Religion & Philosophy: Jobs & Grad. School

Ninety-five percent of Roanoke College seniors get jobs or pursue graduate school within six months of graduation. But what about a major or minor in Christian Studies?

There are lots of reasons why people study Christianity.

Maybe you want to study Christianity to gain a better understanding of the inner motives and abiding themes of American history from its beginnings in the New England theologian of the Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards, to the dramatic and history-changing ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You might wonder what God has to do with the vast realm of nature unveiled by the modern sciences or the complicated world of human societies studied in the social sciences and the humanities. You may be perplexed by the ethical challenges and theological quandaries created by our rapidly expanding technological power in matters ranging from the biomedical to the environmental. Or maybe you are fascinated with the explosive growth of Christianity today in the global society of our rapidly shrinking world. Perhaps you are curious about our European roots or just hungry to learn the Bible and the fascinating history of its interpretation - the discipline called theology.

Studying Christianity can prepare you for a career by fostering a sensitive and critical understanding of Christians throughout history at the level of their deepest convictions, insights, failures and triumphs. This knowledge helps in understanding the present world where religion, politics, and culture blend in creative, confusing and sometimes destructive ways. Such knowledge is indispensable in careers like foreign service, public policy, the law, or the ordained ministry of your church.

A minor in Christian Studies at Roanoke College can supplement any major and help you enter a profession to serve in society with a sense of calling by God and equipped with an adult theology to negotiate your way in a challenging and diverse world.

All of these reasons for studying Christianity and more create and sharpen skills that will help you find a better job in a wide variety of interesting callings.

And then there is preparation for service in the church. Maybe you would like to teach religion at a private school, or lead a youth ministry, or an ecologically-aware camping ministry, or a ministry of music. Perhaps a career in the helping professions beckons, and a double major of Christian Studies with psychology or sociology positions you to serve at the interface of the secular and sacred. Maybe already you discern a calling to join the likes of Athanasius and Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Wesley, and a host of others who have served as best and brightest lights in the ministry of the Christian church.

Christian Studies at Roanoke College focuses on the theoretical study which can be neglected in seminary education, where the emphasis often falls on practical ministry skills. In our department, Christian Studies students are face to face with peers focused on philosophy and the world religions. Here the tough questions get asked and answered! At Roanoke, you can also begin study of the Greek and Hebrew languages, as well as Latin, German and French --the other "theological" languages!

Maybe you are just curious and can leave the question of vocation aside for the time being. Perhaps you hunger for the demanding academic discipline and intellectual achievement that Christian theology fosters, like analytical reading, library research, writing that communicates about events and argues interpretations that shape the wider culture of both church and society. Skills like these are transferable in a wide variety of research careers and prepare you for doctoral work on the graduate level in any of the humanities.

Email one of our faculty members in the department of Religion and Philosophy who teach in the area of Christian Studies for assistance in clarifying the skills you want to develop further or to explore the fascinating topics we teach. We are Professors Ned Wisnefske ( , James Peterson ( and Paul Hinlicky ( . Or check with Roanoke College's Office of Career Services.

Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota distributed this list of the 100 different kinds of careers their graduates have pursued. Many of these would apply to college graduates with a B.A. in Christian Studies.

1.       Pastor
2.       Youth director
3.       Social worker
4.       Reverenced
5.       School counselor
6.       High school teacher
7.       Mentor
8.       Seminary professor
9.       Synod staff
10.     Author
11.     Rapper
12.     CEO
13.     Therapist
14.     Seminary admissions staff
15.     Diaconal minister
16.     Financial aid officer
17.     Consultant
18.     Fundraiser
19.     Yoga instructor
20.     Life coach
21.     Adult choral director
22.     Military chaplain
23.     Devotional writer
24.     Minister of faith formation
25.     Youth counselor
26.     Public speaker
27.     Bible camp director
28.     Church administrator
29.     Media specialist
30.     Public mediator
31.     Community organizer
32.     Director of older adult ministry
33.     Entrepreneur
34.     Bishop
35.     Congressional worship planner
36.     Retreat minister
37.     Mission developer
38.     Curriculum designer
39.     Book editor
40.     Liturgist
41.     Peace activist
42.     Spiritual director
43.     Composer
44.     Church secretary
45.     Social services counselor
46.     Congregational mission director
47.     Church relations officer for a nonprofit
48.     Archivist
49.     Missionary
50.     International seminary professor
51.     Holden Village Staff
52.     Theological librarian
53.     Hospice chaplain
54.     Research assistant
55.     Parish outreach professor
56.     Leader of community homeless imitative
57.     Priest
58.     Spiritual counselor
59.     Lutheran volunteer corps staff
60.     Home healthcare chaplain
61.     Funeral home director
62.     Minister of music
63.     Outdoor ministry program director
64.     Lutheran world relief staff
65.     Bishop associate
66.     Youth minister
67.     Children's choral director
68.     Director of facilities
69.     Athletic chaplain
70.     Disaster response minister
71.     Church-sponsored day care director
72.     Refugee services coordinator7
73.     Nonprofit executive
74.     Corrections chaplain
75.     Community outreach coordinator
76.     Rehabilitation chaplain
77.     Marriage counselor
78.     Seminary president
79.     Preacher
80.     Campus pastor
81.     Social entrepreneur
82.     Website content editor
83.     Grief counselor
84.     Chief financial officer
85.     Youth choral director
86.     Director of stewardship
87.     Minister of visitation
88.     Financial advisor
89.     Program specialist
90.     General minister
91.     Historian
92.     Blogger
93.     Corporate chaplain
94.     Community mediator
95.     Painter
96.     Sculptor
97.     Church organist
98.     College professor
99.     Liturgical artist
100.   Environmental activist
101.   Personal trainer