Graduate Program FAQs

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...

Read more about What are the opportunities for teaching?

What is most important in the Ph.D. application process?

It is very important that you write a clear and informative statement of purpose. You should be able to talk in some detail about your academic interests, what led you to them, and what you envision the focus of your program at Harvard would be. As much as possible, you should familiarize yourself with the faculty and resources at Harvard in your proposed area of study. Reviewers of your application will look for a good "fit" between what you want to do and what Harvard has to offer.

Academic preparation is also extremely important, and reviewers...

Read more about What is most important in the Ph.D. application process?

What is required for application to the Ph.D. program?

The program is highly competitive – we can accept only 5-7% of applicants to the PhD. For that reason, we look for the most capable applicants, with excellent credentials in all areas.

  • A writing sample of no more than 20 pages in length.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended.
  • Recommendations from three faculty members who can speak to your academic capabilities.
  • GRE's. The basic exams (verbal, analytical, and math...
Read more about What is required for application to the Ph.D. program?

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.

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.