Undergraduate students from all across The University of Alabama enroll in religious studies courses to fulfill the University’s Core Curriculum “Humanities” or “Writing” requirements, but we also offer several ways to focus more closely on the study of religion.
Undergraduates can major, double major, or minor in the study of religion. We also offer a master’s program. As the home of the Aronov Endowment for Judaic Studies, our department also offers a minor in studying the history of Judaism and a minor in Asian Studies.
Graduate students earning their MA combine social theory of religion and digital humanities skills in one of the nation’s only programs that takes seriously how humanities graduate education in the study of religion ought to prepare students for further doctoral studies just as much as for a wide variety of other careers in which analytic and communication skills are essential.
Our graduate and undergraduate programs, therefore, allow students to examine in greater detail the histories and functions of a wide variety of texts, myths, rituals, symbols, and institutions, while also learning about religions in specific regions and historical periods, whether that’s ancient Israel and Greece or the modern U.S., India, and Japan — doing so with an eye toward the diverse publics who may benefit from our research and teaching.
In the process, students enroll in small classes, get to know professors with national and international scholarly reputations, and acquire skills that enable them to describe, compare, interpret, and explain — skills that they will use long after leaving our classrooms.
Apart from requirements that apply to all students in the College of Arts & Sciences, the only prerequisites for religious studies students are an interest in cross-cultural 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.
So, no, you don’t have to be religious to study religion at The University of Alabama; you just have to be curious about how cultures and identities work.
Watch this video to learn more about our department and hear a few of our faculty and students, or read a 2016 interview with the former department chair about studying religion at UA.