Theological, Religious, and Ministerial Studies

There are a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs devoted to theological, religious and ministerial studies that can train students to become members of the clergy, teachers or researchers. Keep reading to learn more about the options available in this field.

Inside Theological, Religious and Ministerial Studies

Theological degrees can be earned at public and private colleges and universities, or in seminaries that specialize in a particular faith. Undergraduate degree programs in religion, ministry, theology or divinity can prepare a student to enter a seminary or a graduate program for advanced study and possible ordination as a clergy member. In some programs, students will focus on general religion topics, while other programs allow students to choose a special focus, such as Christian studies, comparative religion, philosophy, East Asian religion, Islam, Judaic or religion in America. Many programs have a language requirement, which can be satisfied by mastering a language used by practitioners of the religion specialization.

Clergy members are as diverse as the religions they serve, but typically they lead religious services and perform other duties associated with religious leadership. Ministers may visit people in hospitals, counsel members of their congregations and lend practical assistance when needed. Religion teachers typically work in classroom settings in public, private or religious educational institutions. Most religious researcher positions are held in university, seminary or college environments. In order to enter one of these professions, students typically have to obtain graduate degrees within their religious specialization. Programs may be called different names, such as Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Sacred Theology or Master of Ministry Studies. There are also doctoral programs, such as Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Ministry or Doctor of Theology.

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