Application Instructions

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Before you begin and to ensure a smooth application process, please review the Admissions Requirements and Application Deadlines.

Note: Applicants for any of Candler’s dual-degree programs must complete a separate application for the non-Candler degree program with the corresponding school.

Application Instructions

Create an Account
To begin your application to Candler School of Theology, first create an account and provide a valid email address. After creating your account, you will receive an email with your username and password.

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Complete the Application
Log in
to work on your application and upload additional application documents. Your application will be saved until you are ready to submit it for review by our Admissions Committee.

Note: You can find instructions for attaching documents in the online application; however, if you have trouble you may email electronic copies of these materials to candleradmissions@emory.edu. Regardless of how your attachments are delivered, be sure to label each page with your name.

Application Requirements for All Degrees

Resume
Your resume should provide a brief summary of your educational background, job experience, vocational aspirations, leadership goals and accomplishments, professional affiliations, honors and awards, community service, skills, personal qualities, and interests and hobbies.

Academic Writing Sample
The academic writing sample should be a four- to seven-page sample of recent academic writing that provides evidence of writing skills, the ability to engage texts, and the ability to form clear arguments or theses. This may be an excerpt from a larger work or a short paper written for a class assignment. If the nature of the paper or the larger context for it is not evident, please provide a cover page explaining the context. Applicants who have been out of school for more than five years and/or cannot provide a recent academic writing sample are required to complete an alternate writing assignment provided by the Admissions Committee.

Note: The DMin degree has a different writing sample requirement. Special/Non-degree applicants are not required to provide a writing sample.

Academic Transcripts
Official transcripts from all previous colleges, universities, graduate schools and seminaries must be submitted, regardless of when you attended, how many hours you earned or whether you earned a degree. Official transcripts should be sent directly from these institutions or delivered in a sealed and signed envelope to the Admissions Office. If you are currently enrolled at an institution, please send an official transcript of your work to date and ask that a transcript be sent promptly following the completion of the term and/or conferral of a degree.

Send transcripts to:

Candler School of Theology
Emory University
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 301
Atlanta, Georgia 30322

For Transfer Students
Transfer students will be asked to submit a hard-copy letter of good standing from the institution from which they hope to transfer. In most cases, transfer students can be admitted provisionally pending receipt of this letter. Letters of good standing cannot be submitted through online recommendation.

For International Students
Applicants whose native language is not English must submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as part of the application process.

Waiver requests for those with extensive English-based study may be made in writing to the Admissions Office at candleradmissions@emory.edu. Waiver requests will not be considered until the application for admission is complete. All students for whom English is not the first language, regardless of TOEFL score or TOEFL waiver, will be required to participate in a written assessment before Candler’s fall orientation.

Those whose assessments indicate a need for additional work in written communication will be required to take TESL 300, English as a Second Language-Written Skills, in the fall semester. An oral assessment also will be required. Those whose assessments indicate a need for additional work in oral communication will be required to take TESL301, English as a Second Language-Oral Skills, in the spring semester.

Although offered for credit, TESL courses are graded on an S/U basis and do not count toward curriculum requirements for graduation. Read more.

Additional Application Requirements by Degree

Application requirements differ depending on the academic program. In addition to fulfilling the requirements listed above, click on the degree to which you are applying for additional instructions.

Note: Applications that do not include all required materials will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Master of Divinity (MDiv)

Autobiographical Statement

The three- to five-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style, grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the MDiv program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler School of Theology.

  • Your understanding of vocation, details of a call to ministry and plans following completion of study at Candler School ofTheology. United Methodist applicants should indicate plans for ordination as a deacon or elder in an annual conference, and status in the United Methodist candidacy process, if applicable.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of MDiv applicants:

  • Pastoral recommendation, provided by a pastor, chaplain, campus minister or equivalent (required).

  • Academic recommendation, provided by a college or graduate school professor. If you have been out of school for more than five years and/or are unable to secure an academic recommendation, submit an additional professional recommendation. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • Professional recommendation, provided by a work supervisor or a person who has known you for three or more years. If you are currently a student, you may prefer to submit a second academic recommendation in lieu of a professional recommendation.

  • In addition to the three required recommendations, Anglican and Episcopal students who wish to participate in the Episcopal Studies program must submit a letter from their Bishop stating that they are postulants and/or have the Bishop's permission to enroll in the program. In the latter case, the Bishop should be added as a recommender only if the Bishop will provide your pastoral recommendation, indicating permission to enroll in the Episcopal Studies program, within the same letter.

Dual Degree Requirement

If you are applying for one of Candler's joint-degree programs, you must complete a separate application for the second degree program with the corresponding school.


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Master of Religion and Public Life (MRPL)

Autobiographical Statement

The three- to four-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style, grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the MRPL program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler School of Theology and the ways in which study in the Master of Religion and Public Life will enhance your professional endeavors.

  • Your understanding of vocation and plans following completion of study at Candler School of Theology.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of MRPL applicants:

  • Academic recommendation, provided by a collegeor graduate school professor. If you have been out of college for more than five years and/or are unable to secure an academic recommendation, submit an additional professional recommendation. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • Two professional recommendations, provided by a colleague, work supervisor or other person who has known you for three or more years.


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Master of Religious Leadership (MRL)

Autobiographical Statement

A three-to-four page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the MRL program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses, and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler School of Theology and the ways in which study in one of the Master of Religious Leadership concentrations—Mission, Evangelism, and World Christianity; Justice, Peacebuilding, and Conflict Transformation; Pastoral Care; Ministries with Youth; and Worship and Music—will enhance your ministry.

  • Your understanding of vocation, your own call toministry and plans following completion of study at Candler School of Theology.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of MRL applicants:

  • A pastoral recommendation, provided by a pastor, chaplain, campus minister or equivalent.

  • An academic recommendation, provided by a college or graduate school professor. If you have been out of school for more than five years and/or are unable to secure an academic recommendation, submit an additional professional recommendation. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • A professional recommendation, provided by a work supervisor, or a person who has known you for three or more years. If you are currently a student, you may prefer to submit a second academic recommendation in lieu of a professional recommendation.


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Master of Theological Studies (MTS)

Autobiographical Statement

The three- to four-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style, grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the MTS program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Academic and other interests that motivate you to engage in theological studies. How the Master of Theological Studies program at Candler School of Theology addresses your interests.

  • Your plans following completion of study at Candler School of Theology.

Plan of Study Statement

Please submit a two- to three-page statement detailing your proposed discipline of study, topic of research and special interests that you hope to develop at Candler.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of MTS applicants:

  • Two academic recommendations, provided by college or graduate school professors. If you have been out of college for more than five years and are unable to secure two academic recommendations, submit additional professional recommendations as needed. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • Professional recommendation, provided by a work supervisor, or a person who has known you for three or more years.

  • If you are currently a student, you may prefer to submit a second or third academic recommendation in lieu of a professional recommendation.

Dual Degree Requirement

If you are applying for one of Candler's dual degree programs, you must complete a separate application for the second degree program with the corresponding school.


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Master of Theology (ThM)

Autobiographical Statement

The three- to four-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style, grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the ThM program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler School of Theology.

  • Your plans following completion of study at Candler School of Theology.

Plan of Study Statement

Master of Theology applicants should submit a two- to three-page statement explaining how the proposed topic of research in the area of Bible, preaching and worship, pastoral care, theology, ethics or religious education is best suited to Candler's offerings in one of those required areas.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of ThM applicants:

  • Academic recommendation, provided by a college or graduate school professor. If you have been out of school for more than five years and are unable to secure an academic recommendation, submit additional professional recommendations. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • Professional recommendation, provided by a work supervisor, or a person who has known you for three or more years. If you arecurrently a student, you may prefer to submit a second academic recommendation in lieu of a professional recommendation.

  • If you are ordained, please provide an ecclesial reference from a bishop, district superintendent or denominational executive showing support for your enrollment in the ThM program.


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Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Care and Counseling (ThD)

Autobiographical Statement

The five- to 10-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style,grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the ThD program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Sense of pastoral identity and reflection on pastoral experience in ministry or significant history of service to the church.

  • Formation through Clinical Pastoral Education or other clinical experience.

  • Your understanding of pastoral counseling as a vocation and academic discipline.

  • Your topic of research or special interests that you plan to pursue in dissertation research.

  • Academic and clinical interests that motivate you to pursue advanced studies.

  • Your plans following completion of study at Candler School of Theology.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members are required. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted, will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of ThD applicants:

  • One academic recommendation provided by a graduate school professor. If you have been out of school for more than five years and are unable to secure an academic recommendation, submit an additional professional recommendation. Transfer students are strongly encouraged to include a recommendation from a professor at their current seminary.

  • Ecclesial or pastoral recommendation provided by a denominational executive or pastor.

  • Professional recommendation provided by a work supervisor or a lay person who has known you for three to five years.

GRE Scores

The ThD program requires GRE scores for admission, and scores must be no more than five years old. There is no minimum score, however, your scores will be judged against others applying to the program. The Candler School of Theology Code is 5198.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Assessment

A copy of CPE assessments (normally four consecutive units) is required from all ThD applicants. If you have not completed all four units at the time of application, you should submit assessments from those units that have been completed.


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Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

Autobiographical Statement

A three- to four-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience in the DMin program. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Significant life experiences that have affected your view of self, God and the world. Include references to family members and significant others, courses, and experiences in college, church, service-related activities and employment.

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler School of Theology and the ways in which further study in one of the Doctor of Ministry concentrations—Biblical Interpretation and Proclamation or Church Leadership and Community Witness—will enhance your ministry.

Academic Writing Sample

The academic writing sample should be a four- to seven-page sample of recent academic writing that provides evidence of writing skills, the ability to engage texts, and the ability to form clear arguments or theses. This may be an excerpt from a larger work, a short paper written for a class assignment, an article or essay submitted for publication, or a sermon.

Required Recommendations

Three letters of recommendation from persons other than family members. You can input recommender information in the online application. You may provide contact information for your choices in the online application, which, once submitted will trigger an email to the individuals asking them to complete a secure online recommendation. Recommenders who cannot access the online form or who are added after you have submitted your application may download the recommendation form.

The following types of recommendations are requested of DMin applicants:

  • One academic recommendation provided by a graduate school professor. If you have been out of graduate school for more than five years and are unable to secure a professor's recommendation, submit an additional professional reference, either from a lay person or an ecclesial colleague.

  • One professional reference provided by a layperson in a leadership position at your current ministry site.

  • One ecclesial reference from a bishop, district superintendent or denominational executive showing support for your participation in the Doctor of Ministry degree program.

Additional Information

While most DMin program courses will be offered online, they are offered weekly and include significant synchronic components. In addition, five brief periods of residency are required during the three-year program. Expenses related to the residency requirements are not covered by tuition.


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Special/Non-degree Student

Autobiographical Statement

The one- to two-page typed, double-spaced autobiographical statement is a critical element of your application. It will be evaluated on content, style, grammar and organization. This statement is your introduction to the Admissions Committee and will help faculty advisors guide and evaluate your learning experience at Candler. With this in mind, write a reflective essay that addresses the following:

  • Aspects of your background that inform the unique perspective you would add to the diverse and vibrant community that exists at Candler School of Theology.

  • Your reasons for applying to Candler.

  • The course(s) you will enroll in at Candler.

  • Your plans following completion of study at Candler.


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Pay the Application Fee

Once you've submitted your application, use the secure form to pay the $50.00 application fee. Or, send a check or money order, made payable to Emory University, to:

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Candler School of Theology
Emory University
1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 301
Atlanta, Georgia 30322

Check the Status of Your Application

Once you submit your application, you will be sent a confirmation email directing you to the student online service site, Online Pathway to University Students (OPUS). You will then be asked to create a new OPUS account, which will allow you to check the status of your application and will include a "To Do List" of additional items that might be required. If you have trouble with this process, please email the OPUS Help Desk.

Application Materials for Print

Print versions of the application materials are available if you are having trouble accessing them through the application.

Recommendation Form

Alternative Writing Sample

Materials can be scanned and emailed to: candleradmissions@emory.edu or mailed to the admissions office.

Need Help?

If you need assistance with the online application or you would prefer to complete a paper application, please contact our staff by email at candleradmissions@emory.edu or call 404.727.6326. We look forward to receiving your application!

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"Need help? Let us answer your questions!"
-Mary Lou Greenwood Boice, Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid