Take me to church. So you chose to learn about religion? You want to know more about the world around you and maybe a little beyond that? Theology may not be the hottest major in academia, but it’s probably the oldest.
What you’ll be doing
Regardless of how the major is structured at your university, you’ll take a hefty load of religion and philosophy classes. If you’re at a Catholic university, you’ll encounter a few Jesuits. If you’re at a Mormon institution, you’ll meet a few Brothers. Either way, you’ll be learning about the role of faith in people’s everyday lives and why it’s important. The major is different for everyone. Some will become very acquainted with the teachings of many different religions and some with just one. It all depends on what your university has to offer and what interests you.
With a theology major, you can also play a little with the academia. Tack on an English major and become a pro with biblical allusions. Add on a biochem degree and develop a roundabout view on that whole creation debate. A theology major gives you a bunch of options when you’re in the thick of it, so take advantage.
“I get to study what I love. I went to a public school and had a very light religious upbringing. I came into college not knowing at all what I wanted to learn, but when I discovered my theology major, I suddenly was able to see all these things right in front of my face. It was like I was blinded by something for 19 years.” —Towisha Bonds, Junior, Boston College
“I can hold my own in arguments. I’ve found that in a lot of classes, everything can be in some way traced back to religion. Whether it be history or literature, everything is riddled with everything my major directly deals with. It’s pretty awesome winning my battles.” —Shirley Chan, Sophomore, university of Oregon
“I get to prove to my friends that you don’t need a promise of a huge paycheck once you graduate to make you happy.” —Shannon Choe, Senior, Boston College
“My mother. She asks me every time we talk about my major what I’ll do after I leave university. She’s always like, ‘If you’re not going to be a priest, then what is this for?’ She doesn’t realize there’s more to my major than that.” —Nate Gay, Junior, Boston College
“The coursework can be difficult to handle. I often find myself very conflicted with things I’ve always known to be true. It’s weird. I’m learning all of this new stuff, but now I’m constantly questioning what is true in the world.” —Andy Mnjaa, Freshman, Oregon State University
“I don’t know if it’s a downside, but not having a direct career path is interesting. I guess I should be worried about getting a job after I graduate, but right now I’m kind of just enjoying learning what I’ve always wondered about.” —Alicia Ann, Junior, Boston College
With a major like this, the world is your apple (Eden reference, get it?). Anyway, the world really is at your fingertips. You didn’t choose a major that was rigid in the “this is what you have to do” sense; forge your own path. The path could lead anywhere from one of the finest universities in Europe to the tropical islands of the South Pacific to a small town in Utah. With this major, it is up to you. Take it by the horns.
Yes, very fancy. You’ll be writing books, researching texts and cultivating the history of our world as we know it. You could be one of the people writing the texts you’re currently forced to read. Rather than just educating yourself, you’ll be educating the world.
You chose to study the root of all the great debates in history; maybe it’s time to spread the message? Being a religious leader is much more than just having a theology major; one must be prepared to take on the heavy load when guiding people. Through the major, however, you can form your own identity when it comes to religious matters. You have the added benefit of an expansive knowledge about how religion functions in the world. Use your skills to help people understand how spirituality plays a role in their own lives. You kind of get to be a parent to a lot of different folks without having to buy the diapers.
This is jet-setting with an edge. You’ll get to go anywhere from down the block to across the globe, teaching your message. You chose a major that applies, in someway, to everyone. Even if it only means being able to explain why Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Go travel, be worldly and tell everyone what you know.
Your coursework will be based in the teachings of great people in world history; become one of those teachers. Your teachings probably won’t become as widespread as Jesus’s, but there’s a lot you can learn. With a theology major you have the opportunity to give back and be one of those professors that, you know, just get you.
Step aside, Meredith Grey. Lots of folks with a theology major move into the medical field. As theology studies how people act and societal morals, it’s no wonder that many lean toward the medical field. Being a doctor means that you are playing with the very thing that makes morals possible: life. You help people in their time of need and provide guidance during the hard times. Your goal will likely be to do a lot of good for a lot of folks— doesn’t this major sound like the perfect starting point?