For those who have a passion for spirituality or religion, it may feel like a natural subject to study in college. Luckily for the spiritually inclined, it is possible to study spirituality in college. There are many different avenues to take for studying spirituality at university.
Some colleges offer a major that directly leads to a career in ministry or spiritual guidance. Other schools let students learn about religion and spirituality in a major such as world religion or religious studies. When you study spirituality in college, it’s important to consider what you want your academic and career path to look like.
For some, studying the different features and history of major world religions is satisfying. Others may want to study spiritual principles to apply to their everyday life and share with others in college or beyond the university halls. We have the answer to this question and more below.
Can you study spirituality in college?
The short answer is that you can study spirituality in college–as long as you are willing to do a little research to find the right college or program for your specific goals. If you want to study Christian spirituality, there are plenty of programs across the United States and throughout the world that cater to this religious studies preference. As phdstudies.com shares, “There are many different types of specialties one can pursue within the field of spirituality.
Students may choose an emphasis on pastoral counseling, Christianity, psychology, or women’s studies. Individuals may study the role spirituality has in people’s health among other topics.” This form of education prepares students to apply spiritual principles and psychological principles for a wide range of careers.
If you follow this course of study, you can transfer the skills and knowledge gained in the program into a rewarding career in ministry, pastoral care, clergy, and teaching. Most major colleges also offer religious studies or similar majors that feature major classes in world religions, spirituality, history, and philosophy. For example, the University of Arizona offers Religious Studies as a major in their undergraduate programs.
As they explain on their website, “Religion has been a central force in world history, and it continues to play a powerful role in the human experience. The dynamic traditions of world religions, the role of religion in global politics, the relationship of religion and science, and the religious dimensions of art and culture, are among the many issues that draw students to the study of religion at the University of Arizona. The faculty and associated faculty of the Religious Studies Program are committed to introducing students to a broad spectrum of religious traditions and their social and historical impact.”
While religion and spirituality are not always experienced as the same thing, they do share some similarities. Religion and spirituality both seek to explain and connect with the divine. When studying religion, you will inevitably be invited to question your current beliefs around spirituality and seek more knowledge on this subject.
You may think that a religious studies major could limit your career options to religious or spiritual roles, but religious studies and similar programs prepare students for a wide range of careers and fields.
Because Religious Studies is such a broad major, it can lead to almost any career under the sun. Common career paths following religious studies include business, medicine, law, social services, psychology, government, and education. Religious Studies equips students with a strong understanding of humanity’s diverse beliefs, complex cultural and social thinking systems, and how humans have tried to make meaning out of the seemingly meaningless.
Religious studies can be a major or a minor paired with another major. Religious studies also push students to sharpen their critical thinking, writing, and verbal communication skills. Because of this, religious studies majors have the potential to think independently and attempt to solve problems creatively.
What is a spiritual college?
If you want to study spirituality, you may be looking into spiritual colleges to further your education. Spiritual colleges might sound intimidating or exclusive to those outside of their spirituality, but they are usually welcoming spaces for spiritual exploration of all kinds. As greatvaluecolleges.net explains, “A spirituality-focused university is a college that places an emphasis on spirituality or religious thought.
Many of the colleges have an affiliation with a major church but welcome students from all denominations.” When going to a spiritual college, you may be required to take religious classes for your general education credits. If you want to focus on your spirituality during college without majoring in it, a spiritual college may be a great solution for you.
Spiritual colleges provide academic and social support, but they also provide that extra layer of spiritual support. Your professors at a spiritual college may be more open to talking about religion, theology, and spirituality than professors at a secular, publicly funded college would be. If you do choose to attend a spiritual college, remember that spiritual colleges are open to folks from all walks of life.
Just because your fellow students attend a spiritual college does not mean that they share the same beliefs as you. Being that it’s a spiritual space, though, your fellow students may also be more open to discussing religion and spirituality than students at a secular college would be.
Is there a degree in spiritual psychology?
When you want to combine your love of spirituality with a passion for psychology, a spiritual psychology degree may be a good fit. Luckily for you, spiritual psychology is a major that is relatively common, especially in spiritual schools. Careersinpsychology.org shares more details on this subject in their article on the subject that says, “A spiritual psychology career typically starts with a bachelor’s degree in general psychology.
This usually involves taking a number of psychology courses, including courses in developmental psychology, transpersonal psychology, clinical psychology, creative consciousness, and counseling psychology.” Many popular founders of the psychology field, including Carl Jung, let their spiritual interests influence their psychological studies. Today, spirituality enthusiasts and psychology professionals alike apply Carl Jung’s principles and findings.
As a result, spirituality and psychology are largely compatible fields. Spiritual psychology can be a perfect way for those who love spirituality to actively apply their interests in school and outside of the classroom in a fulfilling career. Spiritual psychologists can usually be open about their personal spiritual beliefs and use these beliefs to help clients connect with their innermost selves.
As a spiritual psychologist, you will recognize the connection between the mind, body, and spirit. Oftentimes, clients gravitate towards spiritual psychologists when they want a deeper, more holistic level of healing than non-spiritual therapy can offer. Studying spiritual psychology can give students a clear career path forward without compromising their desire to learn about spirituality while in college.
What is a spiritual degree?
If you want to study spirituality, period, a spiritual degree might be your best choice. When studying for a spiritual degree, you will learn about religious traditions and ways to live a spiritual life. Some spiritual degrees are based on a specific religion or school of spirituality, while others could be more general.
Although a spiritual degree might seem like it boxes graduates into future work in spirituality, it can open many doors for all kinds of career options. A spiritual degree will teach you how to think critically, respectfully discuss deeply held beliefs, write effectively, and comprehend challenging texts. All of these skills would work well in fields such as business, education, law, and healthcare.
You can always get your bachelor’s degree in spirituality and then earn a master’s in your chosen field, as well. The one thing that all spiritual degrees have in common is their incorporation of spirituality into higher educational learning.