Admissions & Financial Aid

Harvard Divinity School attracts a talented and diverse student body who prepare for lives of leadership, ministry, and scholarship.

Why HDS?

Students come to HDS because they are passionate about theological or religious study and ministry preparation and wish to explore this passion in a pluralistic community within the context of a wider university. They study both with Harvard's Faculty of Divinity—which includes some of the most distinguished scholars of religion and practitioners of ministry in the world—and with faculty from other areas of the University. HDS students enjoy access to all of Harvard University's libraries and to courses and resources at the other Schools at Harvard and at the Boston Theological Institute.

A rewarding career

HDS graduates go on to a wide variety of professions and vocations, including ordained and lay ministry; chaplaincy; higher education teaching and research; public and private secondary education; community development, advocacy, and human services; management and consulting, especially nonprofit; public policy, law, conflict resolution, and mediation; the arts, publishing, communications, and media.

Applying to HDS

Our 2016 Graduate Admissions Application is now available. Please start your application today.  We are no longer accepting applications for our 2015 Diversity and Explorations Program.

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Here, one of our graduates discusses her path to a career through HDS:

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HDS offers four degree programs that allow for a flexible curriculum in a rigorous academic environment:

  • The three-year master of divinity program combines academic work with field education and preparation in the arts of ministry.
  • The two-year master of theological studies program constitutes a master’s degree in religion and includes 18 areas of focus, ranging from Asian religions to Hebrew Bible to religion, ethics, and politics.
  • The master of theology program provides a year of advanced theological studies for those seeking additional competence beyond the master of divinity degree.
  • The PhD in Religion degree program prepares scholars for teaching and research in their specialized fields. The PhD is overseen by the CSR, jointly staffed by FAS and HDS.

HDS also offers several nondegree options for those interested in joining the community for a period of time without earning a degree. Below are two options we would like to highlight:

  • Special student program: Designed for individuals who have obtained a bachelor’s degree and who wish to take courses for credit that could possibly be used toward completion of a degree program at a later date
  • Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Scholars: Provides an opportunity for students from Asian countries to study Buddhist ministry at HDS


HDS uses selection criteria aimed at admitting a class that represents a wide range of academic interests, personal experiences and aspirations, and diversity in age, gender, religion, geographic region, race and ethnicity, and academic background.

Diversity and Explorations is an HDS initiative intended to interest students underrepresented in the graduate study of religion, ministry, and theology.

Financial aid

In the spirit of Harvard University's commitment to assuring broader access to its educational resources, HDS provides financial aid to all students who demonstrate financial need.

Learn more