Instructions for Completing a Senior Project in Religious Studies
The senior project requirement gives students the opportunity to engage in deeper research on a specific topic than is possible within a normal semester course.
Religious Studies majors should select a topic that relates to the Area Concentration in their major program.
Begin early! Plan ahead!
One semester prior to your senior project:
- Begin defining your research topic.
- Consider building on a topic you’ve already researched in a class
- Consider new ways to put together ideas from across different classes
- Begin defining your research method.
- What types of data will you use and how will you gather it?
- Literary material – fiction, narratives, religious texts
- Historical information collected from secondary sources, government offices, archives, newspapers or other periodicals
- Ethnographic information collected through observation, interviews, surveys
- How long will it take you to gather your information?
- Begin gathering secondary sources and building a bibliography.
- Who are the main scholars who have addressed your topic? What have they had to say about it?
- What primary sources will be included? How will you decide which editions to use?
- Seek out a faculty member to serve as your Senior Project Adviser
- Make an appointment with the faculty member to discuss your topic and whether he/she would be able to direct the project.
Registering for the Senior Project
Students in Religious Studies do the Senior Project as a Directed Research project with a faculty member of their choice, who serves as the Senior Project Adviser. A mock up of the form you will need to fill out is here, but don’t fill out this one.
- Pick up a hard copy (with multiples copies) of the Student/Faculty Contract from the Religious Studies DUS or from 245 Nicholson.
- Fill out the form with your Senior Project Adviser. Faculty members vary greatly in how much detail they will require on the contract. Be sure to discuss the entire process and his/her expectations with your faculty adviser.
- The course # is CNES 3951W. (For Fall 2010)
- Make sure your Senior Project Adviser signs the form.
- Sign the form yourself.
- Bring the form to the Religious Studies DUS for a signature.
- Bring the form to 245 Nicholson to verify the section number.
- Bring the form to 49 Johnson to receive a registration permission number.
- Use the permission number to register through One Stop.
Senior Project Workshop
During most semesters, Religious Studies offers a voluntary writing workshop for students working on senior projects in Religious Studies.
The workshop focuses on research and writing strategies throughout the semester – providing tips on such aspects as:
- Developing your topic focus through defining a problem statement
- Developing a research plan
- Developing and writing a review of the secondary literature
- Gathering and keeping track of information
- Outlining and rough drafting
Workshop participants will read one another's work and provide feedback.
Senior Project Expectations
Senior Projects should consist of original research on a topic related to religion, carried out by the student in consultation with a faculty member. Senior Projects in most cases will deal with a topic related to the Area Concentration of the individual student.
Senior Projects usually take the final form of an analytical research paper of approximately 25 pages in length. Such papers must be fully documented and include a bibliography.
Other forms may be negotiated with the Senior Project Adviser.
The final grade of a Senior Project is given exclusively by the Senior Project Adviser.