Regardless of your denomination, you can find scholarships for theology and Christian studies to fulfill your vocational calling for Church service.
Theology is an academic discipline taught at universities and seminaries to examine religious truths. Most theology programs are for graduate students earning degrees like the Master of Divinity (M.Div.). Though similar, Christian studies majors typically lead to bachelor’s degrees after studying the teachings of Christ. Faithful believers pursuing either major will open surprisingly diverse career opportunities, such as chaplain, missionary, pastor, deacon, theology professor, pastoral counselor, and Christian school principal. Doctoral-trained theologians earn a valuable average salary of $75,140 according to the BLS.
If you’re dedicated to guiding others towards God’s light, consider these 20 shining scholarships in theology and Christian studies.
1. Adrienne M. and Charles Shelby Rooks Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
The United Church of Christ’s Adrienne M. and Charles Shelby Rooks Scholarship presents $5,000 to racial minority students who are pursuing M.Div., Ph.D., Th.D., or Ed.D. degrees from an ATS-accredited theological school in the United States or Canada. Black, Latino/a, Asian, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander individuals may apply. Eligibility criteria requires belonging to the UCC Church, holding a cumulative GPA of 3.3, and choosing a religious teaching vocation.
Adrienne M. and Charles Shelby Rooks Scholarship
700 Prospect Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
2. ATLA Scholarship for Theological Librarianship
Deadline: June 1st
Two scholarships for theology and Christian studies are offered by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA) annually, including the $1,200 Scholarship for Theological Librarianship. This program is designed for students of underrepresented religious, ethnic, or gender populations who’ve added theological librarianship courses to their ALA-accredited master’s program in library and information science. Eligible ATLA members in good standing must write a short essay on their plans to increase diversity.
ATLA Scholarship for Theological Librarianship
300 South Wacker Drive Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60606
3. Diamonds in the Rough Ministry Scholarship
Deadline: April 22nd
As a Dallas nonprofit, Diamonds in the Rough Ministry has established a $1,000 scholarship to financially support female graduating high school seniors in Texas who are pursuing ministerial careers with majors in theology, Christian studies, religion, or similar programs. Qualified recipients must be accepted at accredited in-state or out-of-state college, maintain an overall GPA above 2.5, submit a minister’s letter of recommendation, and pen a 500-word essay about their God-given vocation.
Diamonds in the Rough Ministry Scholarship
4209 Samuell Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75228
4. Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Fund
Deadline: April 1st
Sponsored by the Centenary United Methodist Church, the Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Fund has been organized under the Winston-Salem Foundation (WSF) since 1946 to honor the late wife of S.C. Ogburn. Claiming the $1,000 non-renewable scholarship will require residing in North Carolina’s Forsyth County, being devoted Methodist congregants, attending an accredited U.S. university, and pursuing a major for ordained ministry or Christian education.
Emma Kapp Ogburn Memorial Fund
751 West Fourth Street Suite 200
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
5. George and Lynna Gene Cook Scholarship
Deadline: March 31st
Established in 1999, the George and Lynna Gene Cook Scholarship is presented by the Lincoln Community Foundation (LCF) for $500 annually to current high school seniors or graduates from Nebraska who are pursuing degrees for Christian ministry, including theology and religion, or education. Selected scholars must attain a minimum 3.0 GPA at a qualified university in the United States. Preference is given to active members of the First Church of God.
George and Lynna Gene Cook Scholarship
215 Centennial Mall S Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68508
6. Holly Elliott and Laurel Glass Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Valued at $1,500, the Holly Elliott and Laurel Glass Scholarship is awarded by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation to theology students who are culturally deaf, orally deaf, deafened, deaf-blind, or hearing impaired. Eligible seminarians must attend an ATS-accredited Methodist theological school, submit medical verification of their disability, and pursue specialized Church ministries. Other UMHEF scholarships for theology and Christian studies include the Priscilla R. Morton Scholarship and Leadership Scholars Program.
Holly Elliott and Laurel Glass Scholarship
P.O. Box 340005
Nashville, TN 37203
7. Ida V. Holland Missionary Scholarship
Deadline: February 12th
The San Antonio Area Foundation partners with the First Presbyterian Church to award the Ida V. Holland Missionary Scholarship for approximately $2,000 each year. Female college students between 18 and 24 years old who are majoring in theology, ministry, religion, Christian education, or related fields at Moody School or an accredited equivalent for missionary work are eligible. Completing the SAAF Common Application could determine other financial aid sources for Texans too.
Ida V. Holland Missionary Scholarship
404 North Alamo Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
8. Journey Toward Ordained Ministry Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) bestows the Journey Toward Ordained Ministry Scholarship for $5,000 upon racial minority students who are earning undergraduate or graduate degrees in ministry, theology, Christian studies, Bible, or religion. Suitable applicants must be under 30 years old, be active United Methodist members for two years, attend an accredited UMC-related university, and sustain a minimum 2.85 GPA.
Journey Toward Ordained Ministry Scholarship
1001 19th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
9. Kerusso Academic Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 8th
Annually, the National Christian Foundation of Wisconsin (NCFWI) supports the Kerusso Academic Scholarship Fund to confer three awards of $1,000 to $3,000 to individuals earning a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Theology (Th.M.), or related degree. Attending Bethlehem Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, The Master’s Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, or Westminster Seminary full-time with a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher is required.
Kerusso Academic Scholarship Fund
18650 West Corporate Drive Suite 105
Brookfield, WI 53045
10. Lorene L. Gerdon Seminary Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
The Lorene L. Gerdon Seminary Scholarship stands as the most lucrative of the scholarships for theology and Christian studies conferred by the Iowa United Methodist Foundation (IUMF). Earning this $7,500 award is reserved for Methodists residing in Appanoose, Davis, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, and Wapello counties who’ve completed a bachelor’s degree and need financial assistance for professional ministry training at accredited ATS-accredited theological schools.
Lorene L. Gerdon Seminary Scholarship
2301 Rittenhouse Street
Des Moines, IA 50321
11. Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellowships
Deadline: March 1st
From the Lilly Endowment, the Louisville Institute funds 10 Doctoral Fellowships annually for $4,000 apiece to outstanding Ph.D. or Th.D. students who are entering their first or second year at an accredited theological school in the United States or Canada. Acceptable academic disciplines include theology, Biblical studies, ministry, religion, and Christian ethics. Before March 1st, candidates must submit a 1,500-word essay, transcript, curriculum vitae, doctoral mentor’s recommendation, and dissertation proposal.
Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellowships
1044 Alta Vista Road
Louisville, KY 40205
12. Lucille K. and Jerome P. Gallon Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Promising students enrolled at least half-time in theological study leading to a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree for the pastoral profession could obtain the Lucille K. and Jerome P. Gallon Scholarship from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Eligible grantees must hold candidate status, be citizens of the United States or Canada, exhibit strong preaching skills, intend to become Unitarian Universalist ministers, and demonstrate great financial need.
Lucille K. and Jerome P. Gallon Scholarship
24 Farnsworth Street
Boston, MA 02210
13. Marguerite Young Scholarship Endowment
Deadline: March 31st
The Pittsburgh Foundation holds the Marguerite Young Scholarship Endowment to distribute $3,500 annually to post-baccalaureate students who are continuing their theological education as Master of Divinity (M.Div.) candidates at Protestant seminaries nationwide. Qualified applicants must have completed at least 18 credits, enroll full-time, have interned with a Protestant Church, exhibit moral character for faithful Christian ministry, and submit a one-page essay capturing their personal convictions.
Marguerite Young Scholarship Endowment
Five PPG Place Suite 250
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
14. Mary Seeley Knudstrup Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 15th
Granting $1,000 on average, the Mary Seeley Knudstrup Scholarship Fund is administered by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) for laywomen who are completing graduate study in theology, Christian studies, religious education, pastoral counseling, or other Church-related majors for vocational service. Eligibility guidelines mandate being at least 21, having U.S. citizenship, having active Lutheran Church membership, and having experienced an education disruption of 2+ years.
Mary Seeley Knudstrup Scholarship Fund
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 638-3522 ext. 2741
15. Opal Dancey Memorial Foundation Grants
Deadline: April 15th
Since 1975, the Opal Dancey Memorial Foundation has awarded $3,000 renewable grants for over 1,500 theological students who are working towards a Master of Divinity (M.Div.). As an Effingham native, Dancey stipulated that applicants must have resided in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin for at least two years or accepted into an ATS-accredited seminary within the Great Lakes region. The only exception is Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Opal Dancey Memorial Foundation Grants
P.O. Box 1134
Bath, OH 44333
16. Professor Albert Clark F.S.C. Award
Deadline: January 20th
Named for the Manhattan College faculty member who founded the Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society in 1976, the Professor Albert Clark F.S.C. Award is granted annually for $500 through an essay competition. Undergraduate and graduate theology students who are enrolled full-time and holding a major GPA of 3.5 at accredited U.S. universities with a TAK chapter may enter. Typed essay submissions will be considered for publication in the Journal of Theta Alpha Kappa.
Professor Albert Clark F.S.C. Award
1216 Sunbury Road
Columbus, OH 43219
17. Rev. Dr. J. Soongook Choi Scholarship
Deadline: March 15th
In honor of the Korean-American minister who served as president of Seoul Christian University, the Rev. Dr. J. Soongook Choi Scholarship grants $2,000 through the Disciple Home Missions (DHS). Interested Asian and Pacific Islander students must be enrolled full-time at accredited theological schools, hold U.S. citizenship, maintain a minimum graduate GPA of 2.5, affiliate with the Disciples of Christ, and prepare for ordained ministry in multiracial communities.
Rev. Dr. J. Soongook Choi Scholarship
P.O. Box 1986
Indianapolis, IN 46206
18. Simmons & Fletcher Christian Studies Scholarships
Deadline: October 15th
As a Christian trial law firm in Houston, Simmons & Fletcher P.C. offers two Christian Studies Scholarships for $500 and $1,000 each year to support graduating high school seniors seeking faith-based college curriculum. Selection criteria requires being lawful U.S. residents, planning to attend Christian universities, regularly participating in community service, and possessing a minimum “B” average. The application process includes writing a 1,000-word essay on the importance of Christian education.
Simmons & Fletcher Christian Studies Scholarships
9821 Katy Freeway Suite 925
Houston, TX 77024
19. St. Philip the Deacon Seminarian Scholarship
Deadline: August 1st
Worth $5,000, the St. Philip the Deacon Seminarian Scholarship is granted by the John C. Kulis Charitable Foundation as one of the few scholarships for theology and Christian studies dedicated to the Eastern Orthodox faith. Accepted candidates must be enrolled full-time at the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Christ the Saviour Carpatho-Russian Seminary, or St. Sophia Ukranian Orthodox Theological Seminary for religious vocations.
St. Philip the Deacon Seminarian Scholarship
216 South Jefferson Street Suite 301
Chicago, IL 60661
20. Young Christian Leaders Scholarship
Deadline: 15th of the Month
Buttafuoco & Associates established the Young Christian Leaders Scholarship to present $1,000 to high school seniors and current undergraduates from New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut who possess profound spiritual character. Theology and Christian studies majors are strongly urged to apply before the 15th for any month’s contest. Applicants must be active Church members, enrolling full-time at accredited colleges, holding a minimum 3.0 GPA, and endorsed by spiritual leaders.
Young Christian Leaders Scholarship
9 Broadman Parkway
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Committing your life to spreading God’s love is a selfless decision rewarded by many Church organizations with free tuition money. Scholarships are charitable gifts that assist aspiring ministers in affording the hefty price tag of their Biblical training. They’re especially important now since the Urban Ministry Institute reports that theological schools have an average cost of $35,000 to $50,000 per year. For more great scholarships for theology and Christian studies, check out the Forum for Theological Exploration’s extensive financial aid database.