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Funding Your Theological Education

Planning carefully for your theological education is a wise personal and spiritual practice. The Office of Admissions, Vocation, and Stewardship is here to individually assist you in planning for and beyond your Divinity School education.

A typical financial aid package may include scholarships, federally-funded graduate student loans, and college work-study employment. To be eligible for financial aid, students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours per each fall and spring semester. To learn more about financing your education, follow the links below or scroll down the page:

Tuition and Fees
Being a Wise Steward
Video: How to Keep From Mortgaging Your Future
Vanderbilt's Equal Opportunity Policy


MDiv and MTS Tuition Scholarships

MDiv and MTS students, regardless of citizenship or status, are eligible to be considered for merit-based scholarship support through their application for admission. Scholarships, varying in value, are renewable for a number of years based on full- or part-time student status. Part-time students are those taking 9 or fewer credit hours per semester. Full-time students are those taking 12 or more credit hour per semester. Other restrictions may apply, as stated in the conditions of the award. Scholarship students are expected to maintain a satisfactory grade level and may be invited occasionally to perform tasks related to the academic program and community life of the Divinity School. See the chart below for information about award renewable terms:

SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY* Full-Time Students (12+ hrs/sem.) Part-Time Students (9 or fewer hrs/sem.)
Master of Divinity (MDiv) 3 years, including 2 summer terms 4 years, including 3 summer terms
Master of Theological Studies (MTS) 2 years, including 1 summer term 3 years, including 2 summer terms
Master of Theology (ThM) 1 year, including 1 summer term 2+ years, may include summer terms

* For students matriculating fall 2016 and beyond.

No additional application is required to be considered for most merit-based awards, although applicants must complete all application materials by January 15 to be considered for one of our named, full-tuition scholarships.  A full list of available scholarships and their criteria may be found here

Notification of merit scholarship decisions is included in the admission acceptance letter.  Typically, applicants may expect to hear an admission and financial aid decision within four to six weeks of submitting a completed application, but no earlier than the first week of February.  

ThM Tuition Scholarships

All full-time Th.M. students admitted to Vanderbilt will receive financial aid to support their tuition costs. Domestic students are eligible for a 30% tuition scholarship. International students are eligible for a 40% tuition scholarship. Highly competitive applicants will also be eligible to be considered for a supplemental stipend totaling $5,000 annually. U.S. citizens are also eligible to be considered for federal financial aid, including work-study funding and educational loans.

Wendland-Cook Scholarship in Religion and Justice (MDiv, MTS, or ThM)

The newly-established Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt Divinity school will provide three scholarships of $2000 per semester, for up to four semesters for students enrolled in Vanderbilt Divinity School Masters programs. Applicants need to demonstrate interest in matters of religion and justice, with a focus on economic and ecological justice broadly conceived. Details on the scholarship and application process may be found here.


Tuition & Fees

The Divinity School and Vanderbilt University endeavor to make theological education an affordable option for all admitted students. Financial aid is offered to degree-seeking students based upon merit and need. Merit scholarships are awarded through the Divinity School and range from partial to full-tuition scholarships. Need-based aid in the form of federal work-study and loans is available through the University Office of Student Financial Aid for those who qualify.  Most students find that while tuition at Vanderbilt may be higher than at other theological schools, our average tuition award is also higher, making Vanderbilt a very affordable option.

2018-2019 Estimated Cost of Attendance

Being a Wise Steward:
Budgeting & Creative Planning Resources

Worried about how to afford theological education? Need help thinking through how to make ends meet?

Our Stewardship website offers a number of resources to consider as you plan your next steps, including budgeting worksheets, loan calculators, and ideas for thinking creatively about how to fund your theological education.

For more information about the Divinity School's Stewardship resources and financial coaching program, please contact Lillian Hallstrand, Director of Stewardship and Vocational Planning, at

VIDEO: How to Keep From Mortgaging Your Future

This 30-minute video, developed by Auburn Theological Seminary, offers an account of how several students have approached financing a theological education.  For detailed budget spreadsheets and information on national studies on theological student indebtedness, please visit the Auburn Theological Seminary website.


Vanderbilt University Equal Opportunity Policy

In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, Executive Order 11246, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, as amended, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008i, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation ii , gender identity iii , religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their gender expression iv consistent with the University’s nondiscrimination policy. To read more about this policy, visit

i The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits discrimination in health coverage and in employment based on genetic information.
ii Sexual orientation refers to a person’s self-identification as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, or uncertain.
iii Gender identity is generally defined as a person’s own sense of identification as male, female, both, or neither as distinguished from actual biological sex, i.e. it is one’s psychological sense of self.
iv Gender expression is everything we do that communicates our sense of identification to others.