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Honors Program

We invite and encourage senior religious studies majors who meet the college's general honors requirements, and have an interest in research, to consider the department's honors program.

Honors Program Purpose

If you apply and are accepted into the honors program you will learn to integrate various aspects of your study while exploring issues of importance to you in greater depth and within a specialized area of concentration.

The program reflects the department's commitment to encourage independent research within specialized areas of the field of religious studies and provides guidance and support for work that surpasses the limitations of course assignments.

Eligibility and Completion Requirements

Consideration for the Religious Studies Department honors program requires the following.

  • Senior majoring in religious studies
  • Meet the general college honors requirements of a 3.2 overall GPA
  • 3.5 grade point average in the religious studies major
  • File a thesis proposal and area bibliography with the department chair no later than October 31 for spring semester graduation
  • Completion of a supervised honors thesis and an oral defense in terms of its content, claims, and place in the larger scope of scholarship in religion

Program Acceptance

After the October 31 deadline, the department chair will outline the appropriate form, content, and purpose of the thesis proposal and bibliography. Applicants accepted to the honors program should register for Religion 498 (Honors Thesis) for the spring semester of their senior year.

Honors and High Honors

The criteria for being awarded honors in religious studies are:

  • Maintaining the GPA requirements listed above.
  • Completion of a thesis that shows: sustained, coherent discussion of issue, idea, and argument; awareness of critical literature on the topic; a writing style of evident clarity, care, and polish.
  • An oral defense that shows: clear strength in answering questions that demonstrate command of the thesis and area bibliography, clear oral delivery, and ability to think critically in terms of the thesis's implications.
  • A participation in the thesis process that is characterized by meeting of deadlines, willingness to revise, and responsiveness to criticism.

The criteria for being awarded high honors in religious studies include:

  • Departmental GPA of at least 3.7.
  • Completion of a thesis that shows: exceptional originality and/or depth, as well as coherence in the discussion of issue, idea, and argument; an awareness and mature use of critical literature on the topic; a writing style that is unusually polished, free of error, and mature in clarity of expression; and potential to make a contribution to the field.
  • Oral defense of the thesis that shows excellence in answering questions that demonstrate mastery of the thesis and the area bibliography, excellence in oral delivery and presentation, and excellence in thinking critically in terms of the thesis's implications.
  • Participation in the thesis process that is characterized by student initiative, meeting of deadlines, willingness to revise, and responsiveness to criticism.
  • Overall quality that shows the candidate to be on the verge of graduate-level work.