Introducing the Pirsig Fellowship.

The Pirsig Fellowship (formerly Pirsig Scholars Program) provides an opportunity for men and women who are called to pastoral leadership and other forms of church ministry along with missions to earn a Master of Divinity degree with little or no educational debt. The program features a generous scholarship throughout the entire degree program, a community of students who are learning together in preparation for ministry, and a rich learning experience inside and outside of the classroom. 


Pirsig Fellows receive a 66% tuition scholarship toward the entire Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program. The scholarship provides a way for students to earn an M.Div. degree with little or no educational debt. 


Pirsig Fellows complete their degree program over a period of 4-5 years with a cohort of other students. Each year 10 new Pirsig scholarship recipients will be enrolled in the program. The cohort structure allows for robust community to form among students, which is a valuable asset for ministry formation. Students enter the program with their cohort, take many classes together, and have numerous shared experiences along the way.


Pirsig Fellows participate in extra-curricular program enhancements aimed at spiritual formation. The enhancement structure seeks to provide opportunities for ministry formation during the seminary experience in an intentional way. Enhancements include small group discipleship, retreats, workshops, and more.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

Pirsig Fellows are men and women from diverse contexts who feel a calling to pastoral leadership and other forms of church ministry along with missions. They are growing in their love for Jesus Christ, are committed to helping others know him and his Word, and are eager to give their gifts and talents in service to the Kingdom. They demonstrate evidence of Christ-like character, gifting for ministry leadership, and openness for relational spiritual formation. The program is available to new and transfer students only. Current GRTS students are not eligible (click here for other financial aid options).

Eligibility Requirements
Recipients exhibit the following characteristics:
  • Completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.00/4.00 (students in the final year of their bachelor’s degree are encouraged to apply).
  • Acceptance into the Master of Divinity Program (new and transfer students only)
  • Ministry calling and gifting, pastoral leadership and other forms of church ministry along with missions preferred
  • Love for the Church (global and local), compassion for people
  • Growing in Christ-like character
  • Demonstrated academic performance and commitment to completing the Master of Divinity (any specialization) 
Other Relevant Selection Criteria 
The following are taken into consideration when awarding scholarships: 
  • Diversity: GRTS desires to be a diverse and reconciling community. Therefore, priority will be given to building diversity into all cohorts. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
  • Age: The early years of one’s career are pivotal for developing a long-term ministry. Therefore, priority will be given to applicants 35 years and younger. Recent college graduates are encouraged to apply.
  • Financial need: GRTS recognizes the high financial cost of education, especially for those who cannot expect to make an increased income in ministry. Therefore, priority will be given to those with limited financial resources.
Commitment During Seminary
  • Maintain cumulative 3.0 GPA in seminary.
  • Complete the Master of Divinity in 5 years or less
  • Participate in all program enhancements 
  • Meet annually with the Program Director to assess progress toward completion
  • Encouraged to "give back" to the Pirsig Fellowship in the future (as able)

How to Apply

Complete the following items:
  1. GRTS Application to the Master of Divinity program.
  2. Pirsig Fellowship Application 
  3. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Seminary Scholarship ApplicationNote: Other scholarships and financial aid are available should you not be accepted in the Pirsig Fellowship Program.
  4. Spouse Statement of Support (if applicable)
  5. Ministry Leader Reference (2)
  6. Interview with the Pirsig Fellowship Program Committee

Application Deadlines

We are accepting applications for the Fall 2017 cohort of Pirsig Fellowship recipients. Apply today!

The deadline to apply for the Fall 2017 cohort is March 31, 2017. However, applications submitted after that date will be considered until all seats in the program are filled.

Qualified applications submitted before November 15, 2016, will be included in a first round of interviews in December 2016. Qualified applications submitted between November 15, 2016, and March 31, 2017, will be included in a final round of interviews in March and April 2017. Awards will be made after all interviews are complete in late April or early May 2017.

Please contact Darrell Yoder ( for the current status of available seats.

About the Pirsig Fellowship

The Pirsig Fellowship is named in honor of Julius H. & Barbara J. Pirsig and their dedication to supporting students in their preparation for ministry. Julius & Barbara developed a heart for seminary students when they heard two students from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary faithfully preach the Word of God while visiting their church. The Pirsig Fellowship is intended to assist pastoral ministry and missionaries in completing their theological education. GRTS is pleased to honor this commitment and ensure continued ongoing financial support for Master of Divinity students.