Admissions Frequently Asked Questions
What year was YDS founded?
Training for the Christian ministry was a primary purpose when Yale College was founded in 1701. As expressed in the original charter it was to be a school “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences who through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment in both Church & Civil State.” In 1746 a professorship of divinity was established through the efforts of President Thomas Clap. By 1822 this had developed into a separate department, later it officially became Yale Divinity School. The degree of Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) was first conferred in 1867. The B.D was replaced by the M.Div in 1971. Berkeley Divinity School partnered with Yale in 1971 and the Institute of Sacred Music became an affiliate in 1973.
Is there an application deadline?
Yes. The priority filing deadline is January 15 and the standard deadline will be February 1. All suppporting documents should be received by February 1. Decision letters are mailed on March 15.
Is an application fee required and if so, how much?
Yes, an application fee is required of all applicants and can be paid online using a credit card. This year applicants who submit their application by January 15, the fee will be $50, if submitted after that date (Jan. 16 through Feb. 1) the fee will be $75.
What credentials must be submitted to properly file an application?
The application must be complete in order to be properly filed through our online system. It includes: a completed online application, personal statement, writing sample, transcripts of all previous academic work (both graduate and undergraduate), three letters of recommendation, IELTS test scores for those whom English is a second language (minimum score of 7), and the application fee.
Are GRE scores required?
No, GRE scores are not required. We do not consider them when reading applications.
Must the applicant have majored in religion or theology as an undergraduate student?
No. Many of our applicants come to YDS with backgrounds in religious studies, scripture, theology, or pre-ministry, but it is not a requirement. It is suggested that applicants have a strong background in the liberal arts, namely philosophy, english, history, or religion/theology. The coursework at YDS is rigorous and in order for the admissions committee to accurately evaluate a candidate’s ability to succeed here academically evidence of success in liberal arts coursework is essential. Applicants should also possess strong writing and critical thinking skills.
Can a student enroll in the spring semester?
No. YDS does not offer January admissions.
What are the transfer admissions requirements?
Transfer students complete the same admissions process as first time applicants. Transfer credits will not be evaluated until the student has successfully completed at least one term at YDS.
Does YDS offer any joint degree programs with other Yale schools or programs?
Yes. YDS participates in joint degree programs with the following professional schools at Yale: Forestry, Management, Epidemiology and Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, and Law. YDS also has a joint MDiv/MSW through the Wurtzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University and the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut.
What degree programs are offered?
YDS offers the Master of Divinity (MDiv), the Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MAR), and the Master of Sacred Theology (STM).
Is an internship required?
Students in the Master of Divinity program are required to complete two consecutive terms of a full-or part-time Supervised Ministries component in church, social, educational, or clinical ministry with supervision, or a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).
Are academic scholarships offered?
Yes, a variety of need based and merit based scholarships are offered. Right now YDS offers full tuition scholarships and a modest living allowance to a small number of students through the Marquand Scholarship Program. Marquand scholars are selected during the admissions process for having proven past academic success and the potential for future successes at YDS. An equal number of top candidates in both the MAR and MDiv program are offered this full tuition award. The Nickerson Scholarship program provides full tuition scholarships and a small living allowance to anywhere from one to three superior candidates in the MDiv program who intend on pursuing ordained ministry. And the William Sloane Coffin Scholarship is given yearly to one student who demonstrates the wonderful attributes of the former Yale chaplain. Recipient should express an interest in carrying on Rev. Coffin’s mission in social justice. The WSC scholarship also comes with full tuition and a small living allowance.
Is there a Ph.D program in Religion?
Yes, but the program is offered through the Department of Religious Studies that is part of the Graduate School of Arts and Science. Please visit www.yale.edu/graduateschool for more information on the PhD program.
What is the average length of the masters programs at YDS?
The MDiv is a 72 credit degree that is typically finished in 3 years time, while the MAR is a 48 credit program usually finished in 2 years, but each year a small number may apply for an optional third year of the concentrated MAR program. The STM, a 24 credit program, is usually completed in 3 semesters. Please note these estimates are for students enrolled full time. Part time students may take longer to complete all requirements.
How many full time faculty members are on staff at YDS and how many hold a doctorate or terminal degree?
YDS has approximately 36 full time faculty members and all of them hold a doctoral degree in their respective area of expertise.
What is the total number of volumes in the library?
The Divinity School library hold some 500,000 volumes, 250,000 microfilms, and 3,200 linear feet of manuscript and archival material. The Divinity School Library is also home to the Ministry Resource Center. The Center provides a media library of videos, DVDs, and slides, cassette tapes, CDs, software, and print resources on the practice of ministry ranging from social issues to congregational care to curriculum resources. Faculty, staff, students, and local congregations have lending privileges at the Center.
The Divinity School library is part of the greater Yale University Library system that has been amassing texts for over three centuries. The University Library consists of a central collection, the Sterling Memorial Library, seven school libraries (including the Div School), and forty-seven departmental and college libraries containing over 11,000,000 volumes. Some 160,000 volumes are added annually. All students, with a valid student identification card., have access to all of the University’s library resources.
Is there an infirmary or health facility on campus?
All full time degree-candidate students at YDS and the University at large are enrolled in the Yale Health Plan’s basic coverage program. The YHP Basic Coverage covers preventative health and medical services. Students are then required to purchase hospitalization and prescription drug coverage, unless they are covered under another policy (via a spouse or parent). Fees are posted to a student’s bill.
May I join a chorus or band at YDS?
Students at YDS may participate in the Marquand Chapel Choir, the Marquand Gospel Choir, students may audition for parts in a cappella groups, the Sacramental Winers (females) and the Bible Belters (males). There is also a Praise and Worship band, as well as several musical groups throughout the University that students are welcome to join.
Are there regular breaks throughout the year?
Yes, YDS actually has several “reading periods” throughout the year. Reading periods typically fall in early October, the week of Thanksgiving, early December (prior to finals), early February, and early May (prior to spring exams). There is also a three week Christmas recess and a two week spring break in March. School is closed on both Martin Luther King Day and Good Friday, as well.
Are there jobs available on campus?
Yes. Yale University has an extensive Federal Work Study and student employment program. The Student Employment Office assists students in finding an on campus jobs. Students eligible for employment may work anywhere throughout the University. The hourly wage for an on campus employee can range from $10 to $13.
Are students required to purchase a meal plan?
Yes. All full-time YDS students are automatically billed $440 per term for food to be purchased in the refectory on a “declining balance” basis. Part-time students are billed $220 per term. STM students, non-degree students, and research affiliates may opt to participate in the declining balance program by contacting the refectory manager.
Does YDS offer an option between dormitories and apartment living?
The housing options on the Divinity School campus are apartments. One bedroom, two bedroom, and studio apartment options are available in three apartment buildings on the 409 Prospect Street campus. Apartments are rented from August 15 until May 31 each year. Most of the apartments are unfurnished and rent is charged by the month. All rents include: heat, hot water, electricity, Ethernet connection, and parking for one vehicle. All the apartments include a living room, kitchenette (refrigerator and stove included), bedroom, and bathroom. Laundry rooms are located in the basement of each building. Additional housing for Divinity School students is available in the units adjacent to YDS in the Prospect Hill area. These units are managed by the University Graduate Housing. Limited space is available in Helen Hadley Hall, the graduate dormitories on central campus. More information on the housing web site www.yale.edu/living/housing.
Is there a tuition or room deposit required to reserve space?
Yes, a $200 deposit is required of all matriculating students.
How do I apply for financial aid?
The financial aid application is available on line and students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and copies of the student (and spouse’s, if applicable) most recent tax return. Priority filing deadline for financial aid is March 1. If all the necessary forms are received by March 1, an accepted student will receive both the financial aid award and acceptance letter after March 15.
Is there a visitation day for prospective students?
Yes. Our Fall Open House for prospective students is always held in early November. This year it is November 7th. In April, YDS hosts an Admitted Students Day for all accepted applicants.
Is there a mini-term or summer school?
No, however, each summer sessions of intensive biblical Greek, Hebrew, and Ecclesiastical Latin are offered. The six week program is worth 6 credits and can be taken from late May to early July.
What is the ratio of male to female students?
The male/female ratio is almost 50/50.
What is the denominational breakdown?
There are about 40 different denominations represented at YDS. The Episcopal, Roman Catholic, Lutheran (ELCA), UCC, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian (PCUSA) denominations tend to boast the largest numbers, but YDS also has a growing Evangelical and non-denominational population. For a more comprehensive listing please see the latter pages of the current Yale Divinity School bulletin.