PhD Program

(Note: HDS recently changed its doctoral designation from ThD to PhD in Religion. Those currently in the ThD program will continue to be candidates for the ThD. Starting in fall 2015, all doctoral students in religion will enter as PhD students. This is a joint degree program offered by HDS and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, administered by the Committee on the Study of Religion.)

Find detailed information about PhD fields of study and program requirements on the Committee on the Study of Religion website.

With a focus on global religions, religion and culture, and forces that shape religious traditions and thought, the PhD prepares students for advanced research and scholarship in religion and theological studies. This is a joint degree program offered by the HDS and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, administered by the Committee on the Study of Religion.

Resources for the study of religion at Harvard are vast. We offer courses in the whole range of religious traditions from the ancient Zoroastrian tradition to modern Christian liberation movements, Islamic and Jewish philosophies, Buddhist social movements, and Hindu arts and culture. Some of us work primarily as historians, others as scholars of texts, others as anthropologists, although the boundaries of these methodologies are never firm. Some of us are adherents of a religious tradition; others are not at all religious. The Study of Religion is exciting and challenging precisely because of the conversations that take place across the complexities of disciplines, traditions, and intellectual commitments.

HDS Voices

Devaka Premawardhana, MDiv '05, PhD candidate

Christianity has long haunted the study of world religions, but today Christianities no longer lurk in the shadows of the world or of world religions. In response to Christianity's new demography, the field of world Christianity has arisen. Its most engaging studies attend to the ways in which the everyday experiences of nonelites defy conventional understandings of religion, conversion, and identity.
—Devaka Premawardhana, PhD candidate in religion and anthropology, Harvard University

'Christianity Becomes Unfamiliar,' Harvard Divinity Bulletin