Many students pursue theology or religious studies programs on the path toward becoming a church worker, minister, or member of the clergy.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an increase of 5-6% in the employment of clergy, church educators, and religious workers between 2018 and 2028. Many faith-centered occupations require at least a bachelor's degree and experience to enter the field. Therefore, many students rely on theology and religious studies scholarships and other financial aid to help fund their education and pursue their target careers.

The following guide covers many of the top theology and religious studies scholarships.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you pay for a degree in theology and religious studies?

Many college students use theology and religious studies scholarships and other financial aid to help pay for their degree. Students generally prefer scholarships and grants over other forms of aid because these do not require repayment.

Are there many scholarships available for theology and religious studies students?

Schools, churches, and private foundations offer scholarships for theology and religious studies students. Many scholarships are available, each with their own criteria.

Where can I find scholarships for theology and religious studies degrees?

Below is a list of many theology and religious studies scholarships. While our guide covers primarily national, broad awards, many more scholarships are available through local schools and communities.

Are there grants for theology and religious studies students?

Students who receive federal grants, such as the Pell Grant or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, may apply the award to an accredited program in theology or religious studies. Additionally, many nonprofits, churches, and missionary programs offer grants to students with financial need.

How do I qualify for a theology and religious studies scholarship?

Theology and religious studies scholarships are available to undergraduate and graduate students in nearly every religious denomination. Additionally, certain awards may target minority students or individuals from other underserved populations.

Financial Assistance for Theology and Religious Studies Students

Financial aid for theology and religious studies students includes scholarships, grants, fellowships, loans, and work-study programs.

Unlike other types of aid, scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid. Scholarships are often based on merit, although some may also require students to demonstrate financial need. Most grants are awarded based exclusively on need rather than merit.

Students seeking theology and religious studies scholarships, grants, and loans should begin their search by completing the FAFSA.

Campus-based learners may pursue work-study jobs, which provide wages that can be used to cover any expenses. Students may also take out loans to help pay for their degree; however, these should be accepted as a last resort after exhausting other aid options. Loans tend to involve high interest and fees.

Accredited colleges require students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the first step toward pursuing financial aid. By filling out this form, students determine their eligibility for federal financial aid. Their FAFSA results may also help determine whether a student qualifies for other funding sources, such as those offered by schools and private organizations.

Students seeking theology and religious studies scholarships, grants, and loans should begin their search by completing the FAFSA.

Theology and Religious Studies Grants

Grants can help students meet their financial aid goals. Many students with financial need apply for general awards, such as the Federal Pell Grant and/or the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. Additionally, students who belong to a particular congregation or denomination, as well as those who are pursuing a theology or religious studies degree in a particular county or school, may qualify for other faith-based grants.

Theology and Religious Studies Scholarships

Scholarships for theology and religious studies students are often awarded by schools, churches, and other community organizations. The following sections include popular theology and religious studies scholarships.

Featured Theology and Religious Studies Scholarships

The following scholarships may be suitable for a variety of aspiring theologians and religious workers. Scholarship programs have different requirements, which may be related to variables like grades, community service, and religious affiliation.

Allan J. Burry Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) grants this award to an undergraduate student who is active in Methodist-related campus ministry and maintains a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants must also have been members of the UMC for at least three years.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January

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American Baptist Home Mission Societies Undergraduate Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The American Baptist Home Mission Societies offers this scholarship to U.S. residents enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be active in the Baptist Church and maintain a GPA of at least 2.75. They must also submit a reference from their church pastor.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April

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Bethesda Student Scholastic and Service Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The Bethesda Auxiliary awards this scholarship to students in their junior or senior year of a program that is preparing them to serve and support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Applicants must be active members of the Lutheran Church and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $3,000

Deadline: May

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Champions for Christ Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Champions of Christ awards scholarships to outstanding students planning to seek full-time employment in the Christian ministry after graduation. Students can reapply each term.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: July

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Chaplain Samuel Grover Powell Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation awards this scholarship to students enrolled in their middle or senior year of an accredited theological seminary program. Applicants should be planning on pursuing chaplaincy in a branch of the military, with preference given to students seeking to join the U.S. Air Force.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: July

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Christian Ministries Scholarship Fund

Who's Eligible? The Christian Church of Mid-America Disciples of Christ awards this scholarship to part-time or full-time undergraduate or seminary students who are members of the Christian Church. Applicants must be affiliated with a Mid-America or regional congregation of Disciples of Christ.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: May

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David W. Self Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this award to high school seniors entering their first year of an accredited, full-time undergraduate program. Applicants must have been active members of the UMC for at least one year, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and aspire to a church-related career.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January

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E. Craig Brandenburg Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church awards this scholarship to students who are over the age of 35. Preference is given to applicants who are pursuing higher education to make a switch to a second career.

Award Amount: $1,000-$2,000

Deadline: January

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Elsa Everett Memorial Scholarship Fund

Who's Eligible? The First Presbyterian Church Scholarship Fund awards this scholarship to students who are communicant members of the Presbyterian Church. Applicants must be pursuing a degree through a regionally accredited college or university, hold a minimum 2.0 GPA, and aspire to a Christian career.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April

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General Board of Higher Education and Ministry General Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this scholarship to undergraduate students with at least one year of active membership in the UMC and a GPA of at least 2.5.

Award Amount: $500-$1,000

Deadline: January

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Higher Education & Leadership Ministries Leadership Fellows Program

Who's Eligible? The Higher Education & Leadership Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers the Leadership Fellows Program to students entering their first year of college. Applicants must exhibit academic and Christian leadership qualities and be active church members.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April

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Holly Elliott and Laurel Glass Scholarship for Persons Who Are Deaf, Deafened, Deaf-Blind, or Hard of Hearing

Who's Eligible? The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation awards this scholarship to students enrolled in a United Methodist Theological School who are orally or culturally deaf, late deafened, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing. Applicants must be preparing for a career in specialized ministry.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: March

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John and Norma Normura DeSaegher Scholarship Fund for Divinity Students

Who's Eligible? The United Church of Christ awards this scholarship to members in good standing who are accepted or enrolled in an accredited seminary or regional theological program leading to ministry. Applicants must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Preference is given to aspiring pastors in Hawai'i.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: March

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John Sarrin Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The United Society of Friends Women International awards this scholarship to students aspiring to become Friends (Quaker) Christian ministers, missionaries, or church workers. Applicants must submit three references, at least two of which should be from Quakers.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: January

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Mary E. Bivins Religious Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The Mary E. Bivins Foundation awards this scholarship to junior or senior college students enrolled in an undergraduate program related to Christian ministry. Applicants must be permanent residents of the Texas Panhandle with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: February

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Miriam Hoffman Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this award to students pursuing a degree and subsequent career in music education or music ministry. Applicants must have been members of the UMC for at least one year and hold a GPA of at least 2.5.

Award Amount: $500-$1,000

Deadline: January

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Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Applicants with at least three years of membership and active leadership within the United Methodist Church may be eligible for this award. Students must also have a GPA of at least 3.0.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January

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Samuel Robinson Award

Who's Eligible? The Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church awards this scholarship to junior or senior Presbyterian college students who can recite the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Applicants must submit a 2,000-word essay and be active members of the Presbyterian Church.

Award Amount: $2,000-$7,500

Deadline: June, September, and December

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Telios Law Sojourner Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Telios Law PLLC offers this scholarship to high school students and graduates pursuing a college program in the upcoming year. Applicants must be children of missionaries with at least three years of third-culture missionary experience. Applicants must also be enrolled or plan to enroll at an accredited school with a focus on Christian and/or spiritually formative programs.

Award Amount: $1,000 per year; renewable for up to four years

Deadline: January

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Trinity Scholars Program

Who's Eligible? The Trinity Education Foundation awards this scholarship to students enrolled in or accepted into an accredited Christian college in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, or Montana. Applicants must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and demonstrate a commitment to their own personal missional calling.

Award Amount: Up to $10,000 per year

Deadline: January

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Ullery Charitable Trust Fund

Who's Eligible? The First Presbyterian Church Scholarship Fund grants this award to students who are communicant members of the Presybterian Church and are pursuing a regionally accredited college program to become full-time Christian workers in the Presbyterian Church.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April

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Young Christian Leaders Scholarship

Who's Eligible? Young Christian Leaders awards a monthly scholarship to high school seniors or full-time undergraduates who have a commitment to service, hold membership in their local church, and demonstrate financial need. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0 and be permanent residents of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: Monthly

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Theology and Religious Studies Scholarships for Minorities

Many organizations grant theology and religious studies scholarships to students from minority groups, including applicants who identify as African American, Latino/a, and Native American.

Bishop John W. Hamilton Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to female African American students who have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Applicants must also have held membership in the UMC for at least one year, and preference is given to orphans and HBCU students.

Award Amount: $500

Deadline: January

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Ethnic Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this award to undergraduate students who have been members of the UMC for at least one year and belong to a racial-ethnic minority group. Applicants must also have a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Award Amount: $500-$900

Deadline: January

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Forum for Theological Exploration Doctoral Fellowships

Who's Eligible? The Forum for Theological Exploration offers this award to students of African descent who are enrolled in or admitted to a full-time doctoral program in theology or religious studies, excluding ministry programs. Applicants must have completed the coursework phase and be entering the candidacy (dissertation) phase of their program.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: February

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HANA Scholars

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to students of Hipsanic, Asian, and/or Native American heritage. Students must have a minimum 2.85 GPA and at least three years of membership in the UMC. Applicants must be in their junior year or higher of an undergraduate program or a graduate-level program.

Award Amount: $1,000-$3,000

Deadline: January

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Journey Toward Ordained Ministry

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to racial-ethnic minority students pursuing a program leading to a career in ordained ministry. Applicants must be at least 30 years old with a minimum of two years of UMC membership. They must also commit to the scholarship's mentorship component. Undergraduate applicants must have a minimum 2.8 GPA, while graduate applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January

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Leonard M. Perryman Communications Scholarship for Racial Ethnic Minority Students

Who's Eligible? The United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this scholarship to ethnic minority undergraduate learners studying journalism or communications. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the UMC, journalistic potential, and academic excellence.

Award Amount: $2,500

Deadline: March

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Presbyterian Study Grant, Racial Ethnic Leadership Supplemental Grant

Who's Eligible? The Presbyterian Church awards this grant to students who belong to racial-ethnic minorities, including African American, Alaska Native, Hispanic American, Asian American, and Native American students. Applicants must be an active member of the church and demonstrate financial need.

Award Amount: Up to $5,000

Deadline: Varies

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Richard R. Smith Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to racial-ethnic minority high school seniors preparing to pursue an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be active members of the UMC, have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and pursue a church-related profession.

Award Amount: $1,000

Deadline: January

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Spanish American Baptist Seminary Scholarship Fund

Who's Eligible? The American Baptist Home Mission Societies offers this scholarship to students of Hispanic origin pursuing a degree in theology or religious studies or a seminary program through an accredited theological institution. Applicants must be U.S. residents with a minimum 2.75 GPA. They must also hold active membership in the American Baptist Church.

Award Amount: $500-$3,000

Deadline: April

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Women of Color Scholars

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to doctoral candidates in theology or religious studies. Applicants must have at least one parent who identifies as African, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American. Applicants must ultimately aspire to a faculty or executive position within a theological institution. They must also have at least three years of UMC membership and a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $3,000-$10,000

Deadline: January

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Theology and Religious Studies Scholarships for Graduate Students

Many students need help to pay for their graduate degree in theology or religious studies. The following theology and religious studies scholarships target graduate students — especially seminary and M.Div. candidates.

Calihan Academic Grants

Who's Eligible? The Acton Institute awards this grant to seminarians or graduate students in theology and religious studies. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to Acton's themes, including human dignity, religious liberty, and freedom in economic life.

Award Amount: $500-$3,000

Deadline: October

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Beth E. Marcus Scholarship Fund

Who's Eligible? The Reformed Church in America (RCA) awards this scholarship to female seminarians in a full-time or part-time MA, M.Div., or master of theological studies program at an approved institution. Applicants must be active members of the RCA with intentions to pursue a career in missions and ministry. They must also have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a four-year degree.

Award Amount: $500 (part time) or $1,000 (full time)

Deadline: April

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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship At-Large Leadership Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship offers this scholarship to students who have demonstrated leadership skills in the Baptist Church. Applicants must be enrolled in an M.Div. or master's in theology program at an accredited higher learning institution.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: April

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Ellen Cushing Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The American Baptist Home Mission Societies offers this scholarship to female graduate students with a minimum 2.75 GPA in a theological field (except M.Div. and D.Min. programs) who aspire to careers in human service. Applicants must reside in the U.S. and be active members of the Baptist Church.

Award Amount: Varies

Deadline: April

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Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) awards this scholarship to full-time M.Div. students enrolled at one of 13 seminaries and schools of theology affiliated with the UMC and approved by the board. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and academic merit.

Award Amount: $2,500-$12,500

Deadline: January

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Georgia Harkness Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church grants this award to female students over the age of 35 who are pursuing an M.Div. degree at an approved theological school. Preference is given to students choosing ministry as a second career. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $5,000

Deadline: January

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John Q. Schisler Scholarship

Who's Eligible? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) offers this scholarship to students pursuing a graduate degree and a subsequent career in Christian ministry as an ordained deacon or lay professional. Applicants must have been active members of the UMC for at least three years and hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $1,000-$2,000

Deadline: January

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Marguerite Young Endowment Fund

Who's Eligible? Through the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Marguerite Young Endowment Fund awards scholarships to seminary students and interns of the Protestant Church who are preparing for a full-time ministry career. Applicants must be M.Div. candidates or students pursuing a theology degree with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Award Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April

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Additional Financial Aid Resources

An Overview of Financial Aid

Our guide provides a variety of financial aid resources for theology and religious studies students. In addition to covering scholarships, grants, fellowships, and loan opportunities, our overview walks students through the FAFSA process and explores saving and budgeting for college.

Financial Aid for Online Students

Students increasingly choose online college programs for their convenience and affordability. Many schools and organizations offer theology and religious studies scholarships and other financial aid for distance learners.

Financial Aid for Students with Disabilities

Learners with disabilities often rely on financial aid to help pay for their degree. Our guide outlines the many unique financial aid resources for theology and religious studies students with disabilities.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Single mothers and fathers can research specific financial aid opportunities using our comprehensive guide.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Veterans and active-duty military students can pursue several scholarships — including awards for theology and religious studies students — offered by schools, private organizations, and the federal government.

Explore More Theology and Religious Studies Pages