Learning Support

Students in Rockefeller Hall classroom

There is no one typical HDS student. Each cohort of students is made of individuals with a variety of academic and professional experience and the rigors of the HDS classroom can be particularly challenging, especially for students who are coming back to school, changing disciplines, or are non-native English speakers and writers. The Office of Student Life coordinates learning resources and support services that are flexible and designed to meet the varied needs of our student population. For referral to any of the available services, a student may set up a consultation appointment with the assistant dean for student affairs, Steph Gauchel.

Graduate Student Learning Support (GSLS)


GSLS is a program available to students in Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Law School, the Graduate School of Design, Harvard Business School, and the School of Public Health, and is designed to assist students with academic and learning concerns. These concerns may include, but are not limited to, struggles learning new material, reading comprehension, time management, and writing or test-taking difficulties. Through a referral by Steph Gauchel, assistant dean for student affairs, HDS students may meet with a GSLS Learning Specialist.

Referral may also be available for a neuropsychological screening with our GSLS Neuropsychologist, Dr. Sara Hoffschmidt. Sometimes students come to HDS having previously been diagnosed with a learning disability and with experience with accommodations and learning strategies. Sometimes it is during a student’s graduate studies where problems may surface that ultimately lead to diagnosis of a learning disability, as well as subsequent treatment and counseling. Dr. Sara Hoffschmidt does not conduct a full neuropsychological test, but can conduct a neuropsychological screening to help establish a baseline sense as to whether or not there are any underlying issues for a student and, if so, what accommodations are recommended. Students must meet with Steph Gauchel, assistant dean for student affairs, to assess needs and get a referral for a neuropsychological screening.


HDS Voices

Francis X. Clooney, S. J.

All of us share the challenge of moving from the very particular disciplines the academy and our religious traditions have taught us to the less certain postmodern places where particularity can again be more evident and potent, destabilizing our comfortable ways and making us think. But we need to enter upon this more general conversation without losing sight of the details and energy of profession and tradition that guided our research in the first place.
—Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology; Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions

Watch 'Studying Our Religions in the Particular and Meaning Something by It'