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Theological & Ministerial Studies Major

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Theological & Ministerial Studies

11,173 Master's Degrees Annually
1,452 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#20 in Popularity (Master's)
$53,290 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many theological and ministerial studies graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 11,230
Doctor’s Degree 1,464
Graduate Certificate 861

What Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, theology majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Theology Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Theology Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to theology:

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  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Theology Majors

Theology majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • 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.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

What Can You Do With a Theological & Ministerial Studies Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with theology:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Clergy 8.2% $48,990
Philosophy and Religion Professors 12.3% $71,890
Religious Workers 7.7% $29,820

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Theological & Ministerial Studies?

11,230 Master's Degrees Annually
30% Percent Women
27% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is one of the most frequently chosen graduate majors. It is the 20th most popular in the country with 11,173 students graduating with a master’s in theology in 2019. This major attracts more men than women. About 70% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of theology majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Theology Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 495
Black or African American 1,557
Hispanic or Latino 703
White 6,643
International Students 795
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,037

Geographic Diversity

Theology appeals to people across the globe. About 7.1% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • China
  • India
  • Vietnam

How Much Do Theological & Ministerial Studies Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that theological and ministerial studies students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree made a median starting salary of $40,750 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $33,125 (25th percentile) and $47,475 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in theology, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Theology majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $35,860 to $82,420 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

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.

Median Salary for a Theological & Ministerial Studies Major  ( 35860 to 82420 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with theology 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 theology have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.5%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 0.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 12.0%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 4.0%
Master’s Degree 40.5%
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. 0.4%
Doctoral Degree 36.8%
Post-Doctoral Training 6.2%

Online Theological & Ministerial Studies Programs

In 2018-2019, 578 schools offered a theology 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) 22 10
Certificate (1-2 years) 32 10
Certificate (2-4 Years) 7 3
Associate’s Degree 98 29
Bachelor’s Degree 90 38
Post-Baccalaureate 22 10
Master’s Degree 580 183
Post-Master’s 35 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 91 15
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 61 7
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 38 10

Is a Degree in Theological & Ministerial Studies Worth It?

The median salary for a theology grad is $53,290 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 34% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $267,800 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to theology.

Major Number of Grads
Pastoral Counseling & Specialized Ministries 1,466
Theology & Religious Vocations (Other) 943
Biblical Studies 832
Religious Education 608
Missionary Studies 451
Sacred Music 136

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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