Admissions & Aid: Admissions Process

Is there a waitlist for all programs?

At times, there can be a short waitlist for the MDiv and MTS degree programs.  While applicants will receive notice if they are on the waitlist when decisions are released in mid-March, please note that HDS cannot provide information on waitlist length or an applicant’s position. 

Does HDS require interviews during the admissions process?

An interview is required for admission to our four graduate degree programs (MDiv, MTS, MRPL, and ThM). Select candidates will be invited to a 15-minute, virtual interview with a member of the HDS Admissions staff. Invitations and more information about the interview process will be provided to applicants starting in late January/early February. Please note that an interview invitation does not guarantee admission to our degree programs. All official decisions will be released in mid-March.

What is your deferment policy?

We expect applicants to apply for the academic year in which they intend to enroll. However, occasionally an admitted student encounters a family emergency or change of circumstances, and we grant deferments on a case-by-case basis.

What is the admissions timeline?

Harvard Divinity School has a single annual application cycle for fall enrollment. Each year, our application is available in mid-September, and the application deadline is in early January. All decisions will be released via our online system in mid-March. Admitted students will receive their financial aid information within 24 hours of their admissions decision, if they applied for need-based aid.

What is the reapplication process?

Applicants may reapply for admission to HDS. Applicants that have applied to HDS within the past three years may elect to reuse up to three letters of recommendation from their previous application. Please find more information on this process, including a Letter of Recommendation Reuse form, in the application instructions within the HDS online application for admission. If you submit this form, please do not submit your application for admission until you have received a response from HDS Admissions.

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How can I show I’m a competitive applicant for HDS’ degree programs?

Our successful applicants demonstrate their ability to do graduate theological study in a variety of ways, and the Admissions Committee honors that through our holistic admissions process. Alongside applicants’ past academic and test performance, the Committee will consider applicants’ writing skills, letters of recommendation, and professional and life experience. We review each application carefully, giving applicants of all backgrounds the opportunity to use the various components of the application to make a case for their academic success at HDS.

Can I apply as a part-time student?

All HDS degree programs are intended to be completed by students on a full-time schedule.

Should an incoming student find themselves in extraordinary extenuating circumstances, they may petition to complete their program on a part-time basis.

For more detailed information, please consult page 47 of the HDS Handbook for Students.

When should I start preparing for the application process?

Once you have decided that HDS is one of the graduate schools to which you would like to apply, you can begin preparing immediately, even before the online application is available each fall. Update your résumé or curriculum vitae (CV), write an initial draft of your statement of purpose, discuss your application plans with your recommendation providers, review our application deadlines and policies, and consider researching ...

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