What is a Religion Major and is it Right for Me?

Do you like discussing and thinking about different belief systems and how they affect history, policy and society as a whole? If so, becoming a religion major might be for you. But before you dive in, here’s what you need to know about the major.

What is a religion major?

The most important thing to know is that a religion major is not reserved for people who want to become a religious leader or clergyman; rather, the major is typically much more secular and looks at religion as a whole as well as looking at particular types of religion. While many religious figures did study religion in college, that doesn’t mean the degree can’t be helpful for many other endeavors.

What sorts of classes do religion majors take? In addition to learning about particular religions themselves (like Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam), students also take a more holistic approach by learning about the historical and sociological backgrounds of these religions. They may also take philosophy and anthropology classes to get a better understanding of how a certain religion came to be and what its current implications are.

Is It right for me?

Now that you know a little bit about the major, it’s time to ask yourself some key questions to see if it’d be a good fit for you:

  • Do I like learning about other cultures and religions, or just my own?
  • Am I open to taking courses in other departments that are linked to my major but not necessarily about religion?
  • Am I comfortable discussing my thoughts and feelings when talking about more controversial religion-related conversations?
  • Am I respectful of others when their opinions or ideas may not agree with mine?
  • Do I consider myself someone who is open-minded to seeing how other people and cultures live?

What can I do with a religion degree?

Aside from becoming a religious figure in a particular faith, there are plenty of other career tracks you can take as someone who graduated with a religion degree. Some of these potential career tracks include:

  • therapist
  • counselor
  • educator
  • professor
  • nonprofit worker
  • government official
  • lawyer
  • international businessperson
  • … and more

Additionally, it’s important to note that many religion majors pursue further education (like a Masters or Ph.D.) in addition to their Bachelor’s degree.

What do people who majored in religion earn?

Often religion majors end up working in a role related to a particular religion, or they do something related to aid and nonprofit work. Starting salaries in these types of fields often very but make $30,000-$45,000 to start. However, many people who major in religion go into fields where they make the world a better place, saying that that fact matters more than money.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Types of Skills Are Best for a Religion Major? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as When to Start Applying for a Summer Internship.

What Types of Skills Are Best for a Religion Major?

Thinking of majoring in religion? The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to know everything about every religion (or even be religion, for that matter) to succeed in the major. Instead, here are four key skills that are must-haves if you want to thrive as a religion major.

Critical thinking skills

Religion majors need to be able to think about a broad swath of topics and how they affected and are affected by religion. In the area of religion, there is never a simple or straightforward problem or answer, and as a major, you must be willing to think about these different issues deeply.

Strong reading and writing skills

Religion majors spend a large amount of their time reading texts (both religious and nonreligious), and often those texts are either translated from another language and/or are difficult to read. The strongest religion majors are those who have a system for reading and interpreting those texts and being able to take cohesive, articulate notes on what they’ve read.

Additionally, evaluation in the religion major is often done through writing, so you must be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and concisely through various papers, reading responses and other assignments.

Communication and public speaking skills

In addition to your written work, you’ll also be in many smaller classes that require you to speak up more and present your ideas to peers and professors alike. The best religion majors are those who are thoughtful before they decide to speak but are also confident in their ideas and arguments when they’re presenting them.


If you’re a religion major, you will definitely run into moments where you don’t believe with a text, an argument or your peers. However, the major requires people who are open to hearing the thoughts and ideas of others, even if they aren’t in line with their own notions. By being open-minded, you’ll not only learn a lot more, but you’ll be a much stronger religion major in the long run.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Religion Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Would You Describe Yourself as a Leader or a Follower?

Career Opportunities for Religion Majors

From studying ancient texts to understanding how religion shapes societies, being a religion major is a great opportunity to learn about the impact of various belief systems on our day-to-day lives. But when it comes to deciding on a career, what are the best ways for religion majors to apply their skills in the real world? For example, what career paths can you embark on with a religion major and where are you likely to be most successful?

Here are some of the most common career paths for religion majors.


Since many religion majors are passionate about one or more religious beliefs, a career as a religious functionary is a great way to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical way. By taking on a role as a minister, rabbi or another type of religious leader, you’ll able to guide followers in your chosen religion while also learning more about that religion and its impact on society.


Another common career path for religion majors is education. From teaching elementary school students to high school students, you’ll be able to translate your knowledge of history and global studies into a teaching career that can span a variety of subjects and grade levels. You can also choose to get an advanced degree in order to teach at the college level.


For religion majors who are interested in continuing along an academic path, a research-focused career can be another satisfying option. This includes research conducted for nonprofits and government agencies as well as academic research related to an advanced degree.


With their strong critical thinking and communication skills, religion majors also make wonderful lawyers, paralegals and legislative aides. In these roles, you’ll be working with clients on their respective legal cases or even advocating for policy change in a number of legislative areas.

Social Work

Another field where religion majors thrive is social work. Focused on helping clients address specific issues including drug addiction and mental health concerns, social work is a wonderful opportunity to connect with others and to make an impact in the life of those who are working to overcome personal challenges.

With its focus on big-picture issues and human relationships, a religion major is a great way to build a strong skill set while gaining exposure to a broad range of ideas. These skills and knowledge can be applied to various careers including education, research and law. If you’re wondering what type of career is best for you, consider taking an internship in a field that interests you. This will help you develop your skill set while getting some exposure to a field you’re passionate about.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Religion Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for in an Internship.