Americans have an average of 7 careers over the course of their lives. A major in Philosophy or World Religions opens more doors than you may realize! Though it's true that a job description may not ask specifically for an applicant with one of these majors, by studying philosophy or world religions, you will learn valuable skills that can be applied to any field of work. The ability to think objectively, to appreciate cultural diversity, to assess influential human ideas, to understand different views of life's meaning, to process new information, and to love knowledge are abilities important to any endeavor and to any career.
The knowledge gained in philosophy complements fields of study such as history, English, psychology, liberal studies, sociology, and political science. The ability to communicate effectively, to solve problems, to evaluate competing points of view, and to develop new approaches to life's unpredictable problems are skills important to any endeavor. These skills are in demand in today's work environment. Philosophy majors also score very well on graduate and professional admissions exams. But Philosophy majors consistently secure among the highest scores on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). Philosophy comes in first on the Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing portions of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Philosophy majors also place high in the Graduate Management Admission Council test (GMAT). See stats and links on careers in philosophy over to the right.
Recent UNI Philosophy graduates have held the following jobs:
attorneys, teachers, accountants, U.S. Congressional staffers, social workers, directors of social service agencies, museum curators, school psychologists, bankers, athletic coaches, business owners .... and even magicians!
Courses in the study of world religions focus on those beliefs, values, and issues that have concerned humans of every walk of life; therefore, such courses can help to prepare a person for life in general. International and historical perspectives provide religion majors with wider context for his or her understanding of all cultures, as well as provide preparation for careers in international relations, development, and commerce.
As many have said, our society thrives on information. In today's multicultural workplace and global economy, basic knowledge about other cultures and religious perspectives is indispensable. In addition, good interpreters of information are in high demand. Gathering data, organizing it, understanding it, and presenting it are vital skills in the study of religion, and in most professions, these skills are absolutely required.
But success in your chosen career is not just about interpreting information: it also depends on making connections with people. Studying religion is about people and their many perspectives. In jobs that require relating to others, reaching out to them, building bridges, or incorporating many perspectives at once, a religion major will provide an excellent foundation.
Starting with a Bachelor's degree in religion, there are many places to go. After graduation, religion majors do the same kinds of things that other humanities majors do, in roughly the same proportions. Majoring in the study of religion is not, for most students, a route to a religious career. (Although it certaintly can be!) The major imposes no limitations, but also lends its own particular strengths to a number of different career choices. Religion majors have successfully gone on to professional training in:
- Higher education
- Counseling and social work
- Business (particularly international business)
Others have moved directly into the job market, taking up positions in:
- Government, foreign service, or the Peace Corps
- Non-profit agencies
- Marketing and management
- Museums and the arts
See stats and links about careers after majoring in the study of religions to the right.
"The academic study of religion does prepare you for a career if you become professionally interested in the field. It also aids in preparation for other kinds of careers. A wide variety of employers are looking for people who are tolerant of diversity, are able to learn from others, are adaptable to new situations, and have knowledge of history and international affairs."
- Gary Kessler, Studying Religion
"The failure of Americans to understand other religions poses one of the greatest challenges to our public diplomacy"
- Madeline Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty, 2003