Applying to ESR

Application forms are available online. Deadlines for completed applications are 30 days prior to the start of classes. All Degree and Certificate programs begin with the fall semester, and all MDiv students begin with our Spiritual Formation 101 course as a two-week intensive in the beginning of August. Occasional students may begin with the fall or spring semester. Academic Calendars for each year are available here (you will need to log in as a guest). An application file is considered complete when all required documents have been received in the Admissions office. A current picture is an optional yet helpful addition to the file for recognition purposes.

ESR admission files must contain these required documents:

  • Application Form
  • Application Fee $35 (pay online)
  • Background Check (degree-seeking and certificate students only).
  • References (between one and five)
  • Optional upload of essay questions. You may use this Word document ESR Essay Questions to compose your responses, save the file and include your last name in the file name, and upload within the web form.
  • Academic writing sample (if conditional, special or international, or upon request)
  • All official postsecondary transcripts
  • Results of TOEFL or IELTS testing (if English is not a student’s first language)

There are three types of application forms:

The number of references required will vary dependent on the type of application the student submits. Students seeking a degree need three references. One of the three references must be from someone familiar with the student’s academic work. Residential degree-seeking students applying for Cooper Scholarships need two additional references. These references should ideally come from the student’s monthly and yearly meeting when the prospective student is a member of the Religious Society of Friends and if not should come from members of the applicant’s faith communities. Residential degree-seeking students applying for the Leadership and Service Program need to provide one additional letter of recommendation from either a Quaker College Leadership Program or a member organization of Service Programs That Change the World ( along with certification of completion. Certificate students need two letters of reference. Those students wanting to take an occasional course need submit only one reference.

The academic writing sample is asked of prospective students who apply in the conditional, special or international categories above. Please submit a piece of your own writing that highlights your ability to think critically and to correctly reference the ideas of other writers.

Official transcripts are needed for the admission file. Contact your undergraduate and graduate college(s) or universities by mail, internet or phone to request that your transcript be sent directly from their registrar to the Director of Admissions in the ESR Admissions office.

If you are an international student and English is not your first language, please read the section below regarding language testing for an international admission.

International Applications

International students are encouraged to begin the application process as early as possible. Please ensure that all documents are in English. Students who prove unable to pay the initial application fee of $35 US may request a fee waiver when they submit the International Application.

All international students whose first language is not English must take and score a minimum of 550 on the Paper based version of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), a 213 minimum on the Computer based version of the test, or 82 on the Internet based test prior to admission. If you have already taken or it is easier to take the IELTS test where you live, you must take the Academic version and achieve a score of 7 or greater.

The Admissions Committee has a concern that international students are prepared for the rigors of academic work at ESR. If it appears to the Committee that further remedial work in English or additional computer skills are needed, it will be the student’s responsibility to pay for tutoring. Class entry may be delayed while such work is done. Any questions about these processes should be directed to the Admissions staff. Please review the web site or ask Admissions staff regarding the strict limitations set by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on student employment opportunities.

Non-degree seeking (Certificate and Occasional)

International students should fill out the Certificate or Occasional Student Application from the ESR web site (Admissions). Degree and Certificate students may qualify for an F-1 visa, but Occasional Students are ineligible. While financial aid is not available for the Occasional Student program, limited need-based aid of up to 25 percent is available for the Certificate program. Students seeking financial assistance should complete both the ESR Financial Aid Form and the International Student Statement of Financial Position.

Degree-seeking (Master of Divinity and Master of Arts)

International degree-seeking students planning to study residentially at ESR should fill out the Standard Application, the ESR Financial Aid Form, and the International Student Statement of Financial Position form. International degree-seeking students planning to enroll in ESR’s distance program, ESR Access, need not complete the Financial Position form, but should plan to travel to ESR for intensives to cover the residency requirement for the degree.

If a degree-seeking residential international student applies and is admitted, intending to enroll at Earlham School of Religion, a $1,125 * US enrollment deposit is required along with the Confirmation form. Payment of this deposit signifies that the student agrees to the conditions of admission and financial aid (where applicable) for the entire period of study at ESR. The School of Religion sets aside $1,000 of the deposit to be used by the student to return home upon completion of study at ESR. A balance of $1,000 is required in the student’s ESR account at all times. If the funds are unused at the time of the completion of studies, they are refunded directly to the student. Rising costs of travel may increase the student’s travel cost after graduation to a level above the $1,000 US of their refunded ESR deposit. Admitted Degree-seeking ESR Access students must return the Confirmation form along with a $125 enrollment deposit (pay online).

Many international students need scholarship assistance in order to attend ESR residentially, or in our ESR Access program. Up to two International Cooper Scholarships provide tuition and a small living stipend. These are reserved for residential students. Many times there is a waiting list of admitted students for these scholarships. ESR gives priority to members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The International Cooper Scholarship provides approximately $25,000 US* per year of study. This amount provides the very minimum that a student will need. A source of personal funds is helpful in case of illness, the need for cold-weather clothing, or other such personal necessities. ESR provides housing with the international scholarships, when possible, in a college-ownedco-educational-living house. Skills such as cooking, cleaning and community living are advantageous. ESR is unable to supply funds or housing to support spouses or family members.

Students receiving International Cooper Scholarships retain the financial responsibility to pay their confirmation fee of $1,125 US* mentioned above, the embassy visa fee, and travel costs of transportation, food, and lodging while traveling to and from ESR. International students who do not receive these must document financial sponsorship or the ability to pay the cost of one year’s study.

Another type of Cooper scholarship offered to International residential students by ESR covers tuition alone. To apply for either type of scholarship, please send an additional two references following the guidelines given on page 69 of the catalog in the Financial Aid section.

For ESR Access students, limited need-based aid of up to 50 percent is available. The application is available online.

Appealing Admissions Decisions

Any applicant denied admission may appeal by filing a written request for review to the Director of Recruitment and Admissions within ten days of being informed of the decision. Included with the request should be supporting information not previously available, particularly information of an academic nature. The Admissions Committee will consider the appeal and report its decision to the student in writing within 30 days from the receipt of the request.

Pay Fees Online

Pay your $35 application fee online with a major credit card through PayPal by clicking this button.


Pay your $125 confirmation fee online with a major credit card through PayPal by clicking this button.