As part of the University of Alabama’s MA in Religion in Culture students will earn two required additional certificates, to document their enhanced skills in both online pedagogy and the digital humanities.
Certificate in Online Pedagogy
Although traditional lecture and seminar courses constitute the BA in Religious Studies at UA, the Department of Religious Studies has also developed a small number of courses specifically designed for beginning students working in the online environment — from distance learning students, working on degrees but away from campus, to Early College students getting a leg-up on their university education. In order to design or teach such courses, all instructors must complete UA’s Certificate in Online Pedagogy — a multi-part online program that ensures that they are aware of strategies for succeeding with online teaching. Because of the prominence of taking online courses in higher ed today, we aim to ensure that our graduates are not only experienced in teaching in this medium but also understand the wider factors that have, at least for some institutions, made online courses a preferred site. And, once they’ve earned this certificate (ideally before the end of their second semester, i.e., their first Spring semester), they will be eligible for the possibility of supervised online teaching opportunities in the Department, which could provide summer earnings or funding toward their second year as well as practical teaching experience.
Certificate in Digital Humanities
Throughout their degree students will also earn a certificate in the digital humanities. This will entail a variety of components: informal coffee discussions, organized and hosted by the Department, with on campus staff and faculty who routinely work with computer-based applications (such as staff working in either the College of Arts & Sciences’ etech office or the university’s Office of Information Technology); internships, established by the Department either on or off campus, where students use their digital skills in practical, supervised settings (we recommend these not be set up in the student’s first semester).
Note: The Alabama Digital Humanities Center (located on the first floor of Gorgas) will be a resource to students throughout the degree, both in REL 502 and in other courses (when, with the permission of the Professor, students may opt to work on a digital project). Depending on the relevance of their programming in any given year, additional events/elements may be recommended or required as part of the Digital Humanities Certificate.
Speak with the Graduate Director for more information on earning each certificate or setting up an internship.
Certificate in Museum Studies
In addition to the above two certificates, which are part of the REL M.A. degree, UA offers a certificate in Museum Studies, toward which up to two REL grad courses can count. The remaining three Museum Studies courses include one offered each Fall, one each Spring, and a 40 hour internship (that can be arranged in a variety of locations and taken during the Fall, Spring, or summer semester). This additional certificate (which is not required by REL) might be ideal for students who see their graduate training as possibly preparing them to work in a variety of other institutions, such as archives, libraries, or museums.
Speak with the Graduate Director for more information about the Museum Studies certificate.