General Requirements

A degree from the Divinity School is awarded following the completion of all stipulated requirements for the degree. Except for the AMRS degree, these always include a minimum number of years in residence, certification of foreign language competence, and the completion of all formal exercises specific to the various Degree Programs.

Residence Requirements

The University of Chicago requires all graduate students to register according to a two-stage residence structure, the length of which may vary according to degree program. The unit of residence is the academic year, which normally consists of three consecutive quarters of enrollment.  Students in a degree program normally complete the residence requirement through continuous registration in the autumn, winter, and spring quarters of successive academic years. Residence is a registration status, not a geographic designation.  All students doing research leading to a degree, preparing for qualifying examinations, or writing dissertations must be registered. See the Student Manual of University Policies and Regulations for a detailed description of the University's Residence Requirements.

The following registration and residence requirements reflect a structure of graduate tuition that links charges to residence status. Students will be assessed the prevailing full tuition rate only for the period of Scholastic Residence. A lower level will apply to any years of Advanced Residence. Tuition is not charged for Pro Forma registration, though a fee is assessed each quarter. No tuition is assessed when a student is on a Leave of Absence. (See below for information on these designations.)


Scholastic Residence

All first-year students in the MA,  MDiv, and PhD programs in the Divinity School register in Scholastic Residence.  Two years fulfills the residence requirement for the MA degree.  Three years fulfills the residence requirement for the MDiv degree.  PhD students must complete four years of Scholastic Residence as part of their residence requirement.

AMRS students enroll in a minimum of one course per quarter, and must complete nine courses for the degree.  These students are not registered in Scholastic Residence, but must complete the degree within nine academic quarters.


Advanced Residence

After completion of the required Scholastic Residence, all doctoral students register in Advanced Residence. MDiv students who do not complete the degree during the period of Scholastic Residence may register for up to one year of Advanced Residence for the purpose of completing outstanding requirements for the degree. PhD students may register in Advanced Residence for a maximum of eight years.

Students in Advanced Residence are eligible for all the privileges and rights of full-time students, such as access to the Student Health Service, and medical insurance coverage, University housing, computer facilities, libraries, career and placement services, and athletic facilities. Provided they are not employed twenty hours a week or more in a job unrelated to their dissertation research, and subject to other federal and state student loan policies, students in Advanced Residence are eligible for student loans and deferment of loan payments.


Pro Forma

A doctoral student in Advanced Residence whose dissertation research requires residence away from Chicago may register Pro Forma, upon recommendation from the advisor and approval by the Dean of Students. Normally students applying for Pro Forma status will have been admitted to candidacy and have had their dissertation topic approved by the Committee on Degrees. Renewal for a second year requires approval from the Dean of Students. Tuition is not charged for Pro Forma registration, though a fee is assessed each quarter.


Leave of Absence

Leave of Absence is a formal status for students in Scholastic Residence who suspend work toward a degree but who expect to resume work after a maximum of one academic year. Such leave must be approved by both the student's area of study and the Dean of Students. If, at the conclusion of an approved Leave of Absence, studies are not resumed, the student will be withdrawn from the University. After the student enters Advanced Residence, a Leave of Absence can be granted only when involuntary causes, such as illness or injury, prevent progress in the program. A Leave of Absence from Advanced Residence must be endorsed by the Dean of Students and approved by the Office of the Provost. After any Leave of Absence, the student resumes residence at the point at which studies were interrupted.

A female student in either Scholastic or Advanced Residence who becomes pregnant may request a one-quarter leave of absence for childbirth. The one-quarter maternity leave of absence may be taken in the quarter of childbirth or an adjacent quarter. Such a leave may be granted by the Dean of Students.

Availability of student health insurance during a leave of absence, and other issues that may arise about that coverage, will be governed by the operative student health insurance rules and policies at the time the leave is taken. Other University facilities and services are not available to students on leaves of absence.


Part-Time Enrollment

Graduate study at the University is normally full time, and references to a certain number of quarters of residence assume full-time enrollment. Any quarter in which a doctoral student is registered part time counts as one-half of a full quarter of residence in that status. Requests for part-time status must be approved by the Dean of Students in the Divinity School. In any quarter in which an AM., MDiv, or PhD student is registered part time, the tuition charged will be one-half of the full tuition of the appropriate residence status.


Less Than Half Time

A status that is accorded to all students who undertake an academic workload consisting of any combination of courses, work experience, research, or special studies that is considered less than the academic workload of a half-time student, usually 025 to 199 total units of registered course credit; also,

* Doctoral (PhD) students in Extended Residence (status affirmed by the Dean of Students) are considered less-than-half-time.

* College students, professional school students, students in programs that terminate upon the awarding of Master's degrees, and students in non-degree programs who are enrolled in 025 to 199 total units of registered course credit are considered less-than-half-time.


Transfer of Credits

The Divinity School does not accept course credits from other institutions to be applied toward a Divinity School degree. The Divinity School does allow courses taken in the Divinity School as a Graduate-Student-at-Large in the University to be counted toward a formal degree program. A maximum of three such courses may be applied.


Elimination of Extended Residence in Autumn 2013

N.B: Divinity School students who are in year six or higher of Advanced Residence must submit a plan for completion, along with a letter of approval from the student's dissertation advisor, to the Dean of Students by the end of Winter Quarter. As of Autumn 2013, all students who have not completed their doctoral programs after 12 years of enrollment in the PhD program are subject to the University's policy below.

Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, doctoral students who have not completed their degrees after the elapse of twelve years will no longer be allowed to register in their degree programs. Extended Residence (ER), the registration status generally associated with students in Year 13 and beyond, has been eliminated, and individuals who would formerly have enrolled in ER at that point in their academic career will instead be administratively withdrawn. Individuals who have been administratively withdrawn will still be allowed to graduate past the twelfth year with the permission of their department and school or division.


Completing the PhD after Advanced Residence

  • Divinity School PhD students in the tenth year of the program must submit a timeline for completion of the degree to the Dean of Students, along with with written approval of the timeline from the academic advisor, by the end of Winter Quarter. This timeline must be updated each year through year 12 or graduation.
  • Individuals who wish to complete the PhD degree beyond year 12 must submit a petition to the Committee on Degrees requesting permission to graduate. A timeline for completion of the degree must be provided, along with written approval from the academic advisor. If the approved timeline is not met, the Committee on Degrees may choose the terminate the student’s program.
  • Students whose timeline for completion has been approved must notify the Dean of Students of the quarter in which they will graduate. Notification of intent to graduate must be made at least five weeks prior to the start of the quarter of graduation. This will allow students to comply with Divinity School guidelines for submission of the dissertation to the dissertation committee no later than five weeks prior to the quarter of graduation.
  • Students must be registered and pay tuition in the quarter of graduation. Tuition will be assessed at the then current rate for Pro Forma quarterly tuition.


What ER elimination means for students: Doctoral students reaching the end of Year 12 of their academic programs will be administratively withdrawn. They will then have a two-quarter grace period during which time their IT accounts will remain active and their access to University IT resources will effectively not change. Once that two quarter grace period is over, IT services will manage a 365-day process during which time the individual's access to services closes on the following timeline:

* Day 10: First round of services closes including wireless and VPN, off-campus access to licensed library resources, IT technical support

* Day 45: Second round of services closes including email storage, webshare access, all computing on IT Services computers (e.g., computing labs, classrooms, web kiosks)

* Day 365: Accounts and all data will be permanently and irreversibly purged from University IT systems. If an individual returns to active status after this time, s/he will reclaim the same CNetID, but all files and email will have been removed.

Alumni benefits. Because ER is not considered a full-time student status, current students beyond their twelfth year are already not eligible for most of the benefits associated with full-time student status. They do not, for example, have access to student housing, free use of athletic facilities, access to student health insurance and the services of Student Health and Counseling, ability to borrow under federal student loan programs, or deferment of past federal student loan repayment.

There are alumni benefits, however, that administratively withdrawn individuals may find useful. By the time twelve years has passed, many are already UChicago alumni because they have completed bachelor's or master's degrees at the University. For those who are not alumni, they may choose to receive non-degreed alumni status, which makes them eligible for all alumni benefits. These benefits include an alumni ID card (which grants reference privileges at University libraries), access to the Alumni Careers Network and the Alumni Directory, electronic transcript ordering through cMore, and e-mail forwarding.

Regarding library usage, alumni borrowing privileges may be purchased for a fee. Interlibrary loan privileges are currently provided at no extra charge to alumni who purchase borrowing privileges. Off-campus access to licensed library resources will not be an option, but electronic resources will be accessible from library computers.

For more information on the elimination of Extended Residence in the University, please see http://grad-education.uchicago.edu/pdfs/Eliminating_Extended_Residence_2012.pdf.


Foreign Language Requirements

Students complete the modern foreign language requirement in the various degree programs of the Divinity School by passing the University of Chicago language examinations with a “High Pass” (P+). Administered by the University, the examinations test reading comprehension by requiring the translation into idiomatic English of short passages from scholarly publications.

Students in Bible are required to complete the Greek and Biblical Hebrew language requirements, as well as any other ancient languages required,  through completion of designated courses or through examination by the faculty.

Some other programs will require proficiency in other languages. Proficiency is demonstrated through course work or examination as prescribed by the relevant faculty.

Click here for information on Foreign Language Exam Preparation.

The Divinity School offers a German reading exam each quarter.  Students may satisfy the German reading exam requirement by taking either the University or Divinity School exam.  More information can be obtained by contacting the Dean of Students.