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The program in religion is one of the leading religion programs in the US with 14 areas of study, 10 methodological approaches, and many research areas.

The program in religion is one of the leading religion programs in the US with 14 areas of study, 10 methodological approaches, and many research areas. This wide variety enables you to fine-tune your research with the aid of a relevant faculty member. You will have access to a vast array of resources including the Harvard library system and several centers and programs, such as the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Pluralism Project, and the Women’s Studies in Religion Program.

Examples of student theses and dissertations include “Gospel of the 'Orient': Koreans, Race and the Transpacific Rise of American Evangelicalism in the Cold War Era,” “Persisting in the Good: Thomas Aquinas in Conversation with Early Chinese Ethics,” and “Protestants, Politics, and Power: Race, Gender, and Religion in the Post-Emancipation Mississippi River Valley, 1863-1900.”

Graduates have gone on to secure tenure track positions at prestigious institutions in the United States and abroad, such as Emory University, Stanford University, Vassar College, Lahore University in Pakistan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Boston College, and the University of Virginia. Others have chosen alternate careers in clinical ethics, ministry, publishing, and management and research in various NGOs and nonprofit organizations.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Committee on the Study of Religion and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies.

I. Areas of Study


African American Religions | Buddhist Studies | Christianity | Comparative Studies | Hebrew Bible | Hindu Studies | Islamic Studies | Jewish Studies | New Testament and Early Christianity

Geographical Complexes

African Religions | East Asian Religions | Europe (Medieval and Modern) | Latin American & Caribbean Religions | North American Religions | Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean | South Asian Religions

II. Methodologies or Approaches

Archaeology | Critical Theory | Ethics | Gender and Sexuality Studies | History | Literary Studies and the Arts | Religious Thought (Philosophy and Theology) | Social Sciences (Anthropology, Ethnography, and Political Science

Admissions Requirements

Please review the admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Committee on the Study of Religion.

Academic Background

While not required, applicants will typically already have a master’s degree and previous preparation in the field of religion and related subjects.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application and should be no longer than 20 pages.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose must outline the applicant’s proposed project.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Not Accepted

Contacting Faculty

Applicants should review the current areas of study and methodologies. The Committee on the Study of Religion admits students who have clearly defined intellectual interests evidenced in the statement of purpose and completed application. As part of the application, prospective students are asked to indicate the main faculty of interest; applicants are encouraged to contact their faculty of interest prior to submitting their application. (Please note that Emeritus faculty and lecturers are not eligible under Harvard Griffin GSAS policies to serve as primary doctoral advisors.)

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Religion


See list of Religion faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Department of Religion