- Humanitarian services
- 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.
- 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 (e.g., 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.
- Human resources:
- Training and development
- Equity and diversity functions
- 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
- Public relations
- Commercial art
- Website design
- Event planning
- Museum work:
- Exhibition design
- Secular publishing houses
- Secular radio, television, and film producers
- Denominational boards/agencies
- Interdenominational organizations
- Denominational publishing houses of books and magazines
- Local churches, synagogues, and mosques
- Advertising and public relation agencies
- 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.
- Case management
- Vocational training
- Volunteer services
- Crisis services (e.g., pregnancy, housing, etc.)
- Church-based organizing/Community development
- Grant writing
- Nonprofit and social services organizations: 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
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Youth organizations and camps: 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:
- Buddhist, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Islamic, Hindu, Greek Orthodox
- Vocation as Monk or Nun
- Mission work:
- Church development
- Community or agricultural development
- Local ministries:
- Youth ministries
- Adult ministries
- Leisure ministries
- Religious education
- Day care, children and adult
- Food bank/Emergency einistries
- 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
- 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).
- 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.