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Religious Studies Major

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Religious Studies

4,220 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
858 Master's Degrees Annually
#85 in Popularity
$82,420 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Religious Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many religious studies graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 4,224
Master’s Degree 858
Associate’s Degree 724
Doctor’s Degree 265
Basic Certificate 115
Graduate Certificate 39
Undergraduate Certificate 37

What Religious Studies Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, religion majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Religion Majors

Religion majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Philosophy and Theology - Knowledge of different philosophical systems and religions. This includes their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and their impact on human culture.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Skills for Religion Majors

When studying religion, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Religion Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a religion student include the following:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a Religious Studies Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with religion:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Area, Ethnic, and Cultural Studies Professors 10.4% $74,440
Philosophy and Religion Professors 12.3% $71,890

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies?

4,224 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
48% Percent Women
25% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 4,220 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies in 2018, making it rank #85 in popularity. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 48% of the graduates are women, and 52% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of religion majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Religion Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 163
Black or African American 358
Hispanic or Latino 379
White 2,720
International Students 66
Other Races/Ethnicities 538

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Religion, too. About 1.6% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • Israel
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • France
  • United Kingdom

How Much Do Religious Studies Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in religion have a median salary of $25,050 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $23,150 (25th percentile) and $29,175 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in religion, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Religion majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $82,420 to $85,450 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Religious Studies Major  ( 82420 to 85450 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with religion require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

Find out what the typical degree level is for religion careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.1%
Master’s Degree 23.8%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 2.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.7%
Doctoral Degree 66.2%
Post-Doctoral Training 7.5%

Online Religious Studies Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 722 schools offered some type of religious studies program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 28 4
Certificate (1-2 years) 18 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 1 0
Associate’s Degree 49 14
Bachelor’s Degree 33 7
Post-Baccalaureate 28 4
Master’s Degree 188 27
Post-Master’s 8 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 55 1
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 3 1

Is a Degree in Religious Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a religion grad is $82,420 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 107% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $850,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to religion.

Major Number of Grads
Philosophy 9,397
Other Philosophy & Religious Studies 285
General Philosophy & Religious Studies 219

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Philosophy and Religious Studies Schools

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