Types of Degrees Religious Studies Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many religious studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Religious Studies Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to religion and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Religion Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in religion should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- 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
religion majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:
- 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
Religion majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- 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?
People with a religion degree often go into the following careers:
|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 Master’s Degree in Religious Studies?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of religion majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||75|
|Hispanic or Latino||63|
Students from other countries are interested in Religion, too. About 8.3% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
How Much Do Religious Studies Majors Make?
Master’s Degree Starting Salary
Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that religious studies students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $38,350 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $35,700 (25th percentile) and $42,025 (75th percentile).
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
Average salaries range from $82,420 to $85,450 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to religion. 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.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Religious Studies
Some careers associated with religion require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to religion have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||0.1%|
|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%|
Online Religious Studies Programs
In 2018-2019, 726 schools offered a religion program of some type. 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)||32||5|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||20||3|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||1||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||58||3|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||1||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||4||0|
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!
Majors Related to Religious Studies
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to religion.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Other Philosophy & Religious Studies||311|
|General Philosophy & Religious Studies||166|
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Sowlos under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.