20 Great Religious Studies Scholarships

Earning religious studies scholarships can help lower the college expenses for studying the role of religion in human life and culture.

Religious studies programs are available at every degree level to examine the worship traditions for various denominations. Whether you’re Methodist, Jewish, Muslim, Lutheran, or Anglican, religious studies can lay the foundation for faithful vocations.

Most churches require holding a Master of Divinity degree before becoming ordained. Those who pursue Catholic priesthood are particularly in-demand since the U.S. faces critical shortages with a priest-parishioner ratio of 1:652.

Other career options include pastoral counselor, Bible teacher, missionary, charity director, religion news-writer, youth minister, and archivist. Answer God’s calling to serve His followers by applying for these scholarships in religious studies.

Ranking the Top Scholarships for Religious Studies Available

1. AGBU Religious Studies Fellowship

Deadline: May 31st

The Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) awards a Religious Studies Fellowship for up to $5,000 to graduate students of Armenian heritage who are pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in religious studies, theology, divinity, or ministry. Eligible applicants must be enrolled full-time at selective universities or seminaries worldwide, live outside of Armenia, maintain a cumulative GPA above 3.0, and exhibit financial need. Fellowships are renewable for a maximum of three years.


AGBU Religious Studies Fellowship
55 East 59th Street 7th Floor
New York, NY 10022
(212) 319-6383
Scholarship Link

2. Bishop Lance Webb Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

For $1,500, the Bishop Lance Webb Scholarship is presented by the Iowa United Methodist Foundation (IUMF) to full-time college juniors or seniors who plan to attend an ATS-accredited theological school or seminary for graduate degrees in religious studies. Qualified recipients must be U.S. citizens, currently hold a “B” average or better, demonstrate financial need, and have a vocational calling for United Methodist ministry. Submitting two recommendations from ordained pastors is required.


Bishop Lance Webb Scholarship
2301 Rittenhouse Street
Des Moines, IA 50321
(515) 974-8927
Scholarship Link

3. Charles B. Keesee Educational Scholarships

Deadline: April 1st

Ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 per year, the Charles B. Keesee Educational Scholarships are granted to members of the Baptist Church who are earning master’s or doctoral degrees in religious studies at participating seminaries. Acceptable majors would include Christian education, church music, Islamic studies, missiology, and youth ministry. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens who reside in Virginia, North Carolina, or South Carolina and plan to pursue Baptist religious work.


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

4. David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award

Deadline: January 31st

Named in honor of the late Chaplain to Her Majesty in Scotland, the David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award gifts $20,000 from the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church each year. To qualify, applicants must be entering their final year of a Master of Divinity program at ATS-accredited theological schools across the United States and committed to entering Protestant parish ministry upon graduation. Three religious studies runners-up will receive $1,000.


David H.C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award
921 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-8920
Scholarship Link

5. Dr. Chester A. McPheeters Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

Created by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF), the Dr. Chester A. McPheeters Scholarship awards $1,000 to graduating high school seniors who are pursuing post-secondary education to prepare for the ministry or full-time religious vocations. Eligible religious studies majors must be active United Methodist members for 12 months, have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, possess a minimum 2.5 GPA, enroll full-time in an accredited college, and work part-time where possible.


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

6. Father McGivney Vocations Scholarships

Deadline: June 1st

Annually, the Knights of Columbus distributes 40 Father McGivney Vocations Scholarships for $2,500 apiece to male students who are enrolled full-time the first four years of religious studies at an ATS-accredited theology school to prepare for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Preference is given to financially needy students who are members or descents of the KofC. Applications must include academic transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a short essay, and the diocesan vocations director’s signature.


Father McGivney Vocations Scholarships
1 Columbus Plaza
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 752-4000
Scholarship Link

7. GuideOne Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: April 15th

As America’s leading insurer of churches, the GuideOne Foundation provides four $2,500 religious studies scholarships annually to benefit tomorrow’s church leaders who are actively pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees for ministry. Qualified applicants must attend accredited seminaries in the United States or District of Columbia, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.25, submit one letter of recommendation, and write a 350-word essay explaining why they’ve chosen religious vocations.


GuideOne Foundation Scholarships
1111 Ashworth Road
West Des Moines, IA 50265
(877) 448-4331
Scholarship Link

8. Harvesters Scholarship Foundation

Deadline: May 31st

The Harvesters Scholarship Foundation offers need-based financial aid to undergraduate or graduate students in the United States and Canada who have declared religious studies majors to serve the Evangelical Christian faith. Eligibility criteria requires being enrolled full-time, holding a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, having combined family income below $60,000 per year, and responding to one’s calling of becoming a missionary. Applications are incomplete without a 1,000-word personal statement, resume, transcript, and three references.


Harvesters Scholarship Foundation
7252 Berry Creek Street
Eastvale, CA 92880
Scholarship Link

9. Hindu Temple Educational Scholarship

Deadline: May 31st

Funded by the International Geeta Gurukul Foundation, the Hindu Temple Educational Scholarship is bestowed for $1,000 annually upon a graduating high school senior planning to enroll full-time at an accredited four-year college in the United States. Interested religious studies majors must be active Hindu Temple members, exhibit academic merit with a minimum 3.0 GPA, have leadership potential, submit two recommendation letters, and show career goals within the Hindu religion.


Hindu Temple Educational Scholarship
44955 Cherry Hill Road
Canton, MI 48188
(734) 981-8730
Scholarship Link

10. Irene Drinkall Franke Scholarship

Deadline: February 15th

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America selects laywomen annually to receive the $1,000 Irene Drinkall Franke Scholarship to financially support their religious studies and professional preparation for Christian service occupations. To apply, female students must hold ELCA membership, be U.S. citizens, attend accredited universities, be at least 21 years old, have experienced a two-year or longer interruption in education, and submit a pastor reference form.


Irene Drinkall Franke Scholarship
8765 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 638-3522 ext. 2741
Scholarship Link

11. Juliette M. Atherton Scholarship

Deadline: February 22nd

Administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation, the Juliette M. Atherton Scholarship will present $3,000 to $5,000 annually to students attending non-profit, accredited theological schools within the United States for religious studies leading to Protestant Christian careers. Eligible awardees must be Hawaii residents, enroll full-time, achieve a minimum overall GPA of 2.7, be active Protestant congregation members, and have unmet financial need. Some funding is reserved for sons and daughters of ordained Protestant ministers.


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

12. Justin Haruyama Scholarship Program

Deadline: May 31st

Since 1981, the Japanese American United Church in New York City has hosted the Justin Haruyama Scholarship Program annually to support students of Japanese heritage who pursue religious studies for a Master of Divinity at accredited Protestant seminaries in the U.S. Eligible applicants must be studying full-time, hold a minimum 3.0 GPA, intend to become ordained pastors or missionaries, be committed to serving Japanese-American congregations, and write a 500-word essay about their spiritual journey.


Justin Haruyama Scholarship Program
255 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(212) 242-9444
Scholarship Link

13. Katherine J. Schutze Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: March 15th

In remembrance of a passionate, ordained missionary who taught Hispanic children in Texas, the Katherine J. Schutze Memorial Scholarship is rewarded for $2,000 by Disciples Home Missions yearly. Eligible women must be enrolled full-time at ATS-accredited seminaries, pursue a Master of Divinity or relevant religious studies, be active Disciples of Christ members, reside in the United States or Canada, have unmet financial need, and prepare for ordained ministry in the Christian Church.


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

14. Mary E. Bivins Religious Studies Scholarships

Deadline: January 29th

The Mary E. Bivins Religious Studies Scholarships bestow $2,500 for undergraduate juniors or seniors and $3,500 for graduate students who are seeking an accredited degree that leads to ministerial professions preaching the Christian religion. Interested applicants must reside in the Texas Panhandle’s 26 counties for 12 months, have U.S. citizenship, take at least 12 credits per semester, maintain a cumulative GPA beyond 2.75, and participate in an in-person interview.


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

15. Nathan J. and Virginia H. Friedman Scholarship

Deadline: November 1st

Funded by the Jewish Community Federation, the Nathan J. and Virginia H. Friedman Scholarship distributes $1,500 to $5,000 annually is available for Jewish undergraduates undertaking religious studies, especially Judaic studies, at accredited, non-profit U.S. universities. Applicants must permanently reside in California’s San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, or Alameda counties, but may study anywhere. Selection is based on academic merit, financial need, Jewish community involvement, and leadership ability.


Nathan J. and Virginia H. Friedman Scholarship
121 Steuart Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 777-0411
Scholarship Link

16. Native American Seminary Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

Offering up to $10,000 per year, the Native American Seminary Scholarship is granted by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) to tribal members of Native American or Alaska Native heritage who are completing religious studies at an approved U.S. seminary. Eligible candidates must be United Methodist Church members for 3+ years, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and plan a career in ordained ministry. Other funding includes the Richard S. Smith and Rosalie Bentzinger Scholarships.


Native American Seminary Scholarship
1001 19th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 340-7342
Scholarship Link

17. Roy H. Pollack Scholarship Program

Deadline: April 15th

Established in 1998, the Roy H. Pollack Scholarship Program is administered by the United Universalist Association (UAA) for gifting $1,500 to second- or third-year graduate students who are earning a Master of Divinity degree to become Unitarian Universalist ministers. Promising candidates must enroll at least half-time, attend an ATS-accredited seminary, possess strong academic records, be U.S. or Canadian citizens, and exhibit outstanding ministerial ability. Preference is given to racial minority students of color.


Roy H. Pollack Scholarship Program
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 742-2100
Scholarship Link

18. Russell Berrie Fellowships in Interreligious Studies

Deadline: March 11th

Through the Institute for International Education (IIE), the Russell Berrie Fellowships in Interreligious Studies cover full-tuition and provide modest living stipends to 10 excellent fellows studying abroad at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy. Graduate students from Bangladesh, Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, Ukraine, United States, and Zimbabwe may apply. Having at least a Bachelor of Arts and sufficient knowledge of Italian is mandatory.


Russell Berrie Fellowships in Interreligious Studies
25 East Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 346-0026
Scholarship Link

19. Stewards Ministries Graduate Scholarships

Deadline: Varies

Stewards Ministries offers $2,000 Graduate Scholarships for students enrolled full-time in master’s or doctoral religious studies at ATS-accredited theological schools in the United States or Canada to become ministers of Christian Brethren assemblies. After being nominated by an Elder, exceptional candidates must sign an agreement to devote two years full-time to assembly-related ministry upon graduation. One annual scholarship is reserved for students attending Emmaus Bible College.


Stewards Ministries Graduate Scholarships
1101 Perimeter Drive Suite 600
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(847) 842-0227
Scholarship Link

20. William R. Johnson Scholarship Fund

Deadline: March 1st

Supported by the United Church of Christ since 1999, the William R. Johnson Scholarship Fund distributes $2,500 scholarships to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students completing religious studies at ATS-accredited seminaries for ordained ministry. Recipients must be open about their sexual orientation, have belonged to UCC congregations for 12+ months, maintain a minimum “B” average, demonstrate church leadership, have completed their first seminary year, and be members in discernment.


William R. Johnson Scholarship Fund
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 736-2166
Scholarship Link

Money likely isn’t a motivator for following your vocational calling into faith-based professions, but it’s important to consider. College tuition can be extremely difficult to afford on modest ministry salaries. According to the BLS, religious organizations pay clergy an average yearly income of $46,420. Minimizing your student loan debt post-graduation with free scholarships is essential to keep your Church-related endeavors afloat.

See also: 20 Best College Deals for Conservative Christians

Consider these 20 great religious studies scholarships to achieve your college goals.