Senior Work

All seniors must complete the Supplemental Degree Audit Form in conjunction with their academic adviser. This form instructs the Registrar's Office in how to assign courses to the various categories of your major.

Seniors will select one of the two tracks below:‎
I. Seniors seeking Honors

1) To be eligible to apply for Honors in Religion, a student must have achieved a 3.5 average in Religion courses with a 3.3 cumulative GPA.

2) A proposal to pursue Honors in the study of Religion must be made at the end of first week of spring term of Junior Year. This proposal should be submitted to the Chair of the Department, who will circulate it among department faculty. If it is approved, an adviser will be assigned. The adviser will respond to the student's proposal before the end of spring term with suggestions for summer work. The work suggested aims to prepare the student to begin more detailed research immediately upon returning to campus in the fall.

3) Advisers will be assigned to each student writing an Honors thesis.

a) A Primary Adviser will be assigned when a student's proposal is accepted in spring of junior year. A secondary reader will be assigned in fall semester when a revised version of the proposal has been submitted, but no later than mid-term.

b) Students are expected to meet regularly with their primary adviser according to a schedule worked out between them. In fall semester, this might mean meeting less frequently to develop a working bibliography and to test ideas and hypotheses. In winter semester, students should expect to meet more regularly, with weekly meetings likely toward the end of the term as drafts are being produced.

c) Meetings with the Secondary Reader will be less frequent, but are still expected. The Secondary Reader's chief role is to provide an       additional perspective that affords critical advice and additional bibliographical suggestions. Each student should expect to meet once with their Secondary Reader in winter term to discuss a draft of the thesis. This meeting should occur when the draft is nearing completion so that the Secondary Reader can offer considered advice of the whole. Students are encouraged to submit written work to the Reader more frequently.

4) Honors candidates will register for Religion 493 in Fall term.

a) They will participate fully in Religion 399 and be graded for participation, class presentations, a short paper, and any other requirements.  This grade will count as 10% of their final thesis grade. It will be assigned by the course instructor for Rel 399.

b) At the end of the term, they will submit a 20-page paper representing work in progress on their thesis. This grade will count 10% of their final thesis grade. It will be assigned by both the course instructor for Rel 399 and each student's thesis adviser.

c) Honors candidates must attend the presentation of capstone papers, which is scheduled for Monday of exam week. See item 7 below, in Notes on the revised structure of Religion 399.

d) Students will receive a WIP for Religion 493, to be changed upon completion and evaluation of their thesis at the end of winter term.

5) Honors candidates will register for Religion 493 again in Winter term. In certain cases, an honors candidate who has completed Rel 399 may be deemed unprepared to continue with Honors work. This decision will be made by the student's Primary Adviser. In such cases, the student's fall registration will be changed from Rel 493 to Rel 399 and an appropriate grade will be assigned.

a) In early to mid Winter term, writers of Honors theses will meet together once to discuss work-in-progress with the entire department faculty.

b) Theses will be completed and paper copies submitted to every member of the department by the end of Winter Term classes.

c) The remaining 80% of the final thesis grade will be determined by the evaluation of the thesis each student submits and defends. This grade is determined by consideration of the entire department faculty.

6) Honors candidates will defend their theses in hour-long sessions before the full faculty and their peers.

a) Thesis defenses will take place at the end of Winter Term on the Monday of exam week.

b) Honors candidates will distribute their theses to faculty and other majors in advance of the defense.

c) The Honors thesis will be 50 to 60 pages long.

7) Final grades for the thesis are determined as follows: 10% for work in Rel 399; this grade is assigned by the course instructor. 10% for the paper submitted at end of fall term representing work in progress; this grade is assigned by the Primary Adviser and the course instructor for Rel 399. 80% evaluation of the thesis submitted and defended before the entire faculty; this grade is determined by the entire faculty.

II. All other seniors will fulfill their senior work requirements for the major in Religion by completing Religion 399 as a "capstone" seminar.

1) Work in Religion 399 will include class presentations, projects related to research work, including the final presentation described in #3 below, and a 20-25 page research paper submitted at the end of the term. Students are encouraged to draw upon their course "cluster" in a substantive way when researching and writing this final research paper.

2) Advisers will be assigned to each student writing a capstone paper.

a) The Adviser will be assigned when a student proposes a topic in the initial weeks of fall term. The Advisor will bring his or her expertise to bear on developing a bibliography and assessing the content of the capstone paper. Students are expected to meet regularly with their Adviser according to a schedule worked out between them.

b) The Instructor of Rel 399 will serve as Secondary Reader, guiding the process of research and writing.

3) All research papers will be presented before the faculty and all senior majors at a meeting to be held on Monday of exam week. All students are expected to attend.

4) Final grades for the capstone course are determined as follows: Participation and class work counts 25%. These components of the grade are assigned by the course instructor for Rel 399. The grade for the final capstone paper counts 75% and is assigned jointly by the student's adviser and the course instructor for Rel 399.

5) All senior Religion majors are invited and encouraged to attend the Honors Thesis defenses and presentations of their classmates at the end of Winter semester.

Notes on the structure of Religion 399, capstone course

This course will enroll all seniors, whether pursuing Honors or not. Students will submit slightly different final work.

1) The course will be structured as a research seminar aiming to assist students in the research and writing of either their capstone paper or Honors thesis. Class activities may include some or all of the following: analysis of previous capstone papers; advanced writing instruction, especially with regard to crafting a long, multi-source essay that engages both primary and secondary literature; peer critique of drafts of written work; oral presentations of work in progress; teaching a class based on material important to your project; and additional projects as appropriate.

2) All students, honors and capstone writers, must prepare a short proposal in which they describe their intended project, even if (as is the case with Honors candidates) they have already submitted a previous version of a proposal.

a) This proposal will be submitted in the first couple weeks of the semester, at a date set by the instructor of Rel 399.

b) Students will all meet together once with the entire faculty to discuss these proposals. This meeting may be outside regularly scheduled class hours.

3) Non-honors students will submit a final 20-25 page research paper. Honors Students will submit a final 20-page paper representing work in progress on their thesis. This work will be submitted by the last day of classes in fall term.

4) All students in Religion 399, honors and capstone, will be required to attend a meeting on the Monday of exam week at which students (excepting those pursuing Honors) will present their research papers before the faculty and their classmates.