New Th.M. Scholarships at Western Seminary

I am very happy to announce a new and very generous scholarship opportunity at Western Seminary.

We now have 5 scholarships available for Th.M. students, each of which will cover all tuition during the first two years of the program. Since most of our Th.M. students finish within two years, this means that for most students, these will be full ride scholarships, though they do not cover books, travel, or living expenses.

The Marvin O. Johnson Educational Ministry Scholarship aims to assist students preparing for teaching careers. So, if your vocational aspirations involve, for example, teaching at a Christian high school, college, or seminary, this scholarship is for you. You may also qualify if you have bi-vocational aspirations (e.g. pastoring with significant adjunct teaching). Basically, if you think that your future involves having some significant role in Christian education, you may qualify and should at least inquire about the scholarship.

To qualify for these scholarships, you only need to meet the following criteria

  1. You must be a new Th.M. student.
  2. You must meet the entrance requirements for the Th.M. program.
  3. You must intend to pursue an educational career in some capacity. (The award is flexible enough to meet a variety of vocational goals. So, if you have any questions, please inquire.)

If you’re not familiar with our program, you may be wondering if you have to move to Portland to be a Th.M. student. The answer is “no.” Although many of our Th.M. students live in the Northwest, we have students from Montana, California and recently as far away as New York. We offer several classes every year as 1-week intensives. So, as long as you’re willing to make occasional trips to Portland, often in the summer when Portland is at its finest, this program is for you.


If you would like more information about the scholarships and how to apply, or if you would just like to hear more about our Th.M. program, please contact me at mcortez [at] westernseminary [dot] edu.


So, if you are considering, have ever considered, or might be tempted into considering a Th.M. as you prepare for the future, this is a great opportunity that you should consider. And, if you know anyone who might be interested in an opportunity like this, please feel free to pass the word along.

For more information about the Th.M. program, check out the following pages:

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on February 16, 2011, in Th.M. Program and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. This is very encouraging news, Dr. Cortez, and certainly influential in my thinking for pursuing Th.M studies. I have a question for about one of my transfer credits. It relates specifically to the church history requirements.

    • I’m glad to hear that you’re interested. Feel free to post any questions you might have. Or, if you’d prefer, you can always email as well.

  2. A couple of people have already asked about whether they can apply for the program even if they haven’t quite met all of the entrance requirements for the Th.M. and, if so, how this impacts their eligibility for the scholarship. Let me see if I can come up with a short answer.

    First, if you haven’t finished all the prereqs, you may still be able to apply and be admitted as a pre-ThM student. That allows you to begin taking ThM classes and make progress on your program even while you’re completing the prereqs. But, it all depends on the specifics of your situation. So, if you’re interested in the program but haven’t met all the requirements yet, please contact me so I can see what needs to happen.

    Second, if you’ve met enough of the prereqs to be admitted as a pre-ThM student, you can still apply for the scholarship. The only limitation is that the scholarship only applies to ThM-level courses. So, you would not be able to use scholarship funds to pay for the prereqs.

    Okay, this second point has changed. I found out that you actually can use the scholarship to cover prereqs for the ThM program. The 2-year limitation still holds, but we have more flexibility about what can be included in the 2 years. So, please don’t let the prereqs hold you up.

  3. Quick question Marc,

    How would you handle someone who’s school didn’t use a traditional grading system? We were on a pass/fail system.

    • That’s a great question and it’s a new one for me. I’ve passed your question along to our registrar and I’ll see what he comes up with. He’s been doing this for a long time and is used to working with schools that don’t fit neatly into our normal admissions process. So, I’m sure he’ll have something wise to say.

    • According to our registrar, we have to handle questions like this on a case-by-case basis. We’d need to take a look at the school you attended and the kind of work that you did, and we’d probably have to do some individual assessments since we wouldn’t be able to rely on assigned grades.

      So, it’s definitely something that we can look at, but it would involve a few extra steps.

  4. What a lovely prospect! Some of us, however, can only sigh with weary resignation.

  5. one question I have Marc is if given the scholarship is for those pursuing teaching degrees, will there be avenues for students to gain teaching experience in one form or another within the course of the program?

    • That’s actually an area that we’ve been talking about improving. Many of our ThM students do serve as grad fellows, which gives you exposure to the behind-the-scenes side of teaching (grading, syllabi, handling student questions, etc.). Stuff like that is hard to pick up in other settings. But, teaching time in front of a class is still pretty limited. I’m having conversations with a small Bible college in Portland about creating teaching opportunities for ThM students, but we’re still early in that process.

  6. Taylor Turkington

    Is this a one time offer of 5 scholarships or do you expect that these will be available other years as well?

    • That’s a great question. I would love to be able to say for sure that we’ll be able to offer these scholarships again next year, but I can’t. The person who has donated these funds has indicated that they may continue in the future, but nothing is for sure at this point. So, just to be clear, those who apply for the scholarship this year are guaranteed support for both years that they’re in the program. But, I can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to offer the same full-ride, 2-year scholarships to students who want to start the following year. And, I probably won’t know about the following year until next Fall at the earliest.


  1. Pingback: New Th.M. Scholarships at Western Seminary | Unsettled Christianity

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