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Honors Program

The Honors program provides an opportunity for highly motivated and exceptionally capable students to engage in independent work on a topic in religious studies. Honors theses require original research with primary sources and extensive use of relevant secondary scholarship, both with regard to the narrowly defined topic of the thesis and on the larger theoretical and methodological issues in the academic study of religion.

Eligibility and Applying


  • GPA: Students must have a 3.3 GPA in courses toward the major and a cumulative 3.3 GPA to be accepted into Honors. Students must maintain this GPA throughout the Honors program.


  • During the beginning of the second semester of their junior year, students discuss and coordinate with faculty members to begin designing, researching, and writing a thesis.
  • Students may then apply to the program.
  • At the end of the second semester of their senior year, students present their thesis and complete a final oral examination on the thesis.

Note: It is recommended that students have previously taken at least one class with their intended adviser prior to initiating the thesis.


  • Potential candidates must submit a one-page letter outlining their intended research project with a preliminary bibliography to their thesis adviser and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Course of Study

Research and Writing (6 credit hours)

  • RLST 4998 and RLST 4999: Senior Honors Thesis.
    • RLST 4998 and RLST 4999 satisfy 6 of the 9 credit hours required for the elective component of the major.
  • Majors Colloquium (1-3 credit hours). RLST 4970: Majors Colloquium.
    • RLST 4970 is to be taken in the second semester of the senior year, and candidates must present results of their research. The Majors Colloquium provides initiation into the range of professional activities in the study of religion from the craft of research to the production of papers, articles, and theses, coupled with targeted theoretical concerns relevant to the research of the students enrolled in that particular course. Honors program students shall take RLST 4970 co-requisite with RLST 4999.