Students are required to take eight 4-point courses (32 points), which must include RELST-UA.0001 (Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion - only offered in the Fall semester) and RELST-UA.0015 (Advanced Seminar - only offered in the Spring semester). Majors are expected to outline core requirements and design a coherent study plan, which may include courses outside the Religious Studies curriculum, in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Students pursuing a minor in religious studies are required to take four 4-point courses (16 points), which must include RELST-UA.0001 (Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion - only offered in the Fall semester).
Eligibility: any Religious Studies major who has a major and cumulative GPA of 3.65 or above.
Credit requirements: 8 credits over and above the major requirements: Four credits of research as a reading course, and four credits of thesis writing to produce an honors thesis of around 30 pages. These two four credit courses are usually taken consecutively. These credits are taken with one professor, usually one of the core Religious Studies Faculty. A minimum grade of B+ must be maintained both semesters in order for you to be eligible to receive honors.
The work: Students must finish their work to the satisfaction of the professor and must receive a grade in each term in order to successfully graduate with honors. These cannot be pass/fail grades. In Religious Studies, grading takes into account two things:
- The supervised research process in each term -- meeting weekly, or bi-weekly, completing a reading list, discussing that with the professor, and doing whatever writing is assigned. This requirement also pertains to the term of the writing of the thesis, which is a culmination of a year-long research process.
- The thesis itself, around 30 pages on a topic, is to be handed in with enough time for revision of drafts (typically 2 to 3 weeks prior to the end of the semester).
We recommend that you choose a professor with whom you have already taken a course, and choose a topic that allows you to build upon a basis of knowledge already acquired so that you can have the experience of deepening and sharpening your understanding of a topic.
- You must discuss your topic in advance with the professor, who must agree to this 8 credit commitment. If he/she is going to be on leave one of the terms, special arrangements must be made with him/her to carry out this commitment from afar, or you must choose someone else.
- You must see the administrator of Religious Studies to pick up the Declaration of Honors Form. This form will lay out your timeline of commitments and deadlines, and be signed by you and the professor.
- Once you have been approved, register for the appropriate credits of independent study each term.
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