All students who complete their junior year with a cumulative index of 3.25 or higher in NEJS (including Hebrew courses) are eligible for enrolling in NEJS 99d in their senior year.

Reminder: Students with a general cumulative index above 3.8 can graduate with summa cum laude only if they have received departmental honors, i.e., an accepted Senior Honors Thesis.

All students who desire to graduate with honors in NEJS must register for NEJS 99d (Add/Drop form) for both fall and spring semesters during the normal registration periods.

Students who choose to do a dual-honors thesis with another department must inform their NEJS advisor and the Undergraduate Advising Head (UAH) in writing, enroll in 99d course, and satisfy the requirements of both departments.

NEJS 99d may count as two courses toward the nine NEJS courses for the major.

It is permissible for other departments to count NEJS 99d toward their own honors requirement, if they wish.

All students enrolled in NEJS 99d must write their thesis with a NEJS faculty member, who must sign their NEJS 99d course instruction form. That person shall be considered their thesis advisor, and if desired may also become their NEJS advisor.


All students enrolled in NEJS 99d must present their thesis advisor with a one- to three-page proposal of the topic during the spring semester of their junior year, but no later than the end of August. There is no standard format for this proposal. The final NEJS 99d project should typically be between 50-100 pages in length and must follow standard academic conventions (e.g., Chicago Manual of Style).

Thesis Committee

Every thesis must be defended before 3 faculty members, one of whom must be the thesis advisor. The other 2 readers should have first-hand knowledge of the thesis topic, and may be from NEJS, though any faculty member at Brandeis or another academic institution is acceptable. The second and third faculty members should be chosen through consultation with the primary advisor, the UAH, and the student. The second and third readers should be chosen by the end of January, and be officially asked to join the committee by the advisor (not the student writing the thesis). The student is encouraged to discuss the thesis with the second and third readers at all stages of its composition, and to share drafts of the thesis with them.


The student must give their advisor a completed draft of the thesis (in paper) by mid-March, and all 3 members of the committee must receive the final draft of the thesis (in paper) by April 1st. Each thesis is given a letter grade by the thesis advisor, which is independent of the defense; this grade must be submitted by the deadline for senior grades in courses with no exams, and is the grade for NEJS 99d.


A student may defend a thesis only on the recommendation of the student's thesis advisor. The thesis must be defended no later than April 15th. The defense should typically last between 30 and 50 minutes, and should be chaired by the student's thesis advisor. The student will then leave the room, while the 3 readers confer on the outcome: "Highest Honors," "High Honors," "Honors" or "No Honors."

The student then returns to the room, is told the level of honors, and is given a frank appraisal of the work by the committee, as well as suggestions for improving it before uploading it to the electronic Brandeis Repository. To facilitate this, the 3 members of the student's committee are urged to make extensive comments on spelling, style, content, methodology, bibliography on the text of the thesis before returning it to the student.

The Thesis Defense form must then be signed by all three members of the committee. The committee may also determine that the thesis is not eligible for honors, in which case the student does not graduate with honors, but does receive course credit, assuming the thesis receives a passing grade.