Five Reasons You Should Major in Religion and Culture
1) You’ll develop a deep understanding of human traditions and values. We offer courses on a wide variety of religious traditions and cultural settings, from Religion in American Life to Religion and Culture in India. If something more local appeals to you, Appalachian Studies is one component of the major. You can study popular, traditional, and multicultural cultural expressions.
In the words of Katherine McArdle, a 2022 graduate, "Religion and Culture will not only give you a deep, abiding connection to the world’s great intellectual and moral traditions but will give you the intellectual skills you need to deal with an evermore interconnected, complex world by linking these traditions to their historical, philosophical, cultural and political contexts."
2) You can get a job with a humanities major. Any field that values understanding people, the relationships they make, and the differences between them hires humanities graduates. A major doesn’t necessarily determine a career. Companies value the problem solving and communicative skills only liberal arts programs can provide. Danielle Sheer, a vice president at Carbonite, credits her success to thinking differently from colleagues who assume a single correct solution to problems. Her education trained her to “consider a plethora of different options and outcomes in every situation,” enabling her to see innovative answers others might have missed. Careers in business, journalism, law, education, social work, foreign service and various non-profit ventures are open to Religion and Culture majors with proper preparation.
3) You will learn valuable skills and knowledge applicable to your life and career. Interactive classes will help you become a more confident and clear speaker. Frequent and varied writing assignments will hone your composition. Direct and succinct writing is a necessary ability in many fields. With courses covering cultures from Appalachia to Japan, a major in Religion and Culture encourages an appreciation for diversity. Understanding human difference can boost a resume, as well as make you a better person.
VT graduate Nicholas Robb claims that his work in Appalachian communities opened up an internship opportunity with a regional planning commission, which eventually led to a full time position as marketing director. Explaining his success, Robb says, "they were really interested in the anthropological work I did, such as working with local communities and research."
4) In Religion and Culture classes, you won’t be lost in the crowd. With relatively few large courses in the catalogue, the major gives you the opportunity to express your ideas and work through complex problems in dialogue with others. Instructors value active learning through student activity and work to create an engaging classroom environment.
The classroom environment helped Alexis Hutsko make the choice to major in Religion and Culture. She says, "Coming to Tech, I was really overwhelmed by the size of the majority of my classes; it was a refreshing change of course to be in smaller classes where I knew my peers and professor on a deeper level.” There is more benefit to the class size than coziness, though. Hutsko credits her intellectual progress to this teaching style: "I have also grown exponentially as an academic by being able to think critically with, and bounce ideas off of, my peers in an open environment"
5) Combining Religion and Culture with another major can enhance your employability. Majoring in International Studies? Our major prepares you for work in diplomacy, global justice, and development work. Pre-med? Religion and Culture can help prepare you to understand patients from many backgrounds. Communication? Good journalism requires the ability to interpret Religion and Culture. Business? Students interested in service and administration within non-profit agencies will find the Religion and Culture major helps you with the social interactions involved in community work. There are many other possible combinations, so contact a faculty member to discuss the major!