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.


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 a term or an academic 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 at the time of application. 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.


One-term and yearlong exchange programs have been initiated between YDS and the theological colleges at the University of Cambridge in England, including Westcott House, and with German universities in Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Tübingen. There are also one-term and yearlong exchanges with Singapore’s Trinity Theological College and the Divinity School of Chung Chi College (Chinese University of Hong Kong). 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.

The exchange programs are limited to M.Div. and M.A.R. students only. 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.

For more information on the Research and Exchange programs, please email Director of Visiting Fellows Program, Jan L. Hagens, Ph.D.