Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology Worth it?

Getting a bachelor’s in theology is somewhat different from getting the same type of degree in religious studies. The former explores the study of belief as more of a philosophical question and often focus on the framework of a single religion while religious studies tends to take a broader-based and sometimes more secular approach to the subject matter. There are a number of reasons theology may be the right course of study for some people.

Personal Conviction

Perhaps more than any other discipline, theology may attract people who wish to study it because of deeply personal convictions and a desire to more completely explore a particular religious tradition. While the decision to pursue a college degree is often considered in terms of career opportunities, for people who are profoundly committed to a certain religious path, the desire to study that religion as deeply as possible may be reason enough. For these students, any practical benefits of the degree are less important than personal enrichment.

Clergy Careers

A desire to work as a member of the clergy may be one of the most common reasons to get a bachelor’s in theology. These types of careers may include but are not limited to working for a church. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while religious organizations are the biggest employers of clergy, they may also work in hospitals, schools and various types of relief organizations. Clergy may also work in a variety of other environments, some of them very challenging, such as in prisons or as military chaplains.

Preparation for Other Careers

Like many liberal arts degrees, studying theology can be excellent preparation for careers that require broad knowledge, good writing skills, and good critical thinking skills. Some of those careers might be closely related to the study of theology such as religious publishing. Others might not be directly associated with theology but theology may provide an underpinning for the career. For example, a person with a bachelor’s degree in theology might go on to law school and use the theology degree as a basis for ethical guidance in the field of law. Writing and journalism, counseling, or even working as a museum curator are other examples of the many careers in which a theology background could be useful.

Teaching and Research

A person might pursue a theology degree because of a desire to teach. With a bachelor’s, the person could teach religion in a private school to elementary, middle or high school students. A person with a bachelor’s could also work as a research assistant. The bachelor’s degree might also be the first step toward getting a doctorate in theology. This might allow the person to pursue research and teaching at the university level.

Studying theology may include elements of philosophy, history and even language learning. There are a number of good reasons to pursue an undergraduate degree in theology for students who are interested in religious thought and tradition. The decision to get a bachelor’s in theology may arise from a deeply personal religious conviction or may be the start of a career path in a variety of different fields.