A graduate in religious studies typically has:
- empathy and imaginative insight
- self-discipline and self-direction
- independence of mind and initiative and a belief in life long learning
- teamwork skills including attending to others and having respect for others' views
- ability to gather, evaluate and synthesise different types of information
- analytical ability and the capacity to formulate questions and solve problems
- IT and presentation skills
- writing skills, including accurate referencing and clarity of expression
- ability to attend closely to the meaning of written documents.
The subject's vitality and richness reflects its significance in a world coming to terms with cultural and religious diversity. Beliefs, values and institutions, whether religious or not, are contested. Religious studies in higher education values cultures, texts, arts and practices of societies within and beyond Europe, interacts with social sciences and contemporary cultural, literary and gender studies, engages with the plurality of religions and compares cross-cultural topics such as beliefs and practices.
Degree courses vary in approach but aim to promote understanding by, for example:
- stimulating curiosity about religious cultures across the globe, both past and present
- study of the sacred texts, history, practices and thought of religious traditions
- creating opportunities to consider the artistic, ethical, social, political and cultural characteristics of religions
- exploring links between religion on the one hand and literature, culture and the arts on the other
- opening up awareness of plurality within societies
- fostering empathetic engagement with familiar and unfamiliar viewpoints
- promoting self critical awareness of presuppositions and encouraging constructive and critical exposition of arguments
- inviting dialogue between different traditions
- encouraging intelligent use of a variety of theories and methods of study
- providing opportunities for critical involvement in changing the way things are e.g. liberationist or feminist approaches
- language studies, fieldwork, social surveys and the visual and performing arts.
Religious studies students are well equipped to enter into many occupations including careers in education, research, law, journalism and the media, social and pastoral care, counselling, mediation and negotiation roles, government, prison services, project management, training and facilitation roles, charity work, personnel and accountancy.
To check the growing range of resources produced by the Subject Centre to support employability and the use of this profile (including the Skills and Attributes map) go to http://prs.heacademy.ac.uk/themes/employability.
This profile, produced in 2004, is based on the QAA benchmark to be found at www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/honours/default.asp.
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