The Department of Religious Studies (REL)
The Department of Religious Studies, which engages in the descriptive, comparative, interpretive, and explanatory study of religion as a cross-cultural human phenomenon, offers an undergraduate major in religious studies and minors in Asian studies, Judaic studies, and religious studies.
Degree requirements. Students earning the bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in religious studies must complete all University, college (see pp. 52-53), and departmental degree requirements. These include the general education requirements, the following major requirements, all requirements for an approved minor, and sufficient other credits to total 120 credit hours.
Admission into the major. Students are expected to declare a major formally no later than the fourth semester of full-time enrollment (or at 61 semester hours for transfer students). With the assistance of an advisor in the major department, students should complete the “Declaration of Major” form.
Grade point average. A 2.0 grade point average in the major is required for completion of the degree. The major GPA is calculated based on all courses applicable to the major that the student has attempted at UA.
Major courses. The major in religious studies requires the successful completion of the following 33 semester hours:
|REL 100 or REL 105||3|
|REL area requirement²||12|
¹REL 490 is offered only in the spring semester. Students are expected to enroll during the senior year, but can enroll as early as the junior year.
|²Students must earn 3 hours in each of the following four areas for a total of 12 hours:
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 recommended to take either French or German as part of the undergraduate program of study.
Required minor. This major requires the completion of a minor.
Additional major requirements. Including REL 490, a minimum of 15 hours must be earned in 300- or 400-level courses. Students can count a maximum of 6 hours of online REL courses toward the major or minor. Students can earn a maximum of 9 hours (i.e., three separate courses) of any variable topics courses that have different titles (i.e., REL 360, REL 361, REL 370, REL 371, REL 372, REL 373, REL 460, REL 461, REL 480, REL 481, REL 482, REL 483, and REL 490). For more information on degree requirements, visit the Degrees page of the department’s Web site (www.as.ua.edu/rel). 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.
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). To learn more about such funding opportunities, visit www.as.ua.edu/rel/stdeskscholarships.html. The department also has three ongoing lecture and/or lunchtime discussion series, an active religious studies student association, and a local chapter of the national honors society in the study of religion, Theta Alpha Kappa.