Apart from requirements that apply to all students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the only prerequisites for religious studies students are an interest in crosscultural work in different historical periods and a curiosity about the many ways that human communities, past and present, have devised for creating worlds in which to live and act.

212 Manly Hall
religiousstudies@as.ua.edu

Admission into the Major

Students are encouraged to declare a major no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). Students declare a major by completing the Change of Major/Minor Application online under the Student tab on myBama. Prospective majors and double-majors should contact the religious studies office to make an appointment with the REL undergraduate advisor to discuss their career goals and academic interests.

Special Opportunities

The department annually awards both Silverstein Fellowships (providing the opportunity to work in the department for one or more semesters, assisting in the main office and assisting professors with their work) and Silverstein Scholarships (awarded by the faculty each Honors Day based on a student’s GPA [REL majors and Judaic Studies minors are eligible]). To learn more about these funding opportunities, visit as.ua.edu/rel/stdeskscholarships.html. The department also conducts four ongoing lecture and discussion series, supports an active Religious Studies Student Association, and hosts the local chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honors society for the study of religion. Find us on Facebook: "Department of Religious Studies at The University of  Alabama" and the "Religious Studies Student Association" or on Twitter @StudyReligion. Finally, in addition to featuring undergraduate research on the department's blog, the Religious Studies department hosts an annual undergraduate research symposium. Talk to an REL professor about getting involved.

Students earning the bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in religious studies must complete all University, College, and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements, all requirements for an approved minor and other necessary credits to total 120 credit hours.

More InformationHours
Required Courses
REL 100 or Intro To Religious Studies3
REL 105 Honors Intro Relig Stdy
REL 102Intro to Religions of the World3
REL 490Senior Capstone Seminar 13
Track Requirement
Select a track 212
Electives
Select nine hours of REL electives9
Total Hours30
1

REL 490 Senior Capstone Seminar is offered only in the spring semester. Students are expected to enroll during the senior year, but may enroll as early as the junior year. The Department holds seats in this class for REL students so please contact the main office (8-5271) to learn how to enroll.

2

Students must earn 12 hours in one of the following three tracks: Religion in Communication, Religion in Conflict, or Religion in Context. 

Grade Point Average

A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. Please see the Grades and Grade Points section of this catalog for an explanation on grade point average calculations.

Upper-level Residency

A minimum of 12 hours of 300- and 400-level courses in the major must be earned on this campus.

Ancillary Courses

This major does not require ancillary courses; however, students interested in graduate-level work in the study of religion are advised to take either French or German as part of the undergraduate program of study. Prospective graduate students in religious studies should consult with faculty members concerning additional language study appropriate to their particular scholarly interests. 

Required Minor

This major requires the completion of a minor.

Additional Major Requirements

Including REL 490 Senior Capstone Seminar, a minimum of 15 hours must be earned in 300- or 400-level courses; at least six of these upper-level hours (usually two courses) must be earned in courses offered by the religious studies department.

With department approval, the equivalent of up to 12 credit hours can be applied toward the major requirement from relevant coursework done outside the religious studies department.  Consult the REL Advisor to discuss the possibility of counting courses done outside REL toward your REL major.

Students can count a maximum of six hours of online REL courses toward the major or minor.

For more information on degree requirements, visit as.ua.edu/rel/degree.html. Students are responsible for ensuring that they have met all University, College, major and minor requirements. However, each student must meet with an advisor in the major department for academic planning and to be cleared for registration each semester. College advisors are also available for additional assistance with minor, College, and University requirements.

Prerequisites

Unless otherwise stated, the prerequisite for 300- and 400-level REL courses is junior standing or permission of the instructor.

Variable Topics Courses

Hours
Depending on the topic, the following courses may be counted toward any track. In addition, students can earn a maximum of nine hours for any variable topics courses that address different course content.
REL 361Individual Research3
REL 370Adv Study Religion In Religion and Communication3
REL 371Adv St Religion and Conflict3
REL 372Adv Std Religion and Context3
REL 373Seminar Rel and Communication3
REL 400RELIGIOUS STUDIES HONORS THESIS3
REL 460Individual Research3
REL 461Individual Research3
REL 480Seminar Rel and Conflict3
REL 483Seminar Rel and Context3
REL 490Senior Capstone Seminar3

Religion in Popular Culture

REL 360 Individual Research is offered every semester and is devoted to studying religion in popular culture/public humanities; it is a one credit hour course repeatable up to a total of three credit hours and is open to all students. REL 360 Individual Research meets in the evenings to view and then blog on films (different films are included each semester, with faculty introducing them and leading a discussion afterwards). It also includes attending either the annual Day or Aronov Lectures (the former each Fall and the latter each Spring).

REL Honors Track

REL 400 RELIGIOUS STUDIES HONORS THESIS is part of the REL Honors Track, which is open to majors/double majors in REL who have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA and at least a 3.5 GPA in their REL major. It involves enrolling in 3 hours of REL 400 (normally in your senior year) and writing a final thesis (equivalent to a publishable paper in an undergraduate student journal). The track also requires that one regularly offered REL seminar be designated as your Honors Seminar, normally taken prior to enrolling in REL 400. An oral defense of your thesis is required. Please speak with the REL advisor no later than your Junior year if you are interested in applying for this track; for more information speak with an REL professor whom you would recommend to be your thesis advisor.

Tracks

Track I: Religion in Communication

Hours
Courses in the Religion in Communication track focus on the ways people communicate about religion in arenas of popular culture as well as in academe.
REL 110Intro To The Old Testament3
REL 112Intro To New Testament3
REL 124Religion & Film in America3
REL 224Judaism3
REL 228Hy Of Christian Thought3
REL 237Self Society & Religions3
REL 240Apocalypse In Contemporary Fil3
REL 311English Bible As Literature3
REL 322Tales from Asia: Told and Retold in Film and Popular Culture3
REL 340Nietzsche and Religion3
REL 341Theories of Myth3
REL 420Gospel Of Mark3
REL 430Religion and Literature3
REL 440Theories of Religion3

Track II: Religion in Conflict

Hours
Courses in the Religion in Conflict track emphasize the various ways in which religion and conflict overlap and intersect.
REL 101The Violent and the Sacred: Religion and the Problem of Human Suffering3
REL 220Survey Of Asian Religion3
REL 223Holocaust Historical Perspecti3
REL 226African Diaspora Religions3
REL 234Women And Religion3
REL 240Apocalypse In Contemporary Fil3
REL 241American Religious History3
REL 245Honors Hist. Religions of Amer3
REL 321Rel & Ident in South Asia3
REL 347Jewish-Christian Relations3
REL 350Religion in Colonial Empire3
REL 410Religion and Genocide3
REL 415Religion in the American South3
REL 419Myth Ritual And Magic3

Track III: Religion in Context

Hours
Courses in the Religion in Context track focus on collections of beliefs and behaviors in relation to the social contexts in which they appear and operate.
REL 110Intro To The Old Testament3
REL 112Intro To New Testament3
REL 124Religion & Film in America3
REL 208Hinduism3
REL 220Survey Of Asian Religion3
REL 226African Diaspora Religions3
REL 228Hy Of Christian Thought3
REL 234Women And Religion3
REL 236Islam3
REL 237Self Society & Religions3
REL 238Philosophies Of Judaism3
REL 241American Religious History3
REL 245Honors Hist. Religions of Amer3
REL 311English Bible As Literature3
REL 321Rel & Ident in South Asia3
REL 322Tales from Asia: Told and Retold in Film and Popular Culture3
REL 341Theories of Myth3
REL 415Religion in the American South3
REL 419Myth Ritual And Magic3
REL 420Gospel Of Mark3
REL 440Theories of Religion3

Types of Jobs Accepted

Majors and minors in Religious Studies develop crucial skills necessary for citizenship in the 21st century, including critical thinking, oral and written communication skills and cultural literacy. Graduates of the program have pursued careers in a variety of venues, such as medicine, law, non-profit government organizations, various religiously-affiliated ministries, public administration, music and teaching.

Learn more about opportunities in this field at the Career Center