More and more in the present age, a sensitivity to others is demanded of us, one which is borne out of the need to recognize differences. Those differences are often felt most obviously along the lines of religion.
Using the world's religions as a lens, religion students at Concordia view the whole arc of civilization – including: philosophy, literature, sociology, psychology, history and art. The end result is a well-rounded graduate, ready to apply their broad and deep understanding of human motivation to any vocation they choose.
What can you do with a theology degree? As stated above in the quote from John Kerry, people of faith can be influential in the world. A theology degree provides students with a rich background in cultural literacy. By exploring different religious beliefs students dig into complex issues that touch every facet of human existence, utilitizing analytical skills and requiring deep, critical thinking. Majoring in theology does not necessarily lead to a religious career or becoming a professional church worker. It can . . . but more likely it leads to opportunities in a variety of fields, including: higher education, non-profits, law, social work, counseling, advocacy work, care-giving, business, journalism, medicine, foreign service and international development organizations. Many employers look for workers who have a good grasp of cultural diversity. Theology majors grapple with values and ethics and how to apply them across the human experience. They study religious beliefs, but also learn how to interact with different points of view, build bridges, incorporate different perspectives and effectively work across cultural boundaries.
The Concordia Religion Department is relatively small, providing students with an intimate, engaging learning environment. Full time faculty members have a wide range of specializations with significant international experience. Classes are challenging and rigorous, incorporating numerous opportunities to develop servant leadership skills.
A theology degree can also lead to a career as a professional church worker. A strong focus on biblical and classical languages is a unique and very strong feature of Concordia’s religion program, making it stand-out from other religion programs in the Pacific Northwest. The department utilizes some parish pastors to teach courses providing access to real world experiences. And our Lutheran heritage, which is not just definitive of our past but also of our present, enables Concordia to provide one of the finest undergraduate religion degrees in the Pacific Northwest. Check us out!
- Why theology? Most people associate a degree in religion with a future in church work, perhaps as a pastor or professional church worker. But many career opportunities exist for a theology major: teaching, non-profits, law, social work, counseling, advocacy work, care-giving, business, journalism, medicine, foreign service, international development organizations.
- More and more employers are recognizing the depth and breadth of sensibility and cultural awareness that comes with an education heavily weighted in all matters religious. This is because beyond the issue of religious differences noted above, it is a simple fact that much of American culture finds its roots in religion, often Christianity. And religion plays a major role in cultures around the world. Religion deeply impacts nearly every aspect of our planet.
- If you’re planning on pursuing graduate work, the paths are very broad after a degree in religion. Students are prepared in a variety of areas making it possible to branch off and specialize in: history, textual studies, languages, art, world religions, public policy, international relations, law, philosophy, economics, global studies, and more.
“The theological education I received at Concordia University truly showed me how to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I received more than just an education; I was trained in the way of the great theologians who came before and was 'discipled' in the way of Jesus Christ” – Robert Bernadelli ’11
How a college degree pays off
Among the most frequently asked questions from potential college students and their parents deals with career opportunities. “Can I get a job in that field?” and “What are the salary ranges?”
It is difficult to answer either question with specifics. Securing a job in any field depends on many factors, including the strength of the economy, market trends in specific job markets and skills of the college graduate in relationship to other job applicants.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article (May 7, 2015) on college degrees and income. Melissa Korn states, “On average, college graduates earn about $1 million more in their lifetimes than do adults who only completed high school.” But you need to drill deeper into the details to understand how educational decisions can impact potential earnings. While you need a subscription to the WSJ to read the entire article, you can watch a video on their website to grasp the scope of the story (click "wsj.com/TheShortAnswer" in the lower right corner of the graph). Click HERE for the earnings graph by discipline. The complete report from the Center on Education and the Workforce from Georgetown University can be accessed here: The College Payoff: Education, Occupations, Lifetime Earnings.
In addition, PayScale provides a college salary report as to how different majors and degrees potentially affect lifetime earnings. Click on the "Major Grouping" to the left of the graph and drag your mouse over the various lines on the graph to highlight specific majors/disciplines and median earnings potential. The graph compares different degree levels along with years in the workforce. Salary information is collected by PayScale through online surveys.
Thanks for considering a degree from Concordia University Portland. We provide high quality instruction across programs to equip our graduates to transform society.