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the MUSLImAH CHANGEMAKER scholarship at bayan


The Muslimah Changemaker Scholarship at Bayan enables eligible Muslim women to build upon their Islamic knowledge and pursue education at a graduate level. Awardees become better equipped to lead and serve their communities and benefit society at large. Bayan is committed to providing women with access to Islamic and  interdisciplinary knowledge along with a range of skills that enhance authority and opportunities to make significant impact in their communities. 



The Muslimah Changemaker Scholarship at Bayan is inspired by the example of Sayyidah Fatimah al-Fihriyyah, founding benefactor  of the prestigious al-Qarawiyyin in Fes, Morocco, considered the oldest university in the world (est. 859 CE), that continues to educate thousands of students, both male and female, annually. Sayyidah Fatimah was empowered to support the pursuit of knowledge and worship. Sayyidah Fatimah changed the world with her commitment to institutionalizing  knowledge production, welcoming scholars from across  the global Muslim mileu. Bayan envisions this scholarship to emulate the pioneering work of Sayyidah Fatimah, who exercised her rights as a prominent Muslim woman and endowed  the advancement of Islamic scholarship through a meritorious act of philanthropy. 


This scholarship is meant to empower American Muslim women with prestigious, sound, rigorous academic studies and experiences  so they can lead their communities prophetically and unapologetically as women. For too long in the present context, there has been a paucity of women’s Islamic educational opportunities, overlooking of female Muslim scholars’ contributions, insufficient consideration on the part of male scholars and community leaders rergarding the female Muslim experience, lack of physical and even virtual spaces, and a general lack of access to valid, scholarly knowledge. Bayan invokes the example of the Muslimah changemakers throughout history and draws from their noble characters to elevate communities, and help bring about a more holistic and healthy learning environment for the generations to come.

Full-Tuition Award

Funds are disbursed incrementally to cover full tuition for all coursework during each semester at Bayan/CTS until completion of:

  • 48 units of the 2-year MA degree (approximately $48,000)

  • 75 units of the 3-year M.Div degree (approximately $75,000)

Initial Eligibility

  • Student has been granted admission to Bayan at Chicago Theological Seminary

  • Student is a citizen/legal resident of the United States of America

  • Student is a woman

  • Student is involved in community development in some form

Scholarship Application Requirements

  • Academic merit (entering cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above*) 

  • Personal vision statement with emphasis on significant leadership and/or scholarly engagements in the community (750 words)

  • Professional growth plan (500 words)

  • Résumé (upload as attachment)

  • 1 letter of endorsement from a community leader (upload as attachment)

  • 1 letter of recommendation of applicant’s choice (upload as attachment)

Deadline to Apply for Admission and Scholarship Consideration 

  • For Fall Term: July 15

  • For Spring Term: November 15

Maintaining Eligibility 

  • Maintain continuous enrollment (per Bayan’s policies)

  • Maintain 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA

*  Each applicant is evaluated based on overall qualifications and extenuating circumstances may be taken into consideration. In general, a Bachelor’s degree is required for admission, but an exemption may be granted in certain cases.


  • How can I apply for the scholarship?
    Interested individuals should start an application for admission to Bayan. In the application form, any applicant who meets the eligibility criteria (including membership in Embrace) can indicate they are interested in the scholarship. After completing the admissions application, Bayan staff will send a follow-up email with a link to complete the Embrace scholarship application, which is a separate application.
  • Where can I find additional information on the Bayan admissions process?
    Please click here for our Admissions site.
  • What is the Embrace Membership Program?
    The Embrace Membership program is a leadership building initiative for interested parties who are committed to the Embrace mission and vision to get more involved with the organization. Embrace members take various leadership roles and responsibilities within the organization to assist with its further growth and development. For more information, email Embrace at
  • When can an Embrace member be eligible to apply for the scholarship?
    A member must have completed at least 1 year of active membership. Active means that the member must be actively engaged in Embrace’s programs and activities and maintain their responsibilities as an Embrace member. Members in name only will not receive an endorsement letter from Embrace for scholarship consideration.
  • Can the scholarship be used to cover tuition at any institution?
    The Embrace Scholarship at Bayan is awarded only to students admitted to study in a Bayan master's degree program at the Chicago Theological Seminary. The award cannot be disbursed for study at any other institution.
  • Why is Embrace and Bayan offering this scholarship opportunity?
    Both Embrace and Bayan are committed to creating leadership from the American Muslim community to help properly shape the role of Islam in America. American Muslim converts play a key role in shaping the American Islamic identity, and being fully integrated in American culture. Embrace’s focus is building that leadership from the American Muslim convert communtiy while Bayan can provide the skills and education necessary to bring growing American Muslim leaders to the next level of spriritual and community leadership.
  • Who is funding this scholarship?
    Members of the Muslim community nationwide who believe in the mission of Embrace and would like to support leadership development among converts so that their voice, experience and knowledge can benefit the further development of the American Muslim landscape.
  • What is the benefit of going through Bayan’s degree program?
    Earning an accredited Master’s degree can help demonstrate that a person has made a significant commitment to acquiring knowledge and skills relevant to leadership, scholarship, spiritual care and other services that can assist communities in positive faith formation and contribution to society at large. It also indicates that the student has engaged peers and faculty in a structured manner that reflects high standards of accomplishment. The graduate credential builds an individual's capacity to seek gainful employment in a variety of professions and contexts.
  • How do you determine if someone is a convert?
    We honor each individual's self-identification. If someone indicates they have at some point in their llfe embraced the faith of Islam and now consider themselves to be Muslim, they may consider applying for the scholarship, if other criteria are met. In particular, applicants should have a prior connection with ICNA's Embrace program in order to become eligible for the scholarship.
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