Senior Honors Thesis
The Thesis Program allows students to delve deeper into a topic of interest.
Introduction to the Thesis Program
The Department of Theology offers particularly gifted undergraduate majors who seek a deeper experience in the major the opportunity to complete an Honors Thesis. The Thesis Program gives participants the opportunity to research a topic in depth, in close collaboration with a member of the faculty, and to undertake an extended writing project. The thesis is a serious commitment and involves a lot of work, but when it is done well it can be an extraordinary experience. For students seeking an advanced degree, the thesis will send a strong signal of achievement and accomplishment to graduate schools.
Participants in the Thesis Program enroll in:
- a 2-credit Directed Readings course in the fall semester of their senior year
- a 1-credit Honors Colloquium in the fall semester of their senior year
- a 3-credit Honors Thesis Writing course in the spring of their senior year.
Students will submit a thesis of approximately 40-55 pages in early April of their senior year. Those who successfully complete the thesis and receive an A- or higher grade will receive departmental honors, to be recognized officially on their transcript.
All junior full theology majors with a GPA of 3.66 or higher within the Theology Major may apply. Applicants will need to be able to take 37 credits in Theology rather than the 34 credits required for the standard major. The graded (A-F) thesis work (3 credits) done in the Spring of the senior year can count as one of the five Theology electives required for the Major.
How are participants selected?
Applicants must submit the following application materials in the spring of their junior year (see here for deadlines):
- a brief prospectus (2-3 pages) identifying a potential topic for a thesis project, discussing the background you possess in this area and stating why you wish to take part in the Thesis Program (topics may change after this point). Your prospectus should present a clear case for the importance of the topic, potential sources for your research, and the feasibility of addressing your research question in the time allotted.
- the names of 2-3 faculty members in Theology who could speak to your suitability for the program
- a cv or resume, including a list of relevant courses you have taken, the names of the faculty who taught these courses, and grades received
- names of 2-3 faculty with whom you would be interested in writing a thesis
Decisions will be based on the following criteria:
- quality of the prospectus
- faculty recommendations (based on oral consultation)
- overall GPA and GPA in the major
Applicants will be informed of the results of their application in early April and participants will be assigned to a suitable thesis director (please note that it may not always be possible to match participants with the faculty members they have requested).
Previous Honors Theses and Their Authors
All past honors theses are available to view in 130 Malloy Hall.
Grace Mariette Agolia, advised by Timothy O’Malley
"SIGNING THE WORLD: American Deaf Catholics, Liturgy, and the New Evangelization"
James Corcoran, advised by Margaret Pfeil
ENOUGH TO WEEP: The Principalities and Powers, William Stringfellow, and the White Church’s Response to Racism"
Luke Donahue, advised by Sr. Ann Astell and Claire Taylor Jones
"Writing of Paradise: The Marian prayers composed by the Franciscan Tertiary sisters of the Pütrich Regelhaus found in Cgm 4484 and their historical context"
Maya Jain, advised by Leonard DeLorenzo
“'Love is longsuffering': Meditations on Makrothumia and Soteriology
Jacob Lindle, advised by John Cavadini and Alfred Freddoso
"Mercy unto Death: The spiritual spectacle of the martyrs in the sermons of St. Augustine"
Nicolas Munsen, advised by Daniel Groody
"Be Holy, For I Am Holy: A Theological History of Judeo-Christian Sanctuary"
Stephen Santos, advised by Maxwell Johnson
"Anglican Orders – a Question of Validity"
Alexander Slavsky, advised by Adrian Reimer
"Truth, Freedom, and Love: John Paul II’s Theology of Redemptive Suffering"
Angela Joy Bird, advised by Margaret Pfeil
"'True Liberation': Oscar Romero on the Relationship Between Forgiveness and Justice"
Timothy Bradley, advised by John Cavidini and Mary Keys
"Saints and the Shire: Tolkien's Christian Myth"
Samantha E Burr, advised by Timothy O'Malley
"The Importance of Fiction for Understanding Mystery in a Secular Age"
Irina R. Celentano, advised by John Cavidini
"Tertullian on the Resurrection of the Flesh"
"Translating 'Allah' into 'God' when Translating the Qur'an"
Kaitlyn Kennedy, advised by Margaret Pfeil
"Beauty in the Burden: The Responsibility and Gift of Caregiving for the Elderly"
"War Crimes & Personhood: How Attacks Designed to Target Relationships Are Able to Dehumanize and Skew a Person's Connection to their Dignity"