Honors and Thesis

Majors who have demonstrated exceptional ability and independence in their course work are eligible to participate in the Honors Program.

The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5.

Honors candidates normally enroll in REL 360, Thesis Research, during the Fall and REL 370, Honors Thesis, during the Spring semester of their senior year. By College legislation, all majors with a GPA of 3.5 or higher in department courses above the 100 level qualify for this program. Majors with a lower departmental GPA may petition the Committee on Curriculum and Instruction to be admitted to the program providing that the department has given prior written approval.

Each student interested in the Honors Program must secure a thesis advisor, normally their faculty advisor, in the Spring semester of her junior year, and in consultation with her advisor identify a topic or research area and formulate a plan for summer research. By the end of classes in the second semester of her junior year, the student shall submit to the Religion Department Chair a statement of intent to pursue Honors that includes a definition of her topic, the name of her thesis advisor, an account of her qualifications and preparation to research it including appropriate language training, and a plan of summer study. Upon approval of the statement of intent by the thesis advisor and the Chair, the student will be authorized to enroll in REL 360 for the first semester of her senior year.

At the beginning of her first senior semester, the student shall submit to her advisor a report on her progress to date, including an expanded and refined statement of her topic and her plans for REL 360. During the first semester of her senior year, the REL 360 student in consultation with her advisor must obtain the consent of two additional members of the College faculty, at least one of whom must be a member of the Religion Department, to complete her thesis committee. By the last day of classes that semester, each REL 360 student must submit one draft chapter of her thesis to all three members of her thesis committee. Approval by the thesis committee is required for the candidate to proceed to enroll in REL 370.

At the beginning of her second senior semester, the REL 370 student shall make a 10-minute presentation of her thesis proposal and her progress to date to the Religion Department faculty, followed by 20 minutes of critical discussion. This presentation is designed to provide the student with feedback on her project from the entire departmental faculty and to inform the faculty of all work being undertaken for Honors in the department.

REL 370 students will be expected to present a draft of the entire thesis to their advisors by the end of Spring Break in order to leave sufficient time for final revisions. Final determination of Honors shall proceed according to College legislation by the timely submission of the completed thesis and an oral examination by the thesis committee and Committee on Curriculum Instruction representative.

Important honors information from the Office of the Registrar.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Department of Religion
Founders Hall 222
106 Central Street
Wellesley College
Wellesley, MA 02481

Barbara Geller
Department Chair

Robin M. Lush
Assistant to the Religion Department & Interdisciplinary Programs

Tel: 781.283.2609
Fax: 781.283.3648