Philosophy and Religious Studies, General

Overview: What Is a College Program in Philosophy and Religious Studies?

Philosophy and religious studies students will be prepared for careers in a variety of fields, including communications and teaching.  Students pursuing an education in this area of study will learn about specific philosophical and religious perspectives while also gaining critical thinking and analysis skills.  Increased communication skills and the ability to research are also major benefits of earning this degree.

Philosophy and Religious Studies Classes and Learned Skills

Classes in this area will teach students about the various perspectives of belief and systems of thought throughout world today and throughout history, while also giving them practical communication and thinking skills that will prepare them for their careers.  Some courses that a philosophy and religious studies student might take include:

  • Ancient Philosophy
  • Logic
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Art
  • History of Western Christian Thought
  • Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions
  • Islamic Thought
  • Jewish Thought

For this general degree type, one particular religion is usually not emphasized over others; instead programs are designed to give students a broad perspective of the world's religions.  Students can choose to specialize in one particular area of religious thought if they should decide to pursue a specific concentration.

Available Learning Formats for Philosophy and Religious Studies Programs

Philosophy and religious studies degrees are available in traditional and online college formats, affording students the option to take their courses either in a classroom setting on a college campus or via Internet courses at home.

Levels of Education Available for Philosophy and Religious Studies

Most of these programs are offered at the level of bachelor's degree and higher, including master's degree and doctoral degree.  Certificates can also be earned, but these are usually best suited to the person who is pursuing a higher degree and wants to strengthen his or her educational credentials.  Associate's degrees are also available in philosophy and religious studies, but upper level degrees are typically more beneficial when preparing for a career in this particular field.

Outlook for Careers in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Many graduates in this field pursue work as a writer or educator.  Others earn additional credentials in fields like political science or economics to pursue work in those fields.  Some jobs that philosophy and religious studies graduates might be suited for include:

  • Writer
  • Technical Writer
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Public Relations Associate
  • Journalist
  • Theologian
  • Civil Servant/Government Worker

For those interested in becoming post secondary professors, more competition is expected for tenure-track positions than for other positions, and those who hold a doctoral degree will have the best chances for finding work in the years to come.  Employment growth in this field is expected to be faster than the average for all occupations.  The most widely available post secondary education jobs are likely to be in fields where there are more nonacademic career choices, such as in business or healthcare occupations.  Writers will face a good deal of competition when looking for jobs, though  technical writing jobs are less competitive and likely to grow faster than other writing jobs over the next few years.  Job outlook statistics were found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website.

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