The following factors are considered when evaluating an applicant. They are NOT listed in order of importance.

  • Language preparation, both ancient and modern
  • Previously taken basic courses in the field and in related historical and/or cultural environment
  • Grades and course selection at previous institution(s)
  • Confidential letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • Writing sample (both for content and style)
    - The average writing sample should be between 20 -30 pages in length.
  • Match between interests of student and strengths of current Yale faculty in the field
  • GRE scores for all applicants and TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English.


Persons wishing to apply to the Ph.D. program in this Department can complete an online application by visiting All policies, procedures, instructions and answers to frequently asked questions as well as access to the application can be found at the website. December 15, 2017 is now a soft deadline; applicants will have until January 2, 2018 to submit the application. All applications submitted between the soft and hard deadlines will be accepted. While marked ‘late,’ these applications will be reviewed by faculty and considered for admission.

The application fee is $100. Scores in the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test are required. Applicants who have not taken that exam should write to the Educational Testing Service (ETS), Princeton, NJ 08541 and register for a convenient sitting. Applicants for whom English is a second language should arrange with ETS to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The decision of the Admissions Committee will be reported on or about March 15, 2018, and if admitted, applicants will be asked to indicate acceptance of Yale’s offer of admission by April 15, 2018.

Departmental Selection Process

Every member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Religious Studies and the Yale Divinity School may review applications and nominate one candidate for consideration by a small admissions committee appointed each year by the department chair. The admissions committee is charged with selecting the most excellent students from this pool of nominees. Each member of the committee independently ranks the students by excellence. The results of these independently generated rank lists are averaged so as to produce a general rank list. The committee reviews the rank list and may make slight adjustments in light of recent admission trends. Once the committee finalizes the list, offers are extended to the top candidates. If the number of acceptances drops below the target admission rate, an offer will be extended to a student or students on the wait list. Because the number of students admitted is generally less than the number of sub-fields, one or more sub-fields will not admit a student in any given year. The strongest candidates are often those whose interests and research align with faculty in more than one sub-field.