Nondegree Students

Persons who wish to engage in study or research at YDS not leading to a degree may apply to be nondegree students. In addition to its traditional nondegree program for qualified individuals who intend to enroll in specific courses, YDS has several other nondegree offerings. These include the special Ministers in the Vicinity Program for persons currently engaged in professional ministry; the research program for doctoral students enrolled at other institutions; and a student exchange program with institutions abroad. Information on the admissions process for these programs can be found under Nondegree Students, in the chapter Admission.


Students in the traditional nondegree program are normally 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. Traditional 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 associate dean of academic affairs, an individual’s nondegree status may be extended for an additional year. Students are not eligible for reading courses or directed studies programs, and University courses outside YDS are not available to them. A few specified courses at YDS may not be open when the nature or size of the course requires that it be restricted to degree candidates. Traditional 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 provided 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 associate dean of academic affairs an evaluation of the work they did as nondegree students. The maximum number of courses that can be accepted from work done as a traditional 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.

Ministers in the Vicinity

The Ministers in the Vicinity Program, a special and distinct nondegree initiative, provides the opportunity for those currently engaged in professional ministry within a fifty-mile radius of New Haven, Connecticut, and who hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution, to enroll for credit in classes at a 50 percent discount from the published per-credit-hour rates (see Tuition and Fees, in the chapter Educational Expenses and Financial Aid). Participants in the program are also eligible to audit courses at usual rates (see Auditing Courses, in the chapter Admission). Once admitted to the program, ministers may enroll in one course per term for academic credit. Upon completion of at least two courses for credit, participants receive a YDS Minister in the Vicinity certificate. Admission to the program is for one year. But upon request to the associate dean of admissions and financial aid, and with the approval of the associate dean of academic affairs, a participant’s status may be extended for an additional year. Students receive full credit for their completed work in the program and may petition the associate dean of academic affairs to have some or all of the credits applied toward a YDS degree program should the individual apply and be admitted. Except as noted, general policies for the Ministers in the Vicinity initiative mirror those of the Traditional program guidelines described above.


Students enrolled in doctoral programs at other institutions may be granted nondegree status for one term or one academic year in order to conduct research and/or work with a professor in a specific academic area. Course enrollment is not permitted.


Yale Divinity School welcomes international exchange students from partner institutions who wish to spend one term or a year studying at YDS. Student exchange partnerships exist with Westcott House Anglican Theological College in Cambridge, England; German universities in Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Tübingen; Singapore’s Trinity Theological College; the Divinity School of Chung Chi College (Chinese University of Hong Kong); and Hebrew University in Jerusalem (suspended for 2024–2025).