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Honours in Religious Studies

As for most other FASS departments and programs, Religious Studies offers an Honours concentration option, namely the Combined Honours in Religious Studies degree (no single-subject or concentrated Honours for Religious Studies alone is available). Students choosing this degree must meet the requirements of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Department regarding the distribution of classes and the level of work to be attained in them. Often RELS Honours students combine RELS with History, Classics, Philosophy or King's programs such as Early Modern Studies. Students completing the Combined Honours in Religious Studies with RELS as their first subject must complete the Honours component, which is normally an exam, detailed below. However, the Honours exam can be replaced by an Honours thesis at the discretion of the advisor. Students interested in pursuing this option should approach Dr. Austin or Dr. Treiger no later than their penultimate year of study.

All RELS-First-Subject students in the RELS Combined Honours degree must decide on their Honours component at the latest before the start of their final year.  


Honours Exam in Religious Studies - Details

The Religious Studies Honours Exam consists of one exam in Western and one in Eastern Religions. The exam must be completed before the last day of classes of the student's final year. Honours-RELS Students are particularly encouraged to consider completing the exam during the summer prior to their final year.

The Religious Studies Honours Exam is a Pass / Fail take-home exam in two parts: Western Religions and Eastern Religions. Both parts are mandatory.

If you wish to write the exam please:

  • register for RELS 0400 Religious Studies Honours Examination (* please see note below)
  • review the following table and select one topic from each column (e.g. A3, B5):
  A: Western
B: Eastern
1.    the divine and its symbols    
2.    ritual and religious practice    
3.    religion and society    
4.    women and religion    
5.    philosophy and mysticism    
6.    scripture and interpretation    


  • email Dr Treiger to request the readings for your chosen "A" topic 
  • read carefully all of the materials in the bibliography you receive
  • once you have read all the materials and are ready to write your exam, email Dr Treiger to request the questions on that topic. You will be given three questions on that topic and you will answer two of these, each with a 1500 word essay. As soon as you are sent a set of exam questions, you will have 5 days to complete and submit your two 1500-word essays on that topic. Please return your written response in .doc, .docx, .rtf or .pdf to the appropriate instructor by email.
  • repeat again in the same manner for the "B" section, contacting Dr Austin for your selected bibliography and exam questions

There is no need to complete both A and B sections at the same time, nor to complete A before B. Students typically request and read through a chosen bibliography at their leisure, write the corresponding essays in the 5-day period, and thereafter complete the other section in the same manner.  

Please select your "A" and "B" topics according to your interests. Bibliographies cannot be viewed before choosing, and once selected, topics cannot be changed.

* Please note: You must complete the exam in the semester you register for it or else you will receive an F. If for example you decide to complete the exam over the summer and sign up for the summer "session" of RELS 0400, both exams must be completed before Sept. 1st.  


Please consult the Religious Studies undergraduate advisor if you have any questions.