two female students sitting on chamberlain fieldWhy Major in Religious Studies?

"If I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion, because that’s how integrated it is in everything that we are working on and deciding and thinking about in life today." 
- John Kerry, Former Secretary of State

About Religious Studies

Religious Studies is one of the most prestigious programs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Its distinguished faculty is devoted to the contemporary academic study of religion and explores the role of religion as a phenomenon in human life and culture, in peace and in conflict. The academic study of religion has a distinctive multidisciplinary character, drawing upon resources and approaches from archaeology, art, anthropology, history, literature, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. It also has a strong multicultural orientation, exploring a plurality of traditions and a wide range of behaviors and beliefs. Faculty at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga introduce students to both Western and Eastern traditions, including:

  • Christianity
  • Judaism
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Buddhism
  • Confucianism
  • Daoism

The Religious Studies program is home to the Chair of Excellence in Judaic Studies, the Leroy Martin Distinguished Professorship in Religious Studies, and the North Callahan Distinguished Professor of Religion.

The freedom of intellectual exploration is one of the joys of being in college, but most college students also have practical concerns about how studying religion will help in "the real world."

The study of religion leads in many directions

The study of religion leads in many directions, qualifying undergraduates for further study in graduate school or preparing them for entry to the job market. Religion departments train students in critical thinking and cross-cultural understanding. Such skills are in high demand in many professional fields. In addition, many religion majors or minors go on to study law, business, education, or medicine. Some students may choose to make religion the center of a professional career, either as the leader of a religious community, or as an academic specialist in higher education. In short, the study of religion offers a wide array of opportunities and a firm foundation for a successful and fulfilling career.

A major in Religious Studies provides one path to a liberal education. Because religion is one of the most powerful forces in our world, the study of religion will improve understanding of the complex relationships between religion and politics, economics, and science. In a global community, an appreciation for the varieties of religious life and experience—through events, texts, rituals, theologies, and artifacts—will establish a foundation for a more informed analysis of contemporary issues, such as abortion, evolution, faith-based initiatives, gender issues, capital punishment, marriage, civil rights, and school prayer.

Religious Studies majors work in a diverse group of interesting fields

Contrary to popular belief, university religious studies departments study religion from an objective perspective, as opposed to theology, which centers more on personal faith and doctrine. Believe it or not, studying religion will help you understand human behaviors, and that is very helpful to employers. You’ll also learn critical thinking and writing skills, which are especially valuable in the job market.

Some common career fields for people who major in Religious Studies include:

  • Counselor
  • Diplomat
  • Journalist
  • Religious Leader
  • Social Worker
  • Theologian
  • Business (particularly international business)
  • Education
  • Law
  • Medicine

To sample the wide array of possibilities open to religion majors a bit further, go to the following website, which list jobs landed by religion majors:

Religious Studies majors include a host of amazing people

Want to have the same major as political commentator George Stephanopoulos? Actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal and Rashida Jones? Activists like Martin Luther King Jr., Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and Michael Lerner? Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel? Nobel Prize Winner Georges Charles Clement Ghislain Pire? They all majored in religious studies.