Graduate Program FAQs



Can I teach in years G5 and G6, as a priority student?

GSAS made some recent changes which allow students to shift their priority years to any combination within G3, G4, G5, and G6 years. This allows students in the Study of Religion to do research work earlier in their program, if they have secured alternative sources of funding. Read the guidance here:

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Is a writing sample required for applicants?

For applicants to the Ph.D. program in the Study of Religion, a writing sample is required. The 20-page limit/5000-word limit refers to the main body of the paper and does not include bibliographies.

When are stipends disbursed?

Incoming new graduate students receive their stipend disbursement on orientation day. Returning graduate students are issued stipend the first of September for the fall term. If you have not set up direct deposit, the check will be mailed on that date.

Can I pursue a degree in Law and the Study of Religion?

Harvard offers a coordinated JD/PhD Program which is designed for students interested in completing interdisciplinary work and is founded on the belief that students’ legal studies and their arts and sciences graduate studies can be mutually enriched through this pursuit. Students completing the coordinated program receive a JD from Harvard Law School (HLS) and a PhD from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). It is expected that these students will be strong candidates for teaching posts at law schools and in arts and sciences programs...

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Do I need to mail my transcripts by the application deadline?

When applying to the Doctoral Program, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences requires that you upload a copy of your transcript from each college/university attended with your online application. An official transcript showing the conferral of the undergraduate degree is required to register in the Graduate School. An official transcript that differs from the application copy may bar an admitted candidate from registering.

What is the average length of study for doctoral candidates?

Program guidelines stipulate that students should complete their degrees in seven years. Some students may complete their doctoral programs sooner. Various factors, such as language study or research abroad, will affect the length of a student's program.

What are the opportunities for teaching?

As part of the funding offered to admitted students, teaching fellowships are made available beginning in year three. Teaching experience is integral to the doctoral program. Teaching Fellowship positions are most often found through the Divinity School and in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Additional teaching opportunities include work as junior and senior tutors with small groups or individuals majoring in religion, as well as work with HarvardX and the Harvard Extension School. Every effort is made to give students the best information for securing these teaching...

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