How to Apply

The online application for entrance in fall 2020 is no longer available as the admissions deadline has passed. Current applicants may log in to their application.


New applicants, please check back on our website in late summer/early fall for the 2021 online application for admission.


Applicants interested in the PhD program in religion should contact Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences directly.

Each year the Admissions Committee seeks to build a class with a range of interests, experience, and preparation. There is no single formula or profile for admission to HDS. Successful applicants come from a wide range of academic, professional, and cultural backgrounds. Although the admissions process at HDS is highly selective, each application is carefully reviewed by the Admissions Committee to evaluate the fit between the goals, academic record, and experience of the applicant and the resources available at HDS.

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PhD application

The PhD program is jointly offered with the Committee on the Study of Religion. Visit the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website for both the application and comprehensive information about admissions requirements.

Application materials

A completed application for the MDiv, MTS, and ThM programs consists of the following:

  1. Online application form
  2. Application fee of $25 or approved waiver (please note that in order to access the fee waiver request form, you must initiate an online application)
  3. Résumé or curriculum vitae
  4. Complete academic history with transcripts for all coursework taken for credit
  5. Three letters of recommendation (submitted electronically through our online application system)
  6. Statement of purpose—1,000 words
  7. Writing sample—1,000–1,500 words
  8. TOEFL or IELTS scores (required of some international applicants only; see instructions)
  9. Optional: GRE General Test Scores

Changes for the 2020–21 application

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination General Test) is no longer required for admission to our degree programs. Applicants may submit GRE scores if they feel it would be a beneficial component to their application.

We are now requiring an Academic Writing Sample (maximum length 1,000–1,500 words). This writing sample should show your best academic writing abilities and can be uploaded directly into the online application. This requirement replaces the previous essay component of the application.

Preparing for your application

Careful planning will allow you to put forth a thoughtful, cohesive application. As you begin to prepare your materials, you may want to consider taking these initial steps: update your résumé or curriculum vitae, register and study for the GRE, write an initial draft of your statement of purpose, discuss your application plans with your recommendation providers, research outside scholarships and funding sources, and plan your finances early by learning more about the cost of attendance and financial aid available through HDS.

Applicants interested in the PhD program should review the Committee on the Study of Religion and Graduate School  of Arts and Sciences websites for preparation.

HDS Voices

Shauntae Monique Smith

Giving is one of the greatest opportunities the world affords. If you’ve contributed to The HDS Fund in the past, thank you for helping make this education possible for me. I encourage you now to support students as much as you’re able, which I plan to do as a new alumna. The gift of an HDS education keeps on giving.
—Shauntae Monique Smith, MDiv '11; youth director, Crown Ministries International

More about giving to HDS