The School's degree programs are designed to guide and shape students' theological education, while allowing significant flexibility within individual courses of study. A range of resources is provided to support and advise students in their academic planning.
The primary academic advising resource at HDS is the faculty adviser. The relationship between student and faculty adviser is meant to aid students in getting the most out of their program and is considered central to the educational experience at HDS. Students in each of the degree programs, as well as the Special Student program, will be assigned an adviser according to their area of interest. This faculty adviser assists with the planning of the student’s academic program, identifies resources for further consultation within the HDS and the University, and formally approves course selection. While students are only required to meet with their adviser a few times each year, faculty are also available through their regular office hours or by scheduling additional appointments.
Office of Ministry Studies
Students in the master of divinity program, and other students in field education, receive additional advising from the Office of Ministry Studies. This office assists students in selecting courses, choosing field education placements, and integrating their academic work through theological reflection. In addition, denominational counselors are available as a resource for those pursuing their HDS education in tandem with the ordination requirements of a variety of denominations.
Other sources of advising
Students may also consult with other appropriate faculty and administrative officers of the School. Many students find mentors among the visiting faculty and faculty from other Harvard Schools. Although these faculty are not official advisers, they provide guidance and advice to HDS students. For overall academic matters (e.g., advanced standing or dual degree requirements), students may seek the advice of the associate dean for faculty and curricular affairs. The Committee on Academic Programs also provides guidance regarding petitions for altering degree requirements or approval of special circumstances.