HARVARD DIVINITY SCHOOL
Description of PhD Program
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.
Tuition & Housing Costs
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|Blue Cross/Blue Shield
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Awards to doctoral students are made solely on the basis of academic merit, and doctoral applicants are not required to apply for financial aid. The packaging policy for PhD candidates will be as follows:
- Admitted applicants will receive an award package of full tuition and fees and an academic year stipend of $26,020 (2014-15 rates) for years one and two of the program.
- During the third through fifth years of their program, doctoral students will continue to receive the award package of full tuition and fees if they maintain satisfactory academic progress. Stipend support during the academic year will not be available after the second year. In years three and four, after academic year stipends are no longer available, students are eligible for teaching fellowships. Students are guaranteed two sections per semester. If a student is offered two sections and opts to not teach or teach only one section, the student would not receive the full guaranteed teaching income for four sections of $26,020.
- No institutional grant support will be available after the fifth year.
- Students will also receive four summers of a research stipend.
- Students are entitled to a one year Dean's Dissertation Fellowship completion grant. Students may apply for this grant after their prospectus has been approved. Many students will choose to use this funding for their sixth year. The amount of the grant will be equivalent to the living stipend that the student received in year three. Tuition and Health insurance are also covered in the dissertation year.
Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús
Assistant Professor of African American Religions
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
Associate Professor of Theology and Latina/o Studies
2004-2005 Dissertation Year Fellow
Hispanic Centers and Programs
Hispanic Summer Program – member school.
The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies
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 HDS and the following schools:
- The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS)
- 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)
Boston Theological Institute
- Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS)
- Boston College (BC)
- Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM)
- Boston University School of Theology (BU)
- Episcopal Divinity School (EDS)
- Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS)
- Hebrew College (HEBC)
- Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology (HC)
- St. John's Seminary
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Fletch)
Theological Education Day, the school's day-long open house event for prospective students usually held in November each year, is an exciting opportunity to directly connect with Harvard Divinity School's faculty, students, staff, and denominational counselors. Participants learn about academic and community life, financial aid,and the admission process.
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.).
The Center for the Study of World Religions
The mission of the Center at Harvard Divinity School is:
- to advance interdisciplinary, international, and interreligious exchange, learning, and research on the world's religions;
- to bring together the rich intellectual resources of faculty and students at Harvard Divinity School and at other Schools and departments of Harvard University with an international scholarly network to explore issues of religion in today's complex, globalizing, and changing world; and
- to build a deeper and broader understanding of the histories and contemporary patterns of the world's religious communities by hosting scholars and practitioners at the Center as residents and program participants.
The study of the world's major religious and spiritual traditions at Harvard, especially at the Divinity School, has been guided by the CSWR since it opened its doors in the fall of 1960, funded initially by a group of anonymous donors in 1957. Over 600 graduate students, CSWR fellows, and visiting professors representing the world's major religious traditions have been affiliated with the Center, many of them as residents.
Women’s Studies in Religion Program
The Women's Studies in Religion Program (WSRP) was founded to explore the fundamental role played by religious traditions in defining roles for women and men. Research on religion and gender sheds light on questions about the changing roles of women both inside religious communities and in broader public spheres. It examines the sources of cultural beliefs about leadership, authority, and values, and offers resources to change them. Because religion is so often offered as a rationale for proposals regarding women and the family, critical scholarship in this area is essential to women's welfare and to the formation of public policies. Feminist criticism has affected every field of religious and theological studies, calling for a rethinking of basic assumptions in view of women's presence and full humanity. The Program's goal is the production of new primary research addressing these issues and the dispersal of that information through courses, publications, and public programs.
Religious Literacy Project
The Religious Literacy Project, headed by Diane Moore, is a new initiative begun in 2011 that will enable Harvard Divinity School to continue its nearly four decades of leadership in religious studies and education in the United States.
As a successor to the Program in Religious Studies and Education (a ground-breaking teacher-education program within HDS, founded in 1972), the Religious Literacy Project (RLP) will be a virtual resource and research center housed at the Center for the Study of World Religions. Its primary aim will be to create and maintain resources designed primarily for public-school teachers and their students that will promote a better understanding of the religious dimensions of multiculturalism in civic life.
Science, Religion, and Culture (SRC) at Harvard Divinity School conducts interdisciplinary research and convenes forums to inform public and scholarly conversations on the interaction of scientific, religious, and cultural constructs around the world. Focusing on the anthropological, historical, philosophical, and theological dimensions, SRC investigates science and religion beyond given categories, carefully unpacking the production and consumption of these discourses and their interactions in many different socio-historical contexts.
Religions and the Practice of Peace
The initiative on Religions and the Practice of Peace (RPP), led by Dean David N. Hempton seeks to stimulate cross-disciplinary conversation and scholarship to explore how individuals and communities worldwide have drawn on religious and spiritual resources to foster mutual understanding, harmonious relations, cooperation, well-being, justice, and peace across differences of religion, sect, nationality, race, ethnicity, and culture and how such efforts can inform contemporary peacebuilding theory and practice.
Former HTI Fellows/HTIC Scholars
Daniel Alvarez Instructor and Fellow of the Honors College at Florida International University Religious Studies Department1997-1998 Dissertation Year Scholar Roberto Mata
2013-2014 Dissertation Year Scholar
Christopher TirresAssociate Professor of Religious Studies at DePaul University1998-1999 Doctoral1999-2000 Doctoral Renewal 2000-2001 Comprehensive Exams2003-2004 Dissertation Year Scholar
The HTIC person to contact for information on Ph.D. studies at Harvard Divinity School is:
Name: Maritza Suyapa Hernandez
Title: Associate Dean for Enrollment and Student Services
Email: [email protected]
Updated March 2015