Is Our MA For You?

Photo of the department webpage for prospective MA students

 

It’s that time again, when people are considering applying to graduate programs for the coming academic year. Later in the Fall semester our Graduate Committee will begin making acceptance decisions and will be nominating some of the newly admitted students for competitive, campus-wide fellowships, to help them fund their studies, not to mention making decisions about who will hold the Department’s graduate teaching assistantships. So I thought it was a good time to say a few things about why you might consider studying religion at the University of Alabama. Continue reading

Not Your Typical MA Program

Our third group of incoming MA students started classes this past August, joining four full-time MA students now in their second year. So we thought it was time to introduce them all to you, and ask them to tell us what they’re studying — from people, places and things to the digital tools useful in doing their work.

For more information on REL’s Religion in Culture MA, visit our website and
contact Prof. Merinda Simmons, our Graduate Director.

Thanks to REL grad Andie Alexander and
current REL major Kyle Ashley for creating this video.

Internships as Part of the REL M.A. Program

Caity Bell's work space, this past summer, preparing a museum exhibit

We recently sat down with Caity Bell, a second year M.A. student in Religious Studies, and talked about internship opportunities. This past summer she helped frame historic representations during her internship with the Landmarks Association of DeKalb County (pictured above).

1. How did you first hear about the chance to do an internship as part of your MA in Religious Studies?

Caity: I first heard about the opportunity during one of our colloquium sessions. Dr. Merinda Simmons, our Grad Director, had invited Dr. Susan Reynolds, Editor for Alabama Heritage, to discuss the various ways she’s used her degree in the Humanities to her benefit in jobs outside of traditional academic positions. Susan mentioned at the end of our meeting that she was looking for interns to help out at the magazine the following semester and I was quick to apply for the position. Though I didn’t choose to receive academic credit for the internship I did still work it into the independent study I was doing with my advisor, Dr. Steven Ramey. Continue reading

Incoming MA Student Awarded National Alumni Association Graduate Fellowship

We’re extremely pleased to announce that Keeley McMurray, who will be starting our M.A. this Fall, has been awarded a National Alumni Association Graduate Fellowship by the University of Alabama.

Keeley will graduate from the University of Alabama in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and English. Though her curiosities in the study of religion are broad and still growing, she is currently studying the rhetorical utility of the idea of “sincerely held beliefs” in contemporary American politics and law; she aims for this project to expand into a study of “conscience” in the history of tolerance and secularization. She will be working with Prof. Altman¬†as her supervisor.

The highly competitive fellowship that Keeley has been awarded, for which she was nominated by the department, is open to in-state students from across all disciplines on campus; it is given to approximately 30 students annually and the funds for these awards are generated through the state of Alabama’s customized UA license tag — learn more here.

Graduate Council Fellowship Awarded to Incoming M.A. Student

We’re pleased to announce that Savannah Finver, who will begin our M.A. in the Fall, has been awarded a Graduate Council Fellowship, by the School of Graduate Studies, for the 2018-19 academic year. This award, which was also given to current M.A. student Sarah Griswold for 2017-18, is an outright scholarship and entails no teaching assistant duties.

Savannah graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy/Religious Studies. Her interests are focused around the rhetorical strategies employed by groups which identify both as ‘religious’ and ‘nonreligious’ and their influence on the American political sphere. While at UA she’ll be working with Prof. Touna as her supervisor.

The Graduate Council Fellowship, for which students must be nominated by their home department, is UA’s most prestigious award for graduate students. Approximately 100 GCFs are given each year, mainly to incoming Masters or Doctoral students.

Wondering what our MA students study…?

Yes, REL has an MA Program now — our students recently created a curated, online project, for one of their classes, to test out how to use a new software.

Want to know what else they’re doing?

Heard of Our M.A.? from UA Religious Studies.

Interested? Then check out the first half of
our latest podcast episode to hear more from
Emma, Sarah, and Sierra.

Digital Religious Studies

Photo of old computer punch cards

If you’ve followed our Department then you might know about our new MA, which started this Fall. While it’s focused on helping students develop their social theory skills, it also has a focus on the digital skills that have become increasingly relevant in scholarship — whether to communicate with wider audiences, via a variety of online projects (what might be called the public humanities), or to enhance the traditional research that we do.

That’s why every incoming group of grad students takes two required Fall classes, one on social theory and the other on digital tools. Continue reading