HDS Visiting Scholars

The visiting scholar title and appointment is reserved for senior scholars (more than five years beyond the doctoral degree) who currently hold full-time academic appointments at other universities or institutions of higher learning.

A visiting scholar is considered an independent researcher and may not register for and take classes for credit. For information on how to audit classes (not for credit) at HDS, please consult the instructions on auditing.

All one-term appointments run from August 1 to December 31 or from January 1 to May 31 (with a minimum stay of at least three months). All full-year appointments begin August 1 and end May 31 of any given academic year. Extension of an appointment beyond 10 months is not allowed.

The deadline for visiting scholar applications is January 31 of each year for appointments commencing the following academic year. Scholars will be informed in early March about their acceptance and will receive an appointment letter.

This is an unpaid appointment.

How to apply

An application must contain the following:

  1. Current curriculum vitae;
  2. Description of proposed research project (including a timetable);
  3. Two letters of recommendation from members of the applicant's doctoral committee;
  4. Doctoral studies transcript showing the completion date of the doctorate (if this is not available at the time of application, it must be submitted before the start date of the appointment, or the appointment will be revoked);
  5. A signed statement or email message from a permanent member of the HDS faculty indicating his or her willingness to supervise the applicant's project while he or she is at HDS; and
  6. For those seeking J-1 Visitor Visas, a Certification of English Language Proficiency (PDF) to be completed by the sponsoring member of the HDS faculty sponsor (see Note for Faculty Sponsors: Certification of English Language Proficiency below).
  7. A completed Visiting Scholar/Postdoctoral Fellow Form for Unsalaried Appointment (PDF)
  8. Please put all the information into an email and send it to academicaffairs@hds.harvard.edu.
  9. Your recommenders may also send their letters of recommendation to academicaffairs@hds.harvard.edu.

Please also note that a visiting scholar appointment does not carry any financial support. This is an unpaid appointment. No assistance is available for housing, insurance, moving expenses, visa fees, research funding, office space, copying, clerical support, etc.

The appointment entitles the visiting scholar to a Harvard University ID card (which allows access to the Harvard University Libraries) for the duration of the appointment. Visiting scholars are cordially invited to attend all HDS community and public events. However, HDS is unable to offer courtesy library cards, or appointments, for any additional members of a scholar's family.

For further questions, and/or inquiries, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs.

English language proficiency

Note for Faculty Sponsors: Certification of English Language Proficiency

Harvard Divinity School faculty members who are considering sponsoring a visiting scholar who will require a J-1 Visitor Visa should note that they will be required to confirm that the prospective visiting scholar’s English language skills are sufficient to function on a day-to-day basis in the environment that is required to complete their program, based on the following criteria:

  • Recognized English Language Test (i.e. TOEFL, IELTS);
  • Document from an academic institution or English language school;
  • In-person interview (conversation);
  • Videoconferencing/Skype;
  • Telephone Interview (if in-person or videoconferencing is not possible);
  • Transfer/Repeat Visitor (English language proficiency established in previous J-1 stay); and
  • Other criteria, to be described by the sponsoring faculty member.

Visiting Scholars 2022–23

Susan Farist Butler

Susan Farist Butler, Co-Principal Investigator at the Laboratory for Probabilistic Reasoning Psychology Department at Tufts University, advocates for climate stability, from adopting early innovation to engaging community in changing our ways. Her academic work in experimental psychology of judgment and decision-making and her work as a nurse clinical specialist inform her advocacy and her work for the environment. Her projects are:

  • Explore Climate and Morality in readings of contemporary and historical theology and thought.
  • Continue evaluation of the risks and ethics of climate stabilization methodologies.
  • Write short climate essays addressing the challenges presented by the climate disequilibrium, and the morality inherent in the choices we face.
  • Continue research on Rev. John Bishop (Balliol College Oxford, AB 1632, AM 1635) including his work as Minister, Stamford CT, 1644-1694 and his sermons preserved at Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale. Consider and write on the current state of the earth in light of his work and his vision.

Paul Conn

Paul Conn’s research project is titled “Breaking Away: Political and Spiritual Desatellization in Evangelical College Students.” Drawing on his academic background in developmental psychology, and his professional life as president of a faith-based college, Conn will be looking at the ways in which students from evangelical families do, or do not, establish patterns of faith different from those of their families, and the influences which push them into new social and political orbits.

Anthony Pinn

Anthony Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities, Rice University, and a visiting scholar at HDS for the academic year 2022-23. For more information about Professor Pinn, his research, works, and scholarship, please visit the Rice website.

Joi Carr

Joi Carr is Professor of English & Film, Film Program Director, Humanities/Teacher Education Division, Pepperdine/Seaver College and a visiting scholar at HDS for the academic year 2022-23. Professor Carr will be working on the Codex Charles H. Long Papers Project. For more information about Professor Carr, her research, works, and scholarship, please visit the Pepperdine website.

Raymond Carr

Raymond Carr will be a Visiting Scholar at HDS for the academic year 2022-23. Professor Carr will be working on the Codex Charles H. Long Papers Project. For more information about Professor Carr, his research, works, and scholarship, please visit his website.