Theology is a wide-ranging degree subject that can lead you to many interesting places. In other words, being a theology student doesn’t mean you become a priest!
Instead, it’s a course that will teach you about history, writing, critical reading and sensitive communication – all skills that will take you far on the job market. This guide will show you the many different careers you can pursue with a theology degree.
Skills you can gain from this degree include…
Managing difficult conversations: On this degree, you’ll learn to approach sensitive and tricky issues with care when talking about them - a useful skills for person-centred careers, like HR or talking therapies
Open-mindedness: You’ll learn to look past stereotypes, allowing you to better connect with people from different cultures and with different beliefs
Constructive criticism: You’ll learn to be sensitively critical of not only others’ work, but your own - and learn to accept feedback
Speaking and presenting: There will be lots of opportunities to speak in front of groups on this course, and engage in debate, so you’ll gain the ability to confidently communicate your views
Effective writing: You’ll be writing academic essays, which teaches you to set out your ideas clearly and concisely - essential for written communication in the workplace.
With a degree in theology, you can become…
These are some common career paths you’ll see theology grads taking.
Religious education (RE) teacher
Many theology students go on to become religious education teachers, teaching children in a religious primary or secondary school, or sometimes working at a church. Humanities degrees in general are good preparation for life as a teacher, as you’ll gain communications skills, get good at adapting to different situations and learning styles, and become very good at evaluating students’ reading and writing abilities. However, a theology degree is a particular bonus in this instance, as it’s especially important for RE teachers to have a real passion for and knowledge of their subject.
Chaplains offer spiritual advice and guidance to people within secular organisations. You might work as a chaplain in a hospital, a military setting, or even a sports team! Your degree in theology will prepare you for making connections between religious texts and history and more contemporary dilemmas that people in your organisation might be struggling with. You’ll also benefit from the skills you’ll gain in critically analysing problems and tackling big questions.
Heritage organisations come in tons of forms… including historic cathedrals, churches, monasteries, and other religious sites! There are lots of potential roles you can take on in a heritage organisation, including working with the public (where your knowledge of religious history will come in handy) and working behind the scenes (where you’ll make great use of the organisational skills and written communication abilities you gained during your degree).
Mediators resolve conflicts outside of the court system, such as family conflict or disagreements between people who live together. In this role, you would be conducting meetings between people in dispute, researching processes for appeals, and preparing settlements to resolve the situation. As you’ll have negotiated difficult and sensitive conversations on your theology degree, you’ll be well-placed to calmly lead discussions between some potentially distressed claimants. Your understanding of lots of cultures and beliefs will help you avoid prejudice, too.
A degree in this subject might also take you to…
Whilst you might expect to pursue one of the above roles after this degree, the excellent communication and thinking skills gained on this degree prepare you for a whole host of different jobs.
At the University of Birmingham, career destinations for theology and religion students can include RE teaching and working for religious organisations, but the majority of their graduates are actually working in other equally interesting fields. Examples include:
Policy adviser at Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
A theology degree offers excellent preparation for any kind of professional role that requires engagement with diverse communities, and navigating their particular needs and challenges. At the University of Birmingham, academics have a long-standing working relationship with policy makers, and regularly advise governments and public bodies nationally and internationally on engagement with faith communities including during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founder of a cosmetics company
Theology is a wide-ranging subject which covers a vast variety of topics. Students at Birmingham study topics such as ethical consumption, which is an area where understanding is essential for anyone who goes on to work in the retail industry.
A theology degree enhances your religious and cultural awareness, which is really important in today’s society. In a job like occupational therapy, where you would meet a diverse range of people on a daily basis, an understanding of religious and spiritual perspectives is essential. Birmingham is one of the most culturally and religiously diverse cities in the UK, providing the perfect backdrop for studying theology.
A theology degree leads to a multitude of transferable skills. It enables you to critically analyse and to read a large volume of information and condense it. This is crucial across a wide range of career sectors, including the financial sector.
Account executive at a branding agency
An appreciation of different perspectives is fundamental to employers. For this reason, a theology degree is a great foundation for anyone wishing to work in a creative industry like marketing, where content is going to be viewed by diverse audiences, as it teaches you to be objective. Several Birmingham graduates have gone on to work in this sector.
15 months after graduating…
The average salary for a Theology student 15 months after graduating is £18,000. According to our stats, 100% of these students have secured a graduate job by this time - debunking any myths about employability after this degree!
… and long term?
‘You’ll have been at the cutting edge - the front line - of conflicting ideas and ideologies, which are part of our world news every day.’ - Jeremy Kidwell, Director of Admissions for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Birmingham
If any of these careers strike your fancy, make your way to the Careers library to learn all about what they entail, and what you’ll need to do to pursue them, including expected marks and any further education you might require.