Putting theological education into practice.

Each academic year, Palmer Seminary awards qualified applicants with a Sider Scholarship, which covers half the cost of tuition at Palmer. The scholarship remains in effect through the student’s entire academic career at Palmer so long as he or she is a full-time student (taking at least 27 credits/9 classes per academic year), maintains a G.P.A. of at least 3.3, and continues to meet the criteria for acceptance described below.

The Sider Scholarships may be applied toward any of the Seminary’s masters degree programs (Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, etc.). However, they do not pay for tuition for any outside institution or any dual-degree program. The Sider Scholarship is named for Palmer professor and founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, Ronald J. Sider. Scholarship recipients are required to complete 120 hours of work for ESA/The Sider Center during each of two six-month periods (August through January and February through July), for a total of 240 hours per calendar year. For students who work only during school semesters, this works out to about 10 hours per week.

Through their association with the Sider Center, the scholars gain valuable experience in research, writing, and networking in holistic ministry, public policy, and social transformation as well as a greater understanding of how to integrate scholarship, popular writing, and organizing for social action.  Sider Scholars are also mentored by the faculty and staff of the Sider Center.


To receive a Sider Scholarship students must meet the following criteria:

Academic Criterion: 

A minimum 3.3 GPA for the most recent earned degree.

Personality Criteria:
  • Known to be a person of integrity.
  • Demonstrates emotional maturity; has a clear sense of self in relation with others.
  • Growing as a disciple of Christ, evidenced by commitment to regular bible reading, prayer, and worship.
  • Shows evidence of commitment to the embodiment of the Gospel’s call for justice and compassion.
Community Criteria:
  • Shows concern for others in speech and action.
  • Evidences commitment to personal spiritual and emotional growth in the context of the university community (campus life, chapel, small groups).
  • Has been actively engaged in the life of a local church community.
To Apply

Those applying for a Sider Scholarship must complete the regular application process for admission to the Seminary. They must also complete the Scholarship Application Form and arrange for a letter of reference from an undergraduate professor to be sent to Palmer. Relevant forms may be obtained from the Seminary’s admissions office, or visit this page.

Application Deadline/Notification Timetable

To receive highest consideration, all admissions and scholarship-related materials should arrive at Palmer’s Admissions Office by August 1 for fall enrollment and December 1 for spring enrollment. After an applicant has been accepted as a student at Palmer and all required materials have been received, the review process begins. This enables the Seminary to inform applicants of their status in a timely manner.

For any questions regarding the Sider Center and available scholarship opportunities, please contact csa@eastern.edu.

Meet some of our scholars

"It is an honor to support CSA's mission and legacy created by 'young people who see visions and old people who dream dreams.' The fullness of creativity of the Holy Spirit inspires and challenges me, and I get to experience that as a Sider Scholar. I strategically chose Palmer Theological Seminary and the Sider Scholar program so I may learn from a community historically grounded in social justice; develop God’s character and compassion in me; and strengthen my ability to contextualize the whole Gospel in public health."

Sarah String, Palmer Seminary Student, MPH

"Interning with CSA has been a highlight of my seminary education. The opportunity to work with a team of passionate, brilliant leaders has shown me what healthy collaboration looks like. CSA gave me an opportunity to apply my education in theology and ethics in tangible ways, and for that I'm deeply grateful."

David, Yale Divinity Student, M.Div 2021