Students might naturally ask: What does a religion major prepare me for?

The study of religion embodies the enduring liberal arts ideal that before locking into a job niche in a world defined by public or local perceptions, it is good to first have the opportunity to study ways of interpreting the world itself and thus to develop informated judgments about what is valuable to know and to do.

The field of religion has its own specific educational outcomes. Majors will have:

  • an enhanced understanding of cultural diversity and the naturalness of diverse world views
  • international and historical perspectives that will (a) provide the wider context for students' understanding of their own culture, and (b) provide preparation for careers in international relations, development, and commerce.

Because of the broad interdisciplinary focus of the College of Arts and Sciences undergraduate program, religion majors are equipped with many other transferable skills, enabling them to succeed in any profession.

Advanced studies in religion

Some religion majors choose to go on to graduate work in religion and eventually on to academic careers. UVM's religion professors are products of some of the best religion programs in the country (Boston University, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Indiana University Bloomington, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, and Yale) and will be glad to speak with you about not only programs of interest, but also what it is that advanced students of religion do.

  • Jillian Ward

    Mind, Body and Spirit

    If a university education is meant to build not just a career but a productive and meaningful life, Jillian Ward’s UVM experience provides a compelling example. A native of Woodbridge, Conn., Ward ’11 was interested in entering the helping professions and declared psychology as her UVM major. It wasn’t until her second semester that she took an introduction to Asian religion class. She liked it so much, she took a few more religion courses, including sections on African religion and Buddhism. After a while she realized she was accumulating enough credits to earn a double major.

    “They were the best classes I ever took, so I just kept taking them. By the time I got to upper level classes, I felt this amazing sense of community shared by a small cohort of students and professors.”

    When it came to deep discussions, developing ideas for a thesis project or getting advice on writing and other academic projects, it was mostly faculty in the religion department whom she turned to for guidance. “The department became a sort of a sanctuary for me,” she said.

    Read More of Jillian's story.

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Careers and jobs after a religion major

Religion majors also gravitate to the same kinds of professions and work opportunities as do those who major in history, English, or even biology. For example, they may eventually go into medicine (many medical schools actually prefer that their applicants major in humanistic fields), law, business, education, social work, or ordained ministry. Current department graduates pursue the following careers:

  • teaching, both high school and higher education
  • medicine
  • film production
  • counseling
  • business
  • broadcasting
  • publishing
  • web design
  • computer sciences
  • performance, visual, and literary arts
  • international relations and development
  • ministry
  • social services