25 Great Scholarships for Theology Majors

Scholarships for theology majors are awarded by several Church denominations to encourage students interested in examining religious questions and values. Theology students carefully review Biblical doctrines to define the existence, character, and attributes of God. The theology major is mostly offered by Christian colleges, but the curriculum will include studying many faiths and belief systems.

Having a theology degree can prepare students for rewarding jobs as theologians, ministers, clergy members, nuns, religion teachers, pastoral counselors, and more. Even though PayScale ranks theology as the fifth worst college degree for ROI, devoting your life to the Church isn’t about becoming rich. Theological training will equip you for guiding congregations to spiritual well-being through religious faith practices.

Fund your college degree by applying for some of the following generous theology scholarships.

1. Ann E. Dickerson Scholarships

Deadline: April 15th

In honor of the Vice-Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Disciples Home Missions has created the Ann E. Dickerson Scholarships to give $2,000 to female graduate theological students who are pursuing a PhD or ThD at an accredited U.S. seminary or university. The online application packet must include a pastor recommendation, two faculty references, official collegiate transcripts, and a 300-word essay describing candidates’ Church leadership roles.


Ann E. Dickerson Scholarships
734 Westport Plaza Suite 273
St. Louis, MO 63146
(314) 991-3000
Scholarship Link

2. Bessie Bellamy Parker Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 1st

Established in 1986, the Bessie Bellamy Parker Memorial Scholarship is gifted by the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church to award $1,500 to women enrolling full-time at United Methodist theological schools in preparation for ordained pastoral ministry in South Carolina. Eligible applicants must have completed at least 24 credits, be starting the second or third year of seminary, maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0, submit two references, and display promise for ministerial excellence.


Bessie Bellamy Parker Memorial Scholarship
4908 Colonial Drive
Columbia, SC 29203
(803) 786-9486

3. Bishop Thomas V. Daily Vocations Scholarship

Deadline: June 1st

Named for the Supreme Chaplain from 1987 to 2005, the Bishop Thomas V. Daily Vocations Scholarship is presented annually for $2,500 by the Knights of Columbus to men with appropriate ecclesiastical approval for studying at a graduate theological school in the United States. Preference is given to Knights of Columbus members and the sons of members. The scholarship is renewable for the first four years of studying theology for the Catholic priesthood.


Bishop Thomas V. Daily Vocations Scholarship
1 Columbus Plaza
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 752-4000

4. Calihan Academic Fellowship

Deadline: July 15th and October 15th

Sponsored by the Acton Institute, the Calihan Academic Fellowship is awarded for $1,000 to $3,000 biannually to graduate students currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. program for studying theology, philosophy, religion, or a related field. Qualified applicants must be pursuing research that advances understanding on the relationship between theology and the principles of a free, virtuous society. Applications must include a one-page proposal, two-page essay, recent writing sample in English, and official transcript.


Calihan Academic Fellowship
98 East Fulton Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 454-3080

5. Cardinal Bernardin Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 7th

The Cardinal Bernardin Scholarship Program is funded by the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) to provide full-tuition awards to outstanding graduate students pursuing a Master of Theology, Master of Arts in Biblical Ministry, Master of Divinity, Master of Liturgical Ministry, or a similar degree. Eligible recipients must already hold an accredited bachelor’s degree, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, exemplify a servant-leader attitude for pastoral ministry, and submit at least one letter of recommendation.


Cardinal Bernardin Scholarship Program
5416 South Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 371-5435
Scholarship Link

6. Charles B. Keesee Educational Scholarships

Deadline: April 1st

Ranging in value from $3,000 to $8,000 each, the Charles B. Keesee Educational Scholarships are granted to residents of Virginia, North Carolina, or South Carolina who are majoring in theology or religious studies to prepare for entering the Baptist ministry. To qualify, applicants must be members of a Baptist church, be U.S. citizens, attend classes on the main campus of an eligible institution, enroll at least half-time, and maintain good academic standing for their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.


Charles B. Keesee Educational Scholarships
P.O. Box 431
Martinsville, VA 24114
(276) 632-2229

7. Church Training and Deaconess House Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Annually, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania offers the Church Training and Deaconess House Scholarship for awarding $2,000 to $3,000 to female graduate students enrolling full-time in post-baccalaureate theological study to further her lay ministry or become ordained in the Episcopal Church. Preference is given to residents of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, but funding is available for any U.S. seminary or university. Selection is based on academic merit, financial need, ministerial promise, and essay quality.


Church Training and Deaconess House Scholarship
3717 Chestnut Street Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 627-6434

8. Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarships

Deadline: February 15th

The Generosity Trust established the Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarships to grant a maximum of $3,000 to evangelical Christian students living in the Greater Chattanooga area of Tennessee and Georgia who are seeking a master’s degree at a theological seminary. For these theology scholarships, applicants must be biblically conservative, be preparing for pulpit ministry, show promising for being God’s foot soldiers, write a one-page testimony of faith, and attach two recommendation letters.


Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarships
736 Market Street Suite 1402
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-5257

9. Dr. Chester A. McPheeters Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

As one of the few undergraduate theology scholarships, the Dr. Chester A. McPheeters Scholarship is awarded for at least $1,000 by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) to graduating high school seniors planning to major in theology or religious studies. Eligible candidates must be active United Methodist Church members, be U.S. citizens, enroll full-time at an accredited college, maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5, be preparing for religious vocations, and exhibit financial need.


Dr. Chester A. McPheeters Scholarship
P.O. Box 340005
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 649-3990

10. Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: April 1st

Administered by the Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF), the Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Scholarship is awarded for $1,000 to cover post-secondary tuition costs for residents of North Carolina’s Forsyth County who are pursuing a degree in theology, Christian ministry, or religious studies. Applicants must be members of the Methodist denomination, show dedication to serving in ministry or Christian education, attend an accredited in-state institution, and submit three Church references.


Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Scholarship
751 West Fourth Street Suite 200
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 725-2382
Scholarship Link

11. FTE Doctoral Fellowships for Students of Color

Deadline: February 1st

Each year, the Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) offers fellowships valued up to $25,000 apiece for doctoral students of Latino, Asian, First Nations, or African descent who are past the coursework stage. Eligible candidates must be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. institution, pursuing a PhD or ThD in any religious studies, entering the dissertation writing stage, and capable of success as a rising theological educator. Recipients must attend FTE’s Christian Leadership Forum.


FTE Doctoral Fellowships for Students of Color
160 Clairemont Avenue Suite 300
Decatur, GA 30030
(678) 369-6755

12. Georgia Harkness Scholarships

Deadline: March 1st

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) for the United Methodist Church gifts the Georgia Harkness Scholarships for $5,000 to women over 35 years old who are preparing for ordained ministry as their second career. Qualified students must have received a Bachelor of Arts or equivalent, be enrolled full-time in an accredited school of theology, pursue the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, and be certified candidates for becoming elders of the Methodist faith.


Georgia Harkness Scholarships
1001 Nineteenth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 340-7402

13. Islamic Scholarship Fund

Deadline: April 4th

Although it’s a broad-based program, the Islamic Scholarship Fund (ISF) does provide some of its $2,000 to $5,000 awards for Muslim students enrolled at accredited universities with a major in theology, philosophy, religious studies, Islamic leadership, or related fields. For eligibility, applicants must be active members of the Muslim community, have at least sophomore standing, be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, carry a minimum GPA of 3.0, and submit two letters of recommendation.


Islamic Scholarship Fund
2140 Shattuck Avenue Suite 706
Berkeley, CA 94704
(650) 995-6782

14. Juliette M. Atherton Seminary Scholarship

Deadline: February 22nd

Through the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF), the Juliette M. Atherton Seminary Scholarship is presented for up to $5,000 to Hawaii residents falling into three distinct categories. Eligible candidates can be dependent children of ordained Protestant ministers pursuing undergraduate studies, individuals pursuing graduate theological studies at a Protestant ministry for ordination, or active Protestant ministers continuing their education. Recipients are chosen based on their academic merit, financial need, and vocational calling.


Juliette M. Atherton Seminary Scholarship
827 Fort Street Mall
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 566-5524

15. Justin Haruyama Ministerial Scholarship

Deadline: May 31st

In partnership with the New York-Connecticut Foundation, the Japanese American United Church bestows the Justin Haruyama Ministerial Scholarship annually for $1,000 to full-time students of at least one quarter Japanese heritage who are enrolled at accredited Protestant seminaries in the United States. Eligible recipients must be majoring in theology, ministry, or religious studies with the intent to serve the spiritual needs of Japanese American or other ethnic congregations.


Justin Haruyama Ministerial Scholarship
255 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(212) 242-9444
Scholarship Link

16. Katherine J. Schutze Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

Disciplines Home Missions funds the Katherine J. Schutze Memorial Scholarship to present $2,000 to women pursuing graduate theological studies in an accredited Master of Divinity (M.Div.) or equivalent degree program at an ATS-accredited seminary. Candidates must be members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), be preparing for ministry in the United States or Canada, enroll in at least nine credits per semester, demonstrate financial need, and possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.


Katherine J. Schutze Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206
(317) 713-2652

17. Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Study Scholarships

Deadline: January 15th and July 15th

Twice annually, the Khyentse Foundation offers the one-time Buddhist Study Scholarships for $500 to $3,000 each to graduate scholars who wish to study the Dharma by majoring in Buddhist studies, theology, or religious studies at an accredited U.S. or foreign institution. For review, applications must include official college transcripts, two reference letters, and a 400-word essay describing candidates’ vocational aspirations. Students at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute can apply directly through the financial aid office.


Khyentse Foundation Buddhist Study Scholarships
P.O. Box 156648
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 788-8048

18. Lilly Scholarships in Religion

Deadline: January, April, July, and October 1st

Unlike most graduate theology scholarships, the Lilly Scholarships in Religion are awarded by the Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) specifically for full-time U.S. and Canadian journalists who are enrolling full-time or part-time at an accredited theology school. Qualified applicants for the $5,000 award must be pursuing a journalism career in religious news media. RNA members must submit a detailed resume, 500-word essay on their professional goals, and three story clips or audio files from the last 12 months.


Lilly Scholarships in Religion
30 Neff Annex
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 355-5201

19. Marguerite Young Endowed Scholarship

Deadline: March 31st

The Pittsburgh Foundation of Pennsylvania awards the Marguerite Young Endowed Scholarship for $3,500 to exemplary students of the Christian faith who are enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. seminary or university for graduate studies in theology. Eligible recipients must be Master of Divinity candidates, prepare for full-time Protestant ministry, have completed at least one graduate year, submit two letters of reference, and write an essay describing the role of scripture in their ministry.


Marguerite Young Endowed Scholarship
5 PPG Place Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
(412) 391-5122

20. Martha and Robert Atherton Ministerial Scholarship

Deadline: April 15th

Founded in 1997 by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the Martha and Robert Atherton Ministerial Scholarship is given to second and third year theology students enrolled at least half-time in a Master of Divinity program in the United States or Canada. To qualify, scholars must be in aspirant or candidate status, intend to become Unitarian Universalist ministers, and exhibit academic excellence. Priority is given to applicants with the greatest financial need, especially ethnic minorities.


Martha and Robert Atherton Ministerial Scholarship
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 742-2100
Scholarship Link

21. Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship

Deadline: January 29th

Offered at $2,500 for college juniors and seniors or $3,500 for graduate students each semester, the Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship provides financial support for earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in theology in preparation for Christian ministry. Eligible students must be U.S. citizens permanently residing in one of the northernmost 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. Preference is given to applicants intending to become pulpit pastors after graduation.


Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship
2311 West 16th Avenue
Amarillo, TX 79102
(806) 379-9400

22. Military Chaplains Association Scholarship

Deadline: May 15th

Since 1992, the Military Chaplains Association (MCA) has helped train 65 chaplains for the U.S. Armed Forces by funding their full-time enrollment at an accredited seminary to study theology, ministry, and religious studies for ecclesiastical endorsement. Along with the application form, candidates must attach copies of transcripts, financial aid documentation, three required letters of reference, a maximum 1,500-word statement on their military service experience, and a color headshot photography in uniform.


Military Chaplains Association Scholarship
P.O. Box 7056
Arlington, VA 22207
(703) 533-5890

23. Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship

Deadline: June 15th

Members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) could qualify for the Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship to win $2,000 for funding their bachelor’s degree in theology, Christian ministry, religious studies, or related majors. Qualified candidates must achieve at least sophomore status, enroll full-time at an accredited U.S. college, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, demonstrate financial aid, and maintain active involvement in their campus worship community. Preference is extended to racial ethnic minorities to promote diversity.


Presbyterian Student Opportunity Scholarship
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(800) 728-7228

24. Rev. Robert E. and Gladys G. Ernst Scholarship

Deadline: April 1st

Sponsored by the Ohio Baptist Educational Society (OBES), the Rev. Robert E. and Gladys G. Ernst Scholarship is awarded for $1,000 to $1,500 to honor their over 50 years of service in full-time ministerial capacities at Baptist churches throughout Ohio. Eligible applicants must be current ABC ordained pastors who are pursuing post-graduate theological studies, such as a Master of Divinity, at an accredited seminary in the United States.


Rev. Robert E. and Gladys G. Ernst Scholarship
647 South Diamond Street
Mansfield, OH 44907
(740) 587-0804

25. WMU Foundation Hocutt Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: February 1st

The Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Foundation has created several undergraduate and graduate theology scholarships for up to $5,000 apiece, including the Hocutt Memorial Scholarship. For this award, applicants must be enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. college or seminary to pursue any theological degree in preparation for domestic Baptist missions or chaplaincy. The application checklist includes an official transcript, two non-family references, and a one-page summary of major missions activities.


WMU Foundation Hocutt Memorial Scholarship
100 Missionary Ridge
Birmingham, AL 35242
(877) 482-4483
Scholarship Link

Finding enough financial support to follow your vocational calling into theology can be tough with today’s rising college tuition costs. Aspiring theologians typically must complete rigorous academic study to the master’s or doctoral level. After debt accumulated in your undergraduate years, taking out more student loans isn’t feasible. Scholarships and fellowships are the best option for theology students to receive free gift aid for fulfilling their spiritual purpose. Check out these 25 great scholarships for theology majors to engage in in-depth study of religion.