The Pirsig Fellowship provides an opportunity for men and women to earn a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) 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 complete their degree program over a period of four to five years with a cohort of other students. Each year, eight to 10 new Pirsig Fellows 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 extracurricular 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 serve the Church locally or globally in a variety of ways. 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.
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. The following forms of ministry are preferred: pastoral ministry, discipleship/spiritual formation, chaplaincy, urban ministry and missions.
- 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 Scholarship in the future (as able)
How to Apply | Deadline: March 1, 2018
The Fall 2017 cohort has been filled. We will begin accepting applications for the Fall 2018 cohort starting on Sept. 1, 2017. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2018 cohort is March 1, 2018. Applications submitted after that date will be considered until all seats in the program are filled.
There are two application processes to be aware of:
General M.Div. Application (complete these steps first):
- GRTS Application to the Master of Divinity program
- Seminary Scholarship Application (required for all financial aid)
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Pirsig Fellowship Application (complete these steps while your MDiv app is processed):
- Pirsig Fellowship Application
- Spouse Statement of Support (if applicable)
- Ministry Leader Reference (2)
The final step in the application process is an interview with the Pirsig Fellowship Committee (not all applicants will be interviewed). In order to be considered for the interview, you must complete steps 1-6 above and be accepted into the Master of Divinity program by the March 1 application deadline. For specific interview dates, see "What to Expect" below.
Note: It is recommended that you start the application process early in order to allow plenty of time for the seminary admissions process to complete. Delays can occur as we wait for references to respond or for your transcripts to arrive, so don't wait to get started!
The Process | What to Expect
Applying for the Pirsig Fellowship is a relational process. Whenever possible, the Program Director meets with each applicant one-on-one for lunch or coffee. This relational connection is valuable because it helps us get to know you, discern your fit for the Pirsig Fellowship and explain the goals, approach and expectations of the program. The sooner you start and complete the process the better.
If you are unsure about applying for the Fellowship but you are considering it, we want to talk with you! Email the Program Director at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to talk or meet.
Because our goal is to get to know you, we recommend that you visit Grand Rapids at least once during the application process. We allow interviews to be done via skype, but this is discouraged. We'd much rather talk with you in person. If you live outside of Michigan and cost is an issue, talk with the Program Director to see what assistance may be available.
We will hold two rounds of interviews for the Fall 2018 Pirsig Fellowship cohort:
- Dec. 11-21, 2017 – For applications completed by Nov. 15, 2017
- March 12-21, 2018 – For applications completed between Nov. 15, 2017 and March 1, 2018
Awards for all Pirsig Fellowships will be announced March 26-28, 2018. You will receive an email or phone call from the Program Director either way.
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 students pursuing pastoral ministry and missions in completing their theological education. GRTS is pleased to honor this commitment and ensure continued ongoing financial support for Master of Divinity students.