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Dempster Graduate Fellowship

GBHEM celebrates the work of the Dempster Graduate Fellowship in the formation and support of scholars who are committed to serving The United Methodist Church through theological education. The Division of Ordained Ministry has undertaken a review and revision of the Dempster Fellowship program to determine the most effective way to meet the needs of both emerging scholars and the United Methodist Church, with particular concern for the program’s continued financial sustainability and effectiveness in scholar-leader formation. 

As a result of this review, the Dempster Graduate Fellowship program will be offered as a dissertation fellowship, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year. We are excited for this opportunity to support doctoral students at a critical time in their development as scholars. 

With updated guidelines and a new application process, applications for the 2018-2019 academic year awards will open in January 2018.

Origin and Purpose

The fellowship is named for the Rev. John Dempster, a pioneer in United Methodist theological education. Converted at a Methodist camp meeting in 1812, he preached in New York, served as a missionary in Argentina, and founded Boston University School of Theology and Garrett Biblical Institute (Garrett-Evangelical Seminary) in Evanston, Illinois.

The purpose of this fellowship is to increase the effectiveness of teaching in United Methodist schools of theology by assisting worthy Ph.D. students who are committed to serving the church through theological education.

The fellowships are funded by the Ministerial Education Fund through the Division of Ministry, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Eligibility for a Dempster Graduate Fellowship

The fellowships are open only to members of The United Methodist Church who plan to teach in seminaries, or to teach one of the theological disciplines (Bible, church history, theology, ethics, and the arts of ministry) in universities or colleges.

The applicant must have received the M.Div. degree or its equivalent from one of the United Methodist seminaries, or be in a Ph.D. program or its equivalent at a university affiliated with a United Methodist seminary at the time the award is granted. Verification of study toward the Ph.D. or equivalent degree is required prior to the distribution of the stipend.

A person already holding a Ph.D. degree is not excluded from candidacy. Graduate study by current seminary faculty to meet changing faculty needs will be considered. Candidacy for ordination as an elder in an annual conference of The United Methodist Church is preferred.

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