Scholarships

We are pleased to offer a number of scholarships for students who pursue graduate studies at ESR.

Scholarship funds do not have to be paid back. Please notify us of any outside scholarships you are receiving from local, corporate or other sources outside of ESR.

ESR-funded scholarships include, but are not limited to:

Non-ESR scholarships (not sponsored or vetted by ESR)

ESR-funded Scholarships

The Cooper Scholar Program

In honor of ESR’s founding Dean, Wilmer Cooper, and his wife, Emily Haines Cooper, the ESR Board of Advisors established the Cooper Scholar Program. Wil Cooper envisioned ESR as a place where the most gifted leaders from all branches of the Society of Friends would come for study. Priority is given to Quaker students who have been identified as promising leaders and ministers by their monthly and yearly meetings. As funds allow, Cooper Scholar Awards may also be granted to non-Quaker students.

Cooper Scholars sign a Scholarship Agreement to contribute volunteer service to the ESR community (MA: 96 hours, MDIV: 150 hours, MATW: 72 hours). In addition, they agree to remain in good academic standing and heed the advices and requests of ESR on personal and moral concerns.

At a glance

  • Full tuition
  • For residential or international residential students

Cooper Scholars must be full-time, residential, degree-seeking students. A minimum of nine credit hours must be taken every session. International Cooper Scholars must take 12-15 credits per session in order to graduate in the 2/3 years the award is available (M.A./M.Div, respectively). If a student takes less than nine credits in any session, their scholarship may be suspended. If/when the student returns to full-time, they must request re-instatement of their scholarship from the Business Manager.

In addition, Cooper Scholar recipients will meet the following criteria:

  1. Be active members of the Religious Society of Friends or other Christian group
  2. Demonstrate personal qualities of leadership
  3. Have a commitment to ministry and/or service
  4. Reflect spiritual sensitivity and maturity
  5. Have demonstrated strong academic ability
  6. Plan to complete a degree program at ESR

Each prospective Cooper Scholar applicant must provide two additional letters of recommendation. For Quaker students, these should ideally be from the Student’s monthly and yearly meetings. The monthly meeting nomination is of primary importance. Normally a small group of two or three persons appointed by monthly meeting Ministry and Counsel (or its equivalent) will meet with the student to discern his or her leading and call to ministry and to study at ESR.

For applicants of other traditions, these two letters should come from comparable bodies: one from their local congregation and one from the larger denominational structure. Students without these formal connections will not be excluded from consideration, but should contact the Director of Recruitment and Admissions for guidance on identifying appropriate letter writers.

Letter of recommendation should be sent to:
Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Earlham School of Religion
228 College Avenue
Richmond, IN 47374


Sterritt Scholarship

For U.S. resident students of color, of a Christian denomination, with preference to those affirming an intention to serve as pastors. Full tuition for 75 credits for M.Div/M.Min. students, 42 credits for M.A. students, 36 credits for M.A.T.W students. This scholarship is intended for residential students; some exceptions may be made.

At a glance

  • For ESR residential students
  • Up to full tuition


International Scholarship

For non-U.S.-resident students. Full tuition for 75 credits for M.Div/M.Min. students, 42 credits for M.A. students, plus semester fees, housing in an ESR house, and a small living stipend, for a total of approximately $35,000 per academic year. The award is limited to residential students for two years for M.A. students and three years for M.Div/M.Min. students. Preference is given to Quaker students from outside of the United States who agree to return home immediately after graduation and complete no less than three years of service in their country of origin. The living stipend may not be sufficient to cover the student’s entire living expense, so other sources of income may be needed. The living stipend does not provide sufficient funds to support the student’s family, either in the US or in their home country.

At a glance

  • For residential international students
  • Up to full tuition


Quaker Professional Scholarship

Meant for working professionals currently employed by a Quaker-affiliated organization, this annual award provides up to 5 years of 100 percent tuition for part-time (at least 6 credit hours per semester), degree-seeking students admitted into ESR Access, our distance-education program.

At a glance

  • For ESR Access (1) students
  • 50% of degree program tuition for up to 5 years

You must be an individual currently employed at least half time by a Quaker organization (e.g. Friends’ schools, colleges, yearly meetings, Quaker service organizations, etc.) and intend to continue that service. Admitted applicants who are not selected for the annual Quaker Professional Scholarship may choose to either enroll as ESR Access students or defer their application for up to two years. In the latter case they will be eligible for the Quaker Professional Scholarship in each of those two subsequent years without re-applying.

To apply for the Quaker Professional Scholarship, prospective students should:

1) complete a standard application for any of ESR’s degree programs
2) submit an additional essay response to the following question: “How do you see your current and future work contributing to the growth and development of Quaker organizations, and how do you anticipate completing a degree program at ESR will contribute to this work?”
3) submit an additional letter of recommendation from your supervisor addressing the same question as above regarding your work

Deadline for application is May 1 (admission application and scholarship)


Leadership and Service Scholarship

This full tuition scholarship is for individuals who have participated in and been recommended by a service or leadership program, such as Quaker Voluntary Service, the Friends Committee on National Legislation or the Bonner Scholars program.

At a glance

  • For residential and ESR Access (2) students
  • Full tuition for:
    • MA: 42 credits
    • MATW: 36 credits
    • MDiv: 75 credits

There are two categories of the Leadership and Service Program Scholarship.

1) Residential or Access students who, within the past 3 years, are recommended by and have participated in a service or leadership program including: a Quaker College Leadership program, Quaker Voluntary Service or another “Service Programs that Change the World” program, or a year-long internship with Friends Committee on National Legislation, QuEST Seattle, Quaker United Nations Office, or other approved service organization

2) Residential or Access students who, within the past 3 years, are recommended by and have participated in a Bonner Scholar or Bonner Leader program.

Up to 4 scholarships will be awarded each year, with a limit of 2 Bonners at any one time.

Recipients will sign a Moral Obligation Covenant agreeing to contribute volunteer service to the ESR community (MA: 192 hours, MDIV: 300 hours, MATW: 144). In addition, they agree to remain in good academic standing and heed the advices and requests of ESR on personal and moral concerns. Bonner Program students will complete their volunteer hours in the Bonner Scholars Program office at Earlham College. M.Div. students can choose to complete their volunteer hours in the first two years of the program in order to leave their final year free for their Supervised Ministry placement.

Students must have, within the past 3 years, participated in and be recommended by a service or leadership program including: a Quaker College Leadership program; Quaker Voluntary Service or another “Service Programs that Change the World” program, or a year-long internship with Friends Committee on National Legislation, QuEST Seattle, Quaker United Nations Office, or other approved service organization, or a Bonner Scholar or Bonner Leader program.

Each prospective Leadership & Service Program nominee must be recommended by their college program or service organization. ESR’s Director of Recruitment and Admissions can provide guidance and details on the process.

Nomination should be sent to:
Director of Recruitment and Admissions
Earlham School of Religion
228 College Avenue


Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship

The Nancy Kortepeter Mullen Scholarship was established to honor the courage and compassion of Nancy Mullen, the wife of former ESR Dean Tom Mullen. It awards full tuition payment for 27 credits to any degree-seeking student. 

A note on special scholarships: Generous donors provide some scholarships with unique awards, guidelines, requirements and application processes. The Business Manager issues a “Call for Applications” at appropriate times during the year, with details on eligibility and restrictions.

At a glance

  • For residential students
  • Full tuition:
    • MA: 21 credits
    • MDiv: 25 credits
  • One award per year

The criteria for the scholarship are based on the following composite characteristics embodied by Nancy Mullen. Students who exemplify these characteristics are eligible to apply.

  • Courage of conviction
  • Open to new insights
  • Love for people in general
  • Compassion for those with particular needs
  • Hunger for learning
  • Called by God to use spiritual gifts in serving humanity
  • A joyful spirit to encourage and inspire others

A Call for Applications is issued each January; the deadline is late March (varies each year).

There is no formal application form. Those interested in applying should write a letter explaining in what ways you embody the above characteristics. Submit the letter to Jonelle Ellis, Director of Business and Student Services, [email protected], (email only please, do not mail a hard copy). Be sure to include your address, phone number and email. Click here for details.


Tom Mullen Ministry of Writing Fellowship

The Tom Mullen Ministry of Writing Fellowship awards $2,500 to a student who spends the Spring Semester at ESR working on a “publishable” manuscript while attending a Ministry of Writing class. Applicants need not be current students, but they are required to attend a Ministry of Writing course on campus. 

A note on special scholarships: Generous donors provide some scholarships with unique awards, guidelines, requirements and application processes. The Business Manager issues a “Call for Applications” at appropriate times during the year, with details on eligibility and restrictions.

At a glance

  • For any student
  • One class, for credit or audit
  • $2,500 plus various fees

Applicants need not be current students, but they are required to attend a Ministry of Writing course on campus.

A Call for Applications is issued each August; the deadline is early October (varies each year). Applicants should complete the application and submit a description of the publishable writing project on which you will work while at ESR, including a brief chapter outline and a sample of your writing.

Download the application here.


California Quaker Assistance

This fund provides financial support for members of the Religious Society of Friends who are California residents. This support is thanks to the generosity of Audrey Lasson, who included ESR in her estate as part of a planned gift.

This fund provides:

  • First-semester lodging for residential students in ESR housing based on availability.
  • Full tuition for ESR’s 2-week intensive courses taken on campus.
  • Lodging in ESR housing during 2-week intensives for courses taken on campus.
  • Application, confirmation, registration, technology, and common meal fees fully covered.

At a glance

  • For Quakers who are California residents

For members of the Religious Society of Friends who are residents of California.

Non-ESR Scholarships

The scholarship(s) listed below are not sponsored or vetted by ESR.

International Peace Scholarship (IPS)

The International Peace Scholarship Fund, established in 1949, is a program which provides scholarships for selected women from other countries for graduate study in the United States or Canada. Members of P.E.O. believe that education is fundamental to world peace and understanding.

At a glance

  • A student who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or Canada is not eligible. Note: A student with residency for tax purposes only is permitted.
  • Maximum award is $12,500

More information about IPS →

Visit P.E.O. website for more information about this scholarship

IPS eligibility requirements →

Determine if you meet the requirements to apply

How to apply →

Use this worksheet to apply for the International Peace Scholarship

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