Cooperative Master of Divinity | Hartford Seminary

Cooperative Master of Divinity




Procedures for Students in the Cooperative M.Div

Not Your Average Master of Divinity Program

“Hartford Seminary was life-changing.”

– Richard Marquette, Cooperative M.Div graduate

In intimate classroom settings Cooperative Master of Divinity Students build life-long relationships with colleagues in such fields as Islamic Chaplaincy, Abrahamic Partnerships, International Peacemaking and more. Before moving on to complete degrees at Yale Divinity School, Boston University School of Theology, Drew Theological School or Chicago Theological Seminary’s online program, Cooperative M.Div students take full advantage of Hartford’s one-of-a-kind setting where students from all over the world study, pray, and prepare for public ministry together.

Here’s how it works: Hartford Seminary has cooperative agreements with Yale Divinity School, Boston University School of Theology, Drew Theological School and Chicago Theological Seminary’s online program that allow Cooperative M.Div students to begin their studies at Hartford Seminary and, if accepted, to proceed to any of the cooperating seminaries to complete their Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. These cooperative agreements allow students to transfer up to 36 credits of coursework. Students wishing to complete M.Div study at other seminary or divinity schools should be aware of the policies and requirements of individual institutions.

In general, any student choosing to pursue the Cooperative Master of Divinity Program option needs to be aware of the following:BEC_3220

  • Before applying to either Yale Divinity School (YDS) or Boston University School of Theology (BU) through the Cooperative Program, the student must be in good standing and must have completed at least 24 credits at Hartford Seminary. At least 12 of the 24 credits must have been earned in courses taught by at least two different core faculty or faculty associates.
  • The student who has established eligibility in this manner may then apply to Hartford Seminary’s Cooperative M.Div. Committee for its endorsement before applying to YDS and/or BU as a Hartford Seminary Cooperative Program applicant.
  • For students intending to matriculate to YDS, be aware that YDS will not transfer in week-long intensive courses taken at Hartford Seminary during the January or June terms. Similarly, YDS will not transfer in any courses taken exclusively online.

On-Campus Classroom Requirement

Students enrolled in the Cooperative M.Div. program should plan to take all of the courses that make up the Hartford Seminary segment of their degrees in the classroom on the Hartford Seminary campus. Occasionally it will be appropriate for students in this program to consider courses taught in other formats, e.g., off-site courses, online courses, travel seminars, independent study. When appropriate, the student should discuss the merits of these alternatives with his/her Hartford Seminary advisor. The advisor’s approval is required.

Advising Guidelines

Advising guidelines are intended to help students in the Cooperative M.Div. program make informed choices about courses they may take at Hartford Seminary that will satisfy core area degree requirements at YDS and BU.  Students should be aware, however, that whether or not a Hartford Seminary course will meet a specific area requirement is a determination that is finally in the hands of YDS or BU, and that decision is made after the student has applied and been admitted.  These guidelines are a reliable guide of equivalency, but not guarantees. Course offerings and degree/ curricular requirements (or configurations) at all institutions change over time; therefore, this chart will be periodically updated by Hartford Seminary.  Students should ask their advisor each academic year for the most recent version of these documents.

BU Advising Guidelines

CTS Advising Guidelines

Drew Advising Guidelines

YDS Advising Guidelines

Application deadlines:

  • July 15 for the Fall Semester; to be considered for financial aid, a separate Application for Financial Assistance must be completed and submitted to the Financial Aid Committee by June 1.
  • December 1 for the Winter/Spring Semester.

An applicant’s file is complete when the following items have been received by the Admissions Office:

  1. The application form and application fee of $50.
  2. A personal statement of four to five pages identifying the applicant’s personal goals for the M.A. in Religious Studies program, his/her perceived strengths, and his/her potential areas for development.
  3. Complete official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions.
  4. Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member of an institution from which the applicant has earned a degree or a person from the applicant’s religious community or work place who can speak to the applicant’s potential for graduate level study.
  5. Personal Interview.

One can apply through either a paper-based or an online format, both available on our website Detailed instructions for completing the application are also provided at this link. You may also request a paper application by calling our Admissions Office at 860-509-9512.

Interview: Applicants will be contacted by the Admissions Office to schedule an on-campus or phone interview.

A bachelor’s degree (or its educational equivalent) at a satisfactory level of achievement from an accredited institution is a prerequisite for admission. Admission is granted only on the basis of the terms stated in this Catalogue and in the admission letter.

Students who have previously taken graduate level courses in religion from an accredited institution may be eligible for transfer credit.

Students who have undertaken significant learning outside the context of a traditional graduate degree program may be eligible for Advanced Standing.

Readmission: Please see Readmission policy.

Start your Application Below

Procedures for Students in Cooperative Master of Divinity Program

Hartford Seminary has cooperative agreements with Boston University School of Theology (BU), Drew Theological School (DTS), Chicago Theological School (CTS), and Yale Divinity School (YDS) that allow qualified Master of Arts in Religious Studies (M.A.) students to begin their studies at Hartford Seminary and, if accepted, to proceed to either of the cooperating seminaries to pursue a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. Students may take advantage of this special cooperative relationship and agreement by following the process and procedures outlined below.

Please Note: Hartford Seminary students may, at any time, apply on their own directly to any of the partnering schools. Being, or having been, a student at Hartford Seminary does not inhibit this. However, if a Hartford Seminary M.A. student wishes to receive the benefit of the special cooperative agreements with these institutions, the condition, procedures and process detailed below will apply and must be followed.

1. Before making an application to a partnering school through the Cooperative Program, the student must be an M.A. student in good standing and must have completed at least 24 credits at Hartford Seminary. At least 12 of the 24 credits must have been earned in courses taught by at least two different core faculty or faculty associates.

2. Sequence: The student must first apply to Hartford Seminary’s “Cooperative M.Div. Committee” (hereafter, the “Committee”) in order to be considered eligible to subsequently apply to a partnering school as a Hartford Seminary cooperative agreement M.Div. applicant. The student must understand, in advance, that the committee’s decision (whether to recommend or not recommend the student) will be communicated to the partnering school.

3. The application to the Committee consists of:

  • A 2-3 page statement describing why the student has decided an M.Div. degree is more appropriate to their purposes than an M.A. degree, why now is the time, which of the cooperating seminaries they intend to apply to and why, and what place they anticipate their coursework and experience at Hartford Seminary will hold in the final blend of studies that will culminate in an M.Div. degree.
  • One letter of recommendation from a member of the core faculty or faculty associates of Hartford Seminary written specifically with the student’s M.Div. aspirations in mind. The student will not have access to this letter, unless the student has stipulated in advance to the professor that s/he be given access. If the Committee recommends the student, this letter will serve as one of two letters of recommendation that support the student’s subsequent application to the partnering school.
  • A copy of the student’s transcript from Hartford Seminary, officially requested by the student to be sent to the Committee (the normal transcript fee will be waived).
  • A copy of what the student considers the best academic research paper that the student has written in the course of his/her studies at Hartford Seminary.

4. The Application deadlines for submitting materials to the Committee are as follows:

Fall Semester Admission Spring Semester Admission
Boston University  December 1  October 1
Chicago Theological Seminary December 1 November 30
Drew Theological School Rolling Admission
Yale Divinity School December 1 No spring admission

5.a.If the Committee decides to recommend an applicant, the applicant must still apply to the partnering school, using each school’s standard application forms. The Committees notification letter to the applicant of its decision to recommend will be accompanied by a catalogue and application form to the appropriate seminary(s).

b. When the recommended student applies to the M.Div. program at the cooperating seminary, the student must alert the committee that they are proceeding with the M.Div. application. With this signal, the Committee will release two letters of recommendation on behalf of the student to the Seminary(s) to which the student is applying. The partnering school will recognize these two letters as two of the required letters of recommendation and as the Committee’s official recommendation of the student. The student will not have access to these two letters, unless the student has stipulated in advance that s/he be given access.

c. Students who have been recommended by the Committee must request of the Hartford Seminary Registrar that an official copy of their transcript be sent to the cooperating seminary (the normal transcript fee will be waived).

6.a. If the Committee decides not to recommend an applicant, a letter will be sent to the partnering school indicating this and a brief explanation will be provided. The student may still apply to the partnering school, but without the recommendation of the Hartford Seminary Cooperative M.Div. Committee, but with the waiver of the normal transcript fee. The admissions committees at the partnering schools are free to decide in any manner they see fit on the applicants who have failed to obtain our recommendation.

b.An applicant to the Committee who has not received the Committee’s recommendation may reapply after 6 more credits have been earned in Hartford Seminary courses taught by core faculty or faculty associates.

7. Students who have applied to the Committee may continue their M.A. program at Hartford Seminary regardless of the Committee’s decision regarding their eligibility for the cooperative M.Div. program.

8. When a student does matriculate to one of the cooperating seminaries and transfers their credits into a M.Div. program, they are no longer matriculated in a degree program at Hartford Seminary.

9. Students who are both recommended by the Committee and accepted into and enroll in the M.Div. program at a partnering school, will receive a “Certificate of Professional Ministry” from Hartford Seminary. Students must complete the Graduation Form online, and advise the Registrar if they will attend graduation.

10. According to the terms of the cooperative program agreements between Hartford Seminary and the cooperating seminaries, these are the maximum credits that may be transferred toward a Master of Divinity degree from work done at Hartford Seminary: 36 credits for BU; 42 credits for DTS; 48 credits for CTS; and 36 credits for YDS.

11. Students must select their courses carefully, under the guidance of their advisor at Hartford Seminary, to accumulate the optimal combination of courses that will be transferable. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the final determination of which courses will be transferred, and toward what curricular requirements, rests with the partnering schools who will be the degree granting institution.

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