Religious studies degrees, like many arts degrees, are very versatile and can lead to many different career paths. So, depending on your personal interest and what you feel your skill set is best suited to, there are definitely options out there for you. Here are just a few of the more popular employment routes taken by religious studies graduates.
A large proportion of people who choose to study a religious studies degree go on to study even further. Many do a master’s degree, but for those who wish to continue their research and receive a doctoral qualification, a career in the academic sphere may be a brilliant idea. This would, most likely, involve both researching your chosen specialist area, and also lecturing university students. For any religious studies student who might feel like graduation means a premature departure from their exploration of the subject, a career in academia may be perfect. And, although it can be challenging to study in such depth, and difficult to gain teaching positions at times, for those who have a real passion and flair for religious studies, academia provides a consistently interesting career path.
Youth and Community Work
Young people within UK communities will always need extra support, and youth and community workers endeavour to provide this. This employment field can be extremely broad, and you could be doing anything from running activity groups for families or providing drop-in services for those who need them from time to time. You would usually have to complete a postgraduate qualification accredited by the National Youth Agency in order to take on this sort of employment.
Civil Service Employment
Many religious studies graduates choose to work for the UK Civil Service once graduated, and working for the government in this way can provide fascinating and variant employment opportunities. The Civil Service Fast Stream, open to all graduates, can be a great path of entry into this profession, whether going for the generalist path, or a more specific one. Though, preparation is highly recommended, as the Fast Stream is, and has been for a long time, extremely competitive. There may also be opportunities for direct entry in certain departments, so searching for graduate-level positions is definitely worth doing.
Teaching isn’t for everyone, but for many humanities graduates, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Whether wanting to go into primary or secondary teaching, there are many routes into the profession, such as graduate schemes like TeachFirst, or completing a PGCE (a Postgraduate Certificate in Education). Teaching abroad may also be a viable option for you, particularly if you have developed great language skills. It will be no surprise that the teaching profession requires huge amounts of patience, as well as empathy and understanding. In the end, great teachers are always in high demand, so if you believe that you have the right attitude and temperament, as a religious studies graduate, teaching would be a fantastic opportunity.
Charity and NGO Work
Religious studies degrees involve seeing from the perspectives of others on a regular basis, to attempt to gain an understanding of their living experience. For this reason, a degree in this subject encourages empathy and social understanding, which can be well applied to the charity sector. Whether working for a religious charity such as CAFOD, or a charity organisation with no religious affiliation like the NSPCC, many charitable organisations and NGOs decide to take on graduates in schemes or starter positions.