Field Education

Field Education placement

Authentic training for the ministry must include both practical experience and reflection on that experience. The Field Education Program at HDS is built around guided learning experiences that integrate theory and practice to develop professional attitudes.

We invite students to cultivate their theological imagination within a structured learning experience in which they can explore their own unique call to ministry. Students develop technical skills in the art of ministry while they reflect theologically on what they are learning and experiencing. The Field Education Program fosters intellectual, ministerial, and personal growth.

Through field education students become reflective practitioners integrating theoretical perspectives with the practical experience they gain in ministry settings.

In our Field Education Program students direct their own learning, using their imagination and creativity to find the appropriate settings for their educational and vocational goals. Approximately 100 accredited field education sites are affiliated with HDS and are open to master of divinity (MDiv) and master of theological studies (MTS) students. These sites include parishes, educational institutions, community-based social justice agencies, hospitals, and other health care institutions. If these sites do not meet students' particular needs, students may seek out and propose their own field placements.

Two units of field education are required of MDiv students, and students are encouraged to participate from the moment they step on campus. By identifying a field placement in the first year, students can begin immediately integrating theory with experiential learning.

Field education at Harvard Divinity School is part of the broader context of the Office of Ministry Studies, which provides a focal point for the MDiv program and its links to professional ministry. Please see the Field Education Handbook and the HDS Handbook for Students for Field Education Program and MDiv degree details and requirements.

For information regarding compensation and using Federal Work-Study funds for field education, please see the Field Education Handbook.

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'