Academic Advising

Janet Gyatso teaching a seminar

The School's degree programs are designed to guide and shape students' theological education, while allowing significant flexibility within individual courses of study. A range of resources is provided to support and advise students in their academic planning.

Faculty adviser

The primary academic advising resource at HDS is the faculty adviser. The relationship between student and faculty adviser is meant to aid students in getting the most out of their program and is considered central to the educational experience at HDS. Students in each of the degree programs, as well as the Special Student program, will be assigned an adviser according to their area of interest. This faculty adviser assists with the planning of the student’s academic program, identifies resources for further consultation within the HDS and the University, and formally approves course selection. While students are only required to meet with their adviser a few times each year, faculty are also available through their regular office hours or by scheduling additional appointments.

Office of Ministry Studies

Students in the master of divinity program, and other students in field education, receive additional advising from the Office of Ministry Studies. This office assists students in selecting courses, choosing field education placements, and integrating their academic work through theological reflection. In addition, denominational counselors are available as a resource for those pursuing their HDS education in tandem with the ordination requirements of a variety of denominations.

Other sources of advising

Students may also consult with other appropriate faculty and administrative officers of the School. Many students find mentors among the visiting faculty and faculty from other Harvard Schools. Although these faculty are not official advisers, they provide guidance and advice to HDS students. For overall academic matters (e.g., advanced standing or dual degree requirements), students may seek the advice of the associate dean for faculty and curricular affairs. The Committee on Academic Programs also provides guidance regarding petitions for altering degree requirements or approval of special circumstances.

Other resources

In order to assist students connect with the varied scholarly resources available at the University, HDS contracted with Project Lever, a start-up founded by Harvard graduates. Project Lever is a program designed to allow students at HDS to search for faculty, research opportunities, and internal funding opportunities that match their research interests. The program is distinct in that it searches exclusively for internal opportunities at Harvard University. Through this search, students should be able to find and connect with faculty whose academic interests match their own. Please register to start using the tool at

HDS Voices

William A. Graham
William Graham

I envision a place where interfaith and cross-cultural understanding is always on a personal level and comes naturally rather than being an objective. By working on shared problems in the history and practice of religions, shoulder to shoulder with persons of different faiths, cultures, races, ethnicities, and viewpoints, one discovers most tangibly the common humanity shared with others very different from oneself.
—William A. Graham, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Member of the Faculty of Divinity


See Also