Best Online Religious Studies Degree Programs

Although sometimes confused with the fields of theology and divinity, the field of religious studies typically focuses on the dynamics of human belief systems and the way religions shape cultures and societies throughout human history. The best online degrees in religious studies prepare students for work in settings as diverse as government intelligence, social services and as the clergy of various faith groups. Accredited degree programs from the associate’s to the doctoral levels in religious studies are available from several online colleges and universities, both secular and religiously affiliated, which emphasizes the study of religions within the context of a particular belief system. The top online religious studies programs open doors to a variety of careers dedicated to the study of religious beliefs and their implications for society and culture.

About the Best Online Degrees in Religious Studies

Religious studies is an interdisciplinary major that combines elements of history, anthropology, multicultural studies and theology, among other disciplines. Religious studies can be combined with study in other fields such as psychology, social services, theology and criminology, which expands career options. Religious studies graduates may find work in intelligence agencies, gathering and analyzing data gathered on specific religious groups and cultures, or in social services, working with religion-based groups. Religious studies can also lead to work as a counselor or, along with studies in divinity, as clergy in a variety of religious communities. With an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate, teaching on the college level and research are also career options.

Online Undergraduate Degrees in Religious Studies

The best online undergraduate degrees in religious studies incorporate a variety of related subject areas. Degree options begin with the associate of arts degree, which is often combined with studies in other fields. Online bachelor’s in religious studies programs include basic studies in theology and comparative religions as well as courses in psychology, human behavior and specific areas of a student’s major such as Islamic studies or Native American Religions.

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Online Master’s In Religious Studies Programs

The best online master’s degrees in religious studies can lead to positions in management, government and research as well as teaching religious studies on the college level. In master’s level courses students combine studies in religion with coursework in other applicable fields such as psychology and even criminal justice. Students interested in pursuing ministry careers may add divinity studies leading to ordination to the MA in religious studies as well.

Choosing the Best Online Religious Studies Degree

Choosing the best online degrees in religious studies depends on partly on interests and goals. Good schools for this degree include both secular and religiously affiliated institutions, so a student interested in pursuing a degree leading to ministry or work with particular community may prefer to choose a school affiliated with that faith. A student interested in the broader cultural and social implications of religion may prefer study at a secular institution. Only a few online institutions offer full degrees in religious studies, and a review of the religious studies degree rankings offered by reputable educational portals in the USA provide detailed information on the offerings of all available schools. With salaries averaging $45,000 annually, religious studies graduates can find challenging and rewarding work in both the religious and secular worlds.