Skip to content
Buddha face up close

Religion Master’s Degree Program

Explore the history, texts, and functions of religion within different societies and cultures.

  • Online Courses

    11 out of 12 total courses

  • On-Campus Experience

    2 weekends or a 3-week summer course

  • Tuition

    $3,340 per course

  • Next Start Term

    Fall 2024

Program Overview

Through the master’s degree in the field of religion you:

  • Develop an understanding of the historical origins, central teachings, and devotional practices of the major religious traditions.
  • Build knowledge of religion’s role in political, economic, and cultural life through historical, social, and cultural contexts.

Program Benefits

  • Teacher speaking to class.

    Expert instructors, including faculty from Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences

  • Two people talking at a table.

    Personalized academic & career advising

  • Museum building.

    Harvard library & museum access

  • Notebook and pencil.

    A faculty-supported thesis

  • Texbook.

    Paid research opportunities

  • Graduation cap and diploma.

    Harvard Alumni Association membership upon graduation

Customizable Course Curriculum

The religion master’s degree program allows you to experience the convenience of online learning and the immersive benefits of learning in person. With a wide array of courses to choose from, you can tailor your experience to meet your unique learning goals. You will further customize your experience by choosing either a thesis or capstone.

11 Online Courses

  • Primarily synchronous
  • Fall, spring, January, and summer options

On-Campus Experience

You’ll complete 1 on-campus course, Engaging in Scholarly Conversation, at an accelerated or standard pace:

  • 2 weekends (1 in fall and 1 in spring)
  • A 3-week summer session

Capstone or Thesis Track

  • Thesis: features a 9-month independent research project with a faculty advisor
  • Capstone: includes exploring a topic and completing a project in a classroom community


The path to your degree begins before you apply to the program.

First, you’ll register for and complete 3 required courses, earning at least a B in each. These foundational courses are investments in your studies and count toward your degree, helping ensure success in the program.

Next Start Term: Fall 2024

Course registration is open July 22–August 29.

To get started, explore degree requirements, confirm your initial eligibility, and learn more about our unique “earn your way in” admissions process.

Earning a Stackable Certificate

As you work your way toward your master’s degree, you can take courses that also count — or “stack” — toward a graduate certificate. It’s a cost-effective, time-saving opportunity to build specialized skills and earn a second professional credential.

For each certificate, you can choose courses that best fit your goals.

Stackable graduate certificates include:

Our Community at a Glance

Going back to school doesn’t have to mean putting your life on hold. We’ve designed our courses, certificates, and degrees to give you the flexibility to pace your studies to fit your schedule.

Upon successful completion of the required curriculum, you will earn your Harvard University degree: the Master of Liberal Arts (ALM) in Extension Studies, Field: Religion.

Download: Religion Master's Degree Fact Sheet

  • 45

    Average Age

  • 1

    Average Courses Taken Each Semester

  • 81%

    Work Full Time

  • 100%

    Would Recommend the Program

  • 26%

    Professional Experience in the Field

  • Most

    Pursued for Personal Enrichment

two students walking in crosswalk in Harvard Yard area

Tuition & Financial Aid

Affordability is core to our mission. When compared to our continuing education peers, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Our Course Tuition (2024–25 rate) $3,340 per course
Average Course Tuition of Peer Institutions $4,330 per course
Average Total Program Cost $40,080

After admission, you may qualify for financial aid. Typically, eligible students receive grant funds to cover a portion of tuition costs each term, in addition to federal financial aid options.

Learn more about the cost of attendance.

Coffee Chat: All About Liberal Arts Programs at HES

Are you interested in learning more about liberal arts graduate degree programs at Harvard Extension School? Attendees joined us for an informational webinar where they had the opportunity to connect with program directors, academic advisors, and alumni.

Watch the Webinar