The Ph.D. program in religion at Harvard dates from 1934, when the Faculty of Arts and Sciences established a degree of Ph.D. in "The History and Philosophy of Religion". Its purpose, as stated by the Faculty, was "to make possible a course of studies which shall enable the candidate both to lay a broad and sufficient foundation for teaching and study within the field of religion, and to do individual research at some point in that field". In accordance with that expressed intention, the Faculty voted in 1963 to name the program The Study of Religion.
At Harvard, advanced programs of study involving religion may be arranged under many auspices. The Ph.D. under this Committee, in "The Study of Religion", is one among various possibilities. Some candidates will find that they can best pursue their interests by becoming a candidate for the Ph.D. in such departments as Anthropology, Classics, History, East Asian or Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Philosophy, or South Asian Studies. More
The Th.D. program emphasizes the study of the literatures, languages, practices, and institutions that shape religious and theological traditions and thought from a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives. Although the Western humanistic traditions in their histories and their encounters with other cultures and religions, past and present, form the historic basis for the Th.D. at Harvard Divinity School, the program also offers the opportunity for students to engage in the study of varieties of geographical/historical complexes and religious traditions. More.