“Absolutely nothing!” might be the answer some recent PhD graduates would give to this question. The dream of many PhD students in biblical and theological studies programs is to get a full-time tenure-track teaching job, and some are able to achieve this goal. However, the number of PhD graduates far exceeds the number of positions available, which leaves many qualified candidates working in other fields or underemployed in academia. Various books have been written to help graduates find work outside of their field, such as Christopher L. Catherine’s Leaving Academia: A Practical Guide. However, books like this are often wide-ranging and not specific to biblical and theological studies.

To help address this topic, Brittany Kim and I have compiled a list of several options for careers that are linked to this field and we would like to introduce you to some people with PhDs in biblical and theological studies who are working in these areas. Our hope is that the job search narrative would revolve not around the scarcity of tenure-track teaching positions but instead around the abundance of opportunities to serve God’s kingdom with the particular knowledge and skills gained in a PhD in biblical and theological studies. Given that the number of tenure-track positions remains small, PhD programs in biblical and theological studies most likely need to shift their curriculum to better prepare their graduates for these other fields.

I have listed the potential career paths below, and you can follow the link to see testimonials from PhD graduates working in each of the fields (except for a few fields that we could not find a PhD graduate working in).

  1. Academic Teaching with Support Raising

  2. Pastoring and Church Ministry

  3. High-School Teaching

  4. Administration

  5. Editing and Publishing

  6. Alternative Biblical Teaching

  7. Chaplaincy

  8. Campus Ministry

  9. Teaching in Related Academic Areas

  10. Bible Translation

  11. Nonprofit Work and Parachurch Ministry

  12. Theological Librarian

  13. Adjunct Teaching