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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree in Religion

Majors Overview February 1, 2015

Bachelor’s degree programs in religion covers the historical development and philosophies of the major religious traditions of the world. Students may change their studies to fit a particular focus, such as Christianity or Christ studies.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Programs in Religion

Students enrolled in a religion major are imparted a strong grasp of the basic principles governing major religions of the world, including Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. They can expect to become adept at understanding, researching, analyzing, interpreting, and writing about at least one of the religions mentioned.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Engagement with some of Christianity’s founding texts, such as the works of St. Augustine or other early Christian thinkers, the Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament may be required of students pursuing a concentration in Christianity. The curriculum also involves the reading and analyzing of literary texts, including John Milton’s works and Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Over the whole duration of the program, students may reference diverse fields, such as sociology, philosophy, and archaeology.

Coursework

Coursework includes reading, writing, and intensive research. Students may be required to submit research projects before they are allowed to graduate. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Early Christian literature
•Western religions
•Catholic ethics
•Politics and religion
•Catholicism
•Protestant reformation
•Medieval church history
•Biblical archaeology
•Contemporary American religion

Career Choices

Those who complete the degree program can seek entry-level careers in various professional settings in religious vocations or secular fields. Career options include:

•Non-profit directors
•Lay leaders
•Pastors
•Youth ministers

Job and Wage Outlook

Respective job growth rates of 10% and 8% have been predicted for clergy members and religious directors, over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, clergy members brought home an average annual wage of $47,540, while directors of religious activities and education banked $37,280 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Those who successfully graduate from the bachelor’s degree program in religion and wish to teach at the collegiate level may opt for continuing education by earning a master’s degree. Graduate-level humanities programs are devised to impart intensive scholarly training to religion majors who may seek a master’s and/or doctoral degree in a field such as sacred theology or religious leadership.

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