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2024-25 Catalog


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The MDiv program includes:

  • Rigorous education in the religious traditions that shape the scholarly, spiritual, and practical dimensions of a vocation to ministry

  • The capacity to use the fundamental intellectual tools of the study of religion

  • Genuine reading competence in a scriptural language and/or a language of theological scholarship that allows for the lifelong use of that language in ministerial leadership and scholarly inquiry

  • Education in the arts of ministry pursued in both the classroom and the field

  • Significant learning in a religious tradition other than one’s own

  • Cultivation of the intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral agility that will enable graduates to move with skill, confidence, generosity, and grace across the complex and diverse religious, cultural, and moral spheres of modern society.

  • Ordained or lay ministry and leadership in congregations and other religious communities

  • Ministries in social service, hospital, and prison chaplaincy

  • Interfaith ministry on college campuses

  • Teaching and scholarship

  • Writing and journalism

  • Nonprofit management

  • Other careers in service to a just world at peace.

At HDS, there is almost no field of study that does not touch in some way upon ministry preparation. While the entire Faculty of Divinity is, in this sense, engaged in teaching ministry,  the Office of Ministry Studies (OMS) and the faculty members who work specifically in ministry studies provide a focal point for the MDiv program and its relation to professional ministry. 

Master of divinity students may declare a religious tradition they are studying at the beginning of their program; using that tradition as the foundation, with the advice of their advisor, they build a cohesive 24-course program. It is not required, however, that an MDiv student declare a religious tradition. In fact, many of our master of divinity students do not have any religious affiliation or identify with multiple spiritualities. 

  • Three years of full-time study

  • Twenty-four courses (96 units)

  • Completion of «Introduction to Ministry Studies,» «Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion,» and «Meaning Making—Thinking Theologically about Ministry Experience»

  • Two field education placements

  • Twelve courses within Histories, Theologies, and Practices and Scriptural Interpretation as follows:

    • Minimum of six courses within Histories, Theologies, and Practices, any mix of traditions

    • Minimum of three courses with Scriptural Interpretations, any mix of traditions

    • No more than nine courses total may be in the same tradition, or no tradition

  • Three semesters of a single language appropriate to the religious tradition of study

  • Completion of three Arts of Ministry

  • Completion of Senior Seminar and paper

  • Residency requirement: students must complete four courses each in two of their first three consecutive terms

  • «B» average must be maintained throughout the program

For additional requirements, policies, and details consult the HDS Handbook for Students and Field Education

Language Study—a distinctive difference


Language study at Harvard Divinity School is one of the highlights of many students’ experience. HDS offers instruction in several languages, including Pali, a written language of early Buddhism. Students may also choose from the extensive language offerings of Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Students are expected to address their language requirements as early in their programs as possible. 

MDiv students may meet the language requirement in one of two ways: 1) by completing the master of theological studies language competency requirement, or 2) by satisfactorily completing three semesters of study in one language relevant to their program through coursework at Harvard. 

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Maestría en Divinidades

Descubre el profundo significado detrás de las creencias y prácticas espirituales con nuestra Maestría en Divinidades. Sumérgete en el estudio multidisciplinario de la teología, la filosofía y la historia religiosa.



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