Honors Program in Religion
The Religion Department provides Religion majors the opportunity to pursue departmental honors through:
- independent research,
- the writing of an honors thesis,
- the development of an area bibliography, and
- the oral defense of the thesis in terms of both its particular content and claims and its place in the larger scope of scholarship in Religion.
Purpose of the Honors Program
The Religion Honors program reflects the department’s commitment to:
- encourage independent research within specialized areas of the field of religion,
- provide guidance and support for work that surpasses the limitations of course assignments,
- challenge students to integrate various aspects of their study, explore more deeply issues of importance to them within a specialized area of concentration, and develop their skills in sustaining and defending their thoughts upon religious questions.
To enter into the Honor program students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 overall and at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA in the Religion major. Students should meet the GPA standards at the time of application and, again, at the time of the awarding of Honors.
Application to the Honors Program
By October 31 of their senior year, applicants are to file with the department Chair a thesis proposal and an area bibliography. At that time the Chair will outline for the applicant the appropriate form, content and purpose of these documents.
Applicants accepted to the Honors Program should register for Religion 498 (Honors Thesis) for the spring semester of their senior year.
Criteria for Honors and High Honors
The criteria for being awarded Honors in Religion are:
- 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 Religion 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.
- An 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.
- A participation in the thesis process that is characterized by student initiative, meeting of deadlines, willingness to revise, and responsiveness to criticism.
- An overall quality that shows the candidate to be on the verge of graduate-level work.