The Divinity School welcomes international applicants. Current students and alumni hail from Egypt, India, Israel, South Korea, Liberia, and many other countries from around the globe.
International applicants to programs leading to a master's degree should hold a US bachelor's degree or an equivalent international degree comprising at least sixteen years of primary, secondary, and university education. (See the tabbed boxes below for additional guidance.) Applicants should have received basic competence in their fields with excellent academic records (A or B+, and First or Upper Second Class degrees). An international applicant who does not meet the normal academic requirements but who would like to be considered for admission should explain in detail in a separate letter his or her additional qualifications.
As is the case with domestic applicants to the doctoral program, international PhD applicants must hold, a US master's degree (or an international equivalent) in a field of inquiry related to their intended area of study in the Divinity School. The master's degree should include, also, significant graduate-level coursework in the academic study of religion.
International students should follow the general procedures for the appplication, though in many cases they will need to submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic Reading/Writing, in place of the GRE. See the online application's instructions page for additional guidance on this point. As with the GRE, the institutional code for TOEFL score reports is 1832. Applicants submitting IELTS scores should specify electronic submission and have scores sent to The University of Chicago - Graduate Enrollment.
Matthijs den Dulk, PhD alumnus in Bible
"Everything you've heard is true. Yes, Chicago is bitter cold in the winter and yes, it can sometimes be a place “where fun comes to die.” But Chicago also fully deserves its stellar reputation as an intellectual powerhouse. It was this reputation that brought Chicago onto my radar when studying for an MA degree at the Vrije Universiteit (VU University) in Amsterdam. I was looking for a place to do doctoral studies that would not only allow me, but really push me to look beyond the borders of our sometimes very narrowly defined field of study. The University of Chicago is exactly such a place; interdisciplinarity is expected of students and faculty alike, without, however, compromising on rigor. This approach has allowed me to take full advantage of being part of a great research university."
Pierre-Julien Harter, PhD alumnus in Philosophy of Religions
"The Divinity School at the University of Chicago was in fact my only application in America. I did not think I wanted to go anywhere else, and if I hadn’t been accepted, I would have stayed in Paris. First and foremost the University of Chicago represented an exceptional place for pursuing my primary research interest, i.e. Indian philosophy and Buddhism. On the same campus, I was able to benefit from the presence of several professors in this field or related fields; I could study the languages I needed; and I had the amazing privilege of direct access to a library whose collection in South-Asian materials is truly exceptional. I was also attracted to U of C because of the possibility of taking courses in many different departments. In Paris, on the contrary, everything was scattered and institutions would make no effort to accommodate a student following different curricula. More specifically, with the Divinity School I was aspiring to get a solid education in religious studies, something I would never have found at that level and with such scope in Europe. I was lucky to know a professor working here, which made the prospective move less foreign and less frightening. And I am not going to lie that the great reputation that the Divinity School enjoys worldwide, including France, was a factor in my decision to apply."
Sean Hannan, PhD alumnus in History of Christianity
"My time in Chicago has been amazing. Hyde Park has its own charms, and the South Side in general offers up an overwhelming variety of religious and social experiences. For the last two years, I’ve lived in the Noble Square neighborhood, which is nestled in between Ukrainian Village and the West Loop on the city’s North Side. While the commute to Hyde Park is sometimes long, living up here has allowed me to see a whole new side of what Chicago has to offer. And it’s also comforting to know that, even now, there are so many areas of Chicago I can still go off and explore."
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is dedicated to enhancing a vibrant international community and to fostering cross-cultural experience. The OIA website hosts a dedicated information page for international applicants to degree programs throughout the University of Chicago, which includes a directory of current international students and alumni.
The OIA shares a building with the International House, a dynamic program center for students and scholars from over fifty countries who are affiliated with educational, professional, and cultural institutions throughout Chicago. They provide English as a Second Language resources.
Admitted international applicants must provide verification of adequate financial support, and submit official records of all academic work completed and degrees received, before visa documents can be issued. Once an international applicant has accepted an offer of admission from the Divinity School, she or he will receive additional guidance from the Dean of Students about submitting the paperwork (a copy of the student's passport, the Financial Resources Statement, and supporting financial documentation) requisite to visa processing.
Prospective international students are encouraged to explore appropriate funding opportunities such as Fulbright-Hays, DAAD, SSHRC (Canada Council), Harkness, and World Council of Churches grants. Resources for locating include UChicagoGRAD's keyword searchable Fellowships Database and Education USA's fellowship resources page.
Transcripts and Certification of Records
Applicants must submit official academic records (transcripts or mark-sheets) with grading scales for each year of post-secondary education (college or university). If detailed transcripts are not available, the certificates must be accompanied by official statements showing the class or quality of the degrees or diplomas as well as marks actually received on degree examinations as compared with the maximum marks obtainable. Official copies of credentials must be validated by a school administrative officer, such as the registrar or an official of the issuing body. Unless institutional policy prohibits, official documents should be assembled by the applicant and sent with all other application materials in the same envelope. Otherwise, the registrar of the institution should forward the transcripts or records directly to the Dean of Students in the Divinity School.
Documents should be issued in their original language. All documents not issued in English must be accompanied by official translations. The translation should be prepared or verified by a person whose position requires knowledge of both English and the pertinent language, i.e., a professor of English at a French university.
To clarify the University’s expectations regarding previous educational achievements of foreign students, specific guidelines are listed below:
Applicants from Europe should submit official records of all university courses and examinations taken and the grades received. Photocopies of each student book, where available, should be certified by a school official.
Applicants from French-patterned educational systems, including Francophone Africa, should have completed, or expect to complete, the Maîtrise or a qualification such as a Diplôme des Grandes Ecoles.
Applicants from British-patterned educational systems, including Anglophone Africa, should have an Honours Bachelor’s Degree in First or Upper Second Division and should present photocopies of their graduate and post-graduate diplomas. A statement showing the division or grade of the degree is necessary, as is an official list enumerating the subjects studied.
Applicants from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan should have a master’s degree completed by the time of matriculation at the University of Chicago. Applicants should present official certificates or certified copies of the degrees and diplomas earned. Applicants must also submit detailed mark sheets covering the work completed for each year for all degrees. Wherever possible, the rank in the university or in the examination should be indicated. True copies made by the registrar or the appropriate administrative official of the university attended, bearing the official seal and signature, are required. True copies prepared and signed by faculty members, or by city or government officials, are not considered official.
Applicants from Latin America should submit official records of their credentials from all universities attended. An official transcript covering all courses taken and grades received should be submitted for each school attended, together with a photocopy of the degree or diploma received.
Applicants from the Near and Middle East should present university records that describe each subject studied, by years, with grades received and degree or diploma awarded.
Applicants from the People’s Republic of China who have studied at universities since 1978 should present the results of their university entrance examinations in addition to their other transcripts. Records should be presented in Chinese accompanied by an English translation. Applicants from other East Asian countries should present official detailed transcripts from their universities that include all courses and grades received and degrees awarded. If the schools attended no longer exist, or if it is impossible to obtain official transcripts from them, applicants should ask the Ministry of Education of the appropriate country to furnish an official statement testifying to the impossibility of obtaining records. Applicants must also ask the Ministry to supply the University of Chicago with a list of the courses ordinarily required by that school or university.
International students should be aware of US and Illinois regulations surrounding immunization requirements for university study. The State of Illinois requires all students entering a college or university to show proof of immunization against certain vaccine-preventable diseases before registration. All registered students must show proof of immunity to the following diseases:
- Measles (rubeola)
- German measles (rubella)
Two measles shots given no less than one month apart are required. The diptheria/tetanus shot must be given within the past 10 years.
In addition, all international students are required to have three diptheria/tetanus shots, with at least one given in the past ten years. The information presented on the immunization record card must be in English, or accompanied by a certified translation. The university's Student Health Service will administer vaccines for a fee.