Arthur Vining Davis Internships

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation supports the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School to advance learning and action that promotes religious literacy within professional fields, with particular focus on the fields of government, humanitarian action, journalism and business. AVD enables the RLP to bring professional fellows into the classroom to mentor, teach and help broker internships for HDS students. It also supports an AVD Summer Internship program that enables students to pursue post-course funded internships in relevant professional settings.

Beginning February 10, 2020, applications for summer internships will be accepted from students who wish to intern with a professional organization inside or outside of the United States. The deadline for internship applications will be Thursday, April 30, 2020 (extended in light of coronavirus disruptions).


To be eligible to apply for the Arthur Vining Davis internship, a student must have completed HDS3303, Religious Literacy and the Professions I: Government and Local Humanitarian Leadership or be currently enrolled in HDS3304, Religious Literacy and the Professions II: Journalism and Entertainment Media. Eligibility extends to cross-registered students from other schools, and to students who will be graduating in 2020, provided they commit to post-internship obligations.

Proposal Development

Ideally, students will have initiated concept development and outreach for their internship as part of a final project or ongoing coursework for HDS3303 or HDS3304, including soliciting initial feedback from AVD Fellows and prospective host agencies. We recognize, however, that this may not always be possible. Regardless, students are expected to design internships in close cooperation with host organizations to ensure clear benefit to the organization as well as to the advancement of religious literacy. It is expected that the summer internship will last a minimum of eight weeks.

Selection and Award

A selection committee led by Dr. Moore with support from AVD Fellows and RLP staff will evaluate proposals and select up to eight individuals for 2020 AVD Religious Literacy Fellowships – four each from HDS3303 and HDS3304. Successful candidates will be awarded a $4,000 (minimum) to $5,000 (maximum) stipend to cover costs associated with the summer internship, including airfare, meals, and living expenses. Any costs beyond that amount are the student's responsibility.

Applications will be judged on the basis of the student's demonstrated interest in religious literacy, the strength of the internship proposal; and the student's overall academic performance. The amount of the stipend will depend on expected overall cost of the internship.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

The deadline for internship applications is Thursday, April 30, 2020.

All applicants must submit:

  • A completed RLP Arthur Vining Davis Internship Application form
  • An RLP AVD Internship Proposal created in close cooperation with the host organization that outlines objectives, activities, supervision, location, dates, and other appropriate details
  • A letter from the host organization documenting approval/support of the applicant as an intern
  • A curriculum vitae or résumé
  • A copy of the applicant's most recent academic grade report (a printout is acceptable)
  • A Statement of Purpose (not to exceed three pages) describing: 1) background on the host organization adequate to evaluate its appropriateness; 2) how the organization’s work and the proposed internship relate to the goals of the AVD Fellowship; 3) how the applicant’s experience has prepared them for this internship; 4) how the internship relates to the applicant’s academic and vocational/professional goals.
  • A simple budget outlining expected costs for travel, meals and living expenses.

Email applications with PDF attachments are preferred. Applications should be submitted by email (preferred) to, or by mail or fax (617.496.5411) to:

RLP Arthur Vining Davis Summer Internship Program
Religious Literacy Project
Harvard Divinity School
42 Francis Avenue, Cambridge 02138

Award Notifications

We expect to make all award notifications by May 6, 2020.

Post-Internship Obligations

By September 28, 2020, AVD Interns must submit a written report (not to exceed 5 pages) on their summer experience to the RLP. Participants will also be expected to participate in a post-internship event to share their experiences with the broader Harvard community.


The 2020 RLP AVD Internship program is a pilot initiative that forges new ground for students, host organizations, the AVD Fellows, and the RLP. As such, we anticipate questions and uncertainties as – together – we learn how to optimize this experience for students now and in the future. We are available for questions and appreciate both your flexibility and feedback throughout the process. Please direct your questions initially to: Judy Beals, Associate Director, Religious Literacy Project,