You are encouraged to pursue honors in your senior year. Honors projects involve research and writing in a specialized area under the close supervision of a faculty member.
Recent topics include women in the theology of St. Augustine, religious and secular bases for physicians’ obligation to care for AIDS patients, scientists’ views on religion, and the religious implications of C.S. Lewis’ fantasy literature.
A successful honors project in the Department of Religious Studies requires the completion of a substantial written thesis constituting a significant contribution to the academic study of religion.
The following are guidelines for such a project.
- The student who wishes to undertake an honors project in religious studies must register for honors in the junior year. Before registering, the student must have the agreement of a member of the department faculty to direct the project. The project adviser and the student will agree on a topic before the summer preceding the student’s senior year.
- For the project, the student must develop a preliminary bibliography to be handed in to the adviser no later than the end of the first week of the fall semester. Shortly thereafter, the student must develop, with the assistance of the adviser, a preliminary thesis statement.
- The student will meet regularly with the adviser to report on the progress of the project. These meetings will occur at intervals (usually weekly) agreed upon by the student and the adviser. A summary report on the progress of the project will be due at the end of the first semester.
- The student will also participate in the senior colloquy, conducted at least twice per semester by a designated member of the department, with other students currently engaged in independent study or capstone or honors work within the department.
- The responsibility for meeting deadlines is the student’s. Failure to meet a deadline is grounds for the termination of the honors project at any time by the adviser. If a student is unable to complete an honors project, the student will be responsible for a presentation on the completed part of the project. This will take the place of the public presentation for the senior capstone course.
- The successful completion of an honors project will include an oral defense, to which all departmental members are invited. Once the project has been completed, a copy of the thesis will be filed with the Department of Religious Studies.