Site Content

Religion

1. What is the Religion major?
2. What careers interest students in this major?
3. What skills are developed within this major?
4. What Religion resources are available?
5. Where have Wake Forest graduates landed jobs with this major?
6. Where can I get more information about the Religion major?

1. What is the Religion major?

The study of religion is a way of organizing academic inquiry into how human beings and human cultures express and experience their religious needs, beliefs and values. It involves the study of both specific religious traditions and the general nature of religion as a phenomenon of human life. Using interdisciplinary approaches, religious studies investigates and interprets systems of religious belief, the history of religious traditions, the function of religion in society, and forms of religious expression such as ritual, symbols, myths, scripture, and theology. Students of religion, whether adherents of a religion or of no religion, gain tools to understand, compare and engage the phenomenon of religion and its role in human life and culture.

Because religions and the religious deal with questions of meaning and orientation, religious studies provides a place for students to explore in a disciplined fashion the ways in which humans have struggled to make sense of themselves and their world. To study religion is to study responses, both behavioral and intellectual, to some of the great questions of human life, including origins, death, suffering, hope, love and the nature of the self. Religion is not a narrow, isolated segment of individual and social life. Rather, it is a constellation of beliefs, values, practices and behaviors that deeply inform personal and public life. When you study religion, you are not studying just a set of official dogmas or rituals that are isolated from real life. You are studying what motivates and influences most people in our world. As a result, the study of religion requires a variety of disciplinary approaches, bringing together perspectives and approaches from history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, literature, theology and social theory to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the persons and communities that constitute religious traditions. Thus, the interdisciplinary character of religious studies can provide an unusually integrative matrix for the student’s undergraduate experience.

Majors will have enhanced understanding of cultural diversity and the complexity of diverse world views. International and historical perspectives will in turn provide the wider context for students’ understanding of their own culture, as well as provide preparation for careers in international relations, development, and commerce. Religion majors do the same things other humanities majors do. Majoring in Religion is not, for most students, a route to a religious career, any more than majoring in English leads to being a novelist, poet, or literary critic. Majors have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including Education, Law, Social Work, Medicine (many medical schools actually prefer that their applicants major in humanistic fields), Business/Finance, Ministry, and Graduate School.

2. What careers interest students in this major?

Careers that often interest Religion majors include:
Non-Profit Work
Community Development
Counseling
Business
Computer Science
International Relations and Development
Law
Medicine and Health Professions
Ministry
Publishing
Social Service
Teaching (high school and higher education)

3. What skills are developed within this major?

Skills developed within this major include: Cross cultural communication; Critical empathy and tolerance; Understanding of cultural diversity and the way diverse world views inform human behavior and motivations; Ability to think critically and analytically; Research and organizational skills; Written and oral expression of ideas; Time management skills; Critical appreciation and understanding of the interdependent nature of human activity in fields as diverse as religion, politics, economics, sociology, psychology, and the arts; Reflectivity; Flexibility; Adaptability; Analysis and Synthesis of Ideas; and leadership.

4. What Religion resources are available?

Why Study Religion?
American Academy of Religion

5. Where have Wake Forest graduates landed jobs with this major?

Click here to see where Religion majors have landed jobs after graduation.

6. Where can I get more information about the Religion major?

For more information about the Religion major, visit the WFU Department of Religion.