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Perkins School of Theology is one of the 13 seminaries of The United Methodist Church and one of only five university-related United Methodist theological schools. Our primary mission, as a community devoted to theological study and teaching in the service of the church of Jesus Christ, is to prepare men and women for faithful leadership in Christian ministry. We have one of the nation’s top faculties, our Intern Program has become the model for effective field preparation for practical ministry, and we work one-on-one with students through a variety of financial aid and scholarship programs, to ensure that theological education is both affordable and accessible.

Your gift to Perkins School of Theology enables us to continue to educate world changers who are prepared for faithful leadership in Christian ministry.

Perkins School of Theology Giving Priorities

Current-Use Priorities

SMU Fund for Perkins

Gifts to the SMU Fund for Perkins focus on the most immediate and pressing priorities for the School and are allocated at the discretion of the dean of Perkins School of Theology. Examples of these priorities include faculty research grants, community outreach, new initiatives and cutting-edge projects. This fund provides Perkins with the flexibility to meet new opportunities as they arise.


Scholarships are essential to attract and retain gifted students pursuing ministry training in both parish and nonprofit arenas. Three-year commitments to fund Perkins Scholars attract outstanding Master of Divinity students and afford donors an opportunity to interact with those students. Two-year commitments to fund Master of Music students encourage “the best of the best” to study at Perkins in a joint program with the exceptional Meadows School of the Arts.

The Houston-Galveston Extension Program

The Houston-Galveston Extension Program offers students the opportunity for flexible work-study, ideal for those who are employed full time while attending seminary. Perkins has recently appointed a dynamic director to lead this initiative and is committed to rejuvenating this exceptional program. Gifts to support “start-up” funding accelerate the program renewal.

Center for Preaching Excellence

The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence at SMU is an initiative devoted to enhancing the preaching skills of pastors through innovative courses, workshops, one-on-one coaching and peer learning groups. The Center seeks funding to expand into new areas in United Methodist churches as well as other denominations and independent churches.

Marketing Funds

Perkins completed an informative market study in 2016 that identified opportunities to enhance enrollment and promote the brand of the School. Gifts to this fund support efforts to implement the study’s recommendations.

Endowment Priorities

Establishing an endowment at Perkins provides the opportunity to change the lives of students and scholars and to create a permanent legacy honoring or memorializing the life and work of an individual or organization.

A named fund may be established with a gift of $100,000 or more. This support allows Perkins to offset the rising cost of higher education by providing a dependable source of income for student and faculty investment and minimizing the need for continued tuition increases. Income from the endowment enables Perkins to accomplish its greatest priorities, as determined by the dean, such as graduate stipends, faculty research, administrative leadership positions and academic programs.

The process to establish a new endowment begins with a conversation between the donor and the School regarding the donor’s vision and wishes for the gift. Together Perkins and the donor determine the greatest need and the opportunity for the gift, whether a scholarship, a research fund or another important area of interest.