Christian Grad School Scholarships

Explore Awards, Christian-Friendly Programs, and Expert Advice to Maintain Your Faith

It’s not always easy for Christian students to practice their faith as they deal with the rigors of earning a degree -- and this is a challenge they will take with them if they continue their education by enrolling in graduate school. In addition to concerns about how they will fund their degree program, these students may wonder how they can get support as a religious person as they balance all of their other responsibilities. This guide is designed to help prospective graduate students by providing sources for scholarships, as well as advice on how to navigate grad school as a believer and find resources that support their Christian faith.

10 Scholarships for Christian Grad Students

12 Tips for Finding & Landing Christian Scholarships for Grad School

As with other types of scholarships, students who want to receive Christian scholarships for graduate school must find these opportunities, and then impress the granting organizations in order to win. This section provides guidance on how to locate and secure this educational funding.

Finding Additional Christian Scholarships


Students who want to dedicate their life to ministry may be able to get funding from the individual church they attend or the larger church body. To find these opportunities, they can consult with their church leaders for guidance.

Individual colleges

Christian colleges and secular schools alike may offer scholarships to those enrolled in religious-based degree programs. People considering graduate school can speak to the financial aid office at the schools they apply to for information on these opportunities.

Non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations may offer faith-based scholarships to help students train to contribute to their community. Those who are involved in charity work can get help finding scholarships from the organizations they volunteer for.

Scholarship websites

Scholarship websites provide information on graduate school funding in numerous categories, so prospective students can search these sites specifically for Christian scholarships.

Secular funding sources

Although there are many Christian-based scholarship opportunities available, there’s no reason why students can’t take advantage of secular funding sources if they qualify for these scholarships. Companies, government agencies, and professional organizations can be excellent scholarship providers.

Winning Christian Scholarships in Grad School

  • Dedicate time to pursue funding.

    "Digging around for scholarships can take time, but think of it like this: If you dedicate five hours a week for one month to looking for and applying for scholarships, you’ll be spending roughly 20 hours trying to find funding. If you are able to secure grants or scholarships equaling even just $10,000 (many are much higher than that), then you will have made roughly $500 an hour. That’s a pretty good return on your investment. If you can secure $20,000, each hour was worth $500," said Rev. Derek R. Davenport, current Director of the Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and former Director of Enrollment for the seminary. "A little bit of time dedicated to finding scholarships can be well worth it."

  • Craft a quality essay.

    Organizations that grant scholarships often require an essay, and in some cases, students may be asked to explain their relationship to their faith and why they want to enter the ministry. This is a personal topic that allows applicants to not only show off their writing skills, but also provide a peek into what Christianity means to them. When writing these essays, students should be thoughtful and honest. In addition, they should write an individual essay for each scholarship they apply for because committees can tell when an essay has been repurposed.

  • Get involved with the community.

    Oftentimes scholarship committees favor Christian college students who are active in their church and giving back to the community. The more time students can devote to these activities, the more they can increase their chances of winning scholarships. This is also a good way to get to know community and church leaders who can provide references.

  • Don’t ignore smaller awards.

    Many students will dedicate their time to the scholarships that offer the most money, but the problem is, they have the most applicants. Scholarships with smaller awards may be less competitive and therefore a little bit easier to win. It’s important to remember that when it comes to paying for graduate school, every dollar counts.

  • Jump through more hoops.

    Some scholarship applications require more work than others—such as longer essays or videos—and this makes many students shy away from them. This increases the chances of winning the award for those who do jump through those extra hoops because there will be fewer people applying to them. As a result, students shouldn’t be afraid to do a little bit more to get those scholarship awards.

  • Get a second set of eyes.

    While students are juggling their undergraduate work, graduate school admissions applications, and scholarship applications, they may inadvertently forget something important. Getting a trusted friend, professor, or family member to look over applications can go a long way toward helping students ensure they are submitting quality applications that are complete.

  • Follow through.

    "I often speak to both schools and organizations who lament that they have scholarship money that goes unawarded for lack of qualified applicants," said Davenport. "If you think you qualify, it’s worth the time to send in an application."

Choosing a Graduate Program as a Christian Student

Choosing a graduate school program is never easy, and when students want to integrate their faith into their decision, it can be even more challenging to find the right school. This section provides information on support that Christian students can get on and off campus to help them practice their faith, as well as things they should consider as they search for graduate schools.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Grad Program

Should I attend a Christian college?

"For maximum opportunity for spiritual growth while in your graduate studies, be sure to check out what overtly Christian schools have to offer. Some do excel in particular academic realms and are recognized widely for their academic quality," said David Embree, Director of Christian Campus House at Missouri State University. "However, while it is a good idea for Christian students to pursue graduate studies at a Christian school, it is not always possible because there are some fields in which Christian schools do not necessarily specialize regarding graduate degrees, so finding a school that offers your degree of choice can be a challenge."

What is the climate toward Christians at the schools I’m interested in?

While considering schools, students should research the religious climate at each one. Not only are some campuses unsupportive of those who want to practice their faith, in some cases, the culture of a school can be downright hostile towards Christians.

Is there a Christian community that I can participate in?

"Graduate studies, in some settings, can be very insular. If you are studying full time, it can be easy to get lost in your academic community," Davenport said. "By connecting to a local congregation, small group, or Bible study, you can provide yourself with some much-needed diversity of perspectives, experiences, and friendships. In addition, that community can help keep you accountable and give you the encouragement you need when studies, or life, begin to overwhelm you."

Expert Perspective: Attending a Christian Graduate School

It was pretty easy to maintain my Christian faith in graduate school, as I completed my graduate degrees at a Baptist-affiliated university, the second of which was in Divinity. My first graduate program concentrated on community counseling, and in class, we were focusing on learning about counseling— theories, practices, etc. In other words, despite being at a Christian university with Christian professors, none of our classes were "preachy," nor were they overtly or covertly faith-based unless by course description (i.e., Religion and Society).

Pursuing graduate studies and working full time make it difficult to maintain one's faith. Life is busy, shifts fall on Sunday mornings, and our program was (blessedly) diverse, so we didn't study in a Christian bubble. It took intentionality for me to maintain and grow in my faith while I was in graduate school. To maintain and grow in my faith, I had to find a church. I could have just enjoyed sleeping in and lazing around on that day of the week off, but I chose to connect with a faith community. Amongst the plethora of books I had to read for school, I chose to adopt the habit of daily Bible reading. I maintained my prayer life. Again, though, these were not practices that just happened; these were practices I chose intentionally.
Sara Nesbitt, Minister, Business Owner, and Home Educator

Finding Support On- and Off-Campus

It can be difficult for students to practice their faith as they earn their graduate degrees, but there are resources available that can help. The following are some examples of support students can find on and off their campus.

On-Campus Support

  1. Christian student organizations. Some schools have student organizations that cater to Christians and allow them to get into fellowship with one other. From choirs to athletic groups, students can tap into their Christian community on campus to spend time with like-minded peers.
  2. Worship services. Some schools have a campus chapel where students can participate in Sunday worship services, Bible study, or prayer meetings. This is a great way for them to get connected with the religious community on campus, while keeping up with their spiritual practice.
  3. Counseling. Graduate students can experience a great deal of stress and they often turn to their school’s counseling center for assistance. In some cases, students may have access to Christian counselors on campus, which can help them get more out of the counseling experience.

Off-Campus Support

  1. Local ministries. Becoming active in a local church can help students keep their faith strong, especially if no Christian services are held on campus. Attending worship services, Bible study, and other church events allow students to connect with other believers on a regular basis.
  2. Christian mentors. Just as mentors in the workplace help people become better at their jobs, Christian mentors can help students grow in their faith and become better human beings. Finding a mentor that also went to graduate school, if possible, can give students a blueprint for how to balance their education with their religious beliefs. In order to find a good mentor, students may begin by speaking to the pastor of their church or a religious studies professor for help.
  3. Nonprofit organizations. Since giving to those less fortunate is an important part of a Christian lifestyle, students may consider finding local nonprofit organizations to volunteer their time to. Although the organization itself may not be religious in nature, helping the community is always an expression of faith.

Expert Perspective: Finding a Christian Community in Grad School

Don’t try to find the perfect church or the perfect group. They don’t exist. Find one that is consistent with your beliefs, that you can contribute to in a meaningful way, and that can strengthen your faith. If you’re new in the area and not sure where to look, call your home pastor and ask for guidance. The sooner you connect with a community, the stronger your relationships will be when you need encouragement or support, and the sooner you can use your gifts to strengthen that community.
Rev. Derek R. Davenport, current Director of the Miller Summer Youth Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and former Director of Enrollment for the seminary

School Spotlight: 3 Institutions to Consider as a Christian Grad Student

Some schools are more open to the Christian community than others, so prospective graduate students may want to consider colleges that support the Christian lifestyle. The following are examples of those schools.

Indiana Wesleyan University: Since it was established by the Trustees of the Indiana Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University has been dedicated to providing its students with a quality education that not only trains them for a career, but also builds their leadership and character traits. Inside the classroom, IWU offers Christ-centered education that includes several religion-related degree programs. Outside of the classroom, students can worship at the school’s chapel, get involved in volunteer activities through the World Impact office, or join organizations that combine academic interests with Christian fellowship.

Regent University: With classes that stress Christian leadership, Regent University prepares students to make a difference in the world. When they’re not benefitting from the Christian-focused coursework in their degree programs, students can participate in worship ceremonies and join organizations that promote spiritual development and biblical principles. For example, the Council of Graduate Students allows members to help improve the graduate student experience while encouraging peers to grow in their faith.

Wheaton College: Students who attend Wheaton College may earn master’s degrees in religious areas, such as evangelism and leadership, Christian history, and humanitarianism and disaster leadership. Also, these students can join the school’s Christian Service Council to get involved in non-profit organizations and ministries in the local community, or take advantage of training programs through the Center for Applied Christian Ethics.

Insider Perspective: How I Maintained My Faith in Grad School

Dr. Tomeka Day, MD is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Physician with over 15 years of experience primarily in pediatric medicine. She is a writer and blogger, wife, and mother of three children. She is the Founder and CEO of Flourish Health Coaching, LLC, where she helps busy women and their families become healthier by focusing on nutrition and lifestyle changes. As a result of her health coaching, career women, busy moms, and women of faith are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to provide nutritious and quick meals, become healthy, and improve health conditions.

How did your faith influence your choice in graduate school?

I grew up in a Christian household and witnessed the power of prayer at an early age, when my only brother became severely ill with a ruptured appendix. My parents rushed my brother to the ER, and the surgeon evaluated him and said that he would need emergency surgery, and that my brother was in a critical state. We prayed, believed that God would heal my brother and waited nearly two hours for the surgeon to complete the operation. My brother survived the surgery and the surgeon was hopeful that he would recover. At that moment, I was inspired to be a physician to help people when they are sick, and therefore, I desired to go to medical school to fulfill my purpose.

What factors were important to you when you were considering schools?

There were several things that were important to me when considering schools. Because of my strong family values and helping my community, I searched for a medical school that was relatively close to my home, which would allow me to continue to give back to my community. In addition to the location of the school, I recognized the importance of preventative care medicine and looked for a school that had a strong curriculum in primary care and prevention. Lastly, I read the mission statement of the schools that I was considering and chose the school whose mission statement aligned with my Christian values.

How can Christians find a graduate school that supports their faith?

I believe that a Christian should first pray and ask God for guidance when searching for the best graduate school for them. This was something that I did. Also, I recommend reading the mission statement of the schools you are considering. Does the school’s mission statement align with your Christian values? If so, this can be a good indication that this school will support your Christian faith. Furthermore, you can ask the school’s administration questions about support systems available for Christians at their school.

What challenges did you face in medical school as a Christian?

Medical school had a very demanding and rigorous curriculum, which made it challenging to navigate through, but praying to God for help and guidance, and having a strong support system allowed me to be successful in the program.

What resources were available at your school to help support your faith?

My medical school had a Christian organization for medical students who were Christians to support them.

What advice would you give to Christian students who want to attend grad school?

First, I would recommend that you pray and seek God about His divine plan and purpose for your life. Once you know your purpose, then consider a graduate school and program that will equip you to fulfill this. Secondly, find a graduate school that has a strong curriculum that supports your purpose. Also, consider the location of the program, and lastly make sure the school’s mission statement aligns with your Christian values.

From the Expert: The Challenges Christian Grad Students Face & How to Overcome Them

David Embree has been the Director of Christian Campus House, a non-denominational ministry serving students at Missouri State University, Ozarks Technical Community College, and other schools in the Springfield, Missouri, area since 1978. He has taught part time in Missouri State University’s Department of Religious Studies since 1984, where his specialty is New Religious Movements. Embree has been involved with higher education his entire adult life and he has been a spiritual and academic mentor to thousands of students through the years.

What kind of challenges can Christian graduate students face when attending a secular school?

For those who did not take the Christian college path of higher education, college is often a time of great challenge to students’ faith. Media portrayals of college portray higher education as one long self-indulgent party, where any value higher than one’s own pleasure or personal benefit is seen to be ridiculous. Social media discussions about faith usually relegate allegiance to a higher power as infantile and something to be grown beyond (except as part of a 12-step program). The common enthusiastic university focus on diversity of all kinds, while at the same time scolding or even penalizing students for particular sincerely held religious beliefs, can create an atmosphere in which believing students feel the need to "closet" their convictions and lifestyle choices in order to not make waves.

A few factors that might make secular graduate school even more spiritually challenging than undergraduate would include the fact that graduate students tend to spend more one-on-one time with their professors/mentors. As has been noted in a variety of studies, statistically, university professors are much more likely to be non-believers than the general American population. Close interaction, coupled with the desire to please one’s most significant teachers can create more pressure on one’s worldview. Furthermore, graduate students may have moved even further from home and have generally been separated from any spiritual support group established during their undergraduate years, so graduate school can literally be a lonely place for the believer. Even if students check out the campus ministries on their graduate school campus, they are often filled with younger students and graduate students can feel "aged out."

How can they overcome these challenges?

Establish one or more accountability relationships with someone who is knowledgeable about college life and culture, and, ideally, about your particular field of study. Link up with someone who cares enough about you to confront you if you veer off the right path. Invite them to be diligent in asking you hard questions about what you are learning and thinking and how that relates to the rest of your life.

Connect with at least one significant resource person within your discipline. A campus pastor on the campus you desire to attend can potentially hook you up with someone in your field who has been down the path ahead of you and who knows what kinds of questions arise and how to best answer them. If you can’t locate someone on campus, find a professional in your field who is a devoted Christian and ask them if you can reach out when you have questions, doubts and challenges. Having some support from an "insider" is invaluable.

Christian graduate students can be the salt of the educational earth and the light of the academic world. It truly is a matter of keeping the main thing the main thing. Study, write, and represent as ambassadors of Christ.

What resources are available on campus to help Christian students support their faith?

Plug into a small group. Go to the university’s website, check out its student organizations under "religious" and see what pops up. If one or more of those groups sound interesting, call or email them. Or go to the websites of campus ministry organizations you trust and see if they have a branch on that campus. Some resources here would include,,, and Join a worship community, and find a way to serve to keep you headed the right direction. As one of my professors used to say, "Impression without expression leads to depression." I believe that he was right.