The Graduate Program in Religion at Duke University seeks to foster the scholarly study of religion and to equip persons of distinguished academic ability to teach in departments of religion in colleges and universities, as well as in theological seminaries.

Over the past several decades, higher education in America has witnessed the establishment of the academic study of religion as an important part of liberal education. Since 1939, when the first doctorates in religion were awarded at Duke, more than 500 men and women have earned the Duke Ph.D. in religion. Most have assumed academic posts in this country and abroad.

The Graduate Program in Religion is part of the Duke Graduate School. Unlike many of its peer programs, which are housed in either a university religion department or a divinity school, it is a collaborative program involving the Department of Religion in the College of Arts and Sciences and Duke Divinity School. Its faculty numbers more than 40 scholars. Though focused on scholarly research, the Ph.D. program also aims to prepare students to teach undergraduate courses in religion beyond the areas of their specialized training. It sponsors a program in pedagogy designed to prepare its students for careers in higher education.

Strengths of the Graduate Program in Religion include its small, highly selective student cohort and distinguished faculty, as well as ample resources for research, mentoring, and professional development. Normally about 65-75 students are in residence in a given year. Duke seeks to allow students to develop regimes of study that accord with their interests and abilities as well as with the demands of the disciplines of their fields of concentration.