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Ministry Scholarships

The academic field of ministry or ministry studies is as wide and varied as the ministry scholarships that may help you fund your education. This line of study is related to the fields of theology or religious studies. It can represent everything from Bible study to the study of sacred music. Continue reading to find out more.

What separates this major from similar fields such as theology is that it often serves as the educational training for a career as a minister or religious leader. Some colleges offer it as a major, while in other schools it consists of more of an advising program for students planning to continue their religious studies at a divinity school or seminary.

Another major differences among college ministry programs is the denominational emphasis of the program. Some programs study a range of religions and have as their academic emphasis comparative religion. Other programs are affiliated with a particular religion and study only the tenets, rituals and history of that faith. The type of program you select will depend on your educational and vocational goals and expectations.

Common coursework for ministerial studies includes Western philosophy, ethics, world religions, homiletics, Bible studies and intercultural communication. Your courses will most likely consist of lectures and seminars in a traditional classroom environment. However, you'll also most likely engage in field work and internships. These experiences will allow you to gain first-hand perspectives about the kind of problems you'll face as a religious minister. 

These types of programs are relatively few in number. Generally, to pursue ministerial studies at a seminary or graduate school, it is not necessary to have a ministry bachelor's degree. With most programs, any bachelor degree from an accredited institution will be good enough. At the same time, this type of program can provide you with a broad range of experiences and allow you to glimpse the religious life of a minister.

Career prospects for religious leaders should be strong over the coming decade. Employment prospects should be most robust for students with a graduate degree. Also, those individuals willing to work in urban areas and traditionally under-served areas should face the best prospects.

Listed below are a host of ministry scholarships that may help you realize your goals.

Fellowships for Doctoral Students of African Descent

Requirements to become an FTE Doctoral Fellow Applicants must be: Of African descent A U.S. citizen or permanent resident, Canadian citizen or landed immigrant Enrolled full time in an accredited Th.D. or Ph.D. program in religion, theological studies or biblical studies Finished with the course work stage of their doctoral program by the beginning of the fellowship year [If at dissertation stage] Prepared to write full time during the fellowship year Applicant’s dissertation committee must have approved the dissertation research proposal and writing plan, and given the student full approval to proceed before submission of an application for the fellowship Stipulations: Students enrolled in Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) programs are ineligible for this fellowship A student may be awarded an FTE Doctoral Fellowship a maximum of three times during his/her matriculation as a doctoral student Institutional Expectations: The recipient’s institution shall provide a full-tuition scholarship or remission, as a condition of the award As a condition of the award, the recipient’s institution shall host a visit (virtual or in-person) from FTE to assess the student’s needs and experiences. Each visit will include conversations with the student’s advisor and institutional leaders. Details of institutional visits will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Reverend Barbara Ann Wilson Memorial Scholarship Fund

Given by Mrs. Barbara Jean Haney in memory of her sister, this award is given to African-American women over the age of 30 in the School of Theology.

Presbyterian Study Grants

This is the first need based aid award made for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) students. There are two awards (Racial Ethnic Supplemental Grant and Native American Supplemental Grant) that may be made to the qualifying Presbyterian Study Grant recipients who have remaining need.

John C. and Ruby Wright Ministerial Scholarship

Established by Mr. and Mrs. Wright, this award is given to deserving students preparing for a pastoral ministry.

Dean's Scholarship

Enroll for at least 36 units, summer through spring quarters. Maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress and a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA. M.Div. students receive the award for no longer than 3 academic years starting with the first quarter in which they are enrolled. M.A. students receive the award for no longer than 2 academic years starting with the first quarter in which they are enrolled. M.A. students transferring to the M.Div program may receive the scholarship for 4 additional quarters, up to a total of 3 academic years. Students taking more than 48 units in an academic year must notify the Office of Financial Aid.

John H. Ness Award

The General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church offers an annual award of $200 (first prize) and $100 (second prize) to the students enrolled in the M. Div. program (or its equivalent) in United Methodist or other seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools who submit the best papers on some aspect of United Methodist history broadly conceived. The award is given in memory of John Harrison Ness (1891-1980), pastor, conference superintendent, and denominational executive in the Evangelical United Brethren Church .

Rev. John W. Elliott, Sr. Ministerial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 Description: The John W. Elliot, Sr. Scholarship Award has been established for minority students. The John W. Elliot, Sr. scholar should encompass outstanding leadership traits as embodied by Rev. Elliot: Spiritual Leadership, and Social Justice Leadership. The purpose of this award is to encourage men and women to prepare for ministry as a religious profession.

Partee Family Endowed Scholarship Fund

Presented to students who are called to a preaching ministry.

Mephibosheth Scholarship

This scholarship provides assistance to disabled students who are attending full-time in any of the three schools. Students must complete a financial aid application to be considered. Decisions are made in November.

Hispanic Scholarship Funds

American Baptist Hispanic students pursuing an undergraduate or first professional degree in a seminary may apply for a renewable $500 grant. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and plan to serve in a church-related ministry. These grants may not be combined with other National Ministries aid. National Ministries Ministries of Financial Aid and Continuing Education National Ministries administers an American Baptist Financial Aid Program that supports college students, seminarians, and ministerial leaders with grants and scholarships. Request application forms for the scholarships and grants listed below from the Financial Aid Office, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851 (phone 1-800-ABC-3USA, ext. 2067; Fax 610-768-2453). Please specify which scholarship or grant you wish to apply for.

Glenn and Margaret Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund

This fund was established by Glenn W. Barker, first Provost of the Seminary, in loving memory of his wife Margaret. After his death the fund was expanded and is provided as an investment in seminarians to assist in financing their education for future ministry.

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