Divinity School Facts

The Divinity School was the University’s first professional school, established at the founding of the University. As the Morgan Park Baptist Seminary faced closure, William Rainey Harper persuaded its trustees to permit it to become part of the new University, and to sacrifice its denominational affiliation while including a substantial portion of its endowment. Although it is not religiously affiliated, the Divinity School enjoys the ongoing support of the Baptist Theological Union, whose trustees are an eminent group of leaders from the American Baptist denomination.

Many of the most important developments within the study of religion had their genesis at the Divinity School: the traditions of “empirical” theology and process thought; sociology of religion; the “history of religions” school; the study of American religious history; and archaeological, historical, and literary study of the scriptural traditions of Christianity and Judaism.

The Divinity School has trained and placed more scholars in the academic study of religion in colleges and universities in America and abroad than any other single institution.

The Divinity School is the most competitive doctoral program among the Association of Theology Schools in the United States and Canada (e.g., 7% acceptance rate for the 2022 admission year). The Divinity School is the home of two major, respected journals in the academic study of religion, The Journal of Religion and History of Religions (both published by the University of Chicago Press).

Thirteen Divinity School faculty (2 current and 11 emeritus) are elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.