International Scholarships

Through the International Leaders Program the ELCA provides academic scholarships to about 200 individuals from global companion churches and institutions each year. ELCA scholars study a variety of subjects at all academic levels at schools around the world. In addition to funding a world-class education, the program provides practical leadership development training that helps students root their learning in the global Lutheran context; this prepares them to translate their academic expertise into transformative community impact alongside churches around the world.

The ELCA’s international scholarship program is unique; though it benefits individuals, its main purpose is to assist church bodies and institutions in building their leadership capacity for the sake of mission and ministry. Our global companion churches and institutions endorse scholars, who commit to providing leadership service to their sending church or institution during and after their programs of study. Because leadership priorities can vary widely depending on context, the program supports academic programs around the globe in a wide variety of subjects, such as community development, theology, social work, education, technology, health, finance, peace and justice, and much more. Some ELCA scholars study in the United States, but most study at schools in their home regions.

Application process

The ELCA provides a variety of scholarship tracks that can fund both short-term and long-term academic programs. The scholarship application process opens once a year, with application forms available online between August and October. Scholarship applications received during that window are considered for potential funding to begin in the subsequent year.

For detailed information about eligibility, selection criteria, the application process, the timeline and more, please download the Scholarship Application Guidelines document, available in English, Spanish and French. We encourage both individual applicants and endorsing church/institution leaders to read this document carefully prior to application.

Please note: This scholarship opportunity is not available to the general public. To be considered, applicants must first be endorsed according to the procedure outlined in the Scholarship Application Guidelines document. Only church bodies and institutions with an established relationship to the ELCA are qualified endorsers for this opportunity. Eligible individuals who are interested in applying should begin by contacting the head office of their church body or institution to inquire about its internal endorsement process.

For more information, or to find out whether a particular church body or institution is a qualified endorser, please contact us at

Apply for a Scholarship

Download International Leaders Program scholarship application guidelines. Select a language below.

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International Scholarship FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about International Scholarships

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