The Connection Between College Majors and Religious Faith

By Sean Cavanagh — August 05, 2009 1 min read
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This item isn’t exactly related to K-12 education, but I suspect it will garner a lot of attention among students and teachers at all levels. A recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan shows a decline in the religiosity of students who major in the humanities and social sciences, but a rise among those who study education and business.

Yet students who are highly religious tend to choose humanities and education majors at the outset, according to the study, which I first saw reported in the Christian Post. The results suggest “that there is something attractive about the humanities to students who are highly religious,” the authors say. “This apparent attraction of the humanities is especially interesting,” given the “dampening” effect on religious belief.

The results of the study are reported as a working paper of the National Bureau of Economic Research. I’ve linked to it, above.

Education majors, meanwhile, are “clearly a safe haven for the religious,” the authors write. Highly religious people seem to prefer education majors, and they tend to stay in that major, their results show. “Highly religious people enter education majors, stay in them, and become more religious,” they conclude.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.