Study of Religion title with red Buddhist prayer beads images


Religion is a dynamic and powerful force in shaping cultures and complex civilizations, so understanding religion is critical for many areas of study from art, literature, and music to history, politics, and public health.



Studying religion is exciting and demanding. The history of religions is global in scope and invites us to study the languages and cultures of the world. The currents of religion today are swift and often turbulent and require the very best analysis of scholars in the humanities and social sciences.



Harvard’s programs in religious studies are distinctive for the intensive study of historical religious traditions and the insistence that such study is always, in some sense, comparative. Religious traditions have not developed in isolation, but in constant interaction with each other and in ever-new contexts.




  • For undergraduates, we offer an array of courses introducing the Study of Religion. These lead to more specialized work in areas of the students’ own interests.

  • For graduate students, the Committee on the Study of Religion offers the Ph.D. in a range of specialized areas. All graduate students take two common seminars, one on the history of “religion” as a subject of critical inquiry and one on contemporary conversations in the discipline of religious studies. As they move on to more specialized work, we expect our graduate students to continue thinking about how their areas of research contribute broadly to knowledge in the field.

Help to Grow and Sustain the Study of Religion logo

For alumni wishing to make gifts exclusively to the Study of Religion:

Gifts by credit card, please click here (for general University gifts) and follow the instructions.  When selecting a school/affiliate to donate to, please choose “Other” from the dropdown menu and enter a note in the “Comments/Other Designation” box with instructions that this gift should go to the “Committee on the Study of Religion”. You may include a program too (AB or PhD).

Gifts by check:  Harvard University, Recording Secretary’s Office, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA  02138.  Please make checks payable to “The President and Fellows of Harvard College” and include a note in the memo line of the check that this is for the “The Committee on the Study of Religion”.

Thank you! Please contact us if you have any questions: