The Religious Studies Department requires those students who select the thesis-track to write an article-length thesis (~35-50 pages), which is usually completed during the second year of the program. In consultation with a Thesis Committee, students prepare a written thesis prospectus, which they present to the faculty. The prospectus offers students an opportunity to articulate what they intend to accomplish in the thesis, and how they plan to approach the research. Upon the faculty’s approval of a student’s prospectus, the student enrolls in RELS 8999 (Thesis Research).
The Religious Studies M.A. student will write a thesis with assistance from the department faculty members who compose the student’s Thesis Committee. Members of the Thesis Committee give the student feedback on the thesis while it is in the planning stages, as it is being written, and as it is being revised. They also attend the thesis defense, and ultimately approve the thesis when it has been revised to the committee’s satisfaction. One member of the committee, the Thesis Director, takes the lead in this process.
Basic regulations for composition of the Thesis Committee:
In Religious Studies, students must submit a written prospectus (plan) for their thesis project and present this plan successfully to the Religious Studies faculty before they may begin work on their thesis. During the semester immediately before the student intends to register for the first semester of thesis work (RELS 8999) the student must submit a hard copy and an electronic copy of the prospectus (with signatures from all the committee members, approving the project).
**THE PROSPECTUS IS DUE AT THE MIDPOINT OF THE SEMESTER. Check the University Calendar for the date of the semester midpoint.
Be aware that the College of Arts and Sciences has firm deadlines for filing your thesis that MUST be met if you want to graduate. The Department has developed suggested deadlines to facilitate this.
1. Suggested deadline for draft of thesis to advisor: 2 months prior to defense
2. Suggested deadline for draft to full committee: 1 month prior to defense
3. Required deadline: upload draft of thesis by the date set by the College of Arts and Sciences, usually the mid-point of the semester
4. Suggested deadline for defense: at least one week prior to the final upload deadline (usually 3 weeks before the end of the semester)
5. Required deadline for final upload of thesis: determined by the College of Arts & Sciences (varies by semester, but usually ~2 weeks prior to the last day of classes))
NOTE: Faculty are under no obligation to sign off on a prospectus or a thesis draft so the student can meet a deadline. Students should communicate clearly and frequently with their committee members, particularly their Director, making sure to allow for time to revise their work in light of faculty comments.