Applying to ESR


Application is now CLOSED for all Fall 2021-22 programs. Applications for Spring 2021-22 (January Intensive and Spring Semester of 2022) are still open. Application for Fall 2022-23 will begin  October 1.


Please read all directions here first.

  • When you submit your application in the application portal, be sure to select the Earlham School of Religion application, not the Earlham College Application.
  • An application file is considered complete when all required documents have been received in the Admissions office. Requests for any kind of waiver or exception will delay your application considerably.
  • Please do not submit application materials until you have started an application in the application portal.

For questions about submitting an application or about a current application, contact Julie Dishman, Director of Recruitment & Admissions at 765-983-1523. Or email

Application submission deadlines:

    Fall Sessions - May 15

    Spring Sessions - November 1

    Intensives Only - 8 weeks before the start of classes
    (Occasional Student & Auditors)


    When Programs Start:

    M.Div. and M.A. in Peace & Social Transformation (MAPST) students begin with Spiritual Formation 101 course as a two-week, residential August '22 intensive (August 1, 2022).

    MA in Religion, MA in Theopoetics & Writing (MATW), and Certificate programs begin with the fall semester (last week of August - dates tbd).

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


    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 (Degrees, Certificates, Occasional, and Audit) - see link below
    • Application Fee $35 (pay online here or in Slate ap)
    • Background Check (degree-seeking and certificate students only - not international applicants). The applicant is expected to order and pay for the Background Check at this link at the time application is made.
    • References (between one and five depending on the program - see below): The applicant is expected to ask their references and will do so as part of the application process in Slate, or they can send them one of these forms to complete the printable PDF or complete the fillable MSWord Form.
    • Complete the essays within the Slate application system (see the essay questions below).
    • Academic writing sample (if conditional, special, international, or upon request) - email to
    • All official postsecondary transcripts. The applicant is expected to order their transcripts from their postseconday institution and direct them to ESR electronically or via mail.
    • Results of TOEFL, Duolingo, 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.


    As you complete your application in the Slate system, you will enter your recommeders' contact info and Slate will notify them that a letter is being requested by you.

    The number of references required will vary dependent on the type of application you submit:

    - 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 (5 total). 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 (4 total) 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.

    Writing Sample:

    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.

    ESR Scholarships:

    You will designate which scholarship you wish to apply for during the application process. No other application is needed.

    For ESR Access students, limited need-based aid of up to 50 percent is available. You will need to complete the FAFSA at


    Essay Questions:

    Please write a 250-750 word essay on each of the following questions. Either upload a document following the instructions below or enter your responses in the text fields provided. In the latter case still write out your responses in a document before copying and pasting them in order not to lose your content if something goes wrong.
    Describe how you have discerned a calling to ministry and to seminary, and what forms you think your ministry will take.
    Tell us about your spiritual journey. What is your understanding of God and how God is at work in the world?
    Tell us how you first heard about ESR, why you have chosen to apply, and how ESR can contribute to your ministerial formation.
    How would you describe the church (broadly defined) and its ministry? How does this view relate to your faith tradition and your relationship with the religious and spiritual communities in your life?
    Tell us about an instance when you were met with a barrier or a challenge to living in or creating a diverse learning environment.


    Testing for International Applicants:

    If you are an international applicant and English is not your first language, please go here to learn more about the testing requirement.

    International Applications

    We offer two International Cooper Scholarships each year and have already awarded them for Fall 2021. You may apply and if you are accepted you will be placed on the waiting list for the scholarship.

    Please go here to read more about International applications.



    Please review ESR's Disability Policy 

    ESR Disability Policy

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

    Pay Fees Online when you submit your application through Slate, or you can pay online at this link: Application Fee