The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA and a BGS, as well as a Graduate Certificate and a MA in Religious Studies. The academic study of religion acquaints the student with religion as an important phenomenon of human experience, examines the forms in which religious experience has been described, organized, and practiced in history and in varying cultures, analyzes the interaction of religion with social institutions and areas of personal and group experience, focuses on religion as expressions of meanings and values in the context of what is perceived as the ultimate, and introduces the student to the methods appropriate to the objective study of religion.
Sample of Related Skills
- Demonstrate basic knowledge of the history, beliefs, practices, and values of the major western and non-western religious traditions
- Apply a variety of methodological approaches to the study of religions and incorporate in research and writing
- Delineate how scholars have variously defined Religion and its key components, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of those definitions, and discuss the methodologies arising from the definitions
- Analyze how a religion’s components interact with the culture to which it belongs, explaining how it shapes and is shaped by the surrounding society
- Use standard, neutral scholarly terminology in describing and analyzing religions; this includes being able to speak and write about religions neutrally, without prescription or prejudice, advocacy or polemics
Popular Career Paths
Clergy/Religious Leadership: Includes directing or coordinating faith-based community activities and/or conducting spiritual functions associated with the beliefs and customs of a particular faith or denomination; may require additional education/credentials.
Post-secondary Education: Involves the teaching of college-level courses in religious/cultural studies or leading faith-based campus groups or ministries; may require additional education/credentials.
Research & Data Analysis: Includes the study of religious customs and behaviors related to various social, political, and business activities; study the way religious groups interact, track changes over time, and analyze the way certain beliefs or activities influence a culture.
Social & Human Services: Involves working with community organizations and/or social service agencies to seek out and connect clients with the information, materials, and resources they need to cope with and overcome challenges in their lives.
International Development: Works with US government agencies and non-profit organizations to develop and advocate for religious, economic, political, and social quality-of-life issues on behalf of those living abroad and those immigrating to the US.
Explore More Career Paths
- American Academy of Religion - A large membership organization of Religious Studies and academically oriented religious professionals in North America.
- BeliefNet - A large spiritual e-community with information and resources on various religions and networking opportunities.
- Kansas City Interfaith Council - A local interfaith council promoting respect and trust to all faiths and traditions in the Kansas City community.
- Religion Facts - Facts and definitions about a variety of religions.
- Study Religion - A site designed for students considering a major in religious studies.
- The United Religions Initiative - Promotes interfaith cooperation and compassionate action to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for all; site includes a list of related services and organizations.
Jobs to Consider
Places to Seek Employment
Federal, State & Local Government
Peace Corps and AmeriCorps
Residential Care Facilities
View specific employers by state.
- Identify the career direction you would like to go and how a degree in Religious Studies might help you get there.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications (i.e., advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications) for occupations you are considering.
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
- Register for KU Career Connections and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- Join the professional associations related to religious studies and if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals in your field of interest. See the “Staff Picks” sections for a list of possible organizations you can get involved with!
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when/if it’s relevant to your career goals.
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school.
- Explore the list of on-campus clubs and organizations and consider getting involved in an organization such as the Intercultural & Interfaith Dialogue Student Association.
Job and Internship Search Resources
- Chronicle of Philanthropy Careers - A professional journal providing articles and job postings for a variety of philanthropic fields.
- Government & Non-Profit Resources - More resources from career.ku.edu
- Idealist.org - Local, national, and international jobs and internships in non-profit and government organizations.
- Internships-USA - Internship listings in social services and human rights
- Hillel - The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life website includes job & internship postings with Hillel.
- The Interfaith Alliance - Internships are available with this national, non-partisan advocacy group promoting the interfaith movement by advancing democratic values, religious liberty, and informed civic participation.
- Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services - Career paths and job listings with SRS.
- KU Center for Community Outreach - Local volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas, including poverty, seniors and youth.
- Non-Profit Connect - Local non-profit job and internship opportunities.
- Religions for Peace - Large multi-religious coalition advancing religious communities towards peace; includes links to affiliate organizations and employment opportunities within the organization.
- Social and Welfare Services in Lawrence, KS - Local social services agencies and organizations in the Lawrence area as well as links to each organization's website.
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom - Check out the job opportunities listed by the USCIRF.
- USAJOBS - Full-time, part-time, and internship listings with the federal government.