areas

  • Clergy and Other Religious Leaders Including:
    • Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu, Greek Orthodox
  • Vocation as Monk or Nun
  • Chaplaincy:
    • Military
    • Institutional
  • Mission Work:
    • Church Development
    • Community or Agricultural Development
    • Educational
    • Medical
    • Metropolitan
    • Evangelism
  • Local Ministries Including:
    • Youth Ministries
    • Adult Ministries
    • Leisure Ministries
    • Counseling/Recovery
    • Religious Education
    • Day Care, Children and Adult
    • Food Bank/Emergency Ministries
    • Family Life Center Management
  • Music-Oriented Ministries
  • Religious Camp Administration
  • Local churches, synagogues, mosques
  • Religious organizations
  • Religious communities, e.g. convents and monasteries
  • Religious retreat centers, Christian and Buddhist
  • Denominational boards and agencies
  • Monasteries
  • All branches of military service
  • Hospitals, hospices
  • Homes for children, youth, senior citizens
  • Correctional institutions
  • Police and fire departments
  • Missions boards
  • Local churches
  • Evangelical organizations e.g. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Operation Christmas Child
  • Religious-based camps and youth programs, e.g. Young Life
  • Obtain general knowledge of practices, procedures, guidelines, and doctrine of one’s faith.
  • Gain an understanding of human spiritual and social needs. Demonstrate an openness to learn about other people’s faith and multiple perspectives from different backgrounds.
  • Research requirements to enter leadership in the faith you want to pursue. Master of Divinity and denominational ordination are required for most clergy positions, for example.
  • Possess high moral and ethical standards.
  • Develop leadership ability and self discipline.
  • Hone communication skills, both oral and written.
  • To become a chaplain, obtain ordination and two years service in local church or after acceptance into branch of military service, attend chaplaincy school.
  • Earn any needed advanced degrees, certification, or licensing in area of interest for missions.
  • Seek related experience by participating with missions groups.
  • Gain travel and cultural experience with group of interest. Foreign language skills are a plus.
  • Develop fundraising and budgeting skills.
  • People interested in religious vs. secular work possess deep faith, want more than filling one’s own personal needs, and desire to make a difference.
  • Often more opportunities for specific ministries exist in urban areas and large religious institutions.
  • Obtain experience and contacts through extensive involvement in campus organizations or local religious institutions. Leadership on the local, state, and regional level is crucial.
  • Seek camp experience to improve organization and counseling skills as well as network within the denominational / organizational structure.
  • Learn to work well with people of all different backgrounds and socioeconomic status.
  • Earn dual degrees where appropriate, e.g. music.


General Information and Strategies

  • Religious studies equips students with an understanding of global issues and trends in both historical and contemporary contexts. This understanding of multiculturalism and interculturalism is valued by a wide variety of employers in many industries including education, government, and business.
  • Student who seek international careers may find that religious studies provides a good background in global issues.
  • Many transferable skills such as analyzing and synthesizing data, research, communication skills, and critical thinking are associated with the religious studies degree.
  • People who major in religious studies may or may not consider themselves “religious.” Expertise in religious ideas can be a plus for secular work environments as well as more traditional religious ones.
  • An undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in business, law, medicine, counseling, higher education, and other fields. Check for prerequisite classes needed to enter various graduate programs.
  • Obtaining relevant experience through internships or volunteer experiences is critical to finding employment opportunities. Dual majors or minors can also help open the door in some fields.
  • Join relevant organizations and seek leadership roles.