Students fascinated by religious scholarship should consider an undergraduate degree in religion or religious studies. Students specifically interested in Christianity will be able to specialize in Christ studies. In this program, courses provide a comprehensive understanding of sacred texts, the philosophy behind spiritual teachings and the primary individuals who influenced the religion. In addition, students learn about significant religious time periods and how the religion has impacted society over time.
Program specializations include Philosophy, Sociology, Biblical and Theological Studies, Religious Counseling and Archaeology. Some programs may be available online, and a final thesis and/or community service may also be required. Prerequisites include a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as ACT/SAT scores.
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Bachelor's Degree in Religion and Christ Studies
Religion students are educated to understand the basic tenets of major world religions, such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Scholastic activities include intensive research, writing, and reading. Students concentrating in Christianity may be required to engage with some of the religion's founding texts, including the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, and the works of early religious scholars. Course topics specific to the Christianity concentration may include:
- Medieval church history
- Protestant Reformation
- Biblical archaeology
- Catholic ethics
- Contemporary American religion
- Politics and religion
Popular Career Options
Graduates of this degree program may go on to work in a variety of professions in secular fields or in religious vocations. This program of study could be particularly suited for students interested in the following occupations:
- Nonprofit director
- Youth minister
- Lay leader
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Students who complete a bachelor's degree in religion and Christ studies may be qualified to pursue careers as clergy or directors of religious activities and education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy are expected to have a 6% increase in employment opportunities from the years 2014-2024, and as of May 2015, can anticipate a median annual salary of $44,250. Directors of religious activities and education should have a 4% increase in job prospects between 2014-2024 and had a median salary of $38,780 in May 2015, as per the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of this program who wish to pursue a career that requires at least a master's degree, such as teaching at the collegiate level, may consider graduate school. Religion majors receive the intensive scholarly training that is required in graduate-level humanities programs. They can pursue master's and/or doctoral degrees in specialized fields, such as religious leadership and sacred theology.
Although a bachelor's degree in religion and Christ studies includes the study of all major world religions, coursework focuses specifically on Christianity. Potential courses include study of the history of Christianity, politics and religion and Catholicism and may include close study of historical Christian texts including the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.