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Application Criteria for Prospective Applicants

Requirements at a glance

Prospective applicants to the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology should thoroughly review the following application requirements for any of our programs.

Statement of purpose

The Statement of Purpose is a very important part of the application process. It is used by the Admissions Committee to determine your preparedness as well as how your interests align with the specific resources available from our faculty. It is also used to assign a faculty advisor once an applicant has been accepted.

Your Statement should:

  • Be free of spelling and grammatical errors.

  • Not exceed two typed pages (about 500 words). In most cases, one page is better.

  • Be free of off-topic monologues, digressions, and awkward expressions.

  • Articulate clearly and concisely your areas of interest as specifically as you are able to outline them, your career goals (if known), and the reasons you think DSPT is a good fit for your proposed program of study.

  • Demonstrate you have reviewed the DSPT website, especially the faculty pages, and that you have identified one or more faculty members with whom you might like to work if admitted.

  • Demonstrate that you understand the mission and resources of DSPT.

Transcripts/GPA requirement

  • Transcripts must be sealed copies, stamped by the Registrar, showing the award of a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

  • Transcripts should be sent directly to the DSPT Admissions Office from the issuing institution, but sealed and stamped copies may be accepted directly from the applicant. Unofficial or unsealed copies are not acceptable.

  • Applicants who have not yet finished their undergraduate program must have a second, final copy sent after graduation.

  • DSPT ordinarily requires a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 for MA applicants and 2.3 for MDiv applicants. Those who do not meet these minimum standards are still encouraged to apply and may attach a separate sheet to their application explaining why their GPA is below the expected standard.

Writing sample

The writing sample should be an example of the applicant's best work as it is weighed heavily by the Admissions Committee. The writing sample should be an academic research paper, preferably on a philosophical or theological topic.

It should demonstrate the ability of the applicant to formulate a clear thesis statement, correctly use bibliographical materials and footnotes (both primary and secondary sources), and draw relevant conclusions. It should be free of spelling and grammatical errors, and it should not exceed 20 pages in length in most cases.

Letters of recommendation

Applicants may send recommendation letter requests before or upon submission of their program application form. Recommendation requests should be sent as early as possible to ensure that recommenders have sufficient time to complete them before the application deadline.

  • Paper letters should be sent directly to the Admissions Office and have the recommender's name signed across the envelope seal.
    Admissions Office
    Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology
    2301 Vine Street
    Berkeley, CA 94708

  • Paper letters must be accompanied by the separate Letter of Recommendation form.

  • The applicant may choose whether or not to waive access to the recommendation, but we strongly suggest that you do so.

  • All MA programs require three (3) letters of recommendation. All three letters should be from academic sources.

  • The Certificate of Philosophical Studies (CPhS), the Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS), or the Master of Divinity (MDiv) requires two (2) letters of recommendation, preferably from academic sources, but one of them can be from a pastoral source. (Applicants for the MDiv Prep track certificates or the MDiv may submit a letter from their provincial, major superior, or bishop in lieu of these two letters.)

  • Special Student Status requires one (1) letter of recommendation, either academic or pastoral/professional.

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