MDiv Requirements

MDiv students may declare a religious tradition they are studying at the beginning of their program; using that tradition as the foundation, with the advice of their advisor, they build a cohesive 24-course program. It is not required, however, that an MDiv student declare a religious tradition.

Below are the basic requirements of the degree. Additional requirements, policies, and details of the below may be found in the HDS Handbook for Students and the Field Education Handbook.

  • Three years of full-time study
  • Twenty-four courses (96 units)
  • Completion of Introduction to "Ministry Studies and Theories," "Methods in the Study of Religion," and "Meaning Making—Thinking Theologically about Ministry Experience"
  • Two field education placements
  • Twelve courses within Histories, Theologies, and Practices and Scriptural Interpretation as follows:
    • Minimum of six courses within Histories, Theologies, and Practices, any mix of traditions
    • Minimum of three courses with Scriptural Interpretations, any mix of traditions
    • No more than 9 courses total may be in the same tradition, or no tradition
  • Three semesters of a single language appropriate to the religious tradition of study
  • Completion of three Arts of Ministry
  • Completion of Senior Seminar and paper
  • Residency requirement: students must complete four courses each in two of their first three consecutive terms
  • "B" average must be maintained throughout the program

Language requirement

The study of languages is considered an integral part of education in theological and religious studies at HDS. HDS offers instruction in several languages. Students are not limited to these languages, however, and are encouraged to consider the extensive offerings of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Students are expected to address their language requirements as early in their programs as possible.

MDiv students are required to satisfy a language course requirement by successfully completing three semesters of study in one language relevant to their program (three half-courses) through coursework at Harvard with a minimum passing grade in each course.

HDS Voices

Francis X. Clooney, S. J.

All of us share the challenge of moving from the very particular disciplines the academy and our religious traditions have taught us to the less certain postmodern places where particularity can again be more evident and potent, destabilizing our comfortable ways and making us think. But we need to enter upon this more general conversation without losing sight of the details and energy of profession and tradition that guided our research in the first place.
—Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology; Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions

Watch 'Studying Our Religions in the Particular and Meaning Something by It'