Applying to ESR


Application for 2020-21 August and Fall entry is now closed. Application for Fall 2021-22 will begin October 15, 2020. Occasional Student Application may be made for Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 now.


Application submission deadlines for 2021-22 entry:

  • M.A. in Peace & Social Transformation: May 1, 2021
  • M.Di.v/M.Min.: June 1, 2021
  • M.A. in Religion: June 15, 2021
  • M.A.:Theopoetics & Writing:  June 15, 2021 (for Fall '21 entry)  
  • Certificates: June 15, 2021
  • Audit/Occasional student:
    • January '21 Intensive - November 1, 2020
    • Spring '21 semester - November 15, 2020
    • May '21 Intensive - March 15, 2021
    • August '21 Intensive - June 15, 2021
    • Fall '21 Semester - July 1, 2021


M.Div. and M.A. in Peace & Social Transformation students begin with our Spiritual Formation 101 course as a two-week, residential August intensive

M.A., MA:TW, and Certificate programs begin with the fall semester.

Occasional students may begin with the fall or spring semester, or any Intensive course.

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.

Earlham School of Religion adopts the federally mandated anti-discrimination statement, requiring that no discrimination shall occur, regarding admissions or access to, or treatment or employment in, any program or activity in the School on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Moreover, the School moves beyond this minimal statement and affirms its commitment to equality of opportunity for all individuals who desire the type of theological education offered within the context of the School's mission statement - including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Furthermore, since ESR is committed to maintaining its Quaker identity, it will actively seek candidates who are Quaker and ecumenical applicants who are in congruence with Quaker testimonies.

ESR admission files must contain these required documents:

  • Application Form - Applications will not be accepted until October 15, 2020.
  • Application Fee $35 (pay online)
  • Background Check (degree-seeking and certificate students only - not international applicants). The applicant is expected to order the Background Check.
  • References (between one and five depending on the program - see below): The applicant is expected to ask their reference to complete the printable PDF or complete the fillable MSWord Form.
  • Optional upload of essay questions, or complete them within the application. 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, international, or upon request)
  • All official postsecondary transcripts. The applicant is expected to order their transcripts.
  • Results of TOEFL or IELTS testing (if English is not the applicant’s first language). The applicant is to request the testing facility to send official scores directly to ESR.
  • International Student Statement of Financial Position (International Applicants only)

There are three types of application forms:

Note: See application deadlines above.

The number of references required will vary dependent on the type of application the candidate submits. Applicants seeking a degree need three references. One of the three references must be from someone familiar with the applicant’s academic work. Residential degree-seeking applicants applying for Cooper Scholarships and the Master of Arts in Peace and Social Transformation need two additional references. These references should ideally come from their 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 candidates 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 applicants need two letters of reference. Those who want to take an occasional course need submit only one reference. It is the applicant's responsibility to request these letters.

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

International Applications


There is a waiting list at this time for International Cooper Scholarship applications for Fall 2020. We are accepting applications for Fall 2021.

International candidates are encouraged to begin the application process as early as possible (see note below about International Cooper Scholarship*). Please ensure that all documents are in English. Applicants who are unable to pay the initial application fee of $35 US may request a fee waiver when they submit their International Application.

All international applicants 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 TOEFL, or 82 on the Internet based test prior to admission. If international applicants have already taken, or it is easier to take, the IELTS test where they live, they must take the Academic version and achieve a score of 7 or greater.

The Admissions Committee has a concern that some international students are not 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 applicant’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.

International Non-degree-Seeking Applications (Certificate and Occasional)

International applicants 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. Applicants seeking financial assistance should complete both the ESR Financial Aid Form and the International Student Statement of Financial Position.

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

International degree-seeking applicants 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 applicants 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 applicant 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 admitted 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 admitted 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 admitted 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. ESR is now accepting applications for Fall 2021. These are reserved for residential students. Many times there is a waiting list of admitted students for these scholarships (there is a waiting list at this time). 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-owned, co-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.

Admitted students who have been awarded an International Cooper Scholarship 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 admitted students who are not awarded a Cooper Scholarship 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 using this form.

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 applicant in writing within 30 days from the receipt of the request.

Please review ESR's Disability Policy 

ESR Disability Policy

Please read Earham's Title IX Policy
Earlham's Title IX Policy

Pay Fees Online

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


If confirmed by June 15, pay your $25 confirmation 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.