Religion Research

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Understanding Faith in New Contexts

Hartford International University for Religion and Peace is home to world-renowned faculty and student scholars of religion who use various research methods to explore faith and religious communities with an emphasis on integrating sociological, cultural, and diverse religious perspectives to understand our changing religious landscape.

Featured Research Projects

Our religion research projects examine how religious communities and ideas in the United States and across the world adapt to an ever-evolving social and cultural reality.

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A Leader in Religion Research

Since 1981, the Hartford Institute for Religion Research has had a solid reputation of rigorous, applied research that anticipates and explores emerging issues within religious congregations and national bodies. The research institute has garnered over $15 million in grant funding and produced countless books, articles, and research reports along with a website visited by millions. This record has earned the institute an international reputation as an important bridge between the scholarly community and the practice of faith.

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A Pioneer for Muslim-Christian Relations

The Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations is the country’s oldest center for such study, opening in 1973. The Macdonald Center challenges scholars, students, the media, and the general public to move beyond stereotypes and develop an accurate awareness and appreciation of Islamic religion, law and culture.


Meet Our Research Leaders

Dr. David Grafton

David D. Grafton

Academic Dean & Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations

The Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton has been an educator in Muslim-Christian relations since 1985 and has years of practical experience in the contemporary interfaith and multifaith world as an ordained Protestant pastor and through living and teaching in Egypt. 

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Allison Norton

Allison Norton

Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life, Director of The Pastoral Innovation Network of New England

Dr. Allison Norton is the Faculty Associate in Migration Studies and Congregational Life at Hartford International University, where she directs the Pastoral Innovation Network of New England.

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Dr. Scott Thumma

Scott Thumma

Professor of Sociology of Religion


Dr. Scott Thumma is Professor of Sociology of Religion and director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford International University. He has published numerous research reports, website documents, articles, and chapters on religious life in addition to co-authoring three books, The Other 80 Percent, Beyond Megachurch Myths and Gay Religion.

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Featured Research

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Visiting Research Scholars Program

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Admission Information

Application Deadline
January 15, 2022

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Broaden your perspective. Deepen your ability to make a difference. Hartford International University programs prepare religious leaders and peacemakers who go beyond their own beliefs to embrace people of all faiths.

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