Nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations (e.g., Vital Voices or Habitat for Humanity)
Federal government agencies with an international focus [e.g., Peace Corps, USAID and the Foreign Service (State Department)]
Private voluntary organizations
Humanitarian organizations (e.g.,International Red Cross and CARE)
Religious organizations (e.g., World Vision)
National Security Council
Many international organizations value the historical and contemporary context of religions and cultures that one learns in religious studies.
Learn one or more foreign languages.
Plan to study, volunteer, or intern abroad more than one time if possible.
Seek cultural experiences on campus and get involved with the international student population.
Join relevant student organizations such as Amnesty International and gain leadership roles.
Develop excellent research, writing, communication, and organizational skills.
Participate in an international service learning experience or go on a mission trip.
Federal international jobs require careful observation of a formal hiring procedure. Apply for a federal government internship.
Government work in the foreign service requires passage of the Foreign Service Exam and adherence to a list of requirements.
Research the international organization/agency’s structure and function.
Volunteer at relevant local social service agencies to gain experience and demonstrate interest.
Develop good working knowledge of international humanitarian law.
Demonstrate your depth of dedication, willingness to adapt, and coping mechanisms to combat stress and difficult situations
Earn first aid certification to assist in disaster relief work with organizations such as the Red Cross.
Develop skills in the areas of organizing groups, efficiency, and the ability to calm people.
Earn a graduate degree in an area of interest to open more job opportunities. Religious studies provides a good background for a variety of graduate programs.
Student affairs administration
Programs/Study abroad administration
Religious life programming
Private, public, or religiously affiliated colleges and universities
Schools of theology/seminaries
Organizations (e.g., Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Campus Crusade for Christ, Muslim Student Association, Hillel)
Buddhist Monasteries (e.g., Chuang Yen Monastery)
Earn a doctorate degree for teaching and research in colleges and universities. Earn a master’s degree in a relevant field for positions in student affairs administration or library/information sciences.
Earn certification/licensure to teach in public secondary schools. Choose a double major in an area such as history.
Complete Master of Divinity plus additional training for campus ministry.
Master of Divinity and Ph.D., D.Min. or Th.D. usually required for teaching, research and administration in seminaries and schools of theology.
Focus on a specialization such as Women’s Studies in Religion during graduate school to further employability.
Seek campus leadership positions such as Peer Mentor, Resident Assistant, or Orientation Leader.
Volunteer to assist a faculty member with research.
Develop relationships with faculty to secure strong recommendations.
Maintain a strong grade point average to gain admittance into graduate school.
Learn to speak a second language if planning to pursue a graduate degree in religious studies. Choose a language that will be particularly relevant to your interests.
Training and development
Equity and diversity functions
Banks and financial institutions
Other large corporations
Learn how to sell your religious studies major to business employers that value employees who understand and appreciate cultural diversity.
Double major or minor in business.
Gain related experience through internships or summer and part-time jobs.
Get involved in relevant student organizations and seek leadership roles.
Develop the ability to write and speak persuasively, as well as adapt content for diverse populations
Learn how to use relevant software including those for spreadsheets, presentations, and databases.
Communications and Arts
Secular publishing houses
Secular radio, television, and film producers
Denominational publishing houses of books and magazines
Local churches, synagogues, and mosques
Advertising and public relation agencies
Plan to complete one or more internships in this area to prepare for a professional job and to build a network of relevant professionals.
Take courses in English, journalism, art history, or photography depending upon interest area.
Develop excellent writing and editing skills.
Work for the campus newspaper, radio station, or tv station.
Submit articles for publication in religious and nonreligious papers and journals.
Learn web design and desktop publishing.
Obtain specialized technical training such as a double major or minor in broadcasting or graphic design for work in those fields.
Develop a portfolio of writing samples.
Display good planning, organizational, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, and learn to think creatively.
Move to larger metropolitan areas for more jobs, and be willing to relocate for promotions.
Consider freelance positions to work in journalism.
Earn a graduate degree for museum work.
Crisis services (e.g., pregnancy, housing, etc.)
Church-based organizing/Community development
Nonprofit and social services organizations: United Way, Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army, etc.
Immigrant and refugee service providers
Migrant service providers
Hospitals and hospices
Residential treatment facilities
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
Youth organizations and camps: YMCA, YWCA, Young Life, Campus Life, etc.
Churches, synagogues, and mosques
Volunteer with local organizations to gain experience working with a wide variety of people from various backgrounds. Develop multicultural competence.
Obtain excellent interpersonal and oral and written communication skills.
Plan to earn a graduate degree in counseling, social work, or psychology to provide therapy or counseling to clients.
Complete an internship or part-time job in an organization of interest to gain experience and develop contacts.
Find ways to develop fundraising and grant writing skills. These are valued by nonprofit agencies.
Learn a language such as Spanish to work with immigrant and migrant populations.
Earn a joint degree in divinity and law to work in legal fields related to religious freedom issues.
Religious communities, (e.g., convents and monasteries)
Religious retreat centers, Christian and Buddhist
Denominational boards and agencies
All branches of military service
Homes for children, youth, senior citizens
Police and fire departments
Evangelical organizations (e.g., Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Operation Christmas Child)
Religious-based camps and youth programs, (e.g., Young Life)
Obtain general knowledge of practices, procedures, guidelines, and doctrine of one’s faith.
Gain an understanding of human spiritual and social needs. Demonstrate an openness to learn about other people’s faith and multiple perspectives from different backgrounds.
Research requirements to enter leadership in the faith you want to pursue. Master of Divinity and denominational ordination are required for most clergy positions, for example.
Possess high moral and ethical standards.
Develop leadership ability and self discipline.
Hone communication skills, both oral and written.
To become a chaplain, obtain ordination and two years service in local church or after acceptance into branch of military service, attend chaplaincy school.
Earn any needed advanced degrees, certification, or licensing in area of interest for missions.
Seek related experience by participating with missions groups.
Gain travel and cultural experience with group of interest. Foreign language skills are a plus.
Develop fundraising and budgeting skills.
People interested in religious vs. secular work possess deep faith, want more than filling one’s own personal needs, and desire to make a difference.
Often more opportunities for specific ministries exist in urban areas and large religious institutions.
Obtain experience and contacts through extensive involvement in campus organizations or local religious institutions. Leadership on the local, state, and regional level is crucial.
Seek camp experience to improve organization and counseling skills as well as network within the denominational / organizational structure.
Learn to work well with people of all different backgrounds and socioeconomic status.
Earn dual degrees where appropriate, (e.g., music).
Religious studies equips students with an understanding of global issues and trends in both historical and contemporary contexts. This understanding of multiculturalism and interculturalism is valued by a wide variety of employers in many industries including education, government, and business.
Student who seek international careers may find that religious studies provides a good background in global issues.
Many transferable skills such as analyzing and synthesizing data, research, communication skills, and critical thinking are associated with the religious studies degree.
People who major in religious studies may or may not consider themselves “religious.” Expertise in religious ideas can be a plus for secular work environments as well as more traditional religious ones.
An undergraduate degree prepares students for professional and graduate study in business, law, medicine, counseling, higher education, and other fields. Check for prerequisite classes needed to enter various graduate programs.
Obtaining relevant experience through internships or volunteer experiences is critical to finding employment opportunities. Dual majors or minors can also help open the door in some fields.
Join relevant organizations and seek leadership roles.