Departmental Honors Program in Religion
Criteria for admission into the Departmental Honors program in Religion
(1) A minimum GPA of 3.5 overall and a GPA of 3.5 in Religion courses. Borderline cases may be settled by the DUS with consent of the Chair.
(2) Consent of a faculty advisor to oversee the thesis. The thesis advisor
a) should be someone the student has already worked with for at least one semester of regular coursework and
b) should be full time for the full year during which the thesis will be written. Faculty should not be expected to take on thesis advisees when on leave, or during an academic year in which they are on leave for one semester, unless they are willing to work with them while on leave.
c) will normally be a member of the Religion Department faculty.
Exceptions to these policies are by petition to the Chair.
(3) Previous work on potential thesis topic. The thesis project should not involve taking on material that students have not already been exposed to. Students writing on Hebrew Bible should have taken RN 101 or 201, for example.
(4) Submission of an appropriate application during the junior year (no later than that spring); under exceptional circumstances (travel overseas during spring of the junior year, intention to graduate early), earlier application may be appropriate. In no case may a student apply for admission to honors before spring of the sophomore year.
Criteria for graduation with Honors in the Major or in the Minor
Honors work involves the completion of two semesters of research and writing, for eight credits. The final grade for this coursework will be determined by the thesis advisor, in line with all of the factors that are always taken into account when grading: attendance, promptness, etc. RN 401 and 402 do not replace the departmental requirement for majors of a course at the 400-level or higher.
The attainment of honors requires the writing of an exceptional, high-quality essay, and its defense in front of the faculty advisor and two other faculty readers (the “defense committee”). The thesis must be clear in style, well organized, and well documented with both primary and secondary sources. The work must be well proofed and produced in line with an appropriate professional style manual (e.g., Chicago, MLA, SBL). The work should also demonstrate critical analysis and creative thinking.
The evaluation of the honors thesis will be done by the defense committee, which has the option to grant no honors, honors, or high honors. Completion of a thesis does not automatically entitle the student to honors.