How to Apply

Our Fall 2015 admissions application is available online. You may also request information to learn more about our admissions process, programs, and events.

HDS uses an online admissions application process. You must submit all of your required documents online.

The information provided here is a summary of the required application materials. For detailed instructions, please create an account and review the instructions published with the application.

Application materials

A completed application for the MDiv, MTS and ThM  programs consists of the following:

  • Online application form
  • Application fee of $75 or approved waiver (please note that in order to access the fee waiver request form, you must initiate an online application)
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Complete academic history with transcripts for all coursework taken for credit
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted electronically through our online application system)
  • Statement of purpose—1,000 words 
  • Essay—500 words (MDiv and MTS applicants only)
  • Unexpired GRE General Test or revised General Test scores or approved waiver; see below
  • TOEFL scores (required of some international applicants only)

A completed application for the PhD program consists of the following:

  • Online application form (available through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences)
  • Application fee of $105
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Complete academic history with transcripts for all coursework taken for credit
  • Abstract of courses
  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted electronically through the online application system)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample (manuscript, paper publication, etc.)
  • Unexpired GRE General Test
  • TOEFL scores (required of some international applicants only)

Please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website for additional PhD application instructions and details.

Watch a discussion about HDS admissions held during Theological Education Day 2013:

GRE and GRE waivers

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination General Test or revised General Test) is required for admission to all degree programs. There are no GRE waivers offered to the PhD program. However, applicants to the  MDiv, MTS, and ThM programs who have completed an advanced degree (e.g., MA, MS, MEd, MBA, JD) by the application deadline may waive the GRE scores requirement. This can be done through the Standardized Tests section of the online application, which allows applicants to certify possession of an advanced degree, and to indicate whether or not they are choosing to waive the GRE requirement.

Applicants who will be in the process of completing an advanced degree on the application deadline and wish to be considered for a GRE waiver should submit the GRE waiver request form for an individual review of their previous graduate work. (Please note that in order to access the GRE waiver request form, you must initiate an online application.) Requests for GRE waivers must be submitted as early as possible, leaving time for a response from the HDS Office of Admissions and for the applicant to complete the GRE before the application deadline if the GRE waiver is not granted.

Note that the Admissions Committee reviews all GRE scores received. This includes official GRE scores received for applicants who have been granted GRE waivers.

The HDS Admissions Committee encourages all applicants who qualify for a GRE waiver to think carefully about whether or not it would benefit their application to take the exam. While admissions decisions are based primarily on grades, essays, and recommendations, the Admissions Committee often finds GRE scores helpful for applicants whose grades do not reflect their true abilities, who are making a midcareer change from another field, who are returning to academic life after a long absence, or who have limited coursework in the humanities when compared to the rest of the applicant pool.

Preparing for your application

Careful planning will allow you to put forth a thoughtful, cohesive application. As you begin to prepare your materials, you may want to consider taking these initial steps: update your résumé or curriculum vitae, register and study for the GRE, write an initial draft of your statement of purpose, discuss your application plans with your recommendation providers, research outside scholarships and funding sources, and plan your finances early by learning more about the cost of attendance and financial aid available through HDS.

Applicants interested in the PhD program should review the Committee on the Study of Religion and Graduate School  of Arts and Sciences websites for preparation.

Annual Security Report and Annual Fire Safety Report availability

The University is required by federal law (The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), known as the “Clery Act”) to publish an Annual Security Report and an Annual Fire Safety Report.

The Harvard University Police Department publishes the Annual Security Report, entitled “Playing it Safe,” which includes information about the HUPD, how to report a crime, HUPD’s crime prevention programs, substance abuse, sensitive crimes, emergency notifications, and other important information about security and HUPD services on campus. It also contains three years of statistics on reported campus or campus-related crimes. A hard copy of “Playing it Safe” may be obtained by contacting the Harvard University Police Department at 1033 Massachusetts Avenue, 6th floor, Cambridge, MA 02138, (617) 495-9225.

The Harvard University Environmental Health and Safety Department publishes the Annual Fire Safety Report, which includes fire safety polices, evacuation procedures, and fire statistics. A hard copy of the Annual Fire Safety Report may be obtained by contacting Environmental Health and Safety Department at 46 Blackstone Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, (617) 496-7168.

The Annual Security Report, “Playing it Safe,” is available at www.hupd.harvard.edu/annual-security-report.

The Annual Fire Safety Report is available at www.ehs.harvard.edu/programs/higher-education-opportunity-act-heoa.