Yale Divinity School offers several programs in professional theological education. Each is designed with a threefold intent: (1) to foster and demand serious consideration by students of the essential historical substance of Christian faith and tradition; (2) to explore ways of thinking sensitively and constructively about theological issues and the practical, moral, social, and ecclesiastical problems of today’s world; and (3) to provide training and experience promoting the development of effective leadership in the Christian community for the well-being of the persons and societies it serves. Toward these ends a range of opportunities is made available—through instruction, study and research, worship, community-wide reflection, field placements, and informal contacts—to encourage the personal, intellectual, religious, and vocational maturity of each student.
In its programs of study, YDS takes seriously the diversity of its student body. Differences in preparation for theological education are met by flexible curricular requirements to permit students to work at levels commensurate with their individual achievements and capabilities. Differences in interests are met by the breadth and depth of curricular offerings provided in the School and through other branches of Yale University. Differences in vocational clarity and goals are met by the diversity of curricular options, by exposure to a wide variety of possibilities in field education, and by numerous opportunities to supplement formal programs with noncurricular resources and activities.
Organization of the Curriculum
The curriculum is divided into five main academic areas, along with supervised ministries, the scope and purposes of which may be described briefly as follows:
Area I—Biblical Studies Old Testament, New Testament, and cognate studies.
Area II—Theological Studies Theology, Christian ethics, and liturgical studies.
Area III—Historical Studies Studies in the historical substance of Christian faith and tradition.
Area IV—Ministerial Studies Studies in the work of the church and the various forms of its ministry in the world.
Area V—Comparative and Cultural Studies Studies in religion, philosophy, the arts, personality, and society, including social ethics.
Supervised Ministries Field education, together with theological reflection, in church, social, educational, or clinical ministries.
Program for the M.Div. Degree
The degree of Master of Divinity (M.Div.) certifies completion of a program of theological studies designed primarily, although not exclusively, to prepare the candidate for ordination to the Christian ministry. The requirements reflect the intention of YDS to provide an education that is theologically informed, professionally competent, academically rigorous, and oriented to the life of the church.
The minimum requirement for the M.Div. degree is the successful completion of seventy-two credit hours and a three-year residence with the following exceptions:
- 1. Students with heavy responsibilities outside of school are strongly advised to reduce their course load, but the total program of study for the M.Div. degree shall not be expanded beyond six years. Students will not receive financial aid for course work beyond the requirements.
- 2. The residence requirement of three years may be reduced when credits, up to a maximum of twenty-four hours, are transferred. In order to receive the M.Div. degree, students who transfer credits must complete at least two years of resident work at YDS, one of which must be the final year.
- 3. Exceptions to the final-year residency requirement may be made for students on approved exchange or joint-degree study. In all cases a minimum of forty-eight credits must be earned through course work at Yale.
Students are encouraged to elect courses in other schools or departments of the University. Any student who takes more than nine hours in another school or department of the University comes under the regulations for interdepartmental study; see Interdepartmental Studies, in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations. See the chapter Areas and Courses of Study for information about credit for undergraduate courses.
Minimum requirements for graduation include the following distribution of courses in the curriculum:
- Area I Twelve credit hours distributed between Old Testament and New Testament. Elementary Hebrew and Greek do not meet this requirement but are counted toward the total number of hours needed for graduation.
- Area II Twelve credit hours, including at least one course designated to meet the Theology requirement. Only three hours of Denominational Courses may be counted toward the Area II requirement.
- Area III Nine credit hours in Historical Studies, six of which must include REL 700a and REL 700b. Only three hours of Denominational Courses may be counted toward the Area III requirement.
- Area IV Twelve credit hours, including REL 812.
- Area V Nine credit hours.
- Supervised Ministries See Supervised Ministries, in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations.
- Elective Eighteen credit hours.
Additional Distribution Requirements
Every M.Div. student is required to take one course (three term hours) in a non-Christian religion or one course in the relationship between Christianity and other religions.
Every M.Div. student is required to take one course (three term hours) that either focuses on or integrates in a sustained way material on class, gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, disability, and/or global/cultural diversity. This course may also include material on globalization.
Every M.Div. student is required to take one course (three term hours) in Christian Ethics. Courses that are designated as meeting the Ethics requirement introduce students in a comprehensive way to what it means to live as a Christian, and to how Christians have thought about the kind of people we ought to be and the kinds of actions we ought to perform and avoid, given Christian faith commitments. It cannot simply be a course that focuses on a particular moral issue, nor can it be a course in philosophical or nontheological social ethics.
All M.Div. students are additionally required to complete the eight-hour workshop Negotiating Boundaries in Ministerial Relationships (REL 3990). This workshop is a prerequisite for the Part-Time Internship with Practicum, Summer Intensive Internship with Practicum, Part-Time Internship with Advanced Practicum, and Specialized Internship in Youth Ministry.
No course may be counted toward meeting the requirements simultaneously in more than one area or toward meeting more than one of the distributional requirements within a single area.
For students with special and clear vocational plans, the Professional Studies Committee may approve a course of study that differs from the indicated area minimum requirements.
The first year of study should provide general orientation in the various areas of theological education. Toward that end, each first-year student should be present for the orientation program.
The M.Div. is a professional degree program, and students are expected to grow in their understanding of their own place in the community of faith; to understand the cultural realities and social settings within which religious communities live and carry out their missions; to grow in emotional maturity, personal faith, moral integrity, and social concern; and to gain capacities for growth in the practice of ministry. The faculty has established learning goals for Religious Heritage, Cultural Context, Personal and Spiritual Formation, and Capacity for Ministry and Public Leadership. It is expected that students engaged in such learning will, during the course of the degree program, gain clarity about their own place in professional ministry—ordained or nonordained—within the church or in the broader society.
In order to measure progress toward these goals, M.Div. students are required to participate in a program assessing their progress. Each student builds a portfolio of work that includes significant academic projects, creative projects, and brief essays reflecting on the goals outlined above. This portfolio is developed with the support of faculty advisers and the associate dean for leadership initiatives. In addition to regular conferences with an assigned academic adviser, students are also required to participate in a mid-degree consultation, based on the M.Div. portfolio. That consultation will normally include the faculty adviser, the associate dean for leadership initiatives or the director of Anglican studies and formation at Berkeley, and several other professionals acquainted with the student’s work and focus.
Requirements of Supervised Ministries
Students who enroll in the M.Div. program must complete four hundred hours of a supervised ministry as part of their degree requirements. Students may elect to meet this requirement in several ways. See Supervised Ministries, in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations, for definitive information about requirements and policies regarding supervised ministries.
Program for the M.A.R. Degree
The degree of Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) certifies either completion of a comprehensive program of study in preparation for one of the many forms of lay ministry or service, or completion of one of the concentrated programs of advanced study described below.
The minimum requirement for the M.A.R. degree is the successful completion of forty-eight credit hours and a two-year residence with the following exceptions:
- 1. Students with heavy responsibilities outside of school are strongly advised to reduce their course load, but the total program of study for the M.A.R. degree shall not be expanded beyond four years. Students will not receive financial aid for course work beyond the requirements.
- 2. The residence requirement of two years may be reduced when credits, up to a maximum of twelve hours, are transferred. In order to receive the M.A.R. degree, students who transfer credits must complete at least three terms of resident work at YDS, one of which must be the final term.
- 3. Exceptions to the final-term residency requirement may be made for students on approved exchange or joint-degree study. In all cases a minimum of twenty-four credits must be earned through course work at Yale.
Students are encouraged to elect courses in other schools and departments of the University. Any student who takes more than nine hours in another school or department of the University comes under the regulations for interdepartmental study; see Interdepartmental Studies, in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations. See the chapter Areas and Courses of Study for information about credit for undergraduate courses.
Students awarded the M.A.R. degree who continue their studies for the M.Div. degree will not be awarded both degrees for less than four full academic years of study.
Ordinarily YDS will not recommend any student for ordination on the basis of the M.A.R. degree. An exception may be made if requirements for the M.Div. degree have been met but the M.A.R. is elected in preference.
A project or thesis is an option for both the concentrated and comprehensive M.A.R. programs. Students may elect to write a thesis in the second year of their program. Candidates who choose to write theses or pursue projects must register for one or two terms of REL 3899, M.A.R. Thesis or Project, three credit hours per term. In concentrated programs the faculty member who is supervising the project or thesis will determine area credit. A thesis written for the comprehensive program is normally eligible for elective credit only. Candidates must present a proposal describing the thesis or project. The academic adviser and the adviser chosen to direct the thesis or project must approve the proposal in advance. A thesis or project must demonstrate independent research and critical inquiry. The length of manuscripts for the M.A.R. thesis or project will vary, depending on the subject matter. In conceptual fields, a one-term thesis or project report will normally be 40–50 pages long; a two-term thesis or project report, 80–100 pages. In text-based fields, shorter theses may be more appropriate. Candidates must submit a completed thesis or project report by the specified deadlines set for an academic year. Two copies are required, one for the faculty adviser and a second for an additional faculty reader.
Students in the M.A.R. degree program, beginning with those who began their studies in the fall of 2013, are required to participate in a program assessing their progress. Each student builds an online portfolio of work that demonstrates progress toward the degree’s learning goals. Learning goals for students in M.A.R. concentration programs are determined by the faculty in each area; learning goals for students in M.A.R. comprehensive programs are developed, beginning in the second term of study, by the students themselves, in consultation with their academic adviser and with the associate dean for leadership initiatives. M.A.R. students will upload work demonstrating fulfillment of their goals, beginning early in the second year of study. Students will post a brief narrative outlining how the goals are being fulfilled. Faculty members in each concentration will meet to discuss the progress of students studying in their area; academic advisers will review the work of advisees in comprehensive programs. All M.A.R. students will participate in exit interview conversations.
Minimum requirements of the comprehensive M.A.R. program include the following distribution of courses in the curriculum:
- Area I Six credit hours. Elementary Hebrew and Greek do not meet this requirement but are counted toward the total number of hours needed for graduation.
- Area II Six credit hours.
- Area III Six credit hours.
- Area IV Six credit hours.
- Area V Six credit hours.
- Elective Eighteen credit hours.
No course may be counted toward meeting the distributional requirements simultaneously in more than one area. The distributional requirements of the M.A.R. degree are sufficiently flexible that students can devote a significant part of the program to specialized interests.
The concentrated M.A.R. program offers the opportunity to pursue advanced work in one of the disciplines of theological study. A minimum of thirty-six credit hours will be devoted to the planned program. The student may choose to use some or all of the remaining twelve credit hours for further concentration. The faculty limits the number of applicants accepted into the concentrated program and reviews the progress of each upon completion of the first term. If progress is not satisfactory, the student becomes responsible for fulfilling the requirements of the comprehensive program.
Concentrations are offered in Asian Religions; Bible; Second Temple Judaism; Black Religion in the African Diaspora; Ethics; History of Christianity; Liturgical Studies; Philosophical Theology and Philosophy of Religion; Religion and the Arts; Theology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and World Christianity/Missions.
The concentration in Asian Religions requires twelve hours of language study and a minimum of twelve hours of study in Asian religions. At least eighteen hours of YDS course work is required of all candidates.
The concentration in Bible requires study of both biblical languages. Twelve credit hours are required in the language chosen for primary emphasis, at least six of which must be in exegesis courses. Six credit hours are required in the secondary language. The foundation courses, Old Testament Interpretation and New Testament Interpretation, or their equivalent, are required. Six credit hours, selected in consultation with an adviser, are taken in the disciplines of Area II or Area III of the curriculum.
The M.A.R. in Second Temple Judaism is concentrated on the Second Temple and Rabbinic periods (approximately 500 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.). This program is a cooperative one that brings together students and faculty from YDS and from the Department of Religious Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The period in question covers the later stages of the Hebrew Bible and the formative period of both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. The centuries between the last books of the Hebrew canon (early second century B.C.E.) and the emergence of both Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity (by the second century C.E.) are especially crucial for the development of both traditions. This program then overlaps with the M.A.R. in Bible but is distinguished by its emphasis on noncanonical Jewish material and on the early rabbinic tradition.
The concentration in Black Religion in the African Diaspora is an interdisciplinary program based in the YDS curriculum and encourages students to take courses pertinent to African American religious studies in other departments of the University. At least eighteen credit hours must be taken in courses focusing on black religion, with one course in at least four areas of the curriculum. In addition, six credit hours of foundational study are required in Bible and twelve in history and theology. Although not required, up to six hours of credit may be given for a major paper or project.
Individual programs are planned for each of the students concentrating in Ethics. Ordinarily six credit hours of Bible and twelve in history and theology are required. At least eighteen credit hours must be taken in ethics, and it is possible to plan the program so that primary emphasis is placed on either theological ethics or social ethics. Although not required, up to six hours of credit may be given for a major paper or project. Courses may be taken in other departments of the University (for example, in Philosophy, History, Political Science, Sociology) or in another professional school.
The concentration in the History of Christianity trains students in the history of Christianity and in historical methods of analysis for the study of religion. The curriculum includes a wide range of courses, from early Christianity to the Reformation and contemporary America, and is broadened by the opportunity to take courses in other departments and programs of the University (for example, in Religious Studies, History, American Studies, African American Studies, History of Art, and Classics). Students are challenged to engage with the past in ways that treat earlier cultures with integrity, while exploring how those pasts continue to inform our present. Through the rigorous study of manuscript, printed, visual, and oral sources, students learn a range of methodologies and approaches to history as well as enter current debates on topics such as memory, war, race, and gender. Faculty emphasize the historical study of theology and religious thought; the cultural contexts in which ideas were formulated, expressed, and disseminated; and the historical intersections of Christianity with other religious traditions. The concentration requires at least eighteen credit hours in historical studies, and students are encouraged to complete a thesis, especially if their plans include further graduate work.
The concentration in Liturgical Studies requires eighteen credit hours of study in the major area, including the introductory core course of the program, REL 682, Foundations of Christian Worship. Students must take nine credit hours of limited electives in liturgical studies, three with an historical focus, three with a theological focus, and three with a strong methodological or practical component. The remaining six credits may be taken as electives, but students are strongly encouraged to seek out a course in their own denominational worship tradition. The remaining thirty credits required for the M.A.R. with a concentration in liturgical studies will be taken in the various areas of study of the YDS and Institute of Sacred Music (ISM) curricula, according to a student’s academic interests and professional goals and in consultation with faculty in the area of concentration.
Individual programs are planned for each of the students concentrating in Philosophical Theology and Philosophy of Religion. Eighteen credit hours are required in biblical and theological studies—the latter including but not limited to moral, historical, liberation, and systematic theology—with at least six in biblical and six in theological studies. At least eighteen hours must be taken in philosophical theology or philosophy of religion. Courses in the social sciences and in historical and philosophical study of religion may be taken in other departments of the University, especially in religious studies and philosophy.
Students in the Religion and the Arts concentration elect one of three tracks: Literature, Visual Arts, or Music. The emphasis in each track is on history, criticism, and analysis of past and present practice. Each requires twenty-one credits in the area of concentration: in visual arts or music, twelve of these credits must be taken with ISM faculty; in literature, six must be taken with ISM faculty. In addition, at least fifteen credits shall be devoted to general theological studies: six credits in Area I, six credits in Area II, and three credits in Area III. Twelve credits of electives may be taken from anywhere in the University, though the number of electives allowed in studio art, creative writing, or musical performance is at the discretion of the adviser and requires the permission of the instructor. In total, one-half of the student’s course load must consist of YDS credits. An undergraduate major in the field of concentration or its equivalent is required.
The program in Theology permits concentration in theological studies with a sequence of courses totaling eighteen credit hours selected for this purpose. Suggested concentrations are systematic, historical, or liberation theology. The foundation courses, Old Testament Interpretation and New Testament Interpretation, or their equivalent, are required of all candidates, as are six credit hours in the history of Christian theology. Individual programs are designed utilizing these guidelines.
An interdisciplinary concentration in the context of the YDS curriculum is offered in Women’s, Gender, and/or Sexuality Studies. At least eighteen credit hours must be taken in women’s, gender, or sexuality studies, either (1) focusing on a particular thematic interest or set of inquiries, or (2) demonstrating a breadth of learning across the Divinity curriculum. In addition, six credit hours of study are required in Bible (or other sacred texts, with the adviser’s permission), and six hours are required in history and/or theology. Students are encouraged to take relevant courses in other departments of the University.
The concentration in World Christianity/Missions is designed for students who are interested in the historical expansion of Christianity and/or who wish to spend a period of time working with churches and organizations in other countries or who wish to pursue graduate studies in a relevant field. Students are required to take a range of courses dealing with Christianity in its historical, biblical, and theological dimensions as well as Christianity’s interface with culture and with other religions. Students may opt either for Missions or for World Christianity as their emphasis within the concentration. Twelve credit hours are required in the core curriculum of each emphasis. For either emphasis, six credit hours in foundation courses in biblical studies are required, as are six credit hours of work in theology and/or ethics and six credit hours in the history of Christianity. There are six credit hours of electives. If a student opts for the Missions emphasis, he/she will take a minimum of six credit hours in one of four geographic area studies programs of the University (Latin American, African, East Asian, or Southeast Asian studies) as well as six credit hours in World Christianity. Relevant courses in the other departments of the University may also be included after consultation with the adviser. For those emphasizing World Christianity within the concentration, six credit hours in Missions are required as well as six credit hours in world religions. Students may also opt for a major research writing project as part of their course requirement in consultation with their adviser.
Extended Degree Program
An extended degree program is offered for selected students in the concentrated M.A.R. program. This allows students to take additional courses during a third academic year with permission of the program selection committee.
Each year, the number of openings available for the extended year is determined in late August/early September. The selection committee can fill no more than this number of openings but may develop a waiting list if warranted. There may be two selection rounds, the first in the fall term and a possible second in the spring term. If students are not selected in the fall, they may reapply in the spring, if there are spaces available, along with students who did not submit their applications for the fall-term selection round. Financial aid for the third year will be limited.
Applications in the fall term are due by October 15; notifications are sent by November 15. Students must notify the Admissions Office of their decision by March 20. Applications in the spring term are due by March 1; notifications are sent by March 26. Students must notify the Admissions Office of their decision by April 15.
Students must include the following items in their applications: (1) address and e-mail address; (2) area of concentration; (3) a completed M.A.R. course plan (blank copies are downloadable online, or hard copies are available in the Academic Office), with anticipated fourth-term courses included; (4) a statement explaining why the student wishes to extend his or her concentrated M.A.R. program; (5) a description of the doctoral program the student will be applying for and how it fits into his or her statement of interest above; and (6) two letters of recommendation from Yale faculty. One of these letters must be from a faculty member in the area of concentration.
Students accepted into the extended year will need to apply for financial aid, and a new award will be calculated. The new award will not be based on previous scholarship aid received at YDS. Federal loan programs will be available provided Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is maintained.
Program for the S.T.M. Degree
Graduates of theological schools of recognized standing who have obtained the B.D. or M.Div. degree or the equivalent may be admitted to a program of studies leading to the Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.) degree.
The work for this degree may be regarded as a fourth year of preparation for the Christian ministry. It may be used for advanced training in a specialized form of Christian service such as a college or university ministry; chaplaincy in industry, institutions, and the armed services; urban or inner-city ministry; ecumenical leadership; the directing of continuing education; home missions; international missions; or ministry to the elderly. The S.T.M. program may also be used as a year of specialized work in one of the theological disciplines or as preparation for doctoral studies. The schedule of courses may involve offerings in other schools or departments of the University.
Each candidate is required to plan, submit for approval, and pursue an integrated program designed to serve one of the purposes stated above, and a minimum of three-fourths of the courses taken must be related to a designated field of concentration. However, candidates who use the program as a general preparation for ministry may request a waiver of the normal requirements that there be a specific area of concentration and that the written project be related to this field.
A candidate for the S.T.M. degree must complete the equivalent of at least twenty-four credit hours of graduate study beyond the B.D., M.Div., or equivalent degree. Only course work graded High Pass or above is credited toward the S.T.M. degree. A thesis, major paper in a regular course, or other acceptable project in the selected field of study is required. The option of a Credit/No Credit grade is not available for the S.T.M. degree.
YDS M.Div. students accepted into the S.T.M. degree program and in need of financial aid will need to submit a new financial aid application. A new award will be calculated that is not based on previous scholarship aid received at YDS. Federal loan programs will be available provided Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is maintained.
The work for the degree may be undertaken in one year, or distributed over two, three, or four years; it must be completed within four years after matriculation. In the case of students who wish to extend their studies, nine credit hours is the minimum course load that can be regarded as a full-time program of study. Normally no work taken prior to matriculation will be counted toward the degree, nor will credit be transferred from other schools unless approval to count a course to be taken elsewhere has been given in advance. Students will not receive financial aid for course work beyond the requirements. International students are permitted to take three terms to complete their S.T.M. degree.
An extended paper, an independent thesis, or a project in the candidate’s area of concentration is required for the S.T.M. degree. Extended papers are written in conjunction with the regular requirements for courses credited toward the S.T.M. degree. Candidates who choose to write theses or pursue projects must register for one or two terms of REL 3999, S.T.M. Thesis or Project, three credit hours per term. Projects are restricted to programs focusing on some aspect of ministerial practice. Candidates must present a proposal stipulating which of these three options they intend to pursue. The academic adviser, the adviser chosen to direct the thesis or project, and the director of S.T.M. studies must approve the proposal in advance. Normally the adviser who directs the thesis or project will also serve as academic adviser. A thesis, project, or extended paper must demonstrate independent research and critical inquiry.
The length of manuscripts submitted to satisfy the S.T.M. thesis or project requirement will vary, depending on the subject matter. In conceptual fields, a one-term thesis or project report will normally be 50–60 pages long; a two-term thesis or project report, 100–120 pages. In text-based fields, shorter theses may be more appropriate. Candidates must submit a completed thesis or project report by the specified deadlines set for an academic year. Two copies are required, one for the faculty adviser and a second for an additional faculty reader. Candidates producing a thesis must also provide a third copy for the Divinity Library. If both faculty readers judge a thesis or project to be distinguished or of exceptional quality, such distinction will be recorded on the candidate’s transcript.
After an S.T.M. thesis has been approved by faculty readers, and prior to 5 p.m., May 11, 2017, a candidate must provide one correct copy to be microfilmed for the Divinity Library. This copy must be presented to the Registrar’s Office unbound and in final form. It must have a title page, be free of typographical errors, and employ an acceptable literary style, including standard forms for references. (Recommended manuals include the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers; The Chicago Manual of Style; Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations; The Random House Handbook; or The SBL Handbook of Style for Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies.) Candidates will receive a form in regard to microfilming and copyright, to be submitted to the library with the final copy of the thesis.
An extended paper is written in conjunction with regular requirements for a course in which a candidate is currently enrolled or which the candidate has previously completed. The length of an extended paper should normally exceed the usual requirement for a term paper by one-third to one-half. Only the instructor of the course will evaluate the manuscript submitted, and the only grade recorded will be the grade for the course. As a rule, extended papers will not be deposited in the library, although an instructor may recommend the submission of a paper of exceptional quality. The final decision on this matter will involve the judgments of a second reader and the director of S.T.M. studies.
Persons who desire to take courses at YDS not leading to a degree may apply to be nondegree students. Normally, these students are persons pursuing graduate work at another institution who need to take a specific YDS course or are persons with graduate theological degrees who wish to take a course for professional development. Upon application, students will be given the opportunity to explain how their course of study relates to the nature, purpose, and educational resources of the school (see Nondegree Programs, in the chapter Admission). Nondegree students can be admitted to YDS for one academic year, during which they may take up to four courses. Upon request to the associate dean of admissions and financial aid, and with the approval of the senior associate dean of academic affairs, an individual’s nondegree status may be extended for an additional year. Nondegree students are not eligible for reading courses or directed studies programs. University courses outside YDS are not available to them. A few specified courses at YDS may not be open to nondegree students when the nature or size of the course requires that it be restricted to degree candidates. Nondegree students must adhere to the same policies and regulations of the School as degree students.
Successful completion of a course is noted on the student’s transcript, and transcripts will be mailed to other institutions upon request. If the student desires to enroll for a degree, the regular admission procedure must be followed. After admission as a degree candidate, students may request of the academic dean an evaluation of the work they did as nondegree students. The maximum number of courses that can be accepted from work done as a nondegree student at YDS is eight courses toward the M.Div. or the M.A.R. (concentrated or comprehensive) degree requirements and four courses toward the S.T.M. degree.
Berkeley Divinity School at Yale
A seminary of the Episcopal Church, Berkeley affiliated with Yale Divinity School in 1971, making it the only Episcopal seminary to be fully associated with a major research institution such as Yale University. While Berkeley retains its distinctive Anglican identity and retains an independent board of trustees and administration, its students are admitted by and fully enrolled as members of YDS. As Episcopalians, Berkeley students are formed by the centrality of daily corporate worship, deliberate attention to the spiritual life, and a concentrated course of study in Anglican history and theology. At the same time, they are incorporated into the rigorous academic program of a divinity school with a world-renowned faculty and library and have access to the full resources of the professional schools, departments, and extracurricular programs of Yale University. Berkeley students are challenged on a daily basis by a lively ecumenical academic life as they engage faculty and colleagues from every variety of the Christian tradition, even as they follow a focused routine of prayer, worship and hands-on practical pastoral experience. (For more on Episcopal life at Yale, see Denominational Preparation in the chapter Other Curricular Considerations.)
Episcopal students enrolled at YDS through Berkeley earn a diploma or certificate in Anglican studies in addition to their Yale degree. Through YDS, Berkeley funds certain Episcopal and Anglican faculty and programs and offers scholarship support to students.
All admissions to Berkeley are administered through either YDS or the Institute of Sacred Music. Applicants interested in pursuing the program at Berkeley Divinity School should use one of these applications for admission, indicating their desire to enroll in the Berkeley Program. For further information, please contact the Director of Formation, Berkeley Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven CT 06511, telephone 203.432.9285, or visit the Web site at http://berkeleydivinity.yale.edu.
Yale Institute of Sacred Music
The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (ISM), an interdisciplinary graduate center, educates leaders who foster, explore, and study engagement with the sacred through music, worship, and the arts in Christian communities, diverse religious traditions, and public life. Partnering with the Yale School of Music and YDS, as well as other academic and professional units at Yale, ISM prepares its students for careers in church music and other sacred music, pastoral ministry, performance, and scholarship. The Institute’s curriculum integrates the study and practice of religion with that of music and the arts. With a core focus on Christian sacred music, ISM builds bridges among disciplines and vocations and makes creative space for scholarship, performance, and practice.
ISM is a vibrant community of 120 students, faculty, fellows, and staff. Students admitted to ISM are also admitted to either the Yale School of Music or YDS (or both), from which they receive their degrees. ISM students receive a full-tuition scholarship and have the opportunity to compete for additional grants and merit awards. Students pursuing music degrees receive rigorous conservatory training in choral conducting, organ, or voice, and typically go on to careers in church music, public performance, or teaching. Students who pursue degrees in divinity—either the M.Div., the M.A.R., or the S.T.M.—with an emphasis in liturgy or religion and the arts may join the ordained ministry or pursue careers in the academy, in the arts, or in public service.
ISM serves to promote understanding of biblical texts as proclaimed in community and the unique sense of identity that the arts provide for worshipers in a variety of faith traditions. Every two years the Institute sponsors study tours abroad with the goal of obtaining a wealth of experiences in seeing, hearing, and learning firsthand in that particular culture. In the past decade, the ISM has visited Scandinavia, Mexico, the Balkans, Germany, Greece and Turkey, Italy, and the Baltic states. As a major arts presenter in New Haven, the Institute sponsors more than eighty events attended by more than 15,000 people throughout the year, including recitals, concerts, liturgies, lectures, readings, films, symposia, and conferences.
At the heart of the Institute’s program is the weekly Colloquium, a lively interdisciplinary course attended by all ISM faculty and students. Faculty and guest speakers lecture in the fall on topics pertinent to the primary fields represented in ISM—worship, music, and the arts—and in their final year students present a project in collaboration with another ISM student outside their own discipline. In Colloquium, students and faculty explore the ways in which music and the arts function within diverse Christian liturgical practices. (A description of the Colloquium can be found in the chapter Areas and Courses of Study, under Courses without Area Designations.)
Upon graduation, students enrolled in both ISM and YDS earn an ISM certificate in addition to their Yale degree. The certificate signifies that the core curriculum of the chosen degree path has been enriched and deepened through study with the interdisciplinary Institute faculty. For example, music students will learn about the theological and liturgical roots of the sacred music they perform. They study the historical context and meanings of the texts used, and they learn about the modern contexts in which this repertoire appears, whether in liturgies or on the concert stage. Likewise, divinity students learn to make connections between theological concepts and artistic expression. They look at the historical roots and aesthetic constructions of the art and liturgies they study.
The Institute and Yale Divinity School
Institute students who are also enrolled in YDS pursue the M.A.R., the M.Div., or the S.T.M. degree with particular interest in sacred music, worship, and the arts. More detailed information is online at http://ism.yale.edu or in the ISM Bulletin, also online at www.yale.edu/bulletin.
Applicants must complete a separate ISM application for admission to the Institute of Sacred Music.
Studies in Religion and the Arts
The Institute’s curriculum in religion and the arts consists of courses in literature (poetry, prose, drama, and creative writing), the history of art and architecture, visual and material culture, and the history and theology of music. These courses are meant to help students become aware of the rich artistic heritage of the church and the role of the arts in contemporary ministry. Students may elect to pursue the M.A.R. concentration in Religion and the Arts, choosing as a major focus the visual arts, literature, or music. They are encouraged to explore courses in other areas of the University in these disciplines and to process this work theologically at YDS. From time to time, the Religion and the Arts program sponsors art exhibitions, special symposia, and other events open to the University community.
The Institute places a strong emphasis on liturgical studies. The appointment of three members of the faculty in this discipline makes Yale one of the outstanding centers of graduate liturgical study in the United States. Courses taught by the liturgy faculty are open to all students, whether or not they are in the Institute. Likewise, all students are free to consider enrolling in the M.A.R. concentration in Liturgical Studies, providing that their academic background has prepared them for this rigorous course of study.
Pastors are continually called to integrate a wide range of human experience and expression, and nowhere is this more evident than in preparing and leading worship. ISM provides a rich environment for future ministers to develop a comprehensive pastoral vision that interweaves scripture, tradition, music, art, and performance practices in ways that illumine the human condition and enliven communities of faith.
By taking courses in music, liturgy, and the arts, and by learning side by side with musicians and students of literature and art, M.Div. students begin to understand how the arts and theological scholarship enrich each other. As a result, students are prepared more fully for the challenge of leading communities and individuals who hunger to see their fragmented lives redeemed by a more holistic vision of life and faith.
Studies in Sacred Music
Students in the Institute whose primary interest is in music performance are enrolled through the School of Music as majors in organ, choral conducting, or vocal performance (early music, oratorio, and chamber ensemble). Their degree programs are the Master of Music, Master of Musical Arts, and Doctor of Musical Arts, as well as the Artist Diploma. Many also elect to undertake secondary study in harpsichord, voice, piano, and other areas.
Fellows in Sacred Music, Worship, and the Arts
The Yale Institute of Sacred Music inaugurated a residential fellows program in 2010–11. Each year, the Institute seeks a group of fellows from around the world to join the ISM community of scholars and practitioners for one academic year. Scholars, religious leaders, and artists whose work is in or is moving to the fields of sacred music, liturgical/ritual studies, or religion and the arts are invited to apply. Scholars in the humanities or the social or natural sciences whose work is directly related to these areas are also encouraged to apply. Fellows have the opportunity to pursue their scholarly or artistic projects within a vibrant, interdisciplinary community. Fellows are chosen for the quality and significance of their work. The Institute maintains a commitment to living religious communities and diversity of every kind, including by race, gender, and religion. At the Institute, fellows reflect upon, deepen, and share their work with faculty and students. Fellows also work with each other in weekly meetings, have access to Yale’s extensive collections and facilities, and, in some cases, teach in various departments or professional schools. There is more information about the fellows program at http://ism.yale.edu/fellows or in the bulletin of the Institute.