Frequently Asked Questions

Can I apply as a part-time student?

All applicants apply and are admitted as full-time students. However, if a change in circumstances prohibits full-time enrollment before entering the program, a student may submit a petition to the Admissions Committee for part-time status.

Is there a language requirement for admission?

There is no formal language requirement for admission. However, it is recommended that each applicant have at least an elementary knowledge of a language that is (normally and preferably) relevant to his or her area of focus, because intermediate-level reading proficiency in a language is required prior to graduation.

I'm an international student. Do I have to take the TOEFL and the GRE?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all applicants whose native language is not English. You are not required to submit TOEFL scores if you completed your baccalaureate degree at an institution where the sole language of instruction is English.

Please note the GRE is required for all applicants to our degree programs. However, GRE waivers are granted to MDiv, MTS, and ThM applicants who hold advanced degrees. Please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@hds.harvard.edu if you have a previous advanced degree and would like to learn more about the process of requesting a GRE waiver.

What is the minimum TOEFL score?

As a condition of admission, international applicants whose native language is not English must show evidence of proficiency in the English language. If your first language is not English, you must take the TOEFL unless English was the sole language of instruction for your undergraduate institution where you received your baccalaureate degree.

Applicants for the following programs: MDiv, MTS, Special Student, and Ho Family Foundation Scholars must receive a score of 100 or higher on the internet-based exam (600 or higher on the paper-based test).

Applicants for the ThM program must receive a score of 105 or higher on the internet-based exam (620 or higher on the paper-based test).

I've heard that Harvard has very strict admissions requirements. Can I apply even if I don’t have a 4.0 GPA and perfect GRE scores?

Of course! Our successful applicants demonstrate their ability to do graduate theological study in a variety of ways, including their writing, letters of recommendation, grades, and professional and life experience. We review each application holistically, giving you the opportunity to use the various components of the application to make a case for your academic success at HDS.

What is the minimum GPA requirement? What is the minimum GRE score?

We do not have a GPA (grade point average) minimum or a minimum GRE score. We review each application holistically. The various components of the application are intended to allow you to demonstrate, in a variety of ways, your academic preparation to engage in graduate-level theological study at Harvard Divinity School.

Can I take the GRE multiple times? If you receive multiple scores from me, how will you determine which ones to consider for my application?

When possible, we suggest that you prepare and take the GRE once. If you choose to take the GRE a second or third time after ETS has sent us an official GRE score report, it is possible that the Admissions Committee will complete its review of your application before the additional scores arrive. If we receive multiple sets of scores from you before the application deadline, the Admissions Committee will consider all scores received. Remember, GRE scores are only valid for five years.

When should I start preparing for the application process?

As early as possible! Once you have decided that HDS is one of the graduate schools where you would like to apply, you can begin immediately by: updating your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV), studying for the GRE, writing an initial draft of your statement of purpose, discussing your application plans with your recommendation providers, reviewing our application deadlines and policies, and researching outside scholarships and funding sources. Careful planning with respect to deadlines will allow you to put forth a thoughtful, cohesive application. You can find our online application and a complete list of application requirements on the How to Apply page. Once you create an online account, you can review the detailed application instructions, begin the process of applying for admission, and complete the rest of the application requirements.