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What Does a Professor of Theology Do?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2016
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A professor of theology primarily teaches about religion in a college setting, but there is more to this career than just instructing students. While lecturing, leading classroom discussions and grading papers all make up a large part of this job, this type of professor also is usually involved in other activities. Part of the job description is often to take part in campus events that involve religion, as well as to act as an adviser for religion-oriented clubs. Like most other professors, those who teach theology also are usually expected to perform research and write books and articles.

Professors of theology may teach at religious schools, but they also are often employed at secular public and private colleges so all students have a chance to learn about religion, whether they want a theology degree or just some knowledge on the subject. The typical professor of theology creates lesson plans that are either centered on one particular religion or a wide variety, depending on the course, though the standard classes include teachings on ethics, religious thought and the history of religion. Most instructors offering knowledge on these topics teach using a mixture of lecturing, leading class discussions and administering tests and homework. Those teaching theology courses usually need to set aside time before and after class to advise students, grade coursework and record attendance.

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The work of a professor of theology does not usually stop when class is over, because most schools require some participation in extracurricular activities. For example, such teachers are usually expected to be involved in campus events, especially those with a religious or ethical component. Clubs that are based on this subject are usually presided over by at least one professor of theology. In addition, students required to write a thesis or perform an internship involving the subject of theology will likely need help from a professor who is an expert on this topic.

Most professors are expected to keep up with research in their field, and theology instructors are no different. They often conduct both primary and secondary research, which may include supervising studies on theology, collaborating with other experts in this field or spending time taking advanced courses on this subject. The typical professor of theology may need to write grant proposals to get the funds to perform additional research, which might allow him to eventually write journal articles and books on this subject. Many professors even end up writing the textbooks used in their own theology courses.

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