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The Religious Studies Honors Program provides majors who have demonstrated academic excellence with the opportunity to conduct original, in-depth research, culminating in a written honors thesis. A honors thesis is a sustained examination of a central idea or question, developed under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Your thesis should grow out of your personal interests and passions as you have pursued them in courses, internships, travel, and experiences during your college years. The thesis should be on a topic relevant to Religious Studies and will be developed under the supervision of a faculty member with expertise in your area of interest.
The faculty advisor is typically a member of the Religious Studies Department, but can be a faculty member from a related department who has significant research and teaching interests in the study of religion. If a student chooses to have a non Religious Studies faculty member as their faculty advisor they must make such request in writing to the Academic Advisor. If approved, the second reader must be a faculty member of the Religious Studies department.
Writing the thesis, which is both longer and more intellectually sophisticated than other college writing assignments, is for many honors students the most fulfilling experience of their undergraduate careers.
Interested students are encouraged to speak with the Academic Advisor regarding more information. Eligible students should apply for admissions to the Honors Program during the spring semester of their third year. Students will enroll in the Honors Tutorial Course 679HA and 679HB during the fall and spring semesters, giving them 6 hours of credit in Religious Studies for the research and writing of a honors thesis.
- Upper-division standing
- UT GPA of at least 3.0
- Religious Studies GPA of a least 3.5
- Strong research and writing skills. Completion of one, preferably two, writing flag courses with a grade of B+ or higher is strongly preferred.
- We discourage students from receiving special honors in two departments as this necessitates writing two theses.
- Plan II/ Religious Studies simultaneous majors wishing to write a Religious Studies thesis should apply. A Religious Studies thesis will satisfy the Plan II thesis requirement. Students pursuing this option will receive Special Honors in Religious Studies (not Plan II).
- It is possible to register for R S 679HA in the spring semester and R S 679HB in the fall. Occasionally, a student can enroll in either course over the summer. Students should consult the Academic Advisor in these situations.
- Consult the Academic Advisor before or during the Spring of your third year. The earlier you start thinking about your project the better.
- Find a faculty member who will agree to serve as your faculty advisor. Ideally this person should be a professor who shares your particular interests, and one with whom you have already developed a rapport.
- Submit an honors application by the deadline.
- Once approval is obtained, the Academic Advisor will enroll you in R S 679HA. This is the first course of a six-hour class extending over two semesters. The student and faculty advisor will set up times to meet and discuss the thesis.