An Honors Thesis demonstrates original research and scholarship in the field of religious studies. Religious studies majors tend to be exceptionally creative and intelligent, and we have a number of students who go on to complete departmental honors theses. (See the honors program website for information on graduating with General Honors vs. Departmental Honors.) Completing a departmental honors thesis allows you to pursue independent research in the field of religious studies in a specialized area of your choosing under the guidance of a faculty member. Graduating with departmental honors is also a great way to enhance your resume for after graduation, giving you a competitive edge as you move beyond college to jobs or graduate school.

The B.A. honors thesis option at CU is very rigorous, requiring research and preparation of the thesis and a thesis defense upon completion of the project. Students interested in doing an honors thesis must have a minimum 3.3 GPA and should begin the process at least one semester before their anticipated graduation by contacting a faculty member in the department whose research and teaching interests are a good fit for the topic the student wishes to research for the thesis.Be sure to consult the following documents for more information:

Students doing honors research, scholarship or creative work are eligible to apply for funding from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Consult with them about funding opportunities, as they are especially interested in receiving more applications from students in the humanities and social sciences.

For more information, including FAQs and the application process for graduation with honors, please see the Honors Program website.

Recent Religious Studies Honors Theses:

  • October 2022 - Bisantz, Lillian. “Betrayed by the Divine and Overlooked by Scholarship: An Inquiry into Spiritual Abuse and Religious Trauma.”
  • April 2022 - Iskenderian, Bryn. “Naming the Enemy: An Analysis of How Presidential Rhetoric and Foreign Policy Contributed to American Islamophobia During the Bush, Obama and Trump Administrations.” 
  • April 2020 - Vaidis, Anastasia. “This Is What Democracy Looks Like: How a Religious Interest Group Seeks to Implement Bible Literacy Courses in Public Education.”
  • April 2019 - Blum, Gina. “‘There Is No “I” in Land’: Religion, Protest and Resistance in Music at Standing Rock and the TMT Protest.”
  • April 2019 - Corbett, Ian. “Radicalization Theory: An Imminent Threat.”
  • 2017- Carly Shriver. “What is Unveiled Through Veiling: Understanding the Complex Narratives of the Modern Hijabista Movement."
  • 2016 - Hilty, Bailey. "More than the Physical: Running as a Spiritual Experience."
  • 2016 - Preti, Vincent. "Orchard Beach."
  • April 2015 - Ptasznik, Anna. “Thru-Hiking as Pilgrimage: Transformation, Nature, and Religion in Contemporary American Hiking Novels.”
  • April 2015 - Davies, Samuel. “The Religious Imperative of Confucianism.”
  • 2014 - Bialek, Marieta. "Thai Buddhist Ecology Monks: Competing Views of the Forest." 
  • 2014 - Ballard, Sarah SeDell. "Responding to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Africa: Churches United Against HIV and AIDS." 
  • 2013 - Shields, Caleb. "Analyzing the Place and Role of Deference in the Academic Study of Religion: Theorizing Critical Alternatives to Deference Towards Religion." 
  • 2012 - Ohler, Keith. "Strange Bedfellows: Progressive Christian Voices for LGBT etc. Equality." 
  • 2011 - Mason, Alison. "Exploring the Implications of the Influence of the Emerging Church in College-Aged Christians."
  • 2010 - Albrecht, Lindsay. "Mindfulness in Business: A Discussion of the Creation of the Universal and Moment-to-Moment Awareness."
  • 2010 - Chichester, Yolanda. "Choosing To Participate: A Contemporary Investigation of Solitude and Self-realization."
  • 2010 - Gillin, Joel. "The Christian Pursuit of Wealth: An Examination of the Prosperity Gospel."
  • 2010 - Gulliford, Tristan. "Mysticism and Entheogens: Perspectives on Altered States of Consciousness from Religious and Scientific Worldviews."
  • 2010 - Palko-Schraa, Elexer. "Combat Experience and Religious Understanding: A Study of U.S. and Israeli Defense Forces Veterans' Change in Perspective."
  • 2009 - McNelly, Mary. “Hope for the New Camelot: Aligning Barack Obama with the American Mythological Memory of John F. Kennedy”
  • 2008 - Bauer, Ralph. “Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa: A Freely Fated Destiny of Downfall”
  • 2008 - Javornik, Christopher. “An Unnatural Examination of Catholic Natural Law”
  • 2007 - Castillo, Nicole. “A Space for Difference: Feminist Liberatory Potential at Catholic Marian Apparitional Shrines”
  • 2005 - Befus, Deanna. “Cell or Sanctuary? Jihadist Opportunities in an American Prison”
  • 2005 - Bolz-Weber, Nadia. “The Deaf Church in America: A Cultural History of a People and Their Language”
  • 2005 - Metzroth, Andrew. “Theatre and Communitas: Movements of Social Reinforcement and Change”
  • 2005 - Moffat, Eric. “Onward Christian Soldiers: The War Underlying the Academic Study of Religion”
  • 2005 - Proffitt, Aaron. “Religious Nationalism of Japan: Meiji Constructions of National Identity, Their Influence upon the Creation of Shintō, and the Buddhist Impetus for War”
  • 2004 - Lyons, Andrea. “Neither, Both, Other: Ambiguity, Androgyny and Liminality in the Hijra Gender Role of India”
  • 2004 - Stuckey, Katherine. “Embodiment in Dreaming”
  • 2003 - Zimmerman, Nicholas. "The Phenomenological Examination of Radio's Potential"
  • 2002 - Hernandez, Eutemia. “Smoke and Memories”
  • 2002 - Miles, Brian. "The Wise Woman:  Understanding Wisdom as the Personification of Torah"
  • 2002 - Miller, Sean. “Eschatology and the Quest(s) for the Historical Jesus”
  • 2002 - Trexler, Andrew. “The American Recreation of Zen Buddhism”

Questions about doing an Honors thesis?  Contact the Department Honors Representative and Chair, Deborah Whitehead.