Applying to the GDRS

The Religion Department, with the support of the faculty of the Graduate Division of Religious Studies, hopes to admit PhD students in Spring 2018, to join our program in Fall of 2018. 

Our new program will no longer be structured along the “Tracks” described on these pages.

We hope to admit students in the following areas of specialization (others may be added at a later time):

  • Ancient Mediterranean
  • Asian Religions
  • Islamic Studies
  • Jewish Studies
  • North American Religions
Please check this page in the early fall to see the latest details, and please be in touch with us if you have any questions


Application Deadline for Fall 2018 is January 15th.

All Successful PhD Applicants will Receive 5-Year Fellowships

Effective Fall 2013, the GDRS is delighted to be able to offer 5-year fellowships that include full tuition and stipends to all students admitted to our PhD programs.

Our 5-year fellowships are set up to allow students to move through their program of study efficiently while gaining professional experience (in teaching and research) along the way.  Typically, the first year of this fellowship will allow students to focus on their studies, without any additional responsibilities. The second and third years of these fellowships will most often involve teaching assistantships in the Department of Religion. The third and fourth years of these fellowships will involve some combination of research assistantships (involving service) and dissertation fellowships (not requiring other service).  For more information on our Fellowships, see the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Financial Aid page for more information.

Admissions Prerequisites

Students entering the PhD program will have majored in Religious Studies (or a related discipline) or otherwise show transcript evidence of advanced coursework in a single religious tradition and introductory coursework in multiple religious traditions.

To Apply

Access Online Application Forms

To apply, the following materials must be uploaded into the online application and submitted by January 15th:

  1. completed online application;
  2. transcripts of all college or university work;
  3. three letters of reference (academic preferred);
  4. a two-to-three page statement of purpose;
  5. academic writing sample of no more than 20 pages;
  6. recent GRE scores (from a test taken within the last five years).
  7. $95 application fee

International applicants must also submit TOEFL scores (from a test taken within the last two years).

For more detailed information please refer to the GRS Frequently Asked Questions page.

Questions about the admissions process?

Call 617-358-4215 or email us. Our Program Coordinator will return your call or email within 2 business days. We request that before emailing or phoning, you review our web site thoroughly.