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A B.A. in religious studies prepares students for productive and fulfilled lives after Carolina. The modern study of religion at a public research university is inherently interdisciplinary, and our faculty are drawn from diverse disciplines. By extension, the methodologies and conceptual lenses by which the study of religion is conducted at UNC is also diverse. Students in our department receive training that equips them for an enormous variety of careers—in law, medicine, teaching, business, social service, journalism, politics, the arts, and more. We seek to foster students’ skills in critical thinking, close reading, and oral and written communication. At the same time that we train our students in concrete skills essential in a range of professions, we also want them to become well-informed citizens, with broad knowledge of the richness of human history and cultural diversity.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in announcing the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives at the White House in 2013, stated: “In fact, if I went back to college today, I think I would probably major in comparative religion.”

Graduate Work in Religious Studies

The Department of Religious Studies offers an M.A. and a Ph.D. in religious studies, as do many other universities. A doctorate in religious studies prepares you to teach religious studies at the college level.

If you are considering on to apply to a religious studies graduate program, you should consult with faculty who work in the area of specialization you are interested in. Faculty members can advise you about coursework, study abroad, and other activities that can enhance your preparation for graduate work.

You should especially consider studying the modern languages of scholarship (French and German) as well as languages in which the sacred literatures of the world have been written. Such study is not required for undergraduate majors; but it will be required for graduate students, and getting a head start will strengthen your application for graduate school. UNC-CH offers courses in Greek, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian, Bengali and Tamil.