Programs at the University of Chicago Divinity School
University of Chicago Divinity School appears in our ranking of the 30 Best Theological Seminaries in the United States.
The University of Chicago Divinity School has five degree programs for students to pursue, and most programs offer students multiple concentrations and areas of study. Degrees include a Ph.D., a Master of Arts, a Master of Divinity, a Master of Arts in Religious Studies, and an undergraduate program in religious studies.
Undergraduate students will choose one of six areas of study that include constructive studies in religion, historical studies in religion, and Islamic studies. Students may also focus on religions in the Americas, religion and the human sciences, or Buddhist studies at the University of Chicago. Some of the classes students may take in the undergraduate program include Lesser-Known Gospels, The Book of Psalms, Jewish Law from the Hebrew Bible to Jesus, Contemporary Theories of Religion, and Coherence in Chinese Philosophy.
The various master’s degrees at the University of Chicago Divinity School are appropriate for students of varying educational goals. For example, the Master of Arts in Religious Studies is appropriate for students in varying professions like business, journalism, and education. The Master of Divinity program is designed for students interested in a religious career. The Master of Arts program is a good choice for students who want to eventually enter a Ph.D. program in religion.
Those who pursue a Ph.D. will have 11 areas of study available. Topics include theology, religion in America, philosophy of religion, history of religions, history of Christianity, or the anthropology & sociology of religion. Doctoral students may also study topics like religious ethics, Islamic studies, the history of Judaism, the Bible, and religion, literature, & visual culture.
To complete their Ph.D., candidates must take a minimum of 12 courses over two years, demonstrate competence in two languages other than English, take four qualifying examinations, teach classes or mentor students, and write a dissertation. Some students will need to study additional foreign languages. The school accepts new students into the program once a year.
While enrolled in one of the school’s programs, students will receive instruction and guidance from one of three faculty committees that each possesses several topic subgroups. Students may work with The Committee on Historical Studies in Religion if they have an interest in the history of Judaism, the history of Christianity, or general Biblical studies.
Students may also work with the Committee on Constructive Studies in Religion if they want to study the philosophy of religion, theology, or ethics. The third group is known as The Committee on Religion and the Human Sciences, and topics of discussion for the group include the history of anthropology & sociology of religion, the history of religions, and religion, literature, & visual culture.
About the University of Chicago Divinity School
University of Chicago Divinity School was founded in 1856 within the University of Chicago and was the idea of the school’s first president, a Baptist member of the clergy. The school was then named the Baptist Theological Union Seminary and was the first professional school established at the university. On the University of Chicago campus, the school is located near the Division of Humanities and the Division of Social Sciences.
Students take their classes in Swift Hall, which also has a well-known coffee shop and features the Bond Chapel, which hosts campus worship events. The school has a faculty population of 36 full-time teachers and 14 associate teachers. The school also hosts visiting instructors and has almost 20 teaching pastors. Research at the school is guided by groups of faculty committees who focus on the concentrations available in each degree program.
University of Chicago Divinity School Accreditation Details
The University of Chicago Divinity School is institutionally accredited as part of the University of Chicago by the Higher Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Regional accreditation of the overall university allows students to qualify for federal student aid, as well as transfer their credits to and from programs at the school.
In addition to institutional accreditation, the Divinity School is also approved for operations by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Programs approved by the commission include the Ph.D., the Master of Arts, the Master of Divinity, and the AMRS.
University of Chicago Divinity School Application Requirements
Application materials required to apply for the Master of Arts program include the Divinity School Application for Graduate Admission, academic transcripts, a current resume, and a writing sample of 15 pages or more. Students should also submit an application fee of $75, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement that describes the student’s professional goals and educational influences. Application materials for the Master of Divinity program are similar.
Ph.D. candidates will submit the official application, a personal statement, and academic transcripts. Applications also require three letters of recommendation, and the school requests that at least two of those recommendations come from former teachers. Students should also submit official test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a current resume, a writing sample of 25 pages or less, and an application fee of $75.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition at the University of Chicago Divinity School is charged on a quarterly basis, and each program has unique tuition rates. Full-time tuition for the Master of Arts program is $12,100, and the half-time rate is $6,050. Students should expect to take a minimum of two years to finish their MA. Tuition for the Master of Divinity program is $11,382 for full-time study and $5,691 for half-time study.
For students who pursue a Ph.D., the school offers all students a full-tuition scholarship that also covers the university’s required health insurance plan and includes a living stipend of $31,000 as long as the student is in the program. Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to maintain university-based funding.
Students in the M.Div program and the MA program may apply for financial aid through the federal government and must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to qualify. Students may receive loans, grants, and offers of student employment based on the information shared within their FAFSA. There are also merit-based scholarships that students may receive if they qualify, and awards are often renewable during the student’s enrollment at the University of Chicago Divinity School.