The Junior Tutorial is an opportunity for students to work closely with a tutor and one to four other students on a specific topic in the study of religion. The tutorial should be within the student’s major tradition (or in one of the two in the case of students in Option A). Juniors have the option of taking a second tutorial. Students wishing to pursue this option should discuss it with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The purposes of junior tutorials are:

  1. to read primary texts closely and critically;
  2. to engage in rigorous discussion of these texts and the issues they raise;
  3. to refine writing skills by writing papers and revising them; and
  4. to help students explore in greater depth a topic that they may be considering for a thesis.

In short, junior tutorials help students read texts carefully and make persuasive arguments about them. They also are an opportunity for students to begin work on an area of special academic interest.  The most important part of the junior tutorial is the work assigned for each and every week, and tutorial preparation should have top priority in a student’s studies. In addition, students will usually use the tutorial as a context in which to write the junior paper.

The Junior Paper is completed by all juniors. It provides an opportunity to engage in an extended research project leading to a substantial piece of scholarship (approximately 25 pages). The paper should address a significant question or problem in the Study of Religion. It must engage both primary and secondary sources and be explicit regarding the methodology utilized. The final product should be the polished result of multiple drafts and rewriting.

Most often, students will write their junior paper in the context of the junior tutorial. In exceptional circumstances, arrangements can be made to write the paper in the context of a seminar. Students are encouraged to use this project as a starting point for the senior thesis.

Junior Year Abroad is an excellent opportunity for Harvard College students. In the Study of Religion, if a student studies abroad usually they also have to double up on tutorials for one semester, either before leaving or after returning to campus. Tutorials cannot be taken out of residence. We recommend study abroad for the fall or spring of the junior year.

Funding for International Experience may be found via the Harvard College Funding Sources Database.

See the Office of International Education for more resources.