Ministry Studies

At HDS, we define ministry broadly: a call to serve others through traditional ordination, chaplaincy, non-profit leadership, doctoral work, and many other occupations. We prepare students in the arts of ministry in a multireligious, academically rigorous environment that fosters the skills and experience needed to enter a life of ministry, however defined.

Ministry at HDS

The education of learned ministers has been central to Harvard since its founding. Today, the members of the HDS student body reflect an extraordinary diversity of backgrounds and ambitions, and there is something in every field of study that can support ministry preparation.

Recognizing that the world is a religiously pluralistic place, students of many faith communities—and none—study side by side here in order to foster a greater understanding of their own traditions in the context of others. Interreligious engagement is key to our approach.

Ministry Studies By the Numbers 2020-2021


Master of Divinity Students



Denominations (approx - and many unaffiliated students)


Field Education Sites

Jewish polity class taught by a denominational counselor

Ordination Requirements

Different faith traditions have different requirements for ordination. Learn more:

Student preaching from a lectern

Field Education

Authentic training for the ministry must include both practical experience and reflection on that experience. The Field Education Program at HDS is built around guided learning experiences that integrate theory and practice to develop professional attitudes.

More about field education

Buddhist Ministry Initiative

The Buddhist Ministry Initiative at Harvard Divinity School trains future Buddhist religious professionals from around the world in terms appropriate to modern, global conditions and their own traditions.

More about the Buddhist Ministry Initiative

Buddhist monks studying at HDS, in the audience of a conference

Contact Ministry Studies

Location: Divinity Hall, 2d floor

Mailing address 
Office of Ministry Studies
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

Hours (academic year)
Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm



To request a meeting, please send a note to with your availability and a brief explanation of what you'd like to discuss.

Ministry Studies Staff

Dawn Sorensen

Office of Ministry Studies Staff Assistant
Divinity 218
p: 617.496.5711