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About BDS


What is the relationship between Berkeley Divinity School and Yale Divinity School?

Berkeley Divinity School is an accredited seminary of the Episcopal Church, formally affiliated with Yale Divinity School (of which the Institute of Sacred Music is also an institutional partner). Berkeley students are admitted by Yale and receive their degree from the university, but also participate through Berkeley in a rigorous program of Anglican formation that prepares them to serve as clergy or lay leaders in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. This preparation is certified at graduation by the conferral of either the Diploma (M.Div.) or Certificate (M.A.R. and S.T.M.) in Anglican Studies. Upon application to Yale Divinity School or the Institute of Sacred Music, a prospective student indicates his or her intention to enroll in one of the Berkeley programs, and once admitted then completes both the Berkeley and Yale requirements concurrently.

Is Berkeley Divinity School fully an Episcopal Seminary?

Yes. Berkeley Divinity School is one of eleven Episcopal seminaries, and is fully accredited through its affiliation with Yale Divinity School. It draws students from all across the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion, and from its beginnings has represented a wide diversity of background, perspective and conviction. As the largest single denominational group at Yale Divinity School, Berkeley students form a close community within the larger life of the school.

What is the Anglican Studies program?

The Anglican Studies program includes six essential elements: (1) core courses in Anglican history, theology, worship and spirituality; (2) active participation in daily worship according to the Book of Common Prayer and other Anglican liturgical resources; (3) a colloquium series focusing on religious leadership and the exercise of ministry in the Episcopal tradition; (4) spiritual direction and formation through the Annand Program; (5) supervised ministry in parish, hospital, and other settings; and (6) a rich community life that includes small discussion and prayer groups, community meals, and other fellowship opportunities. (See the “Anglican Studies” page for what is specific to the Diploma and Certificate programs.) As set forth in the BDS Rule of Life, these elements combine to form a comprehensive program of prayer, study, practical ministry, and community formation that culminates in the senior class pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral.

What is the worship life like at Berkeley?

Berkeley’s life is centered on the Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, and students are expected to be active participants both in attending and leading worship. The daily services are held in St. Luke’s Chapel at the Berkeley Center, and often include student sermons and music. In addition, a Community Eucharist on Wednesday evenings is held at YDS’s Marquand Chapel, offering an opportunity to explore the great riches of the wider Anglican liturgical tradition, frequently with guest preachers from around the Anglican Communion. A team of four sacristans takes the lead in planning and executing these services.

In addition, Berkeley students participate in the daily ecumenical worship at Marquand Chapel. There they are exposed to a wide variety of worship traditions, learning to appreciate the diversity of Christian worship and encountering an extraordinary breadth of musical and liturgical styles.

Does Berkeley offer both lay and ordained tracks?

Yes. As part of Yale Divinity School, Berkeley does not require students to be postulants for ordination to be admitted. Indeed, many students arrive undecided about their vocational intentions, and therefore choose to participate in discernment programs while in school. For those whose intentions are toward lay ministry, there is ample opportunity to pursue a variety of options through joint degree programs with other professional schools (e.g. Forestry and Environmental Studies, Law, and social work through the University of Connecticut). Berkeley also encourages preparation leading toward chaplaincy and teaching in secondary schools or colleges through its Educational and Leadership Ministry program, and has relationships with a number of schools in the region for internships.

What is the Annand Program for Spiritual Formation?

The Annand Program is an endowed extra-curricular offering named for a former dean, which provides group and individual spiritual direction for all students (including the wider YDS community). It also offers frequent programs in the practice of Christian spirituality. Once a student matriculates, the coordinator of the Annand Program meets with each student to suggest an appropriate director. Annand provides six individual sessions a year for students, or weekly/bi-weekly group sessions.

How do Berkeley students participate in Yale Divinity School?

In addition to taking the majority of their classes in the rigorous academic environment of YDS, Berkeley students also share in the lively ecumenical worship in Marquand Chapel. They are active participants in various singing groups such as the gospel choir, a capella men’s and women’s ensembles, and choirs at the Institute of Sacred Music. Frequent student-led community life events bring students together for discussion groups and social occasions, and the Divinity School offers an almost daily diet of guest lectures, exhibition openings, and book readings.

What does leadership formation look like at BDS?

Following the example of Yale University, Berkeley Divinity School emphasizes the formation of the character and skills necessary among its students for them to become leaders in church and society. This specifically means focused examination in the Berkeley colloquium series of appropriate patterns of church leadership, as well as steady exposure to prominent men and women in a variety of fields who come as visitors, lecturers and preachers to the School. Student-led organizations such as the Episcopal Evangelism Network supplement the opportunities to develop entrepreneurial skills for ministry.

What access do students have to the resources of the University?

As full members of the Yale University community, Berkeley Divinity School students have the privilege of enrolling in any class in the wider University (subject to any pre-requisites and the instructor’s permission). Many students enroll in non-profit management courses offered at the School of Management, ethics courses at the School of Law, pastoral care courses at the School of Nursing, courses in non-Christian religions at the Department of Religious Studies, or graduate courses in philosophy, sociology, or politics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Students also have access to Yale’s IT support services, extensive athletic facilities; world-class libraries; physical and mental health services; exhibitions, museums, and numerous cultural and intellectual activities.

Where do BDS graduates serve?

Berkeley graduates serve throughout the church and society, in every imaginable capacity, and throughout the Anglican Communion. Within the church, they are parish priests, seminary professors and deans, diocesan bishops, musicians, program directors, and missionaries. In the world, they serve as counselors, teachers, heads of schools, business executives, media directors, and social workers. Indeed, one of Berkeley’s distinguishing characteristics is the variety of vocational intentions that its students bring to their studies.

How does Berkeley help students find employment after seminary?

Berkeley students are assisted by both the Yale Divinity School’s Career Services Offices and the Director of Anglican Studies and Formation to find positions in churches, schools, hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector. Students attend workshops on interviewing and resume writing, and their resumes go into an online resume book for potential employers to view.

Are YDS and BDS affordable?

Together, Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School offer both need-based financial aid and individual merit scholarships, and students may also apply for support from such organizations as the Fund for Theological Education. On average, YDS students receive about 80% of their demonstrated financial need in scholarship. Episcopal students may also apply for specific scholarships such as the Society for the Increase of the Ministry or Mercer Scholarships, and often receive support from their local parish or diocese. Moreover, the University provides abundant opportunities for work-study, often in environments that are intrinsically educational in their own right. So yes, coming to school at YDS/BDS is definitely affordable.

How do Supervised Ministry internships and Clinical Pastoral Education work?

Learning the practice of ministry is an essential part of the overall program. A Berkeley student in the M.Div. program is required to fulfill two units in Supervised Ministry (field placement), including Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a hospital or other clinical setting during the summer or an extended CPE unit over the course of an academic year; and a Field Placement internship in a parish, social service agency, or school. Field Placements generally occur during the academic year and count for course credit if the student is also enrolled in the accompanying practicum sessions.

Most students in the Episcopal ordination process are required by their bishops and Commissions on Ministry to do both one summer of CPE and one or two years of Field Placement. Of particular note is that the New Haven area provides a wide variety of possible placements, representing every kind of Episcopal parish and clinical setting. The Office of Supervised Ministry and Berkeley staff assist students in finding the right fit for a student in each of these categories.

What is life like in New Haven?

New Haven is an urban environment with an unusually rich concentration of cultural life due to the presence of the university. It has a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, is close to a number of public beaches and state parks, and is an easy train-ride away from the excitement of New York City. The summers are moderate due to the proximity of Long Island Sound, the winters long and cold, but the fall and spring are glorious. Student housing is abundant (both on and off-campus), and the city has the distinctive feel of being a “college town” with a New England flavor.

For a small city, New Haven has an extraordinarily rich cultural life because of the presence of the University, including the Yale Repertory Theater, concerts at the School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, the Yale Art Gallery and Center for British Art.

How do I apply?

All students apply either through the Yale Divinity School or Institute of Sacred Music (or both), indicating their interest in Berkeley Divinity School on the application form. The deadline for receipt of applications is February 1 (January 16 for priority consideration), although some latitude can be given for students whose diocesan discernment process may not allow them to meet that deadline. It is not, however, necessary to be a postulant to apply, even if your intention is to seek ordination. Click on “Admissions” at the top of this page to learn more, to apply on-line, or to receive additional information.