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Career Opportunities

Religious Studies Is:

Intercultural and Comparative
Exploring multiple religious traditions and engaging religion comparatively across and within cultures.

A major in Religious Studies can launch you on a path toward a career in:


  • International/Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs): Catholic Relief Services, American Jewish World Service, Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker Peace network, United Methodist Committee on Relief, World Vision
  • Global Human Rights: Amnesty International, Transparency International, Freedom House
  • Peace Corps and Americorps: community and technology development to HIV prevention to micro business and education
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID): development, aid and relief efforts, democracy and governance, peace and reconciliation efforts
  • Women's organizations: Center for Women's Global Leadership; Global Alliance against Traffic in Women; Women's International Coalition for Economic Justice


  • International Business: investment firms, banks, marketing, management, sales
  • Writer/Editor: publishing firms, journalism, news and television media, public relations companies, grant writing
  • Museums: art galleries, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Ellis Island, Smithsonian Institute
  • Service industry: event planning, hospitality, tour guide


  • attorney, conflict resolution agencies, judicial system, politician, legislator, lobbying group, Think Tank, the State Department, CIA, the Defense Department


  • teaching, grant writing, publishing

Human Services

  • Chaplaincy: hospitals, nursing homes, mental health organizations

Social Work


Religious Organizations

  • Chaplaincy: Religious Organizations, Jails and Prisons, Armed Forces, University and Colleges
  • Ministry: Ordained Positions-Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Imam, Deacon

Lay Positions-Education Directors, Youth and Children Ministers, Gerontology, Bereavement, Administrators, Musicians

Please see what one of our previous alum, Karen Luke, has to say.

Program Administrator or Director

  • Interfaith Institutes, Human Services Organizations, Catholic Worker Centers, Social Work

Career Paths

Graduate school

  • Religious Studies (M.A. or Ph.D.)
  • Theology (M.A. or Ph.D.)
  • Religious vocational training (seminary) (M.Div., M.R.E., M.T.S., D. Min.)
  • Other liberal arts (probable Ph.D. program)
    • Anthropology
    • Archaeology
    • English (literature)
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
  • Professional schools (probable Masters degree program):
    • Business
    • Counseling (can be done in some seminaries as "pastoral psychology")
    • Education (primary)
    • International Relations, Public Administration, or Political Science
    • Journalism
    • Law
    • Library Science
    • Medicine
    • Social Work

Which graduate school?

Depends on geographic preferences (family situation), desired program type and specialty area, finances, admission prospects.

Entering the job market

Some general considerations:

Humanities degrees (e.g., English, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies) are not primarily vocational training and so they do not launch one on an obvious, immediate career path. They sometimes require additional advanced degrees or combination with professional training. However, they are excellent programs for developing the intellectual foundation and scholarly skills for success in many life endeavors.

Know your strengths. In addition to knowledge about religion, Religious Studies students develop certain skills and understandings that are translatable to many contexts.


  • critical thinking
  • close reading of texts
  • writing
  • oral presentation
  • research
  • observation and description

Understandings of:

  • symbol systems
  • social systems
  • ethical analysis
  • multiculturalism (empathic grasp of human commonalities and conflicts)

Faith community (church, synagogue, mosque, temple)

Ordained? Go to seminary for an M.Div. But which seminary? See graduate school considerations above.

Non-ordained? What type of work do you envision? Parish management? Music ministry? Counseling? Religious education?

Seminary is still a common path (see "religious vocational training" above).

What can I do while I figure things out?

  • A Fulbright or some other study-abroad scholarship
  • Teaching Fulbright
  • Americorps
  • Peace Corps
  • Teach for America, World Teach
  • Other not-for-profit, nongovernmental organizations ("NGOs" - many are church-related, e.g., Lutheran Volunteer Corps. A great way to gain experience.)

What can I do now, during my Nazareth College program, to enhance my career options?

  • Complete a second major.
  • Complete a minor.
  • Do Inclusive Education Certification.
  • Do an internship.
  • Develop strong foreign language skills.
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