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Application Requirements

Thank you for your interest in continuing your ministerial and academic journey with us.

Below are the basic application requirements that applicants to the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education must meet. Please also consult the degree or certificate page of the program you are applying to and make note of any special requirements.

If you have any questions regarding application requirements, please contact us at or call 718-817-4800.

Requirements for all Degree and Certificate Applicants

Online Application

All who are applying to the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education as either a matriculated or non-matriculated (visiting) student are required to submit an online application.

Additionally, please note that all documents submitted become part of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education University files and will not be returned or duplicated for any purpose.

Personal Statement

All applicants, except for those applying to the D.Min. program, are required to submit a personal statement responding to the prompt below. The personal statement, which is required to be submitted in the appropriate section of the online application, should be 2 to 3 pages in length, doubled-spaced, and presented in a professional font not to exceed 12 pt.

Please state your occupational and vocational goals as specifically as possible. Then, state briefly how you hope to relate your experience at the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education to your goals.

D.Min. applicants, please refer to the D.Min. application requirements below to find the five questions your are to respond to in your personal statement.

Current Resume/CV

All applicants are required to submit a current Resume/CV through the online application.

Letters of Recommendation

All M.A. and Certificate applicants are required to submit TWO Letters of Recommendation; Ph.D. and D.Min. applicants are required to submit THREE Letters of Recommendation.

Of the letters submitted, at least one academic letter of recommendation is preferred. If you have any questions about who you should ask to be your recommender, please email or call 718-817-4800.

Applying to the Spiritual Direction certificate or Master's program? All who apply to the spiritual direction program at either the certificate or master's level must submit one letter of recommendation from a current/former spiritual director who has spiritually directed them for at least one year. 

Visiting/non-matriculated students are not required to submit Letters of Recommendation, but will be required to should they apply to matriculate into a program at a later time. 

Letters may be submitted through the online application. Please do not give the option of mailing to recommenders. Mailing a recommendation should only be done in extreme circumstances when the recommender is unable to upload the letter. These may be directed to the GRE Admissions Office at the following address:

Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
C/O Office of Admissions
441 East Fordham Road, Keating Hall Rom 303
Bronx, NY 10458

Academic Transcripts

All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.*

Official transcripts of all coursework taken at the undergraduate and/or graduate level, including international transcripts, must be submitted to the GRE office either in an official, sealed envelope at the address below, or via an official emailed transcript submitted to GRE by the university.

If a degree has been completed, the transcript must include the degree awarded and date conferred.

All mailed transcripts should be mailed to:

The Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
C/O Office of Admissions
441 East Fordham Road, Keating Hall Room 303
Bronx, NY 10458

*Note: those who have not obtained a B.A./B.S. degree, but who are close to (within one semester of) completing one may also apply. If admitted, applicants will not be able to register as new students until they submit their final, official transcript with their degree’s conferral date.


Applicants for the following programs are required to complete an interview with either the dean, a GRE faculty member, or the director of admissions:

Doctor of Ministry
PhD in Religious Education
MA in Pastoral Mental Health Counseling
Advanced Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Interviews will be scheduled only after the application has been submitted and all materials have been reviewed.

Additional Requirements for Doctoral Applicants

D.Min. Applicants

D.Min. Personal Statement

In lieu of the traditional personal statement, D.Min. applicants must complete a statement answering five areas of interest as posed by the D.Min. Admissions Committee:

  1. What is the context of your ministry? How has the practice of ministry informed your understanding of theology? What questions has it raised that you would like to explore? Describe your operative theology as it stands today and describe how it has changed over time.

  2. Define ministry and its relationship to the church. Compare and contrast how you have experienced your identity or role as a minister with the way that your church or faith community defines ministerial identity. Where do you see the potential for new developments in ministry to respond to emerging trends in the culture within your church or community and/or among faith communities?

  3. While you are not bound by what you propose here, describe the project or the dissertation you intend to produce at the end of the program. Describe the research methods you intend to use as well as theological sources. How does this topic engage cultural concerns, the social role of ministry, or the integration of spirituality with ministry? Explain how your project or dissertation will make a meaningful contribution to the practice of ministry.

  4. Describe some of the sources you would use in your dissertation or project. Briefly, outline what you have been reading over the last three years that has had an impact on how you understand ministry. Include theological sources as well as relevant sources drawn from the social sciences including psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, leadership studies, etc. What are some weak areas in your knowledge of the practice of ministry that you hope to strengthen in this program?

  5. Having read through our course catalogue, outline your ideal plan of study over 4 or 5 semesters. You can use the projected course offerings listed on the website to help with this process. Explain how your plan represents a coherent course of study, how it will support your project or dissertation, and how it will improve your ministerial skills.

Before responding, it is recommended that all D.Min. applicants read through the course descriptions. The more concrete D.Min. applicants are in responding to these questions, the better.

Writing Sample

D.Min. applicants must also submit a writing sample of 10-30 pages.

Ph.D. Religious Education Applicants

  • All Ph.D. applicants must provide scores from either the GRE or the MAT (Miller Analogies Test)
  • Ph.D. applicants are also required to submit a 15-30 page writing sample.

MAT Exam
On the MAT exam, the Ph.D. admissions committee tends to look for a score of between 410 and 425. It is rare to see a score above 425.

GRE Exam
On the GRE, the Ph.D. admissions committee tends to look for a score between 160 and 170 on each of the two sections of the test. However, the committee has seen many good candidates with scores between 155 and 160.

If I scored below what you look for, can I still apply?
Yes! The Ph.D. admissions committee looks at each applicant's application as a whole and takes into account that some people do not show their strengths on standardized tests. Those who score slightly below the abovementioned scores are still encouraged to apply.

Do I have to have an M.A. to apply?
Although it would increase your competiveness, an M.A. is not required to apply to the Ph.D. in Religious Education program. An applicant for the Ph.D. program must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited educational institution. An applicant's academic record should indicate a capacity for graduate work of high quality. Admission to the Ph.D. program is selective and offered only to those students who have demonstrated the intellectual ability, preparation, and motivation for a vocation as a scholar or pastoral leader.

Is an interview required?
At its discretion, the Doctoral Studies Committee may interview select applicants for the program in person.

When will applicants know of the committee's decision?
Every effort will be made to notify applicants by March 1 of each year. Students admitted into the program receive provisional matriculation.

How many credits will I receive from my M.A. that will be applied to this program?
The Doctoral Studies Committee reviews students for permanent matriculation after they have taken twelve credits beyond their master's degree. The committee makes this determination based on students' performance in the program and their promise for completing a doctoral dissertation. It is at that this time a full evaluation of credits is also made.

Prospective Students without a Bachelor's Degree

The Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE) is pleased to partner with the School of Professional and Continuing Studies (PCS) to assist prospective students who do not yet have a bachelor's degree, to complete one in preparation for their graduate studies. For information on bachelor's degree completion, please contact the PCS Admissions Office.

International Applicants

In addition to the above, all international applicants are required to submit an International Transcript Evaluation and TOEFL exam score. For more information about these requirements, please visit the International Applicants page.

Non-Matriculated/Visiting Students

To view and apply to take a course at the GRE as a non-matriculated/visiting student, please visit the Non-Matriculated Students page.

Track your Application

All applicants can verify whether the GRE has received supplemental application materials (e.g. transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) by visiting their Application Status page.

To access this page, applicants must have already submitted their application.

To log in to the Application Status page, applicants will need to enter the same log-in information that they did to access their application.

Communication about Your Application

In addition to updates in regards to application deadlines, courses, etc., the GRE will send emails notifying all applicants of the following:

  • Outstanding Materials Needed
  • Confirmation of a Submitted Application (which will include a timeline outlining when an applicant can expect to see a decision)
  • Final Admission Decision

Application Review Process

An application is considered complete and ready for review after it has been submitted and all supplemental materials have been received. Once an application is complete it is forwarded to the GRE admissions committee.

All decisions are made by the GRE Admissions Committee and not the general Admissions office staff.