Summer Language Program

June 13–August 4, 2016

Students studying Greek in the library: Steve Gilbert

Harvard Divinity School's Summer Language Program (SLP) is an eight-week, intensive program in language study designed specifically for the curriculum in theological and religious studies taught with a focus on translation and reading comprehension in the foreign language.

The SLP is unable to grant Student Visas/I-20s for international students.

The following languages are offered by our proven and outstanding language faculty:

Previous knowledge of the language is required for Classical Arabic, Intermediate Biblical Hebrew, and Intermediate New Testament and Hellenistic Greek. All courses cover the material and work (in quality and quantity) that are normally covered in a full course (or two half courses) during the academic year.

View the SLP Program flyer

The SLP supports the mission of HDS and the education of our students by allowing them the opportunity to engage in language study designed specifically for the curriculum in theology and religious studies. Summer language study enriches students' ongoing course work and grounds them for future work in academia and ministry. Students from other schools and even other countries travel to the SLP to take advantage of our high-quality instruction and our unique curricular strengths. Read an interview with the SLP director Karin Grundler-Whitacre

The program does not grant degrees. However, students who are admitted to an HDS degree program may count SLP courses toward the course requirements under the normal course restrictions of their program, including specific language study limitations.

Absence Policy

The Summer Language Program at the Harvard Divinity School is an intensive eight-week language program that covers the instructional material of two academic regular-year semesters. Therefore, each day of instruction in the SLP corresponds to a whole week of the regular-year instruction. We also want to be mindful for those students who take the SLP for credit that the spirit of the language requirement needs to be honored and not “shortened” by many absences from classes.

Due to the accelerated nature of the Summer Language Program, it is of paramount importance that students are present (and on time) for each day of instruction. Students are expected not to plan extended travel or other activities that would prevent them from attending class on a regular basis. More than two or three days of absence during the SLP may endanger the success of the student in the program. If an absence is absolutely unavoidable, students are expected to always communicate with the professor for their language course, preferably before the absence will occur.

If your summer plans require multiple, pre-planned absences during the Summer Language Program, it will be necessary to postpone your participation to the regular academic year, or to the following summer.

For more about the SLP and about HDS degree program language requirements, see pp. 68–72 of the Handbook for Students.

Mumps Advisory

As you may know, there has been an outbreak of mumps in many parts of the United States in the Harvard community. The number of cases has increased steadily in the last few weeks. As of May 10, 2016, there have been 58 positively identified cases at the university.

Dense social and public spaces where people are in close proximity can present an increased risk of contracting and spreading the infection. Therefore, we want to ensure that you are aware of this situation and allow you the opportunity to take any necessary precautions.

Individuals who have previously had mumps are considered immune to the virus. However, those who have been vaccinated for mumps—though much less likely to contract the virus—can still be infected.

Populations most at risk for infection or complications include the elderly, small children, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems, and those who have not been vaccinated. If you are unsure whether or not you have been vaccinated, you should contact your primary health care provider.

Harvard University Health Services has been working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Cambridge Public Health Department to track and monitor the situation. Harvard’s campus is open and life here continues largely unaffected.

We plan to go forward with all SLP activities and hope you will be able to join us. Those with questions or concerns about their risk of exposure are advised to consult their primary health care provider. For any concerns or questions, please email

 Full information is available from Harvard University Health Services.

Contact information

Contact the SLP at