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 both religious studies and Judaic studies.
Degree requirements. Students earning the bachelor of arts (BA) degree with a major in religious studies must complete all University, college (see p. 50-52), 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 formally declare a major 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 and all work attempted applicable to the major throughout the entire higher education career.
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|
2Student must earn 3 hours in each of the following four areas for a total of 12 hours:
- Religion in Culture: REL 213, REL 231, REL 234, REL 237, REL 335, REL 340, REL 341, REL 370, REL 410, REL 419, REL 440, or REL 480.*
- American Religions: REL 124, REL 226, REL 235, REL 240, REL 241, REL 371, or REL 481.*
- Middle Eastern and European Religions: REL 110, REL 112, REL 223, REL 224, REL 228, REL 236, REL 238, REL 311, REL 332, REL 347, REL 372, REL 420, or REL 482.*
- Asian Religions: REL 208, REL 210, REL 220, REL 321, REL 373, or REL 483.*
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.
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.