Funding Your Seminary Study

The School of Theology assumes that all its students are in need of significant financial help to afford their seminary education. That is why students studying here receive generous financial aid. The cost of the School of Theology’s tuition is less than half the cost of attending Boston University at the undergraduate level. We allocate the financial aid funds offered by the University, the United Methodist Church, and individual donors as widely as possible to benefit the most students. Additional merit fellowships are set aside to reward academic excellence and extra-curricular distinction. For all of these reasons we expect our STH graduates to follow their vocational passions without being weighed down by tremendous seminary debt.

Below you will find information about scholarships and other forms of aid from the School of Theology for each degree program. If you need further information, or have specific questions about your ability to fund your seminary education, please feel free to be in touch with our Admissions Office or Financial Aid Office.

Master’s Program Applicants

Tuition Scholarships

All master’s-level students taking at least six credits per semester are eligible for financial aid in the form of Tuition Scholarships, which remove 70% of the tuition cost. The chart below shows what students can expect in terms of actual tuition and total academic costs per year of their program, using 2017-2018 tuition rates:

Degree Program(number of eligible semesters) Percent of Tuition Scholarship Cost of Full-Time Tuition after Tuition Scholarship Required Fees
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
6 semesters
70% $6,210/year $1,004
Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
4 semesters
70% $6,210/year $1,004
Master of Sacred Music (MSM)
4 semesters
70% $6,210/year $1,004
Master of Sacred Theology (STM)
2 semesters
70% $6,210/year $1,004

Semesters listed above are the number of semesters it takes to complete the program if taking a traditional course load of four classes per semester (12 credits). Part-time students also receive tuition scholarships, but should consult with the Financial Aid Office to determine how their curriculum choices could affect the number of semesters they can receive tuition scholarship aid.

Merit Scholarships

Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, and Master of Sacred Music applicants who apply by the Priority Admissions Deadline will be considered for additional Merit Scholarships. These awards begin at full tuition and many include an additional yearly stipend to help support the cost of books, fees, or occasionally even partial living expenses.

Dean’s Fellowships

Dean’s Fellowships are the most abundant of the merit awards (approximately 35 are awarded annually), and are chosen on the criteria of proven academic excellence and extra-curricular commitments. To be considered for a Dean’s Fellowship one must apply with a 3.3 or above cumulative GPA from their most recent degree program. To maintain their Dean’s Fellowships these students must earn a cumulative 3.5 GPA during their studies at BUSTH.

Leadership Fellowships

Leadership Fellowships are awarded to prospective students with a cumulative 3.0 or above from their previous program and whose scholarship or ministry serves particular populations. To maintain their Leadership Fellowships these students must earn a cumulative 2.7 GPA during their studies at BUSTH and continue to lead within their communities.

Howard Thurman Fellowship

Howard Thurman Fellowships are awarded annually to up to three applicants who reflect Thurman’s ideals and who exemplify in their lives a commitment to deepening spirituality and moral leadership in service to the church and the world.

Raíces Latinas Fellowship

Raíces Latinas Fellowships are are awarded annually to up to three students who are interested in Latinx studies and who display commitment and service to the Latinx community.

Indigenous Studies Fellowships

Indigenous Studies Fellowships are awarded annually to up to three applicants who seek to study theology in relation to indigenous cultures or to prepare themselves for leadership with indigenous communities worldwide.

Sacred Worth Fellowships

Sacred Worth Fellowships are awarded annually to up to three applicants who are committed to understanding the rich diversities in sexuality; exploring the intersection of sexuality, theology, and ethics; and working toward the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in church, academy, and society.

UMC Leadership Fellowships

UMC Leadership Fellowships are for those pursuing ordination as an elder or a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Students must be registered candidates with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry on the UMCares site prior to the start of classes each semester to be eligible for the UMC Leadership Fellowship, and must make steady progress in their ordination process to maintain their award.

Ordination Scholarships

Available to Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, and Master of Sacred Music Students pursuing ordination in the UMC, AME, AME Zion, or CME Church.

In order to honor its historic ties with the Methodist Church, and to provide for the fiscally-responsible training of its future clergy, the School of Theology provides a 100% full-tuition scholarship to all entering MDiv, MTS, or MSM students pursuing clergy ordination in the UMC, African Methodist Episcopal, AME Zion, or Christian Methodist Episcopal traditions. To be considered for this full-tuition scholarship, applicants must show proof of their candidacy for ordination in their denomination, as well as continued progress toward ordination.

Additional Awards

Students are encouraged to search for outside awards and scholarships to help pay for their seminary education and living expenses. Scholarships, grants, and loans are available from a number of denominational, humanitarian, and other agencies. The School of Theology maintains a list of outside scholarships and awards, but it is also a good idea to get in touch directly with those institutions where you have connections that could lead to additional funding.

PhD Program Applicants

The chart below shows what students matriculating into the PhD program can expect in total financial awards for 2017-2018:

Degree Program Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Percent of tuition scholarship 100%
Cost of tuition after scholarship $0
STH fees $248
Books & Supplies (approximate) $1,412
Total approximate projected yearly cost $1,660
Fellowship Stipend $22,660/year

PhD fellowships include stipends each semester, full scholarships for tuition and university-mandated academic fees (this does not cover minor STH-specific fees), and individual health coverage through the University’s student medical insurance plan at the basic level. These awards are made on the basis of merit upon admission for the first five years of doctoral study, do not include housing or living expenses, and require teaching and research internships and assistantships as per the schedule below.

Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 no service requirement no service requirement
Year 2 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements) 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements)
Year 3 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements) 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements)
Year 4 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements) 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements)
Year 5 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements) 20 hour/week internship (as part of the PhD degree requirements)

Note: Eligible students may apply for a service-free dissertation fellowship in Year 5 if they have an approved prospectus by the end of Year 4.

DMin Program Applicants

The Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin) in Transformational Leadership is a professional doctoral degree meant to enrich religious leaders already embedded in traditional and non-traditional settings, to deepen their understanding of and commitment to ministry, and to refine its practice.

The DMin costs approximately $21,522 in tuition and fees over the course of three years (six semesters) of part-time study, plus travel to Boston for the intensive seminars. During the first year of the program, the intensive courses and cohort-building last nine nights for each stay in August and January. During the second year, the intensive courses are a five-day commitment with the preceding evening optional.

Year One Year Two Year Three Total
Tuition and Fees* $10,768 $8,256 $2,782 $21,806
Average transportation costs $500 $500 $0 $1,000
Meals and Housing $2,000 $1,300 $0 $3,300
Totals $13,268 $10,056 $2,782 $26,106

*Figures shown use 2017-2018 prices. Tuition and fee rates change a few hundred dollars each year.

Students in the Doctor of Ministry program enjoy a reduced per-credit tuition cost as compared to students in all other STH degrees. As such, they are not eligible for other scholarships from the School of Theology itself. However, DMin students are typically able to afford the program well using a combination of personal funds, continuing education funds from their place of ministry, outside awards and scholarships (such as from their denomination), and, if necessary, federal unsubsidized loans.

Special Student Applicants (Non-Degree Applicants)

“Special Student” status is available to those who want to take a few individual courses at STH but not enroll in a program. Since it is a non-degree status, Special Students are not eligible for financial aid in the form of scholarships or federal aid. They pay tuition costs by the credit hour.

The exception to the above rule is that Special Students who are pursuing ordination in United Methodist, United Church of Christ, Episcopalian/Anglican, or Unitarian Universalist traditions, and who have already graduated from STH or elsewhere with an MDiv degree, may be eligible to receive 70% tuition scholarships toward further courses required for their ordination. For example, an applicant with an MDiv whose denomination requires them to take an additional Worship course before they can be ordained would be able to do so at STH with a 70% reduced tuition cost for that class. If you have any questions as to whether you qualify for this opportunity or not please feel free to be in touch with the STH Admissions Office.

Related Resources

Paying for Seminary

Learn more about the School of Theology's generous financial aid.

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Denominational Resources

Check out our denominational offerings and the denomination-specific communities of learning.

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