Summer Language Program

Monday, June 15, to Thursday, August 6, 2020

Students studying Greek in the library: Steve Gilbert

UPDATE: March 31, 2020

We are delighted to announce that the Summer Language Program (SLP) at HDS will be offered online only, and for course credit in 2020. This year’s SLP is scheduled to take place from June 15, 2020, to August 6, 2020. The courses will be taught synchronous and according to Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

We continue to accept applications. Please be sure to enroll by May 8, 2020. After this initial deadline, we will know which languages will have sufficient enrollment to be offered this summer. If the language of your choice will be offered, students may continue to enroll in the course until June 11, 2020.

We hope that you will be part of this exciting summer language and learning opportunity this year!

Thanks to Dean Hempton, and the senior leadership team at HDS, for all their help and support in making this year’s online SLP possible!


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.

The SLP is unable to grant Student Visas/I-20s for international students.

The languages below are offered by our proven and outstanding language faculty:


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.

Students may enroll in SLP courses until June 15, 2020. However, please note that there are also 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.

Paying the application fee

The SLP is unable to accept electronic payments for application fees. Payments (via check or money order) must be mailed to the address provided below. Local students may also pay cash at the Registrar’s Office.

Once the Registrar’s Office receives the payment of your application fee, your SLP application submission will be considered complete.

Checks should be made payable to Harvard University and sent to:

Summer Language Program
c/o The Registrar’s Office
14 Divinity Avenue, Room 208
Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact information

Contact the SLP at


SLP Library Resources

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