In the fall and winter terms of the senior year, majors may enroll for 396-1,2 and will write a senior thesis of approximately 30-50 pages.
* Students who wish to take 396-1,2 must take these courses in addition to the 12 courses normally required for the major.
The fall quarter will be devoted to:
- Formulating a question or problem that can lead appropriately into a research project that identifies a subject of study related to some aspect of religious phenomena (a text, historical event, ritual, performance, object of religious culture, philosophy, sociological trend, intersection of religion with dynamics of gender, race, class, sexuality, etc.) through which to explore that question.
- Compiling a substantial bibliography
- Reading as much material as possible
- Discussing the material regularly with a faculty member. Discussion should focus on the relevance of each work to the question or problem at hand. Meeting as a group throughout the term to discuss research methods and writing strategies.
- Writing a 15-20-page paper on the thesis topic.
Work in the winter quarter will be dedicated mainly to writing the thesis.
- 5th week: complete draft
- 6th and 7th weeks: students read each other's work and analyze it in an instructor-led group discussion with advisers and other students.
- 8th and 9th weeks: revise and submit papers
The department may nominate for WCAS honors those students whose senior theses are of particularly high quality and whose grade point averages within the major are above 3.5.
* Students who write a senior thesis do so under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Arrangements for working with a mentor need to be made during the student's junior year. Consult the Graduate Honors Coordinator early in your junior year if you wish to write a senior thesis.