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Welcome!

The Department of Religious Studies (REL) is part of the School of Humanities within the College of Arts & Sciences.  Our majors graduate with a Bachelor of Arts and go on to graduate school, medical school, law school, or choose to enter the workforce in a wide variety of public, private, governmental, and non-profit agencies. 

Why should I major/minor in Religious Studies?

Students who major or minor in Religious Studies gain a thorough knowledge of, and appreciation for, various religions and their pervasive and multifaceted role in shaping world history, literature, art, culture, politics, and economics.  Such knowledge and appreciation are essential for informed citizenship in our increasingly globalized world, and will serve students who pursue careers in education, journalism, law, business, government, public policy, social work, and health care, as well as of those who continue their studies by entering various professional or academic graduate degree programs.

Our faculty and staff are committed to our students' success at USF and beyond.  In and outside the classroom, our faculty assist and challenge students to develop their skills in critical thinking, reading, speaking, and writing so they can perform well and communicate effectively in the workplace or in any competitive professional or academic degree program.  Every undergraduate major is also assigned a "faculty mentor" who is available and eager to provide one-on-one consultation to his/her mentees whenever the student requests.

Furthermore, students who declare Religious Studies as their major or minor will be joining a community of students and faculty who come from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, who celebrate our diversity, and who share our common interest in religion through our classes, our Religious Studies Club, our lecture series, and our regular social events.

Are there Opportunities for Career Planning and Undergraduate Research?

Yes.  The undergraduate curriculum in Religious Studies exposes students to career planning activities in core required courses in the major.  All faculty are available for directed undergraduate research.  All of our majors and minors get hands-on research experience in the capstone course, Seminar in Religion, in which students must submit an original research paper at the end of the course.

What Skills Emphasized in the Major are Transferrable to the Workplace?

  • Critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking.
  • The ability to evaluate different methods of conducting research.
  • Literacy about various religious and ethical traditions.
  • The ability to work effectively and collaboratively with people of different ages, genders, races, ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, religions, and sexual orientations. 
  • The ability to work in teams and to exercise leadership.

What are My Prospects for Employment upon Completing a Major or Minor in Religious Studies?

An accomplished Religious Studies major or minor will be attractive to all kinds of employers in any number of fields, as well as to the admission committees of graduate and professional schools.  In his recent book Humans Are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will (2015), author Geoff Colvin describes how the humanities strengthen the deep human abilities that will be required to interact with people and technology in the future. Today's "knowledge workers" will likely be replaced by computers, but the world will still need "relationship workers" who are able to bring people and technology together.

Our alumni work as teachers in high schools and community colleges, professors at colleges and universities, publishers, librarians, pastors and pastoral associates, chaplains, activists, applied researchers, and ethicists for hospitals.  Students who wish to teach Religious Studies or Social Studies at the secondary level will either need to double-major in Education or pursue alternative teaching certification (see http://www.fldoe.org/edcert).

There are many additional career options for students with Religious Studies. Click here for our "Careers for a Religious Studies Degree" flier that can provide you with additional insight regarding potential skillsets and career possibilities.

Please visit USF's Career Services or ask to speak with a faculty member in Religious Studies for further information about possible careers in the field.

Tips & Ideas for Incoming Students

  • Make contact with your advisor and professors. They are interested in your academic development, and welcome your visits during their posted office hours. Please contact our academic advisor, Andrew Bird, for specific questions about our undergraduate program (ajbird@usf.edu).
  • Have transcripts from ALL institutions (high school, college, community college) and organizations (IB, CLEP, AP) sent to USF for review.
  • This degree has a foreign language exit requirement.  This major accepts any foreign language offered at USF that has a two semester sequence.  If you have experience with a foreign language, including ASL, you will be required to take a placement exam at USF to determine your level and to see if you can test out of the courses.  You are STRONGLY encouraged to complete this placement exam prior to or during orientation.  (http://languages.usf.edu/placement_test.pdf)
  • All freshmen will have an AA hold placed on their account which prevents them from registering until they see an advisor.  Once you have decided that USF is the right place for you, make an appointment as soon as possible after orientation to see your advisor.
  • Visit the College of Arts & Sciences information page for First-Year Students (http://www.cas.usf.edu/freshmen)