All majors write a Senior Thesis of approximately 30 pages. The approval of this thesis by the religion department will be a requirement for graduation.
Q: What is a Senior Thesis?
A: The thesis is an opportunity for students to do in-depth, independent research on a topic of interest. You will work closely with the religion faculty member who can best guide your investigation and you will be part of the community of students in REL 497 Religion Thesis Seminar where you will learning the skils of academic writing and research together.
Q: How do I start my Senior Thesis?
Step 1 As soon as you declare your religion major, you should be thinking about a topic for your research. You should keep your eyes and ears open during your classes for possible topics. You may wish to take an idea or topic that you have pursued in one of your classes. You may even wish to expand upon a paper that you have already written.
Step 2 By the end of your Junior you should choose a thesis advisor.
Step 3 You will take Religion Thesis Seminar (REL 497) during the fall of your senior year. This course will help you go about researching and writing your thesis, culminating in a completed project by the end of the semester.
Step 4 After approval of the thesis by the thesis advisor, seniors may be asked to present a summary of their thesis to a small public audience.
Q: How long should the thesis be?
A: The thesis should be approximately 30 double-spaced pages, not including bibliography and title page. More specific guidelines will be provided in REL 497.
Q: I am still unsure what the thesis might look like.
A: Talk to your thesis advisor about brainstorming on a topic. A list of possible topics will be made available in each of the areas of concentration. You may wish to expand on an idea or paper that you developed in a past course.
Q: Do I have to do a thesis in religion if I am doing a thesis for another program such as Honors, English, or Ashbrook?
A: No. However, you will need to get a course substitution form for REL 497 from the department chair of religion. There is also the option of taking REL 497 and combining your religion thesis with your other thesis work. See the department chair.