Honors Program

Students in a discussion with a professor
Religious Studies provides the opportunity to understand, with depth and nuance, the many beliefs and rituals that move persons to appreciate the alternative world of the religious reality .

Admission to the Honors Program

Because of the nature of different instructional formats (e.g., seminars) and of the culminating exercise in the Honors Program, the department expects applicants to this program to have at least a B+/B average in religion courses as well as an overall average above the College graduation requirement for admission to the Honors Program.

Honors and the External Examination Program

All honors major and minors fulfill requirements for the course program. Beyond this step, the normal method of preparation for the honors major will be done through three seminars, although with the consent of the department, single 2-credit thesis, a 1-credit thesis/course combination, or a combination of two courses (including attachments and study abroad options) can count for one honors preparation. In general, only one such preparation can consist of nonseminar-based studies.

In the religion major, the mode of assessing a student's three 2-credit preparations in religion (seminars or course combinations but not 2-credit theses) will be a 3-hour written examination set by an external examiner. In addition, with the exception of a thesis preparation, a student will submit to each external examiner a Senior Honors Study (SHS) paper. SHS papers will be approximately 4,000 words and will normally be a revision of the final seminar paper or, in the event of a nonseminar mode of preparation, a revised course paper. A final oral examination by the examiner follows the written examination. Two-credit theses will be read and orally examined by an external examiner (with no extra SHS requirement).

In the minor, the mode of assessing a student's one 2-credit preparation in Religion will also be a 3-hour written examination (and the oral) set by an external examiner, along with an SHS paper.

Seminars and the written and oral external exam are the hallmarks of honors.

The Honors Seminar

Seminars are a collaborative and cooperative venture among students and faculty members designed to promote self-directed learning. The teaching faculty evaluates seminar performance based on the quality of seminar papers, comments during seminar discussions, and a final paper.

Because the seminar depends on the active participation of all its members, the department expects students to live up to the standards of honors. These standards include attendance at every seminar session, timely submission of seminar papers, reading of seminar papers before the seminar, completion of the assigned readings before the seminar, active engagement in seminar discussions, and respect for the opinions of the members of the seminar. Students earn double-credit for seminars and should expect twice the work normally done in a course. The external examination, both written and oral, is the capstone of the honors experience.