Our Advisors

All new majors (first and second) and minors (Asian Studies, Judaic Studies, Religious Studies) should first meet with the Undergraduate Director, to learn about the degree and what it will take to complete it in a timely fashion. Then, each major/minor should meet with the appropriate advisor at least once each semester (usually prior to registration for the coming semester’s classes), to ensure that they are properly proceeding through their program of study.

All majors are advisors by Prof. Szanto while all minors are advised by Prof. Newton.

All students interested in declaring a major or minor in our department can meet with the respective advisor to get information but must also meet with the undergraduate director, Prof. Richard Newton. He will ask you to fill out a Student Info Form to be returned to the REL main office, 212 Presidents Hall, so that we know how to contact you. Prof. Newton will provide you with this form at the time of your meeting, and then ensure you arrange a meeting with your degree program’s specific advisor.

Richard Newton

Prof. Richard Newton

Undergraduate Director and Advisor: Asian Studies minor, Judaic Studies minor, Religious Studies minor.


Edith Szanto

Prof. Edith Szanto

Advisor: REL major


How to Declare a Major or Minor

Declaration of majors and minors is done mostly through myBama now. Once on myBama, click on the Student tab > Academic and Student Services > Academic Records and Curriculum>Change of Major/minor. This will direct you to the “Change of Curriculum” page where you will click the red “Go” button beneath your name.

Declaring a Major

On this page next to your first major (i.e., Major 1), there will be a red, clickable link that says “Change Major.” On the next page, you will have to choose the college and program to add. To add religious studies, you will need to select the College of Arts and Sciences and then religious studies, BA.

Declaring a Minor

On this page next to your minors, there will be a red, clickable link that says “Change Minors.” It will direct you to a page where you can select religious studies from a list of programs. Double-click on “Religious Studies” to add it to the list. Then hit “Continue” in the top right of the page. You will then be able to review everything. Once you’re satisfied, click “Submit.”

Registering for Classes

Students whose first major, or only major, is REL are required to obtain advising from our department each semester, prior to being allowed to register for the next semester’s courses. (First majors outside REL, and REL or JS minors are strongly advised to come to REL regularly for advising as well.) Unless the main office is notified by Prof. Newton that REL first majors have been advised, you will not be cleared on the registration system to register.

Prior to the two-week period leading up to registration each semester, our advisers will email you to communicate how you can schedule an appointment. As part of your appointment, you and your adviser will complete a Faculty Advising Form (DocuSign) listing the courses in which you will enroll. Please list, Ms. Keisha Harris (REL Administrative Secretary) and her email ( under “Optional Review.” This will enable her to clear you for course registration.

Registering for Upper-Level REL Courses

To ensure that majors and minors obtain a seat in upper-level REL courses (300 and 400), the department sometimes holds spaces specifically for them (such as with REL 490 each Spring, the Senior Seminar [required of all majors]). If an upper-level REL course seems to be closed, and you are a major or minor in the department, please visit the main office (Presidents Hall 212) to obtain a permit to register for the class. If you are enrolling in a Directed Study (REL 360/361 or 460/461), you will need to email Prof. Szanto or Prof. Newton with confirmation from the supervising faculty member.

Course Substitutions

If Prof. Newton has allowed you to substitute a non-REL course for requirements toward the major or minor (so long as that course is not already satisfying a major requirement in another program), a memo will be on file, with the College of Arts & Sciences Registrar to signify this and a note will appear in each student’s DegreeWorks.


Through myBama you can see your degree progress using DegreeWorks — you can even click the “What If” button to see how your current courses stack up to other majors and minors. Be sure the correct catalog is selected. Learn more about DegreeWorks.

Getting Ready to Graduate?

Students nearing graduation (first or second semester junior year) should make an appointment with Prof. Newton to ensure that they have completed all of their REL degree requirements. A formal “degree check,” carried out by the College of Arts & Sciences registrar is also strongly advised. And don’t forget: you must apply for graduation as well, early in your senior year.

Remember: REL 490 is required of all majors to graduate and it is offered only in the spring semester each year.

If the College of Arts & Sciences registrar does not understand that you have completed your major or minor requirements in the department (i.e., if the department has allowed you to substitute other courses for required classes), then a memo will be written by the undergraduate advisor, on your behalf, to the College. Such memos must be submitted early in your final semester, so make your appointment with your advisor early.