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Religious Degrees: Seem to Continue to Attract College Students

For most people, religion is an important part of humanity's existence. Throughout history, religion has had a profound influence in culture, arts, literature, morality and ethics, politics, and even economics. Its effect is equally felt both at the individual level (in terms of personal faith and spirituality) and at the macro-social level (wherein wars are waged, entire ethnic groups are displaced, and cultural revolutions are started, all in the name of religion). It's no wonder that many people, especially college and post-graduate students, are still attracted to the idea of studying religion.

Religion is multi-faceted and people who study it do so for various reasons. Some study religion for the purpose of strengthening their own faith or enhancing their spirituality. If so, choosing to pursue a Theology degree wherein focuses on the study of God and acquire a deeper understanding of the core tenets of the religions of interest.

Others may wish to study religion for purely academic purposes, regardless of religious affiliations. This non-biased scholarly approach can be encapsulated in a Religious Studies program which covers courses like comparative religion, history of world religions, philosophy of religion, psychology of religion, and sociology of religion, among other courses.

Whether it's for spiritual or academic enlightenment, a good number of students earn theology- or religious studies-related degrees year after year. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a total of 8,718 bachelor's degrees and 12,824 master's degrees in theology and religious vocations were awarded in 2010. In the areas of philosophy and religious studies, there were 12,504 bachelor's degrees and 2,043 master's degrees conferred in 2010.

That the possible attraction maybe that religion degree holders may choose from a range of careers, such as serving in the ministry should you hold a theology degree or you may choose building your career as religious education teacher, counselor, researcher, spirituality writer, social worker, or life coach, to name a few.

Program Options

Theology and religious studies-related programs may be offered by various colleges and universities using different program titles, and in some cases, may even lump them together with Philosophy. Here are the most common programs:

Certificate level:

  • Certificate in Biblical Studies

Associate degree level:

  • Associate of Arts in Religion

Bachelor's degree level:

  • Bachelor of Science in Religion
  • Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology of Religion
  • Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies

Master's degree level:

  • Master of Arts in Christian Studies (with specializations in Christian Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Urban Ministry, or Youth Ministry)
  • Master of Arts in Religion (with specializations in Chaplaincy, Christian Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, or Worship Studies)
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Evangelism
  • Master of Arts in Worship Studies

Doctorate degree level:

  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Counseling - Pastoral Care 

If you're interested in pursuing a degree in an accredited theology or religious studies program, use the search box found in the top left-hand section.  Here you may locate an accredited college nearest you.