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

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing sample (15-25 pages in length)
  • Match between interests of student and strengths of current Yale faculty in the field
  • Indication of interest in academic and non-academic professional futures
  • Language preparedness and basic courses and/or experience relevant to planned fields of study
  • Grades and course selection at previous institution(s)
  • Confidential letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL scores are required for applicants whose native language is not English.

Note - As of July 1, 2019, the Department of Religious Studies is no longer accepting GRE scores from applicants.


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. Applications should be submitted no later than December 15, 2020. 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 $105.  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, 2021, and if admitted, applicants will be asked to indicate acceptance of Yale’s offer of admission by April 15, 2021.

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.