A student who wishes to graduate with Honors in Religious Studies must submit an honors thesis. To be eligible to submit a thesis for Honors in Religious Studies, a major must be a senior or second semester junior and must have at least an overall GPA of 3.3 and a GPA of 3.5 in Religious Studies.
An honors thesis should arise from an original conception of the student and then involve significant research in appropriate primary and secondary sources. The student should ultimately have a command of the subject ordinarily expected of a master’s degree candidate.
The honors thesis may be a newly conceived paper or a substantial revision and expansion of an earlier essay. In length it should comprise between 25 and 30 pages. The finished essay should follow the Turabian Chicago style, or another generally accepted standard format. It should be clear, coherent, and persuasive.
Work on the honors thesis must be done under the direction of a faculty advisor from the Department of Religious Studies. A detailed proposal needs to be submitted to the faculty advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the semester prior to starting work on the thesis, i.e., in Fall if thesis work is planned for the Spring semester, or in Spring or Summer if thesis work is planned for the Fall semester. If the proposal is accepted, the student will enroll in RS 4960 "Directed Reading" in the following semester and will work closely with his/her advisor throughout that semester. The three credit hours of this course can be counted towards the minimum 30 hours required of the major.
Two copies of the completed thesis need to be submitted two weeks prior to that semester’s stop day, one to the advisor and one to a second Religious Studies faculty member. Two weeks later a formal defense will be held, during which the readers will determine whether or not the thesis merits honors.