HDS Institutional Grants

Harvard Divinity School is committed to providing institutional grant funding to the widest range of students. The Office of Financial Aid provides available grant support to qualified candidates in the master of divinity (MDiv), master of theological studies (MTS), and doctor of religion (PhD) programs.

In order to make the HDS education affordable, the large majority of scholarship aid for MDiv and MTS candidates is awarded based on demonstrated financial need. We strongly encourage all MTS and MDiv students to apply for need-based financial aid.

The Admissions Committee determines merit-based awards, which represent about 10 percent of total institutional grants awarded each year. Merit awards generally include a full tuition grant and a modest stipend to assist with living expenses. Stipends are typically in the $8,000–$10,000 range. Merit awards are generally renewed from year to year providing that the student maintains satisfactory academic progress and remains in the original program he or she was admitted to.

Beginning with the admitted class of 2019–20, need-based awards will range from 75% tuition to full tuition. In addition to tuition grants, a small pool of stipend assistance will be offered to students with the highest levels of financial need.

Need based awards are reviewed every year and while they generally remain consistent for year two and/or three of the program they can vary because of changes in a student's resources or expenses. Please note that packaging policies are subject to change.

Funding for the ThD/PhD program is awarded strictly by merit.

Students in the master of theology (ThM) program who are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens may qualify for federal funds and/or private loans. HDS does not provide grant support for the ThM program. Special students are not eligible for institutional or federal aid.

Calculation of financial need

Each individual's financial need is calculated based on the information provided on the form(s) that make up the student's financial aid application. Financial aid awards may be subject to change if supplementary documentation (i.e., tax transcripts, bank statements, etc.) indicates significant changes from the information originally reported on the form. The "student contribution" derived from this calculation is then used to package grant dollars from HDS. This formula has been designed to provide an equitable system for the awarding of available institutional funds. Due to limited funding, HDS cannot guarantee to meet full need.

It is the student's responsibility to notify the Office of Financial Aid of any changes to his or her financial aid application, such as a change in marital status, change in household size, or receipt of outside gifts or awards. These changes may result in an adjustment to a student's award.

Grant support for MDiv and MTS candidates

Master's candidates may apply for grant support during the period in which they are being charged tuition. Students who extend their program beyond the necessary degree requirements are ineligible for institutional support. Students who extend their academic program but who are still within the necessary degree requirements should consult with the financial aid office to determine if they would be eligible to continue receiving grant support. Students receiving stipend support should note that stipends are provided only for the duration of the traditional length of their program (two years for the MTS and three years for the MDiv). United States citizens and permanent residents may apply for federal funds to assist with the added costs of extending their program.

Grant support for ThD/PhD candidates

HDS recently changed its doctoral designation from ThD to PhD in Religion. Those currently in the ThD program will continue to be candidates for the ThD; the first cohort of PhD candidates entered in fall 2015. This section pertains to both current ThD candidates and future PhD candidates.

Admitted PhD candidates will be sent their financial aid award by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

Students who began their program prior to the 2015–16 academic year will be packaged according to the policies at the time they entered.

Doctoral candidates are not typically eligible for federal funds during years one and two. In years three and beyond, students can apply for federal aid, but will be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for that academic year.

HDS Voices

Sonya Soni

HDS has given me, a Hindu and an aspiring physician, the freedom to study the intersection among global health, medical ethics, and interfaith mobilization. HDS is an institution not only for future theologians, but also for the world's next public servants who want to use spirituality and religion as tools for social change.
—Sonya Soni, MTS '12