Nondegree Programs

Those who desire to take courses at YDS not leading to a degree may apply to be nondegree students. Normally, such students are people pursuing graduate work at another institution who need to take a specific YDS course, or are persons with graduate theological degrees who wish to take a course for professional development. Upon application, students will be given the opportunity to explain how their course of study relates to the nature, purpose, and educational resources of the school (see Nondegree Programs, in chapter on Admission). Nondegree students can be admitted to YDS for one academic year, during which they may take up to four courses. Upon request to the associate dean of admissions, and with the approval of the dean of academic affairs, an individual’s nondegree status may be extended for an additional year. Nondegree students may not request reading courses or directed studies programs. University courses outside YDS are not available to them. A few specified courses at YDS may not be open to nondegree students when the nature or size of the course requires that it be restricted to degree candidates. Nondegree students must adhere to the same policies and regulations of the School as degree students.

Successful completion of a course is noted on the student’s transcript, and transcripts will be mailed to other institutions upon request. If the student desires to enroll for a degree, the regular admission procedure must be followed. After admission as a degree candidate, students may petition the Professional Studies Committee for an evaluation of the work they did as nondegree students. The maximum number of courses that can be accepted from work done as a nondegree student at YDS is eight courses toward the M.Div. or the M.A.R. (concentrated or comprehensive) degree requirements and four courses toward the S.T.M. ­degree.


YDS offers a limited number of students the opportunity to enroll as nondegree students.  Nondegree students are limited to enrollment in YDS courses only, are not eligible for financial aid, and may not enroll in field education placements. The requirements for admission as a nondegree student and the application procedure are the same as those for degree applicants.

Students receive full credit for work completed as nondegree students and may transfer these credits elsewhere, or petition the associate dean of academic affairs to have some or all of the work applied toward a YDS degree program. Applicants should understand that admission as a nondegree student is not an indicator of future admission to degree programs at YDS.

Student Exchange

Each student has particular educational and professional goals, but no matter if you are preparing for an academic career or for parish ministry or yet another field, study abroad often is a life-changing experience. After YDS, an opportunity like this may never come again.

Each of YDS’s six international study sites offers distinct features. Westcott House is a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation, which brings together seven different theological training institutions to provide a wide range of faculty and courses. Many courses are taught in the traditional “English tutorial” model. Participants benefit from living in a unique Anglican theological college and its liturgical community. Westcott is affiliated with Cambridge University. This is primarily a fall semester program.

Our three German partner universities (Heidelberg, Tübingen, and Freiburg) are theologically first-rate, have 600-year traditions, and sit in picture-perfect historic towns. They all provide extensive language training before and during the semester, and also offer some English-language courses. The theology department at Heidelberg is Protestant; the renowned College of Jewish Studies is nearby. Tübingen has dual Protestant and Catholic faculties; of particular interest is the living arrangement within the Stift, a medieval building that is home to a select group of students of Protestant theology. At Freiburg, the theology department is Catholic; the city is close to Switzerland and France, near Strasbourg, where the Lutheran Institute for Ecumenical Research is located. These programs in Germany are primarily full-year programs, but can work as semester programs, preferably in the spring. 

The Divinity School of Chung Chi College (Hong Kong) is the only theological education institution operating within a Chinese public university; classes are taught in both English and Chinese, and training in Chinese is available. The Divinity School is supported by several traditions: Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, Lutheran, Anglican, Pentecostal, and Methodist. The faculty of the Divinity School is also part of Chinese University’s Department of Culture and Religious Studies, which includes the Centres for Catholic Studies, for Christian Studies, for Daoist Culture, and for Humanistic Buddhism. The Divinity School’s campus is large and modern, and connected to all of Hong Kong through convenient public transportation. This program can cover the fall or spring semester, or the entire academic year.

Trinity Theological College (Singapore) offers a full spectrum of courses in theology, including courses with a specific Southeast Asian perspective. TTC’s students come from throughout Asia, and the College is uniquely positioned to function as a gateway into all of Southeast Asia. Classes are available in English and Chinese. Trinity operates two significant research institutes: the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia, and the Centre for the Development of Christian Ministry. In 2002 TTC dedicated a new campus with state-of-the-art library, classroom and student housing facilities. The campus is located in a suburban section of Singapore and is accessible to the city by public transportation. This program can cover the fall or spring semester, or the entire academic year.  

Students should consider the particular departmental strengths and research resources of each program, as well as the cross-cultural opportunities available in each setting, especially with churches and service projects.

Second-year M.A.R. students and second- or third-year M.Div. students are eligible to participate. Credits earned through exchange study are governed by YDS policy on transfer credits (see Standards and Requirements chapter). Students interested in participating in an exchange program for all or part of their last year at YDS should first review their degree progress with the registrar.

Info sessions will be held at the beginning of each academic year, in late September or early October. For more information on the YDS international student exchange programs, please contact Jan L. Hagens, Ph.D., Director of International Student Exchange Programs, at

An exchange program between YDS and the Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries permits students to spend one academic year at either YDS or one of the Lutheran seminaries.  For information about this program, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs (

Ph.D. Research

Students enrolled in doctoral programs at other institutions may apply for nondegree status for one term or one academic year in order to conduct research and/or work with a professor in a specific academic area. A separate application is available for this program. The fee is $1,500 per term. Please contact the Office of Admissions ( 

Visiting Fellows Program

Each year YDS appoints as visiting fellows a limited number of professors, ministers, priests, or otherwise professionally qualified persons who have clearly articulated research projects.

Appointment may be for up to one year.  Visiting fellows have access to the libraries of the University and may audit classes with the permission of the instructor. They are not candidates for degrees and receive no academic credit. A nonrefundable application fee of $50 is required. There is a fee of $750 per term. Visiting fellows are not eligible for financial aid from the School and no stipend is available. Contact Jan Hagens ( for more information.