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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to apply?

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 graduate-level, first theological degrees (such as a prior M.T.S. degree) are not considered for admission to the M.Div. and M.T.S. programs.

How are applications evaluated?

Applications are reviewed by the Admission Committee, which is comprised of members of the faculty and administration. The Admissions Committee collectively 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.

Applications for admission to the MDiv, MTS, and Non-Degree programs are assessed based on four criteria:

  • Academic Ability, as evidenced in prior academic work in a BA, BS, or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university; a well-rounded preparation in the liberal arts or equivalent experience; minimum GPA of 2.9; and at least three references that attest to the strength of the applicant’s academic abilities.
  • Writing Skills, as evidenced by a four-part essay called a Statement of Purpose, including autobiographical information and prompts requiring critical thinking and analysis; and for international students for whom English is a second language and who have not previously earned a degree from a U.S. institution, a TOEFL score of 95 or higher and/or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0.
  • Vocational Clarity, as demonstrated through prior coursework, essays, and (if applicable) prior conversations or interviews with a member of the admissions staff; a clear sense of self and vocational pursuits matching the intent of the desired degree program; and promise for ministry, scholarship, service, and leadership.
  • Institutional Fit, including a familiarity with and readiness to engage the Divinity School’s Purposes and Commitments; an understanding and appreciation of diverse communities and the challenges therein; and an openness to theological inquiry.

When are the application deadlines?

January 15
Preferred submission date for fall-term applicants. To be considered for full-tuition scholarships, your application must be complete by this date.

(*The application deadline has been extended to May 1) April 1
Final submission date for fall-term applicants. Applications received after May 1 will be considered until June 1 if space permits.

Do you admit transfer students?

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 .

Do you allow advanced standing?

Admitted students are given the opportunity to submit prior coursework for consideration for advanced standing prior to the beginning of their first academic year.  Typically, advanced standing does not reduce total credit hour requirements but allows students with significant academic work in a particular field to place out of introductory-level courses. For questions regarding advanced standing, please email divinity-admissions@vanderbilt.edu .

Do you admit International Students and undocumented students?

International students are eligible for admission to either degree program as well as financial aid.  Please visit our international and undocumented student webpage for a list of resources and Frequently Asked Questions. For detailed information about applying as an international student, please refer to the Divinity Catalog .

Where do I send my official transcripts?

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

Do you charge an application fee?

No. The application for the Master of Divinity and Master of Theological Studies programs is entirely free.