FAQ- The Application Process

How do I access the Divinity School’s admissions application?

All of the Divinity School’s degree program applications are accessible exclusively online. We do not accept paper applications.

Do you require GRE scores?

The Divinity School requires an official GRE score report for doctoral applications only. Our ETS school code is 1832. International applicants must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores in addition to the GRE scores. See our International Admissions page and our International Students FAQ page for more information. 

What are the minimum score requirements for the TOEFL and IELTS?

The Divinity School adheres to minimum language requirements of the University of Chicago. The minimum required score for the TOEFL is 104 overall, with 4 sub-scores of 26 each. The minimum required scores in the IELTS are an overall score of 7, with sub-scores of 7 each. Please note that students are required to take the Academic Reading/ Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test.

How long are TOEFL and IELTS scores valid?

The Divinity School accepts TOEFL and IELTS scores that are no more than two (2) years old on the date of the degree program’s application deadline.

May I apply for a waiver of the application fee?

Fee waivers are automatically applied for applicants that participate in specific service and fellowship programs, such as veterans of the US Armed Forces or alumni in Teach for America or Americorps. Applicants seeking a waiver for finanical hardship must apply for the waiver on the application portal. Typically, the Divinity School does not grant fee waivers for international applicants.

I don’t see the payment interface for the application fee in the online application.

Once you submit the application, you will be prompted to pay the application fee. If a waiver was applied, it will be noted on your application portal.

Do I need to submit official transcripts or academic records with the application?

Domestic students do not need to submit official academic records. Unofficial transcripts, or accounts of coursework, are sufficient so long as they list the names of courses, instructors, dates, and grades earned. If you are admitted to a degree program, you will need to submit official records before starting the program.

International students should refer to our International Admissions page for more information.

Can I submit a writing sample with my master’s application?

The writing sample is required for applicants. It should be an academic paper- at least 15 pages.

Can you offer some guidance on the content of the application statement?

The statement should articulate the questions or problems that motivate your pursuit of a graduate degree in religion, the aspects of your prior work (broadly construed) that suggest you’ll be successful in the degree program, and the reasons you think the Divinity School is a good place to do your work. The statement should be future-directed and inquiry-based. It should not be an exercise in intellectual or spiritual autobiography; it should convey a sense of your project and indicate your preparedness to undertake it.

Depending on the degree program to which you are applying, there are a few particulars to keep in mind:

  • AMRS statements should offer an account of your motivation for seeking a degree in the academic study of religion. Statements should articulate the ways in which the credential in religion/religious studies supports your professional aims in your primary field of endeavor or season of life. 
  • MDiv statements should discuss your conception of ministry and might discuss aspects of your discernment process and/or your prior experience as a public religious leader.
  • The MA statement should offer a provisional account of your scholarly agenda within particular areas of inquiry, methodological trajectories, historical periods, and/or geographical terrains. 
  • The PhD statement should be more refined/specific than a master’s level statement, but it need not (and in most cases should not) outline a future dissertation project. It might describe probable qualifying examinations, faculty interlocutors, or research projects. If your research agenda implies facility with particular languages (e.g. Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, and/or Persian for a project in Islamic Studies; Koine Greek, Attic Greek, and/or Aramaic for a project in early Christian literature), the statement, and the application more broadly, should discuss your degree of facility/fluency and your plans for additional work and development.

From whom should I solicit letters of recommendation?

Letters of recommendation should be academic in nature, and should be from persons who know you well and can speak to your scholarly habits and strengths. For master’s applicants, undergraduate professors with whom you work(ed) closely are good options. MDiv applicants should include at least one letter from someone who can speak to their ministerial gifts, capacities, and experience. PhD applicants are encouraged to solicit letters from persons who can speak to their master’s level work.

Students applying from life contexts where undergraduate or master’s level professors are not readily accessible or are not likely to remember the applicant’s work (e.g. second- or third-career students) might opt for letters from supervisors or colleagues, but should take care to specify to their referees that the letter should try to translate local, professional skills into a ministerial and/or academic research context.

Should I wait to submit my application until all supplementary items (test scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters) have been received? 

No, you should not wait to submit your application until all your application materials have been received. The Committee on Admissions and Aid will not review your application until all required documents have been received. We will also not review your application, even if all documents are received, if the application has not been submitted. You should submit the application once you have finished all the tabs and uploaded your statement and writing sample. 

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