Application Information and Materials
Please note: the applications below are for students interested in applying to the Divinity School (M.T.S. and M.Div. programs). Students interested in the M.A. or Ph.D. programs must apply through the Graduate Department of Religion.
To Apply to the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) programs:
Step 1: Review carefully the required application components below.
- Complete the online application form with accompanying essays. (See links below.)
- Provide transcripts of all the student’s previous college, seminary, and graduate school work, along with evidence of graduation with the baccalaureate degree. Unofficial transcripts will suffice for admission, but official transcripts must be provided in order to matriculate into the degree program.
- Provide three letters of recommendation. At least two of the recommendations should be from professors who can evaluate your academic work. If you have been away from formal academic studies for seven years or more, you may select any three persons who can evaluate your academic potential and professional accomplishments. Each letter must be accompanied by a completed reference form, which is included in the application materials.
- Complete the Vanderbilt Background Check Authorization and Release Form. Per Vanderbilt Divinity School policy, all admission offers are issued pending our receipt and approval of the results of the applicant’s background check, which will be conducted by the Divinity School on behalf of the applicant.
- Provide a résumé listing employment, extracurricular or community activities, and scholastic honors. (This is required only if you have been away from formal academic study for more than three years.)
- No application fee is required.
- If requested, a personal interview with a representative of the Divinity School may also be included.
Step 2: Complete the online application form.
Applicants to the M.T.S. and M.Div. degree programs at the Divinity School must hold the baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and must have maintained an academic average of 2.9 or better. Typically students with prior first theological degrees are not considered for admission to the M.Div. and M.T.S. programs. Applications and supporting documents completed and on file by January 15 for fall matriculation will receive preference. Completed applications will be accepted through April 1 for the fall semester. Applications received after April 1 will be considered until May 1 if space permits. Applications received by January 15 are eligible to be considered for named full-tuition scholarships.
Applications are reviewed by the Admission Committee, which determines the status of admit, decline or wait list. Applicants are notified as soon as a decision is made. Students who are denied admission may be allowed to reapply after two years, as stated in our catalog.
Transfer Students and Advanced Standing
Prospective transfer students should complete the regular degree application, as well as submit a letter stating the reasons for transferring and provide a letter of honorable dismissal from the president or dean of the theological school from which transfer is being made. A maximum of 12 semester hours from other approved theological schools or 6 hours of other graduate study that is coherent with the student's program may be transferred to the M.T.S. program. A maximum of 27 semester hours from other approved theological schools or 12 hours of other graduate study that is coherent with the student's program may be transferred to the M.Div. program. For a complete list of transfer guidelines and requirements, please refer to the Divinity Catalog.
Admitted students are given the opportunity to submit prior coursework for advanced standing prior to the beginning of their first academic year. For questions regarding advanced standing, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
International students are eligible for admission to either degree program as well as financial aid. Applicants whose native language is not English must present the results of the TOEFL or IELTS exam on their application. The minimum acceptable scores for consideration by the admissions committee are as follows: internet-based test is 95; computer-based test is 250, and paper-based test is 600. Vanderbilt University's TOEFL school code is 1871. The minimum acceptable score for the IELTS is 7.0. For detailed information about applying as an international student, please refer to the Divinity Catalog.
Students who do not intend to enroll in a degree program may register for a limited number of courses and receive academic credit if admitted as special students. Special student applications are available by contacting the Office of Admissions. Applications and supporting documents must be completed and on file in the Office of Admissions by May 1 for the fall semester and by November 1 for the spring semester. Special students are not eligible for financial aid.
Preferred submission date for fall-term applicants. To be considered for full-tuition scholarships, your application must be complete by this date.
Final submission date for fall-term applicants. Applications received after April 1 will be considered until May 1 if space permits.