Graduate Theological Union

Student Life

To be sure, GTU doctoral students range in age from the mid-twenties to early seventies, and have families and/or extensive obligations within their communities, denominations, and/or professional networks. Not all live in Berkeley or the immediately surrounding communities, and many find it necessary to work one or more jobs to support their doctoral studies. Under these circumstances community or “student life” is neither entirely residential nor fully institutionalized; often students themselves must build community intentionally.

The extent of interest in a GTU student community varies considerably from student to student and from era to era. The desire for community tends to grow at the “pressure points” in the program: it is nice to have the moral support of peers when one is going through language examinations, comprehensive proposals, orals, dissertation proposal development, and the like. Student community provides an avenue for sharing resources, learning about faculty, getting help. However, if connections have not been made prior to crisis moments, they are not easily made under pressure.

Students are encouraged to organize their own support groups and the Dean of Students Office is happy to help publicize their formation and meetings through the Dean’s Newsletter.

Though difficult to make at times, connections between doctoral students in the programs are likely to become some of the most profound and important professional connections in the lives of the graduates. Hence the GTU stands ready to encourage student interest in community.

So, click on the various links under the Students heading below for information about community-oriented resources available at GTU including a list of GTU Centers and Affiliates, housing, meal plans, the GTU Student Lounge, and student organizations. You will also find links to helpful resources like the doctoral program professional development program (PDP), student health insurance, our students with disabilities program, handbooks, and more

Kathleen Kook, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Graduate Theological Union