The American Academy of Religion is the leading professional association facilitating the study and teaching of religion. AAR serves some 9,000 scholars, students, professionals, clergy, lay people, and organizations from around the world. Students comprise about one-third of the membership and are an important part of the organization.
Students receive a number of member benefits created especially with students in mind. It begins with a discounted membership rate of $55 per calendar year. You can renew at the student rate for up to 10 years. To join or renew, click here.
AAR provides a wide range of opportunities for networking and professional development through the national Annual Meeting and through regional annual meetings hosted by each of the AAR's ten regional divisions. Students receive deep discounts on registration for the Annual Meeting and regional meetings. The meetings are excellent opportunities for graduate students to present research, meet other scholars within the discipline, and to explore the profession.
The national Annual Meeting, held concurrently with the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, usually attracts at least 10,000 attendees and offers more than 1,200 sessions of academic interest. It also houses the world’s largest religious studies bookstore located in the Exhibit Hall. In addition to the program unit sessions, the Annual Meeting provides a number of events to assist students in their professional development, including roundtable discussions, Special Topics Forums, and workshops led by senior members within the field as well as with other student members.
Students are invited to look at the Especially for Students section of the Annual Meeting Program Book to see a listing of sessions targeted to student professional development.
AAR hosts workshops and creates resources for networking year-round. Information about these opportunities is in AAR publications sent to the membership.
In addition to the regular AAR membership publications, such as the monthly Member News and Annual Meeting e-newsletters, Religious Studies News, and In the Field, student members can access targeted communications. The quarterly Speaking of Students e-newsletter contains the latest AAR/Graduate Student Committee news of interest. From the Student Desk is a regular feature in AAR’s Religious Studies News. Students are encouraged to submit essays regarding a variety of topics concerning graduate student life. The AAR Student Facebook page is a great resource for announcements and points of interest for the student community.
If you are gearing up for a job search, AAR’s employment services has a plethora of information concerning hiring trends, job-search related programming, and job postings. Employment Listings is one of the most comprehensive records of job postings within the field. You must be an AAR or SBL member to access Employment Listings. The AAR & SBL Employment Center, held at the Annual Meeting, facilitates meetings between employers and candidates.
Student representation and communication play an important role within the AAR. On a national level, students are represented in the AAR’s governance through the Graduate Student Committee (GSC), and the elected Student Director is a member of the AAR Board of Directors. The GSC strives to represent and address student concerns within the field through workshops, communications, conferences, and other programs. AAR is divided by region, and each region holds an annual conference. Regions have elected student representatives, who form the body of the Graduate Student Committee.
If you would like to get involved in the AAR and be a voice for change in your profession, AAR provides a means to do so. You can work with a program unit, a committee, or become an AAR Ambassador on your campus. Volunteering is a great way to network and meet others within the profession.
AAR and its affiliates offer several mentoring opportunities.
AAR funds a large roster of grants available for student members.
Beyond the regular member communications, AAR publishes a number of helpful articles and guides on how to navigate the profession. The Guide for the Guild, Not for Women Only, and Academic Abby are just a few. AAR also has some suggested best practices for delivering a paper, submitting a proposal, and more on many other topics.