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Religion major

Why study religion at university?

Study tips
Published 29 Sep, 2022  ·  4-minute read

Whether you’ve never set foot in a church, mosque or temple, or you attend religious services regularly, the Studies in Religion major provides fascinating course material and excellent opportunities.

For anyone who already has a deep interest in religions and how they impact society, the benefits of studying religion at university are obvious. But even if it’s not a subject you’ve considered before, Studies in Religion can provide you with a rich knowledge base and flexible skill set, ultimately equipping you to enter all sorts of jobs and industries with an empathetic and well-informed perspective.

We spoke with Dr Adam Bowles, convenor of UQ’s Studies in Religion major, to find out what this line of study can provide students and where it can take them after graduation.

So, why study religion as part of your Bachelor of Arts? Let’s find out.

Is Studies in Religion a good major?

Adam believes this major can be both enjoyable and enriching for any student. He considers understanding how religions impact individuals and communities to be incredibly valuable for modern professionals.

“Religions are complex and historically rich – they are exciting to learn about,” he says.

Adam also sees religion as an insightful lens for viewing history, observing the current day, and looking towards tomorrow.

“Understanding religion is crucial to understand our past and present,” he says.

“They play, and have played, pivotal roles in social, political and economic issues, and they are important to how many people make meaning of their lives.”

To be a positive contributor to any workplace – or, indeed, any community – it’s essential to know how to treat others with respect. Studies in Religion provides a framework for understanding the spiritual needs and values of those around you, making it easier to relate to and interact appropriately with people from all walks of life.

"As our communities become increasingly diverse, religious literacy is increasingly important." - Dr Adam Bowles

Skills you get when you study religion

With a multidisciplinary approach covering an array of faiths and spiritualities, including both Western and Eastern philosophies, this major will guide you to reflect and understand many traditions, values and questions. This means you’ll graduate with an excellent grasp and appreciation of how religions have shaped and continue to shape societies around the world.

In additional to expanding your worldview, Studies in Religion will also equip you with a range of valuable and transferrable skills. Graduates who complete this major are adept at:

  • considering and understanding multiple points of view
  • conducting insightful research
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • evaluating the quality of information
  • synthesising and making connections across complex ideas
  • listening and communicating (including written communication).

These are all universally applicable skills that can serve you well in any profession you pursue.

Remember, you won’t just study religions in this major. You’ll also learn about the relationships between religions and politics, history, social sciences, philosophies, literature and psychology.

Studies of religion careers

What are the possible jobs for religion majors? Well, the sky’s the limit, based on where our alumni are now.

“Studies in Religion Bachelor of Arts graduates are employed in a large variety of roles,” says Adam.

Depending on your other major (and your other program, if you’re studying a dual degree), the Studies in Religion major is the perfect complement to lead you to a career in:

  • journalism
  • education
  • medicine and health care
  • social work
  • foreign affairs
  • pastoral care
  • NGOs
  • public service
  • law
  • overseas aid
  • academia.

You’ve probably noticed a lot of the fields above are international in nature. This is because studying religion uniquely equips you to compassionately deal with people from different faiths – including faiths you don’t encounter so frequently in Australia.

Similarly, if you’re in an industry that involves people from all sections of the population (like public service, education or medicine), a knowledge of many religions can make it easier to empathise and engage meaningfully with everyone you meet.

Jobs for religion majors

As just a snapshot of the many opportunities you could pursue, some common jobs for religion majors include:

  • studies in religion teacher
  • religion and ethics teacher
  • welfare case manager
  • youth development officer
  • justice worker
  • university academic
  • foreign affairs officer
  • community development officer
  • government policy officer.

Study religion at UQ

When you choose the Studies in Religion major as part of your Bachelor of Arts, you’ll get to select from courses including:

Learn more about UQ’s Studies in Religion major Explore other options in the UQ Bachelor of Arts

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