The Relationship of Religion and College Major

Miles Kimball, University of Michigan
Colter Mitchell, University of Michigan
Arland Thornton, University of Michigan
Linda Young-DeMarco, University of Michigan

Universities help to transmit various streams of thought within the culture to the next generation. Some of these streams of thought present challenges to religiosity, either explicitly or implicitly. This project examines the effect of college major on religiosity as a way of gauging the extent to which various streams of thought, as taught in college, affect religiosity. We use latent growth curve models to estimate the effects of college major on religiosity. Access to panel data on religiosity and college major in the Monitoring the Future survey makes this research design possible. Respondents majoring in the social sciences and humanities, as well as respondents who do not attend college, experience a decline in their church attendance. Conversely, education majors actually increase their attendance. Humanities, social science, natural science and math majors report a decrease in religious importance, while majoring in education increases religious importance.

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Presented in Session 80: Religion and Human Capital