Thesis & Funding


The honors thesis in Religion is an intensive, self-directed research project that comprises two or three courses during a student’s Senior year and produces a substantial written work.  An honors thesis should build on the knowledge that students have acquired through their previous work in Religion, and should be a recognizable reflection of the specific concentration that a student has constructed within their Religion major.

It is expected that students who intend to write honors theses will select courses that will inform their specific project, where this is possible.  Students who intend to write an honors thesis in Religion should begin a conversation with their advisor as early as is feasible, and preferably by the beginning of their Junior year.  

Permission to enroll in Religion 498 (the Fall semester honors thesis course) is contingent on the submission of a thesis prospectus and its approval by the department.  The prospectus is to contain a description of the thesis project (approximately 500 words) and an initial bibliography. Students should work towards a prospectus with their advisors during the Spring semester of their Junior year. The prospectus should be submitted to the Department Chair, Tariq Jaffer, no later than the last day of examinations in the Spring of the Junior year.

Students writing senior theses will enroll in RELI 498 during the Fall semester of their Senior year, and RELI 499 (ordinarily, a double course) in the Spring.  In some cases students may elect to take RELI 499 as a single course. 

Students are responsible for delivering copies of their thesis to their advisor and readers before 5 p.m. on the second Monday of April (or the last Wednesday of November for 18E graduates).  The Registrar's Office has formatting and submission guidelines.  Please consult the Registrar's website for the format and deposit of the thesis for honors.  Oral examinations will be scheduled by Lisa Ballou, Department Coordinator, within ten days following the receipt of the thesis. 

Thesis Funding 2017/2018

  • Please contact Professor Tariq Jaffer, Chair of the Religion Department, for funding opportunities offered by the Religion Department.

General Fund to Support Research Projects

Dean of Faculty Academic Year Funding: Students may apply for up to $500 to support term-time research. Application for these funds is by letter to the Dean of Faculty. In the letter, a student should describe the research project, explain why the funds are needed, attach a budget sheet, and indicate what other sources of funding have been sought. The faculty sponsor must sign the proposal as indication of support for the project. Funding will be granted only to those projects whose costs exceed the limit of department funds. Applications will be reviewed only twice during the academic year. The deadlines for these review periods are: November, 2017; February, 2018.

Dean of Faculty Summer Research Funding: Funding is also available to enable five students to join the community of scholars engaged in on-campus research projects during the summer of 2018. Campus housing and a modest stipend per week for a period of 4 to 6 weeks, are included in the grant. Application is by letter to the Dean of the Faculty. The proposal must outline a clearly defined project and have the strong support of the faculty member with whom the student will work directly. The Faculty sponsor must send a short letter to the Dean indicating support for the project. Priority will be given to current juniors with proposals leading into their thesis work. The deadline for submission of proposals is March, 2018.

The Alpha Delta Phi Fund & The David P. Patchel Memorial Fund: Support for senior projects is available in the form of grants from the Alpha Delta Phi Fund and the David P. Patchel Memorial Fund. The Alpha Delta Phi Fund is designed to support senior essay writing, special topics, and other comparable independent projects. All seniors in the humanities and social sciences may apply, but first priority is reserved for English majors and others working in literary studies, creative writing, theater and dance, or film. Monies from the David P. Patchel Memorial Fund can be used for senior projects having to do with the moving image specifically, whether essays, theses, or production projects. Awards are intended for seniors who are working on projects that are integral to their course work or are part of independent study for credit that is supervised and evaluated by a faculty member.

The Alpha Delta Phi Fund and the David P. Patchel Memorial Fund may be used to subsidize a variety of activities such as: purchase or rental of equipment, supplies, or materials; short-term travel funds for research purposes; and funds to defray the costs of interviews. Students are expected to absorb normal costs for their work. These grants are for expenses over and above the purchase of books and routine supplies equivalent to the usual costs of a regular course. Awards exceeding $1,000 will be made only in the most extraordinary cases.