Majors in the Department of Religion are encouraged to write a thesis in their final year of study. Many students choose to write a senior thesis in order to pursue an advanced topic in greater depth or to work on a particular area of interest with a professor of their choosing. This opportunity is available to all students who major in the department, regardless of grade-point average, and serves for many as the capstone experience of their undergraduate career.
Students interested in writing a thesis must submit the Senior Thesis Application to the Director of Undergraduate Studies no later than the spring of their junior year. The application must include both a prospectus for the paper and a letter of support by a Religion faculty member who will direct the thesis. The five to seven page prospectus should detail a research program and the central question, or questions, to be pursued in the paper, the student's preparation for pursuing the thesis, and a proposed timeline. The primary advisor of the thesis must be a member of the Department of Religion faculty. Students approved to write a thesis should register for Guided Reading and Research with their thesis advisor and may have three points count toward departmental requirements.
Every student who receives the mark of Distinction on their senior thesis and maintains a departmental grade-point average of 3.66 or above will be considered for departmental honors. Writing a senior thesis qualifies students for consideration for departmental honors, but does not assure it. In most years, only 10 percent of majors receive departmental honors.