Vocational formation is an important part of the YDS experience. Students in every degree program at the Divinity School are actively seeking to better understand what their academic work is preparing them to be and to do after they complete their studies. YDS graduates enter a wide range of vocational opportunities, from parish ministry and chaplaincy, to further academic study and lives in teaching and educational administration, to justice work and NGO or nonprofit leadership. They work in the fields of climate justice and ecology, in politics, in medicine, and in the sciences. YDS graduates engage the Arts as writers, musicians, critics, performers and instructors. They work in a range of entrepreneurial and business enterprises.
Students are offered a range of tools for vocational discernment, for internships and job opportunities, and for building a network of friends, advisors and caring mentors who will accompany them as they find their direction and their way.
Students who are in a denominational ordination process - or even considering one - are encouraged to work closely with leaders within their own tradition. (See denominational possibilities for more information.) Entering a process does not mean that one is certain that they want to be ordained; rather, it is the beginning of what should be a wise and supportive conversation.
Students who are thinking about further academic study, or a life in the academy, should plan to work closely with one or two professors during their time at YDS, seeking guidance, insight into the broader field of study, and in order to develop a plan for other graduate work. The student’s assigned Academic Advisor is a good place to start; all YDS faculty expect to work closely with students who anticipate doctoral level studies.
Students who are unsure of their direction are encouraged to begin a conversation early in their time at YDS with one of the staff members in the Office of Vocation and Leadership. Bill Goettler, Jenny Davis, and Alison Cunningham can be helpful in developing a plan and connecting with a team of mentors and vocational advisors.