Yes, It Pays

Miami students a little nervous but optimistic as they walk into a career fair

Can you get a paying job with a degree in Comparative Religion? Certainly! Our department's graduates have gone on to work in a variety of fields: government and law, medicine and psychology, business, education, and non-profit work.

Comparative Religion probably shouldn't be your only major. But there are many fields in which understanding how religion affects individuals and societies is a valuable asset. Combining the study of religion with another field gives you a distinctive skills set when you go on the job market.

Read more:

"I Study Religion AND…": See what fields our majors study alongside religion.

Meet a Major: Read about some of our recent majors' career plans.

Alumni Advisory Board: See what some of our alumni have done with their degrees.

Four reasons it pays to study religion at Miami

1. Our department's majors have among the best rates of acceptance into law school and medical school.

Why would law schools and medical schools want students who double-majored or minored in religion? We'll let our department's graduates explain:

"Without the critical thinking and sort of texts I was required to understand in this department, I would never have been prepared for the challenges of law school. In addition, the study of religion has allowed me to interact more effectively with attorneys on the other side of issues and with clients from different backgrounds. I learned to articulate my opinions while being able to listen and learn from people I initially disagreed with."

--Amy Tumey

"Religion classes kept me balanced and well rounded. Minoring in religion gave me a unique perspective in medical school and now as a doctor. Interacting with patients is very much focused on the patient as a whole, including their religion, culture, what they think is important, and how they view the world and their own health. It all impacts their health and how well and in what way they can be treated."

--Laura Barczewski

2. A double major or minor in religion is a smart choice if you're seeking a career in business.

A study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, titled "Raising the Bar: Employers' Views on College Learning in the Wake of the Economic Downturn," found that the overwhelming majority of employers are desperate to hire graduates who have "a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems."

Coursework in the Department of Comparative Religion is designed to develop precisely these skills, as these graduates attest:

"I always respond with this when asked about my field of interest in college: During the course of my studies in religion, I was able to polish critical reasoning, argument, analysis, and communication skills, both written and oral. These have served me very well in the unrelated field in which I currently am employed--manager of planning for a plastics compounder."

--Joe Brode

"My study of religion at Miami taught me skills for writing, critical research and critical reading which I've relied on throughout my careers. After a career of 15 years working in foundations, for the last 10 years I've had a successful consulting business."

--Ronald White

"I was a double major in Comparative Religion and Mass Communication, and discovered abundant cross-pollination among those fields. The academic study of religion at Miami enabled me to examine how people structure their values, beliefs, and aspirations. That has been an indispensable skill in my work today as a professional in marketing communications."

--Steve McFarland

3. Research confirms the financial value of the skills gained by religion majors and minors.

People often assume that majoring in a humanities field such as Comparative Religion leads to lower pay. But the opposite is true!

In a study released in January 2014, the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems analyzed Census Bureau data for three million U.S. residents.  The researchers found that "at peak earnings ages (56-60 years) workers who majored as undergraduates in the humanities or social sciences earn annually on average about $2,000 more than those who majored as undergraduates in professional or pre-professional fields."

These findings prompted Scott Samuelson to observe--in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled "Would You Hire Socrates?"--that studying the humanities is "a good career move."

4. Miami University is an ideal place to gain these skills.

According to, a global compensation data website, Miami ranked second in the entire United States for return on investment for the tuition dollars of graduates with humanities majors. That's compared to private as well as public schools!

From a graduate:

"Minoring in religion gave me a unique perspective as a doctor.  Interacting with patients is very much focused on the patient as a whole—including their religion, culture, what they think is important, and how they view the world and their own health."
Laura Barczewski
Family medicine