Awards for Excellence are given in four categories: analytical-descriptive, constructive-reflective, historical, and textual studies. The AAR also awards a prize for the Best First Book in the History of Religions and a Religion and the Arts Book Award.
Every year, the AAR honors the best in-depth reporting on religion through the Journalism Award. The contest is open to all print and web-based journalists at media outlets of any size. Winners receive: $1,000 (first place); $500 (second place); and $250 (third place).
The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes the importance of teaching and honors outstanding teaching in the field. Criteria for consideration includes at least five years of experience teaching in higher education, broadly conceived.
The Ray L. Hart Service Award is given to persons whose dedication and service have made significant contributions to the AAR's mission of fostering excellence in the academic study of religion and enhancing the public understanding of religion.
The Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, established in 1996, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the public understanding of religion. The award goes to those whose work has a relevance and eloquence that speaks, not just to scholars, but more broadly to the public as well.
The AAR’s Religion and the Arts Award is presented annually to an artist, performer, critic, curator, or scholar who has made a recent, significant contribution to the understanding of the relations among the arts and religions, both for the academy and for a broader public.