Harvard Divinity School

“To educate scholars, teachers, ministers, and other professionals for leadership and service both nationally and internationally.”
Description of PhD Program

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is jointly offered by HDS and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 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. 

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.


Tuition & Housing Costs

Tuition and Health Service Fee 2021–2022

Full Tuition— required first two years of study*


Reduced Tuition—required third and fourth years of study


Facilities Fee—required post-fourth year of study


Active File Fee—minimum charge for approved nonresident status


Harvard University Student Health Plan (HUSHP) Fees:

HUSHP Basic—Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) Fee (required)

HUSHP Supplemental—Prescription Drug Coverage and Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Hospital/Specialty



Note: Subject to annual increases

2021–2022 Estimated 10-month Living Expense Budget
(single student)

Books and Supplies


Apartment Housing including Utilities


Dormitory Housing*


Meal Plan for Dormitory Residents






This estimated budget does not include costs of travel or summer support, fees for required tests, application fees, or such initial expenses as home furnishings. Your individual expenses may vary from these figures. Funding and aid are available to meet these costs.

*Due to social distancing measures in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, housing cannot be guaranteed for the 2021-2022 academic year. Incoming and returning GSAS students who apply by the priority deadline will be entered into a lottery, and assignments will be made based on lottery results. The Office of Residential Life will prioritize incoming G1 students if possible.

Tuition Assistance

Standard Funding Package

Harvard guarantees full financial support to PhD students—including tuition, health fees, and basic living expenses—for a minimum of five years (typically the first four years of study and the completion year), using a tiered tuition structure that reduces tuition over time as students progress through their degree programs. This multi-year funding package includes a combination of tuition grants, stipends, traineeships, teaching fellowships, research assistantships, and other academic appointments. In addition, GSAS students are particularly successful in securing grants, fellowships, and other sources of external funding as part of their professional development.

The standard funding package includes:

  • Grant toward tuition and fees—paid in full for years 1 through 4, plus the dissertation completion year
  • Living expense stipend during years 1 and 2
  • A combination of stipend, teaching fellowships, and/or research assistantships during years 3 and 4
  • If noted in your Notice of Financial Support, summer research funding following the first four academic years from GSAS or faculty grants
  • Stipend and/or research support during the completion year.

In some programs, the timing and structure of living expense support may vary from this pattern. For example, students in the sciences typically receive full funding until they complete their degrees.

    Neighboring Institutions or Programs

    Harvard Divinity School welcomes students from other schools to cross-register into courses and HDS students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich offerings across the University, at MIT, the Fletcher School at Tufts, and throughout the Boston Theological Institute. Cross-registration is available between PHD students in Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the following schools:

    Harvard University 

    • Harvard Business School (HBS)
    • Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)
    • Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE)
    • Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)
    • Harvard Law School (HLS)
    • Harvard Medical School (HMS)
    • Harvard School of Dental Medicine (SDM)
    • Harvard School of Public Health (SPH)

    Other Schools

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    • Brown University
    • The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Fletch)

    Although PhD students cannot cross-register with Boston Theological Insitute schools, students are encouraged to work with the faculty of the BTI on their general examinations and dissertations. 

     Boston Theological Institute

    • Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS)
    • Boston College (BC) Theology Department
    • Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM)
    • Boston University School of Theology (BU)
    • Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS)
    • Hebrew College (HEBC)
    • Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HC)
    • John’s Seminary
    Hispanic Centers and Programs

    Hispanic Summer Program Member School

    The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies: Founded in 1994, the DRCLAS works to increase knowledge of the cultures, economies, histories, environment, and contemporary affairs of past and present Latin America. It also posts grant and fellowship opportunities.

    Hispanic/Latine Faculty

    David Carrasco
    Neil L. Rudenstine Professor of the Study of Latin America, with a joint appointment with the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

    Mayra Rivera                                                                                                                                                                                                          Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Religion and Latinx Studies

    Michelle C. Sanchez                                                                                                                                                                                            Associate Professor of Theology


    Library Resources-Special Collections
    Andover-Harvard holds about 30,000 volumes of rare books, tracts and other rare materials. Most were printed before 1851. The collection includes 23 incunabula or books printed during the earliest period of printing with movable type, roughly from the time of the printing of the Gutenberg Bible to the early 16th-century. The oldest is a book on virtues by Guillelmus Paraldus printed “not after 1475.” The Andover-Harvard collection is often complementary and supplementary to the half million volume collection at the Houghton Library, Harvard’s main rare book repository, and rare book researchers will often need to consult both collections.

    Andover-Harvard’s holdings include early Hebrew, Latin and Greek bibles as well as many bibles in vernacular languages printed on missionary presses. There are first editions of Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and other reformers, including a large collection of 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and Latin tracts by Jacobus Arminius and his followers who were early opponents of strict Calvinist theology. There is an excellent collection of materials concerning the 18th-century Salzburg Protestants, a Lutheran refugee group expelled from Salzburg, Austria in 1731 and 1732. One will also find early editions of the works of the New England Puritans and first editions of most of the works of important 19th-century Unitarians and Universalists, such as Channing, Parker, Ballou, and Emerson. Included also are the libraries of such notables as Bishop John Codman of Dorchester (1,250 vols.).

    Contact Information

    The HTI person to contact for information on PhD studies at Harvard Divinity School is:

    Name:     Timothy Whelsky
    Title:        Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services
    Phone:    617-496-8641
    Email:     twhelsky@hds.harvard.edu