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Religious Studies


Religious studies programs focus on the nature of religious beliefs and systems.

Religious education programs include topics such as:


In religious studies programs, students may be able to specialize in:


Some community colleges and two-year schools offer certificate and associate degree programs in religious studies. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in religious studies. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in religious studies. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate school or seminary is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and good test scores. For admission to seminary, your undergraduate major should be a broad liberal arts curriculum. For admission to graduate school, a bachelor's in religion or education would be helpful.

Admissions committees of seminaries rightly believe that being in the clergy is a lifestyle, not just a career. It is not for everyone. You need to have a track record of religious and social service. People who know you need to provide letters that attest to your good moral character.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Graduate Program Courses

The master's program typically includes similar courses, although in more condensed form. Additional requirements may include the following:

Things to Know

You may need to know a second language for academic study. French and German are particularly important. If you plan to specialize in one religion, it is helpful to know the language of the sacred texts and early commentators. For example, it may help to study Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic, or Sanskrit.


East Side Area

Big Bend Community College

Central Washington University

Whitman College

King-Snohomish Area

Seattle Bible College

Seattle University

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

University of Puget Sound

Western Reformed Seminary

West Side Area

Evergreen State College, The

Saint Martin's University

Western Washington University