Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Religious Studies Degrees

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Religious Studies Degrees

The best religious studies liberal arts colleges are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best religious studies degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding religious studies faculty.

Frequently Asked Questions About Religious Studies Bachelor’s Degrees

While many will go on to work directly in religious settings as clergy, religious studies majors can find employment in various professions. Religious studies majors build knowledge and skills that can apply in social services, education, public relations, media, business, politics, and countless other professional settings. Moreover, many undergraduate religious studies degrees are rooted in a firm liberal arts education tradition. This means you get to study a bit of everything, and develop a well-rounded knowledge base, with the critical and analytical skills to navigate new challenges, and learn in unfamiliar situations.

Whether serving as clergy within a religion, or functioning as a culture critic, religious studies majors influence how we understand and interact with religion in our daily lives. Today, top influencers in religious studies are bringing light to topics like New Testament analysis, Christian apologetics, Science and Christianity, and much more.

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Religious studies is an idea major for those who have a practical interest in combining their faith and profession. Religious studies degrees are frequently offered by religious institutions. For instance, a Bachelor of Ministry (BM) may be offered by a Christian school, Bible school, or seminary. These degrees provide focused religious instruction for students who wish to apply their Christian faith to a leadership role within a religious community or organization. Similarly, degrees for aspiring clergy in the Jewish or Muslim faiths are likely to be offered by Rabbinical schools or Madrasa respectively.

By contrast, a bachelor of Theology (BTh) is more academically focused and more likely to be offered at a secular institution (as well as through most religious institutions). The Bachelor of Theology is designed for students who wish to engage with deep study of the scriptures, history and culture surrounding either a specific religion, or a variety of major world religions, without necessarily training for service in the clergy. The best religious studies degree for you will depend on both your career goals and religious affiliation.

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Once you’ve declared your major in religious studies, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized religious studies electives, there are several common courses that most religious studies majors will be required to take, including:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Church History
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Introduction to Theology
  • World Religions
  • Christian Apologetics
  • Jewish Diaspora

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A major in religious studies prepares you for diverse professions in academia, public service, and places of worship. Your religious studies major can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including these top jobs:

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Related: How to Major in Religious Studies

Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Religious Studies Degree Programs
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If you think a research university may be a better fit for you, see our ranking of the best research universities for a bachelor’s in religious studies.

Ranking: Best Liberal Arts Colleges for Religious Studies Bachelor’s Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Pomona College

    Claremont , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $57K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1465/33

  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    13%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1435/32

    CMC Religious Studies Major Concentrations:

    • Jewish Civilization
    • Christian Origins
    • Hinduism
    • South Asian Religions and Culture
    • Philosophy of Religion
    • Religion and Gender Studies
    • American Religions, Politics, & Culture
    • U.S. Latino & Latin American Religions and Politics
    Source
  3. #3

    Williams College

    Williamstown , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    15%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1480/33

  4. #4

    Swarthmore College

    Swarthmore , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $56K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    97%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

  5. #5

    Amherst College

    Amherst , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    12%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

  6. #6

    Wesleyan University

    Middletown , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    4K

  7. #7

    Wellesley College

    Wellesley , MA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

  8. #8

    Bowdoin College

    Brunswick , ME
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $58K

    Acceptance

    9%

    Graduation

    95%

    Student body

    2K

  9. #9

    Middlebury College

    Middlebury , VT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    22%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/33

    Middlebury College Religious Studies Major:

    • Religion
    Source
  10. #10

    Colgate University

    Hamilton , NY
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    27%

    Graduation

    91%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1415/32

    Colgate University Religious Studies Majors:

    • Religion
    • Philosophy and Religion
    Source
  11. #11

    Davidson College

    Davidson , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $55K

    Acceptance

    20%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1397/31

    Davidson College Religious Studies Major:

    • AB in Religious Studies
    Source
  12. #14

    Haverford College

    Haverford , PA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $61K

    Acceptance

    18%

    Graduation

    93%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1460/33

    Haverford College Religious Studies Major Concentrations:

    • Religious Traditions in Cultural Context
    • Religion, Literature, and Representation
    • Religion, Ethics, and Society
    Source
  13. #16

    Carleton College

    Northfield , MN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    21%

    Graduation

    94%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1450/32

    Carleton College Religious Studies Interdisciplinary Major Concentrations:

    • Africana Studies
    • American Studies
    • Art & Art History
    • Asian Studies
    • Cinema and Media Studies
    • Classics
    • Cross Cultural Studies
    • Environmental Studies
    • European Studies
    • History
    • Judaic Studies
    • Latin American Studies
    • Medieval and Renaissance Studies
    • Middle East Studies
    • Music
    • Sociology and Anthropology
    • Women’s and Gender Studies
    Source
  14. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    72%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/21

    HBU Religious Studies Majors:

    • BA in Christianity
    • BA in Biblical Studies
    • BA in Practical Theology
    • BA in Theological Studies
    • BA in BA in Biblical Languages
    Source

    Houston Baptist University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Biblical Studies
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Business
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Management
    Degree Concentrations
    • International Business
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 27
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Psychology
    Degree Concentrations
    • Christian Counseling
    • General
    • Marriage and Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 125
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. #19

    Oberlin College

    Oberlin , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    35%

    Graduation

    86%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1380/31

  16. Tuition + fees

    $17K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1010/19

    What is Southwestern Assemblies of God University known for?

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

    SAGU Religious Studies Major:

    • BA in Religion and Philosophy
    Source

    Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Online Degrees

    BA in Ancient Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Bible and Theology
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Biblical Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BBA in Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Child and Family Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Church Leadership
    Degree Concentrations
    • Children and Family Ministries
    • Church Planting
    • Church Revitalization
    • Compassion Ministry
    • Pastoral Leadership
    • Spiritual Formation
    • Worship Ministry
    • Youth & Student Ministries
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Criminal Justice
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Education (Pre-Professional)
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Elementary Education
    • Required Credits: 127
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in English Language Arts and Reading (Middle and Secondary)
    • Required Credits: 124
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in General Ministries
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor’s in Global Compassion Leadership
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in History
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Human Services
    Degree Concentrations
    • Counseling
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Intercultural Studies
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Occupational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS in Psychology
    • Required Credits: 126
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Religion and Philosophy
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA in Social Studies/History Education (Middle and Secondary)
    • Required Credits: 127
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BSW in Social Work
    • Required Credits: 120
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online

Go to all Liberal Arts Colleges for religious studies programs

The Best Religious Studies Schools in Your State

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