Funding Opportunities

The Department of Religion offers two basic forms of financial assistance for graduate students, Graduate Teaching Assistant (GA) positions and tuition waivers. The Graduate Teaching Assistants receive a tuition waiver as well as a stipend, and have responsibilities assigned to them, usually in the undergraduate Religion program. The number of GA positions and tuition waivers is limited, so both are awarded on a highly competitive basis. The Department awards funding for one academic year at a time; continuing students do not automatically receive funding for the second year. Due to the limited number of awards, the Department rarely awards any student more than two years of funding. All incoming and continuing graduate students are considered for financial assistance.

Graduate Teaching Assistants are assigned each semester to assist a faculty member teaching one of the large sections of REL 150 Introduction to the World’s Major Religions. Duties typically include grading exams and essays, holding office hours, and leading study sessions. In some cases, GAs may be invited to give a lecture during the semester. The GA workload is estimated to be 20 hours per week, although the load is not evenly distributed over the semester. GAs are required to carry a minimum of six credit hours per semester, and must petition Graduate Division if they wish to register for more than nine credits per semester.

For more information about funding through the Department of Religion, please contact the Graduate Chair.

The Department of Religion encourages our graduate students to explore external sources of funding, including the East-West Center, the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, which administers FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) awards and offers Graduate Assistant positions, and the Centers for Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies and South Asian Studies, which offer a variety of fellowships and scholarships for the academic year and summer research for students in their respective fields. The Critical Language Scholarship Program offers funding for summer abroad language immersion programs.

Funding to present at conferences or for specialized training is available via application to the “Grants and Awards” program provided by UH Mānoa’s Graduate Student Organization.


Awards are given to graduate students of excellent merit.

Francis C. Powers Thesis Award

An award of $250 will be given to an A-Plan graduate student(s) in Religion whose M.A. thesis demonstrates particular excellence in research. The recipient of this Thesis Award will be determined by the faculty of the Department upon the recommendation by the committee chair.

Excellence in Research Award

An award of $250 will be given to a B-Plan graduate student(s) in Religion for the best portfolio. The recipient of this Research Award will be determined by the faculty of the Department upon the recommendation by the graduate chair.