Theological studies may not be the most conventional choice in academia, but contrary to popular belief, they can open a lot of doors, creating opportunity both in the academic world and in the wider world of work. Theology graduates have good rates of success in employment and as faith can inform all aspects of life, so an educated perspective on faith and religious tradition can make a valuable contribution to diverse professions.
Job Skills Provided by Theological Studies
Studying theology develops and refines a number of skills that can be valuable in the workplace, including the following:
- Research, analysis, report writing and academic communication.
- Public speaking and presentation.
- Linguistic skills, including the ability to interpret obscure documents.
- Empathy and listening skills.
- Community development and support skills.
Secular Career Options for Theology Graduates
Theology graduates are particularly well suited to careers that require ethical reasoning abilities. Some go on to work as doctors or medical ethicists, while others join think tanks or work as consultants to policy developers. Some go into journalism, with broadcast journalism being particularly popular among those with a passion for sharing their discoveries about faith.
Another area where theology is particularly useful is in support work with people. Some theology graduates train as counsellors and many become involved in community-focused work, such as drug rehabilitation or assisting the homeless. There are also opportunities for people with these interests to work overseas and not just as part of missions. Studying theology usually involves an element of cross-cultural study and learning to understand other people’s perspectives, which can be particularly useful to projects working to support the vulnerable in developing cultures.
Alongside these options, there is always the possibility of a career in teaching. Whether it’s progressing further through academia to become a lecturer in theology or teaching religious education in schools, there is always room for bright graduates to enlighten others.
Religious Career Options for Theology Graduates
Some theology graduates feel that the natural next step for them is to enter a seminary; go directly into ministry, with youth ministry being particularly popular or join missions. The Church is always hiring, so there is no shortage of opportunities for those willing to work hard and continue developing their understanding of faith.
Further Study Options for Theology Graduates
Studying such a fascinating and diverse subject leaves many graduates wanting more and some choose to pursue that through further study. There is a good range of grants and bursaries available to help with this. Taking a master’s degree in theology generally involves concentrating on a specialty subject, such as religious history or contextual theology and there are funded PhD opportunities available to those demonstrably capable students who wish to undertake original research.
Other theology graduates choose to stay in academia in order to take conversion courses, complementing their understanding of theology with another subject, such as librarianship, which can give them the skills to do vocational work related to the preservation or dissemination of theological understanding.