Visiting Scholars

The visiting scholar title and appointment is reserved for senior scholars (more than five years beyond the doctoral degree) who currently hold full-time academic appointments at other universities or institutions of higher learning.

A visiting scholar is considered an independent researcher and may not register for and take classes for credit. For information on how to audit classes (not for credit) at HDS, please consult the instructions on auditing.

All one-term appointments run from August 1 to December 31 or from January 1 to May 31 (with a minimum stay of at least three months). All full-year appointments begin August 1 and end May 31 of any given academic year. Extension of an appointment beyond 10 months is not allowed.

The deadline for visiting scholar applications is January 31 of each year for appointments commencing the following academic year. Scholars will be informed in early March about their acceptance and will receive an appointment letter.

This is an unpaid appointment.

How to apply

An application must contain the following:

  1. Current curriculum vitae;
  2. Description of research project;
  3. A signed statement or email message from a permanent member of the HDS faculty indicating his or her willingness to serve as a host while the candidate is at HDS; and
  4. For those seeking J-1 Visitor Visas, a Certification of English Language Proficiency to be completed by the sponsoring member of the HDS faculty (see Note for Faculty Sponsors: Certification of English Language Proficiency below).
  5. A completed Visiting Scholar/Postdoctoral Fellow Form Unsalaried Appointment.

Please also note that a visiting scholar appointment does not carry any financial support. This is an unpaid appointment. No assistance is available for housing, insurance, moving expenses, visa fees, research funding, office space, copying, clerical support, etc.

The appointment entitles the visiting scholar to a Harvard University ID card (which allows access to the Harvard University Libraries) for the duration of the appointment. Visiting scholars are cordially invited to attend all HDS community and public events. However, HDS is unable to offer courtesy library cards, or appointments, for any additional members of a scholar's family.

English language proficiency

Note for Faculty Sponsors: Certification of English Language Proficiency

Harvard Divinity School faculty members who are considering sponsoring a visiting scholar who will require a J-1 Visitor Visa should note that they will be required to confirm that the prospective visiting scholar’s English language skills are sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the environment that is required to complete their program, based on the following criteria:

  • Recognized English Language Test (i.e. TOEFL, IELTS);
  • Document from an academic institution or English language school;
  • In-person interview (conversation);
  • Videoconferencing/Skype;
  • Telephone Interview (if in-person or videoconferencing is not possible);
  • Transfer/Repeat Visitor (English language proficiency established in previous J-1 stay); and
  • Other criteria, to be described by the sponsoring faculty member.

Visiting Scholars 2015–16

  • Outi Lehtipuu
  • Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of Finland
  • Research Project: "Women and the Legacy of Paul"
  • Erman Gören
  • Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Istanbul, Turkey
  • Research Project: "The Synthesis of Apophatic and Kataphatic Theological Approaches"
  • Alexander Görlach
  • Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, The European
  • Research Project: "Religious Identities As Origin of Today’s Global Conflicts"
  • John H. Morgan
  • Karl Mannheim Professor of the History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Graduate Theological Foundation
  • Research Project: "The Spiritual Journey of a Solitary People: The Free Quakers of America"
  • Andrew Poe
  • Assistant Professor of Political Sciences at Amherst College
  • Research Project: "The Border of Enthusiasm"
  • Marie-Luise Raters
  • Professor in Applied Ethics, Normative Ethics, Didactics and Methods of Ethics, and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Research Project: "American Philosophy, Pluralism, and Ethics"

HDS Voices

HDS professor Jocelyn Cesari

Although secularism is expanding in many societies, religion will remain an important element of domestic and international politics. For this reason, it is crucial to educate a new generation of leaders who will be simultaneously proficient in sociology of religion and politics.
Jocelyne Cesari, Visiting Professor of Religion and Politics

Read an interview with Professor Cesari about Obama, ISIS, and the distribution of power in Iraq