Religious Studies Professor

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Religious Studies Professor job description involves teaching and researching various aspects of religion, culture, and spirituality. A professor in this field provides students with insights into various religious traditions, including their beliefs, practices, and historical contexts. This job requires a deep understanding of the concepts and theories that shape the different doctrines and traditions, both ancient and contemporary.

Typically, Religious Studies Professors gain expertise in one or more specific areas, such as world religions, philosophy, ethics, or theology. They also develop unique lesson plans, assignments, and projects that are designed to challenge and inspire their students.

As part of their work, they may organize interfaith dialogues, lead community outreach programs, and facilitate opportunities for students to engage with diverse faith practices. In addition, they publish academic papers and books that contribute to the broader field of Religious Studies.

To qualify for this job, candidates must have a Ph.D. in Religious Studies or a closely related field. They must also demonstrate a passion for educating and a commitment to promoting religious literacy and cultural empathy.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Teach religious studies to students
  • Develop curriculum and lesson plans
  • Grade assignments and provide feedback to students
  • Lead classroom discussions and manage classroom dynamics
  • Publish research on topics related to religion and religious studies
  • Keep up-to-date with new trends and developments in the field
  • Advise students on academic and career goals
  • Serve on academic committees within the department or university
  • Attend conferences and present research papers or workshops
  • Participate in university service activities and events.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a Religious Studies Professor, you typically need to have at least a master's degree in Religious Studies, Theology, or a related field. Gaining a Ph.D. is even better, though it's not always required. Additionally, you need to have experience teaching in a related area like Religious Studies, Philosophy, or Theology. In some cases, you might also need to have some work experience in the religious field. For instance, you might have worked in ministry, as a chaplain, or in another similar capacity. Strong writing and research skills, as well as excellent communication abilities, are usually must-haves too.

Salary Range

Religious Studies Professor salary range varies from country to country. In the United States, the expected salary range for a Religious Studies Professor in the Education industry is between $40,000 to $129,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for postsecondary Philosophy and Religion Teachers was $78,720 in May 2020.

In Canada, the average salary range for a Religious Studies Professor is approximately CAD 59,696 to CAD 141,457 per year, according to Payscale.

While in the United Kingdom, the average salary for a Religious Studies Professor is around £39,000 to £60,000 per year, according to FindAPhD.


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  • Payscale: 
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Career Outlook

The career outlook for a Religious Studies Professor seems to be stable over the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of postsecondary teachers, including Religious Studies Professors, is projected to grow 9% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This projected growth is due to the increasing demand for higher education and the retirement of current professors. However, competition for tenure-track positions is expected to remain high. Along with teaching, Religious Studies Professors may also perform research, publish articles and books, and give speeches at conferences. Overall, becoming a Religious Studies Professor can be a fulfilling career option for individuals interested in academia and exploring religion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a Religious Studies Professor?

A: A Religious Studies Professor is an academic instructor who teaches courses on the history, beliefs, and practices of different religions.

Q: What does a Religious Studies Professor do?

A: A Religious Studies Professor prepares course materials, lectures, and assignments, grades papers and exams, and engages with students to facilitate learning and discussion.

Q: Is a degree in Religious Studies required to become a Religious Studies Professor?

A: Yes, a PhD in Religious Studies or a related field is typically required to become a Religious Studies Professor in a university or college setting.

Q: What kinds of courses do Religious Studies Professors teach?

A: Religious Studies Professors teach courses on a wide range of religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and many others. They also teach courses on comparative religion and religion and society.

Q: What skills are required to be a successful Religious Studies Professor?

A: Successful Religious Studies Professors have strong research, writing, and teaching skills, as well as an in-depth understanding of different religious traditions and their historical and social contexts. They also must be able to engage with diverse students and promote critical thinking and intellectual inquiry.

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