Applying to the Divinity School

We welcome your application to the Divinity School. Email us with questions or concerns at divinityadmissions@uchicago.edu. 
 


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 does not require GRE scores for admission to any of our programs. Applicants may elect to submit GRE scores with their application. Submitted scores will be considered with all other application materials. 

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

The Divinity School adheres to minimum language requirements of the University of Chicago. 

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 financial hardship must apply for the waiver on the application portal. 

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, you will not be prompted to submit a payment. 

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

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.

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

The writing sample is required for all master's applicants. It should be an academic paper, at least 15 pages that shows your ability to engage with academic research and make an academic argument. It does not have to be on a topic related to religion. 

Can you offer some guidance on the content of the candidate 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.

Applicants are encouraged to include information about University resources and faculty interlocutors that they might find helpful while enrolled. 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.

The candidate statement prompts are below as follows:

AMRS and MA Applicants:

Applicants must submit a statement of academic purpose with the application and may either upload a document or copy-and-paste the statement below. The purpose of this statement is to introduce yourself and articulate your reasons for applying to the University of Chicago Divinity School. This 1,500-word statement should address the following questions, striving to maintain a balance between broad statements of your interests and specific examples of your work to date and goals for the future.

  • Please tell us how you came to be interested in the academic study of religion. What prompted your intellectual journey? What kinds of training, both general and specific, do you seek in this program, and why?
  • Please tell us about your intellectual project. What kinds of questions are you interested in pursuing in depth? What skills have you developed thus far, and what skills and knowledge do you especially seek to develop in the MA program?
  • Where do you locate your scholarship among the various sub-disciplines and areas within the study of religion and related fields across the University of Chicago? Who do you imagine to be your intellectual interlocutors within the University of Chicago and why? What are your career plans once completing the program? What resources (faculty, programs, library holdings, research centers, etc.) at the University of Chicago do you anticipate being most valuable for your academic and professional development?

MDiv Applicants:

Applicants must submit a statement of academic purpose with the application and may either upload a document or copy-and-paste the statement below. The purpose of this statement is to introduce yourself and articulate your reasons for applying to the University of Chicago Divinity School. This 1,500-word statement should address the following questions, striving to maintain a balance between broad statements of your interests and specific examples of your work to date and goals for the future.

  • Please tell us about yourself: What people, ideas, experiences, or events have led you to pursue an MDiv at the University of Chicago at this time in your life?
  • Please tell us how you came to be interested in the academic study of religion. What prompted your intellectual journey? What kinds of questions are you interested in pursuing? What skills have you developed thus far, and what skills and knowledge do you seek to develop in the MDiv program? How do your intellectual interests relate to and inform your philosophy on religious leadership and practice in general, and to your career aspirations in particular.
  • Please tell us about your conception of ministry and how you came to develop this framing. What does ministry mean to you? What kinds of work do you see yourself doing and why? What ministry experience have you had thus far, and what experience are you seeking while in the MDiv program?
  • Why do you want to pursue the MDiv at the University of Chicago? Why is it important to do this work in a multi-religious academic environment? Who do you imagine to be your intellectual interlocutors within the University of Chicago and why? What are your career plans once completing the program? What resources (faculty, programs, library holdings, research centers, etc.) at the University of Chicago do you anticipate being most valuable for your academic and professional development?

PhD Applicants:

Applicants must submit a statement of academic purpose with the application and may either upload a document or copy-and-paste the statement below. The purpose of this statement is to introduce yourself and articulate your reasons for applying to the doctoral program at the University of Chicago Divinity School. This 1,500-word statement should address the following questions, striving to maintain a balance between broad statements of your interests and specific examples of your work to date and goals for the future.

  • Please tell us how you came to be interested in the academic study of religion. What kinds of training, both general and specific, do you seek in the doctoral program, and why?
  • Please tell us about your intellectual project. What kinds of questions are you interested in pursuing in depth? How do you presently articulate your research agenda, both in terms of breadth and depth? What skills have you developed thus far toward that agenda, and what skills and knowledge do you especially seek to develop in the doctoral program? What kinds of sources are essential to your research?
  • Where do you locate your scholarship among the various sub-disciplines and areas within the study of religion and related fields across the University of Chicago? Who do you imagine to be your intellectual interlocutors both within the University of Chicago and in the field at large and why? What resources (faculty, programs, library holdings, research centers, etc.) at the University of Chicago do you anticipate being most valuable for your academic and professional 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/leadership capacities and experience. PhD applicants are encouraged to solicit letters from persons who can speak to their master’s level academic 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.