Summer Language Program 2021

Monday, June 14, to Thursday, August 5, 2021

German class at the HDS library

UPDATE: February 19, 2021

Thank you for your interest in the HDS Summer Language Program 2021.

Building on last year’s great success of the SLP 2020, we are delighted to announce that Harvard Divinity School’s Summer Language Program 2021 will again run synchronously and completely online (using Zoom) from Monday, June 14, to Thursday, August 5, 2021.

We are revising our admissions process and will likely post the new application system mid-February. Please also check back regarding updated tuition rates in mid-to-late February 2021.


Harvard Divinity School's Summer Language Program (SLP) has been in existence since 1960. It is an eight-week, intensive program in language study designed specifically for the curriculum in theological and religious studies taught with a focus on translation and reading comprehension in the foreign language. It has been conceived as an in-person, intensive language program, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision by HDS to move courses online as of mid-March 2020, the SLP ran synchronously online for the first time in the summer of 2020, and will again be held virtually in the summer of 2021.

The languages below are offered by our proven and outstanding language faculty during the SLP 2021:

Previous knowledge of the language is required for Classical Arabic, Intermediate Biblical Hebrew, and Intermediate New Testament and Hellenistic Greek. All courses cover the material and work (in quality and quantity) that are normally covered in a full course (or two half courses) during the academic year.

There are upper limits for class enrollments and once courses fill up, we cannot guarantee that students will be admitted into the course (unless other students cancel their participation before the start of the SLP).

Students may only select one language course in the SLP each year. It is not possible to take multiple languages during the SLP.

The SLP supports the mission of HDS and the education of our students by allowing them the opportunity to engage in language study designed specifically for the curriculum in theology and religious studies. Summer language study enriches students' ongoing course work and grounds them for future work in academia and ministry. Students from other schools and even other countries travel to the SLP to take advantage of our high-quality instruction and our unique curricular strengths. Read an interview with the SLP director Karin Grundler-Whitacre.

The program does not grant degrees. However, students who are admitted to an HDS degree program may count SLP courses toward the course requirements under the normal course restrictions of their program, including specific language study limitations.

Absence Policy

The Summer Language Program at the Harvard Divinity School is an intensive eight-week language program that covers the instructional material of two academic regular-year semesters. Therefore, each day of instruction in the SLP corresponds to a whole week of the regular-year instruction. We also want to be mindful for those students who take the SLP for credit that the spirit of the language requirement needs to be honored and not “shortened” by many absences from classes.

Due to the accelerated nature of the Summer Language Program, it is of paramount importance that students are present (and on time) for each day of instruction. Students are expected not to plan extended travel or other activities that would prevent them from attending class on a regular basis. More than two or three days of absence during the SLP may endanger the success of the student in the program. If an absence is absolutely unavoidable, students are expected to always communicate with the professor for their language course, preferably before the absence will occur.

If your summer plans require multiple, pre-planned absences during the Summer Language Program, it will be necessary to postpone your participation to the regular academic year, or to the following summer.

For more about the SLP and about HDS degree program language requirements, see pp. 68–72 of the Handbook for Students.


SLP Library Resources

Andover-Harvard Theological Library has a dedicated online area for SLP students.