Religious Studies» open the printable major» search for more Areas of Study
This major provides students with the opportunity to study the history, literature, beliefs and practices of the principle world religions from antiquity to the present day. The multidisciplinary major allows students to approach religion from a variety of perspectives, including anthropology, classics, education, history, philosophy and sociology.
Religions have been at the centre of major human endeavors and events such as artistic and cultural practices, social change and conflicts. This major involves a rational study of historical and contemporary religious issues leading to a greater understanding of the role of religion in societies.
A major in religious studies helps develop written and verbal communication skills, in particular the synthesis, interpretation and presentation of information. Abstract reasoning skills together with historical and cultural sensitivity are valued by a broad range of employers.
For more information about Religious Studies, visit the School of Humanities and Social Sciences site.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework programs and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following the degree include:
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/campaigns/postgrad/
The following list provides some example jobs for the Religious Studies major. Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.
- Access and Equity Advisor
- Community Development Worker
- Community Project Officer
- Cultural Development Officer
- Cultural Heritage Officer
- Diplomat / Foreign Affairs and Trade Officer
- Foreign Correspondent
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- Indigenous Community Liaison Officer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Religious Studies graduates find employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries in small, medium or large organisations. Below is an example of some of the large organisations that recruit this major.
Check employers’ websites for a section called Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs or similar titles. Some of these employers may offer vacation work opportunities.
- Amnesty International (International)
- Anglicare (Australia)
- ANZ (Australia)
- AusAID (International)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Australian National Library (Australia)
- Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation (International)
- Australian War Memorial (Australia)
- Baptist Community Services (Australia)
- Catholic Care (Australia)
- Centrecare (Australia)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Coles (Australia)
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia (Australia)
- Department of Education and Training (Teach NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (Australia)
- Department of Education, Science and Training (Australia)
- Department of Finance and Administration (Australia)
- Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (International)
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia)
- Macquarie Bank (Australia)
- Masterfoods (Australia)
- National Archives of Australia (Australia)
- National Australia Bank (Australia)
- National Museum of Australia (Australia)
- News Corporation (Australia)
- NSW Local Government (Australia)
- Salvation Army (Australia)
- The Samaritans (Australia)
- Unilever (International)
- Westpac (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Sample Job Ads and Tips for Applying
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.