The senior honors thesis is an opportunity to explore an area of interest in detail. Students who elect to write a thesis should regard it as the culmination of years of reading, analyzing, and making arguments about religion. As noted above, in order to be eligible to write a thesis, students must maintain a minimum average in the concentration of B+.
Due to the nature of our field, the subject matter of religion theses varies widely. In all cases, individual theses should be specific enough to allow for depth of treatment, while not so narrowly construed that they lose sight of broader issues in the Study of Religion. This is particularly important because the readers of a given thesis are often drawn from a various fields within the Study of Religion. Depending on your concentration plan, your thesis may focus on a topic solely within one tradition; or it may involve two traditions, or one tradition and a theme, or (in the case of joint concentrations) one tradition and another academic field; or it may be focused on a single tradition but deal with an issue that involves the comparative study of religious phenomena from other religious traditions as well.
For more information on the thesis, please refer to the Senior Honors Thesis Handbook in the below list of guides and handbooks.
All concentrators are expected to designate the general topic of the thesis by April of the junior year. A prospectus that has been approved and signed by the senior thesis Adviser is due in September of the senior year. The prospectus should include a tentative title, a two-page description of the specific subject matter, and a bibliography. One chapter of the thesis is due in November, another in December, and a third in February. The completed thesis, which should be 50-80 pages, is due in early March. For the complete schedule of dates for the current year, see the Senior Honors Thesis Handbook.
The Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies oversees the thesis writing process and leads Rel 99, the senior tutorial on thesis-writing.