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Theology and Related Degrees is a degree category that consists of the following common degrees:
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Are you fascinated by gods and deities? By how people across cultures express their faith? By how religion affects the way we interact with the world?
Theology is the critical study of spiritual belief. It explores the many different ways people experience religion. It also examines different belief systems and how they influence society. This knowledge lets us understand other cultures better. But it also helps us understand our own.
Part history, part anthropology, and part philosophy, theology is like no other degree. Students learn to discuss and compare different religions with insight and integrity. They also learn to open their minds to new ways of thinking. Finally, they practice taking on some of life's most complex questions. They delve deep into the meaning of God, belief, and religion.
Some theology students specialize in one faith, like Buddhism or Judaism. Others explore many religions. Most theology degrees involve the deep study of at least one religious text, like the Quran or the Torah. In some cases, students take courses in Hebrew, Arabic, or ancient Greek to read the text in its original form.
If you're considering a degree in theology, read on. There are lots of exciting paths to explore.
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Do you have a calling to serve others within a religious capacity? Are you interested in becoming a pastor or a priest?
If you have an interest in helping people and working within a Christian faith-based community, obtaining a divinity degree can be a great stepping stone towards that goal. A divinity degree helps prepare individuals for service in the Christian ministry, and focuses on leadership, counseling, and the fundamentals of a specific religion or denomination. It is pursued by most pastors and priests.
Anyone interested in this type of degree should make sure it is ATS (Association of Theological Schools) accredited, as some churches will not ordain without ATS accreditation. Note that this degree most often refers to Christian study, though it is sometimes used in an academic setting by other faith traditions (such as Buddhism for example).
Individuals that decide to pursue a divinity degree are usually interested in:
- serving in a church as a church minister, youth minister, pastor, associate pastor, or priest
- serving as a missionary with a mission organization, locally or internationally
- serving in chaplaincy roles within schools, hospitals, and prisons
- establishing new local churches (church planting)
- serving in theological and Bible college teaching
- serving in a university setting doing Christian student work
- evangelizing and contributing in a lay capacity within a local church
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Ministry programs prepare students to become ordained Christian ministers or priests. Individuals who earn a degree in the field may ultimately work as pastors, worship leaders, counselors, church administrators, and/or ministerial educators.
Specific coursework depends on the level of degree. Classes may include the following:
- New Testament and Old Testament
- Biblical Interpretations
- Spiritual Guidance
- Sermons and Religious Rituals
- Ministry Administration
- Christian Evangelism
- Homiletics (Preaching)
- Pastoral Counseling
- Christian Rites and Traditions
- Ministerial Ethics
- Biblical Counseling
- Theological Leadership
- Christian Philosophy
- Multicultural Studies
- Youth Ministry Services
- Ministerial Research and Study
- Applied Counseling Principles
- Ministerial Philosophy
- Ministry Supervision and Administration
- Organizational Theology
Degree programs involve internships and other opportunities to put class work into practice. These experiences may vary from program to program, but typically include giving sermons, visiting congregation members’ homes, working with youth at a Christian summer camp, teaching Bible classes, or playing/singing sacred music.