Outside Aid, Loans, and Student Employment

In addition to Divinity School Aid, we encourage applicants to explore ancillary avenues of support as you make plans for your graduate study in religion.  This page offers basic information about outside fellowships, aid for international study, loans, and student employment opportunities.

Divinity School students at various stages of their studies are also strongly encouraged to apply for financial assistance from sources outside the Divinity School. In fairness to all applicants for Divinity School aid, the Committee on Admissions and Aid requires that persons winning such awards report them promptly; however, adjustments in such persons' financial aid are made only in cases where the outside award substantially reduces the level of financial need. Most such outside awards are, in fact, more modest and may be used to supplement Divinity School financial aid awards.

For more information, students should consult the Graduate Student Affairs' Fellowship Kiosk. The following fellowships are among the most prestigious and remunerative of outside awards:

1. National Resource (Title VI or FLAS) Fellowships are available for graduate study in critical languages and related areas. Only U.S. citizens or those who can prove that they are seeking citizenship are eligible. Application is made through the University, and forms are available at the beginning of the winter quarter from the Dean of Students in the Divinity School.

2. Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies are offered through a national competition. Any college senior or recent graduate who is a U.S. or Canadian citizen is eligible to apply. A faculty member must nominate the student to a regional director.

3. Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships support the last full year of research and writing for outstanding doctoral students whose dissertations focus on ethical or religious values and the way those values govern the choices made by people and societies.

4. Disciples Divinity House offers tuition and housing support and an annual living stipend for qualified members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who are pursuing the MDiv, MA, or PhD degrees at the Divinity School. These scholarships are renewable annually through the time normally required for obtaining the degree.

5. Ford Foundation Diversity Fellowships are available on a competitive basis to members of certain minority groups who are U.S. citizens or nationals at the time of application. Both predoctoral and dissertation fellowships are available to support doctoral work in the behavioral and social sciences, the humanities (including religious studies), and certain other fields.

6. The Forum for Theological Exploration, offers several fellowship programs of interest to both ministry and doctoral students.

7. Jacob K. Javits Fellowships support graduate study in selected fields within the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The award, which is renewable for up to four years, covers tuition and fees and includes a stipend. Fourth-year college students and persons who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and who have not completed their first year of graduate study, are eligible to apply.

8. International students are encouraged to explore appropriate funding opportunities such as Fulbright-Hays, DAAD, SSHRC (Canada Council), Harkness, and World Council of Churches grants.

Graduate students at the University of Chicago have a number of opportunities for overseas study and research. Applications for overseas programs are usually due in early October of the year preceding the year of study abroad. Interested students should consult Graduate Student Affairs.

A sampling of fellowships for foreign study is listed below:

1. The American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS) Advanced Language Programs in India are open to graduate students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who will have completed a minimum of two years of instruction in Hindi, Bengali, or Tamil at the time of departure.

2. The GSA Travel Fund awards up to $500 to doctoral students for presentation at a professional academic conference, or up to $750 for short-term travel outside of the contiguous United States to facilitate dissertation research.

3. Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowships (U.S. Department of Education) are awarded for six to twelve months of research in non-Western countries through a national competition. The awards provide international travel, living stipends, and other expenses for doctoral candidates.

4. German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), an association of the institutions of higher education in the Federal Republic of Germany, offers a variety of awards to graduate students for study in Germany. The awards cover tuition, maintenance, and transportation to and from Germany.

5. The University of Chicago is one of sixty institutions invited to participate in the Luce Scholars Program, established by the Henry Luce Foundation to send fifteen individuals for a year of work and travel in East Asia. Each award provides a substantial stipend (with an additional allowance for dependents), plus air transportation. Applications for nomination should be submitted to the University's Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) in late October.

6. Each year, the University awards numerous Overseas Dissertation Research Grants to advanced graduate students whose dissertations require a period of overseas research. For more information, contact the Office of International Affairs.

7. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) offers fellowships and grant programs through annual competitions on a wide range of topics and across many different career stages. Most support goes to predissertation, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships. Some programs support summer institutes and advanced research grants.

8. The University offers exchange programs with the following Japanese universities: Rikkyo University, Tsukuba University, and Waseda University. Fluency in Japanese is required. Contact the Dean of Students in the Divinity School for more information.

Many students find that scholarship aid and their own resources (parental contributions, earnings from employment, savings, and gifts or loans from relatives and friends) are insufficient to meet the costs of their graduate or professional education. In such situations, students can apply for long-term student loans. Borrowing from these sources should be planned carefully in order to avoid the accumulation of unmanageable debt. Nevertheless, students should not hesitate to take advantage of such loan programs, which are designed especially for them. Students who expect to be in the Divinity School for two or more years should budget their savings to last through the whole course of their education rather than exhausting them in the first year or two just to avoid borrowing.

Students who are considering loans to help finance their education should be aware that the procedures and policies of the student loan programs are subject to review by the federal government. Students who take out federal student loans are also subject to maintaining satisfactory academic progress in compliance with federal requirements.

The most up-to-date information on student loan programs, as well as counseling about student debt and its implications, may be obtained from the Student Loan Administration (SLA) office. SLA staff are available for scheduled or walk-in appointments.

Students must meet satisfactory academic progress in order to be eligible for federal student loan programs.

Students admitted for the autumn quarter who wish to be considered for a student loan should submit a loan application to the SLA office by the May 15 priority deadline. Notifications concerning loan approval are sent out in August. SLA also determines eligibility for the Work-Study program, but job assignments cannot be made until the student is actually on campus.

Both on- and off-campus part-time employment opportunities for Divinity School students and spouses are available. On-campus student employment opportunities are posted on an internal database to which registered students have exclusive access. Many Divinity School students work during some phase of their graduate studies.

Divinity School students have full access to UChicagoGrad's Career Development services, including job skills workshops, the Graduate Intern program, the College Work-Study program, and career counseling.

Employee recommendations cork board in Swift Hall's student-run Grounds of Being coffee shop.Students can work as research assistants for professors, as editorial assistants on one of the four journals published in Swift Hall, on the Wednesday Lunch crew, in the Divinity School's student-run coffee shop, or elsewhere on campus. 

Many students work in various University offices, in the libraries, and in business establishments, colleges, and religious institutions throughout the Chicago area.

Student spouses are eligible for many of the opportunities described above as well. Spouses of foreign students, however, may not work unless they hold J-2 visas and have received permission to work from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Contact the University Department of Human Resources  for more information.

Conference Travel Support

Divinity School students who are presenting at academic conferences may receive funding from two sources:

1.  The Perrin Fund:  Grants of $200 for domestic conferences, and $300 for international conferences are available.  Students may receive up to two grants per academic year.  For more information, contact the Dean of Students.

2.  The GSA Travel Fund:  Doctoral students may receive grants of $500 for conference travel.   This fund is administered by Graduate Student Affairs.