HDS Institutional Grants

Harvard Divinity School is committed to providing institutional grant funding to the widest range of students. The Office of Financial Aid provides available grant support to qualified candidates in the master of divinity (MDiv), master of theological studies (MTS), and doctor of religion (PhD) programs. In order to make the HDS education affordable, the large majority of scholarship aid for MDiv and MTS candidates is awarded based on demonstrated financial need. We strongly encourage all MTS and MDiv students to apply for need-based financial aid. The Admissions Committee determines merit-based awards, which represent about 20 percent of total institutional grants awarded each year. Funding for the ThD program is awarded strictly by merit. Merit awards are generally renewed from year to year providing that the student maintains satisfactory academic progress and remains in the original program he or she was admitted to. Need-based awards are reviewed every year and may vary because of changes in a student's resources or expenses, increased overall demands on the financial aid budget, or changes in institutional or federal financial aid policy. Please note that packaging policies are subject to change.

Students in the master of theology (ThM) program who are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens may qualify for federal funds and/or private loans. HDS does not provide grant support for the ThM program. Special students are not eligible for institutional or federal aid.

Calculation of financial need

Each individual's financial need is calculated based on the information provided on the form(s) that make up the student's financial aid application. Financial aid awards may be subject to change if supplementary documentation (i.e., tax transcripts, bank statements, etc.) indicates significant changes from the information originally reported on the form. The "student contribution" derived from this calculation is then used to package grant dollars from HDS. This formula has been designed to provide an equitable system for the awarding of available institutional funds. Due to limited funding, HDS cannot guarantee to meet full need.

It is the student's responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any changes to his or her financial aid application, such as a change in marital status, change in household size, or receipt of outside gifts or awards. These changes may result in an adjustment to a student's award.

Grant support for MDiv and MTS candidates

Master's candidates may apply for grant support during the period in which they are being charged tuition. Students who extend their program beyond the necessary degree requirements are ineligible for institutional support. Students who extend their academic program but who are still within the necessary degree requirements should consult with the financial aid office to determine if they would be eligible to continue receiving grant support. Students receiving stipend support should note that stipends are provided only for the duration of the traditional length of their program (two years for the MTS and three years for the MDiv). United States citizens and permanent residents may apply for federal funds to assist with the added costs of extending their program.

Grant support for ThD/PhD candidates

(Note: HDS recently changed its doctoral designation from ThD to PhD in Religion. Those currently in the ThD program will continue to be candidates for the ThD; the first cohort of PhD candidates will enter in fall 2015. This note pertains to both current ThD candidates and future PhD candidates.)

Awards to doctoral students are made solely on the basis of academic merit, and doctoral applicants are not required to apply for financial aid. Beginning with the class entering in 2013-14, the packaging policy for ThD candidates will be as follows:

  • Admitted applicants will receive an award package of full tuition and fees and an academic year stipend of $26,020 (2014-15 rates) for years one and two of the program.
  • During the third through fifth years of their program, doctoral students will continue to receive the award package of full tuition and fees if they maintain satisfactory academic progress. Stipend support during the academic year will not be available after the second year. In years three and four, after academic year stipends are no longer available, students are eligible for teaching fellowships. Students are guaranteed two sections per semester. If a student is offered two sections and opts to not teach or teach only one section, the student would not receive the full guaranteed teaching income for four sections of $26,020.
  • No institutional grant support will be available after the fifth year.
  • Students will also receive four summers of a research stipend.
  • Students are entitled to a one year Dean's Dissertation Fellowship completion grant. Students may apply for this grant after their prospectus has been approved. Many students will choose to use this funding for their sixth year. The amount of the grant will be equivalent to the living stipend that the student received in year three. Tuition and Health insurance are also covered in the dissertation year.

Students who began their program prior to the 2013-14 academic year will be packaged according to the policies at the time they entered.

Doctoral candidates are not typically eligible for federal funds during years one and two. In years three and beyond, students can apply for federal aid, but will be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for that academic year.