Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Admissions Committee look for in a statement of purpose?

The statement of purpose (1,000 words) is an integral part of the application and is evaluated with great care by the Admissions Committee. It should include your general background (education, work experience, volunteer work, and/or relevant personal experience) and how this background has prepared you for graduate theological study, specifically at Harvard Divinity School (HDS). It should also include your vocational or career objectives and why you believe your desired program at HDS will aid you in achieving those objectives.

How will I know if you have received my application materials?

Once your application has been submitted, you will be able log back into the online application to see the status of your application and to track our office’s receipt of your supporting documents and recommendations. Due to the high volume of applications we receive each year, please know that it may take several days for us to process your materials and update your online application.

Per our institutional policy, the Office of Admissions cannot confirm receipt of your application materials via phone or email. Applicants can verify our office’s receipt of materials by logging into Read more about How will I know if you have received my application materials?

When will I find out my admission decision?

Your admission decision will be available online in mid-March. At the time of decision release, you will receive an email alerting you that your applicant status page has been updated. All applicants will be notified of their status at the same time.

What is your deferment policy?

Deferments are rarely granted, and 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 institutional code for HDS? (Applies to both GRE and TOEFL)

Our HDS Institution Code is 3433. Once you are ready to send your scores, please provide this code to ETS. Otherwise, our office will not receive them. Please note, if we receive multiple sets of scores from you before the application deadline, the Admissions Committee will consider all scores received.

May I request a fee waiver?

If you are experiencing an economic hardship that prevents you from paying the $75 application fee, you may request a fee waiver. Please contact the Office of Admissions at 617.495.5796 or to request access to the form. Application fee waivers are subject to approval.