Ministers in the Vicinity

Ministers, pastors, priests, rabbis, and others who are engaged in full-time ministry, hold a theological degree, and live within 50 miles of HDS may be permitted to register and receive academic credit for a limited number of courses, paying tuition at half the normal rate. Such students may take up to four half courses within four years of admission and, if admitted subsequently to a degree program such as the master of theology, may petition to have their courses credited toward that degree.

Please bear in mind that Minister in the Vicinity candidates are limited to enrollment in Divinity School courses only and are not eligible for financial aid. In some cases, registration may be restricted to certain designated HDS courses. Ministers in the Vicinity may not cross-register at the other Schools of Harvard University or the Boston Theological Interreligious Consortium.

The Registrar's Office administers the admissions process for the Minister in the Vicinity program. Applicants to the program should submit the Ministers in the Vicinity application. There is a one-time $30 application fee.

Fees for the 2019–20 academic year are:

  • for a class taken for credit, $1,858 (or half the per-course cost)
  • for a class being audited, $275 (or half the audit fee)

Minister in the Vicinity students will need to have their study cards signed by a faculty member of the Office of Ministry Studies in time to hand-deliver the study cards to the Registrar's Office. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for study card deadlines.

For further information, please email the Registrar's Office or call 617.495.5760.

HDS Voices

Michael D. Jackson

I think all art struggles with the same problem that any form of discursive, scientific, or explanatory writing struggles with, namely, how much is being illuminated by the work, and how much is being obscured, betrayed, or left in the dark. It's very difficult to work out when the right balance has been struck.
—Michael D. Jackson, Distinguished Visiting Professor of World Religions

'Doing Justice to Life': A Conversation with Michael D. Jackson