Frequently Asked Questions

What is the reapplication process?

Applicants may apply for admission to HDS up to three times, regardless of the program or combination of programs. Applicants that have submitted an application to HDS within the past three years may elect to reuse some materials from their previous application. Please review the reapplication process for details.

Is there a language requirement for admission?

There is no formal language requirement for admission. However, it is recommended that each applicant have at least an elementary knowledge of a language that is (normally and preferably) relevant to his or her area of focus, because intermediate-level reading proficiency in a language is required prior to graduation.

I'm an international student. Do I have to take the TOEFL/IELTS and the GRE?

Applicants must submit official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores when their native language is not English or when their baccalaureate is not from an institution where English is the sole language of instruction.

If you have any questions regarding this requirement, please contact the Office of Admissions at

The GRE is required for all applicants to our degree programs. However, GRE waivers are granted to MDiv, MTS, and Read more about I'm an international student. Do I have to take the TOEFL/IELTS and the GRE?

What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score?

As a condition of admission, all international applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL or IELTS. This requirement can be waived for those who attended an undergraduate institution where English was the sole language of instruction. Those who are unsure whether they qualify to waive the requirement are advised to contact the HDS Office of Admissions to verify.

Applicants for the following programs: MDiv, MTS Read more about What is the minimum TOEFL/IELTS score?

I've heard that Harvard has very strict admissions requirements. If my grades and test scores aren’t perfect, is it worth it to apply?

Of course! 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.

What is the minimum GPA requirement? What is the minimum GRE score?

We do not have a minimum GPA (grade point average) or minimum GRE score requirement. We review each application holistically, with the knowledge that successful HDS students possess strengths that can manifest themselves in different arenas. The various components of the application are intended to allow you to demonstrate, in a variety of ways, your academic preparation to engage in graduate-level theological study at Harvard Divinity School.

Can I take the GRE multiple times? If you receive multiple scores from me, how will you determine which ones to consider for my application?

When possible, we suggest that you prepare and take the GRE only once. If you choose to take the GRE a second or third time after ETS has sent us an official GRE score report, it is possible that the Admissions Committee will complete its review of your application before the additional scores arrive. If we receive multiple sets of scores from you before the application deadline, the Admissions Committee will consider all scores received. Please note that GRE scores are only valid for five years after your test date.

When should I start preparing for the application process?

As early as possible! 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), study for the GRE, 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 Read more about When should I start preparing for the application process?

Does HDS require interviews during the admissions process?

We do not require or offer interviews for applicants. However, we recommend that applicants visit HDS to get to know our academic and community life. For those who are not able to travel to Cambridge, we offer phone information and virtual information sessions. During the fall, we also travel all over the United States to meet with prospective students. Check our Read more about Does HDS require interviews during the admissions process?