Top Nav Top Nav Footer Nav
Back toTop



Sanscrit on the wall.

Find a deeper understanding of the worlds we live in

Students choose to study the religious dimensions of culture for many different reasons. You might be motivated by concerns about social justice, by an interest in religious experience, by a desire to study the history of religious traditions, by curiosity about unfamiliar cultures, or simply by the sense that one cannot understand the world without understanding religion. At BSC, you'll study how different cultures have put together the religious worlds in which people live. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about local and global religious traditions, the spiritual dimensions of human experience, and the place of religion in culture and society. In addition to all of these, the study of religion at BSC will give you the skills to understand the complex processes by which individuals and groups create meaning for themselves and imbue those meanings with power.

Here’s what you’ll find at BSC:

  • Religious studies at BSC are inherently interdisciplinary and intercultural. You’ll be able to study ecological spiritualty, the cultural context of the Hebrew Bible, Buddhist meditation, and the intersection of religion and film—plus much, much more.
  • We also ground students in the basics. Read sacred texts in their original Hebrew or Sanskrit, if you choose.
  • Our unique January Exploration Term offers opportunity to travel the world, join in one of many service projects abroad or here in Birmingham, or spend the time pursuing your own projects.
  • You can put what you learn into practice through internships and volunteer positions. Recent religion students have worked with anti-poverty group Alabama Arise, the Glide Foundation in San Francisco, and the World Council of Churches in Switzerland. The BSC’S Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Actionand Office of Religious Life both coordinate service-learning and internship opportunities.

For further information, please contact:

Amy C. Cottrill, Ph.D.
Chair, Dept. of Religion
Denson N. Franklin Assoc. Professor of Religion
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL 35254
Ph: 205-226-4619


    Learning Outcomes

    The purpose of the study of religion is to introduce the student to the religious heritage of humankind and to challenge the student to think critically and constructively in dialogue with this heritage. An academic understanding of religion is an essential ingredient of a liberal arts education, and thus the faculty of religion teaches a variety of courses in Biblical studies, religious thought and practice, and history of religions to aid students in interpreting the religious dimension of life.

    Upon completion of the religion major, students will be able to

    • demonstrate a significant familiarity with at least one religious tradition, recognize its diverse manifestations in particular cultural contexts, and engage in informed discussion of its history and practices,

    • interpret “textual religion” and apply the methodologies ( linguistic, literary, sociological, historical, rhetorical, or ideological) that relate to the critical interpretation of sacred texts and religious writings,

    • integrate the study of religion into other disciplinary studies,

    • conduct original scholarly research in the academic study of religion,

    • present scholarly research to a public audience.


    Success Stories

    BSC religion majors go on to successful careers in a wide variety of vocations. Many go on to attend some of the nation’s most prestigious seminary schools or graduate programs in theology. Others have built successful careers in public health, social work, medicine, business, and the non-profit world. BSC gives you the tools you’ll need no matter what profession you choose.

    Recent graduates have gone on to:

    Boston University 
    Duke University 
    Emory University 
    Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley 
    Southern Methodist University 
    University of Alabama at Birmingham 
    University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 
    Yale University 
    Yale University Law School 
    Reconciliation Internship, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, UK 
    Teach for America, San Francisco

    Mary Page Wilson ’08“As a student who spent most of her time in the science lab, I found studying religion at BSC was the most formative part of my time in college. Religion pervades our world’s cultures, history, politics and conflicts. To begin to understand our complex world community, one must look deeply at its religious traditions and philosophies. I would not have experienced the depth and meaning in my other classes at ’Southern if I hadn’t also been majoring in religion.” 
    --Mary Page Wilson ’08 
    Masters in Divinity at Chandler School of Theology, Emory University



    Amy C. CottrillAmy C. Cottrill

    Denson N. Franklin Professor of Religion
    Office: Berte Humanities Building 106
    Contact info: Box 549025
    Birmingham-Southern College 
    900 Arkadelphia Rd. 
    Birmingham, AL 35254
    Office phone: (205)226-4619
    Office Fax: (205)226-3089

    My primary area of research is the book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, particularly the psalms of lament.  I am particularly interested in the connection between interpretation and ethics, especially as it relates to the interpretation of biblical literature. 

    Courses taught: Hebrew Bible, Christian Scriptures,  Abrahamic Religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Gender and the Hebrew Bible, Violence and the Bible, Sexual Ethics in Global Perspective, Christian Scriptures in Literature, Art, and Film, Social Justice and Biblical Traditions

    M. Keely Sutton
    M. Keely Sutton

    Assistant Professor of Religion
    Box 549025
    Birmingham-Southern College
    900 Arkadelphia Rd
    Birmingham, AL 35254
    Office Phone: (205) 226-4973
    Office Fax: (205) 226-3089

    My general areas of interest include South Asian religious traditions, religious boundaries and interactions, South Asian Islamic and Islamicate traditions, Interfaith Studies, and Malayalam literature. My current area of research is the Muslim song literature of Kerala, India known as Mappila pattu. I am particularly interested in the ways in which this literature illustrates the development and shifting of religious boundaries over time, and how political and social pressures influence such shifts.

    Courses taught include Religions of Asia, Religious Conflict and Peace, Sainthood and Power, Sacred India: Traditions of Hinduism, Islamic Traditions and Cultures, Islam and Hip-hop (E-term), and Buddhism.

    Mary Page Wilson-LyonsMary Page Wilson-Lyons

    Visiting Instructor of Religion
    Box 549034
    Birmingham-Southern College
    900 Arkadelphia Rd
    Birmingham, AL 35254
    Office Phone: (205) 226-7833
    Office Fax: (205) 226-3089

    I have long had a passion for class/race/gender studies and exploring the systemic causes of poverty in the Southern United States, especially through the lens of religious ethics. My primary field of study is Christian theology and ethics. Within this discipline I am particularly interested in interdisciplinary questions surrounding religion and conflict (interfaith, international, and interpersonal) and the construction of personal and social ethical frameworks/narratives that are used to perpetuate and justify this conflict.