Although not required, the degree’s aim to help prepare a wide variety of students for futures beyond their M.A. means that the Department encourages its graduate students to consider participating in an internship at some point in their degree. Whether students hope to apply to a Ph.D. or look for work in any number of other careers, the practical experience of putting their skills to use during an internship will come in handy — in many cases the novel skills acquired in the required REL 502 foundations course, on digital skills in the humanities.
To accomplish this, the Department has already established relationships with a variety of on- and off-campus groups which are eager to work with our graduate students. For example, Alabama Heritage magazine is one of the local sites where M.A. students can gain greater experience proofreading, fact-checking, or even writing their own blogs and articles. As well, UA’s own Center for Instructional Technology has a number of projects that REL M.A. students can tackle, such as carrying out “big data” analysis or video production, and the University of Alabama Press is available to help our students learn about both the acquisitions and editing side of publications. Among other possible internship sites are: assisting Prof. Newton on editing The Bulletin for the Study of Religion (whose editorial home is in our Department); assisting the team that produces the podcasts at the UK-based The Religious Studies Project; and gaining experience working with international students at UA’s Capstone International Center.
Based on student interest the Department is also eager to contact other groups, on or off campus, as possible internship sites.
Internships are unpaid and either for credit (REL 565) or non-credit; they can vary in time commitment, from 5 hours per week for approximately 10 weeks to more time, all depending on what sort of experience the students wants and what skills they’re hoping to use or learn. Internships can be carried out in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester and are all supervised, in cooperation with REL’s Graduate Director.