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Career pathways for theology graduates

Why Study Theology?

We live in a time when differences in theologies and worldviews have sparked military and ideological wars around the globe. Belfast native and well-known author and theologian, C. S. Lewis once famously described theology as a map, arguing that it is eminently practical, guiding us as we seek to navigate our daily lives. Whether they acknowledge it or not, everyone gets their theology from somewhere—from the movies, social media, the news, or even the local pub or football pitch. As Lewis observed, “If you don't listen to theology, that won't mean you have no ideas about God; it will mean you have a lot of wrong ones.” 

When potential students hear that Union Theological College offers a 3-year residential BA (Hons) Theology degree to undergraduate students, they often ask some combination of the following four questions: (1) What is theology? (2) What topics would I study in a theology degree? (3) How can I prepare for a degree in theology? And (4) What job opportunities and career pathways are available if I were to graduate with a theology degree?

1. What is theology?

To be fair, this is a question more of us should be willing to ask. There are all kinds of misconceptions regarding what theology is and what it is not. You may picture “doing theology” as a bunch of monks sequestered away in a dusty old monastery, pouring over ancient manuscripts by candlelight. Or stuffy academics endlessly debating unimportant minutiae, like how many angels can dance upon the head of a pin. 

Simply put, however, theology is the study of God and beliefs about God. And theology is not just done by theologians and academics. Everyone has theological beliefs, whether they affirm or reject the reality of God. Pastor and theologian, A. W. Tozer once said, “What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Tozer was dead on. He recognized that our understanding of God undergirds the entirety of our worldview. It affects the base motivation of all of our actions. What comes to our minds when we think about God shapes everything about us. Moreover, our view of God not only has consequences at an individual level, but at a societal level as well. The worldview of the individuals that make up a society sets the course for the ethics and morality of a society. The study of theology is vitally important. 

The undergraduate theology degree offered at Union Theological College is open to people of all faiths and none. That means you don’t have to agree with our theological perspectives or sign off on a statement of beliefs. That being said, UTC was founded by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and the undergraduate program focuses on the study of the Christian Bible and Christianity throughout history. However, students will also engage with and analyse a range of biblical interpretations and a diversity of perspectives.  

2. What topics would I study in a theology degree?

Our undergraduate programme is structured to provide students with a broad-based knowledge of theology. Students will take modules from three areas in every school year: (1) Biblical Studies; (2) Systematic Theology/Church History; and (3) Practical Theology. These modules will include Biblical Languages, Introduction to the Pentateuch, Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels, Early Church History, Trends in Modern Theology, Major World Religions, Spirituality and Worship, and Introduction to Christian Ethics and many more. Students have some flexibility in years two and three and can choose from a range of modules, allowing them to specialize in one or more of the three areas. You will spend about nine hours per week in the classroom, but you can expect to spend much more than that outside of the classroom in self-study.

3. How can I prepare for a degree in theology?

One of the best ways to prepare for studying theology at UTC is to read the Bible. Familiarize yourself with the overarching narrative of the Bible (creation, fall, redemption, restoration) and read widely. Another way to prepare is to read an introduction to Christian theology. You can also begin to follow and read online articles by well-known theologians, pastors and ministers. You should also begin to ask questions about how theology might be relevant in your own context and in world events. These suggestions will have you ready to hit the ground running when you walk through the doors on the first day of the semester.

4. What job opportunities and career pathways are available if I were to graduate with a theology degree?

This question is usually the most pressing for students as they consider whether they want to study theology. What can I do with a theology degree? Would I have to become a minister/pastor? Is there anything else I could do with a theology degree?

Though our theology programme provides excellent training for people who would like to pursue ministry, the good news is that there are a wide range of careers you could pursue with a theology degree. As you progress through the programme you will not only be trained in theology, but also acquire numerous transferable skills such as critical thinking and communication skills. You could pursue a career in:

- Education

- Journalism

- Social work

- Civil service

- Aid Work

- Charity work

- Human Resources

- And many more!

At Union Theological College our goal is to equip students with a theological literacy that will enable them to understand and navigate the world in which they live, flourish as individuals and make impactful contributions to society. If this resonates with you, then UTC may be just the right next step for your journey.


Dr. Robbie Booth

I joined the faculty at Union Theological College in the Autumn of 2021. I am the director of the MTh in New Testament and the director of the Post Graduate Certificate in Biblical Greek.

Full Bio BA (Hons) in Theology

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BA (Hons) Theology

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