Online Theology Degrees for 2017

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Online theology programs give students an opportunity to expand their religious knowledge without disrupting career advancement, family time, or busy schedules. Although achieving an online degree in theology can be spiritually beneficial and educational, it is not exclusively for religious students. Theology degrees give students a deeper understanding of religion through study and not necessarily through practice. The following guide provides a detailed look at what kinds of online theology degrees are available and highlights some of the top online colleges for theology education.

Overview of the Theology Field

The two most common career paths for theology graduates are educators and religious leaders. Educators of religion usually teach in a postsecondary capacity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teaching positions will increase 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average 11 percent of all other occupations. Religious leaders, from Judaism and Christianity to Buddhism and Islam, have the opportunity to serve as church workers in an established religion, as well as start a new organization. The BLS shows that religious organizational leaders earn an average annual salary of $40,650.

Who Chooses an Online Theology Degree?

How does one know if a theology degree is the right move for advancing his or her career? Theology majors can come from every industry and faith and generally have a strong interest in religion, religious history, service, and leadership. Below are three examples of individuals who may benefit from earning a theology degree.

The Humanitarian

Clark had spent time abroad on a service mission with his church and had always been strongly focused on helping people. He loved his church’s message and felt there was something more he could be doing to teach people and show charity. He decided that completing an online bachelor’s degree in Biblical and Educational Studies would help him achieve the spiritual connections he was looking for and equip him with the knowledge and skills he needed to further support his church. Attending online classes gave him the freedom to continue travelling for missions.

The Career Changer

Jesse showed promise as the number one statewide salesman at his company and was promoted to be manager quickly due to his successful sales numbers. But he knew that his long-term career goal was to become a pastor and manage people in a different setting. He knew that his innate charisma and leadership skills combined with a religious education via an online master’s program would help him see growth and conversion in his future congregation. He completed the degree in two and-a-half years and started a successful new church.

The Historian

Allison had studied religious history in both her undergraduate and master’s program. She worked at a university as a professor of theology, but had yet to establish herself as a department authority. She attained an Educational Doctoral Degree of Theology over two years, all while maintaining her normal teaching schedule. Once she graduated, she became a published author and was also made Department Chair.

Types of Online Theology Degrees

Because of the large variety of online programs in theology, it is important that students understand what is available before enrolling. Additionally, knowing the career path one wants to take will help him or her determine what type of degree is needed. Degrees can be specialized to focus on a specific religion, ministry, and more. Read on for more information about the different types of online theology degrees.

Some common theology and religion degrees include:

  • Associate’s Degree in Religion
  • Associate’s Degree in Ministry
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Religion
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Christian and Bible Studies
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry and Leadership
  • Master’s Degree in Religion and Divinity
  • Master’s Degree in Christian and Bible Studies
  • Master’s Degree in Ministry and Leadership
  • Master’s Degree in Theology
  • Doctoral Degree in Theology

Two-Year Online Degrees

A two-year online associate degree in theology will give the student a broad overview of theology topics and give the student a strong, basic foundation for continuing on to a bachelor’s program. Students who choose not to pursue education beyond an associate degree may be qualified for job opportunities such as church planter (a person who establishes new congregations), missionary, or associate pastor in some denominations. While an this degree will teach students some specialized skills, it is recommended that students also attain a bachelor’s degree for a deeper knowledge and skill set and, thus, more potential job opportunities.

Online curriculum includes approximately 60 credits of general education classes and major classes. General education courses include mathematics, science, English, and history. Major courses will differ between schools and programs, but will often include classes such as Study of The Old Testament/New Testament, General Theology, and Religious Fundamentals. Some programs will also require students to take foreign language courses such as Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and/or Aramaic in order to better understand the roots and original contexts of the holy books.

To be accepted into an online associate degree program, students must have a high school diploma or GED.

Explore Associate’s Degree programs for Theology search programs >>
Gods Bible School and College
  • Enrollment: 355
  • Tuition: $6,770
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Ohio
  • Associate of Arts in Bible & Theology
Holy Apostles College and Seminary
  • Enrollment: 83
  • Tuition: $10,080
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Connecticut
  • Associate of Arts in Theology

Four-Year Online Degrees

Bachelor’s degrees in theology will allow students to gain a broader knowledge of religion and specialize in one aspect of theology; for example, ministry, education, history, or a specific denomination. With a bachelor’s degree, graduates can pursue careers as ordained rabbi, priests, ministers, chaplains and other religious leaders, or continue their education and attain a master’s or doctorate degree.

This degree typically takes four years, or two years after achieving an associate degree. Students will have completed a minimum of 120 credit hours upon graduation. Common courses students will be required to take in online bachelor’s of theology programs might include World Religions, History of Christianity, Contemporary Theology, Christian Leadership and Communication in Ministry.

Acceptance requirements differ between online bachelor’s theology programs, but often require that the student have a high school diploma or GED and submit an application, resume, letters of recommendation, and transcripts.

Explore Bachelor’s Degree programs for Theology search programs >>
Lee University
  • Enrollment: 5,022
  • Tuition: $13,370
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Tennessee
  • Bachelor of Arts in Bible & Theology
  • Bachelor of Christian Ministry - Bible & Theology
Saint Joseph's College of Maine
  • Enrollment: 2,550
  • Tuition: $30,030
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Maine
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies
Truett-McConnell College
  • Enrollment: 1,466
  • Tuition: $15,650
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Georgia
  • Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies - Biblical And Theological Studies
Brescia University
  • Enrollment: 1,018
  • Tuition: $19,140
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Kentucky
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theology With Emphasis in Pastoral Studies
Southwestern Adventist University
  • Enrollment: 922
  • Tuition: $17,800
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Texas
  • Bachelor of Arts in Theology
Apex School of Theology
  • Enrollment: 736
  • Tuition: $4,900
  • College Type: Private
  • State: North Carolina
  • Bachelor in Theology
Welch College
  • Enrollment: 335
  • Tuition: $12,348
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Tennessee
  • Bachelor of Science in Theological Studies - General Christian Ministries

Online Master’s Degree in Theology

A master’s degree in theology gives the student advanced knowledge. Specialties include Youth Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Divinity and more, depending on the program. In some Christian denominations and other religions, having a master’s degree in theology is the minimum standard for ordination. Graduates may choose to pursue careers in ministry, or in non-religious organizations as social workers, teachers, or scholars, or use their master’s degree as a stepping stone toward achieving a doctoral degree.

Masters programs generally consist of 72-100 credit hours and can be completed in as little as two years of fulltime study, but in some cases three to four years. Online curriculum typically includes course subjects like ecclesiology, philosophy, church history, Hebrew, and Greek Bible study. Many programs will require a thesis.

Acceptance into an online master’s of theology program requires that students have a bachelor’s degree and meet any GPA and test score standards set by the school. Many schools, particularly Christian schools, will prefer students who show strong Christian faith and demonstrate a desire to work in a religious setting.

Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Enrollment: 6,880
  • Tuition: $10,035
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Indiana
  • Master of Practical Theology
Dallas Baptist University
  • Enrollment: 2,587
  • Tuition: $13,710
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Texas
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies / Master of Arts in Worship Leadership Dual Degree
  • Master of Arts in Student Ministry / Master of Arts in Theological Studies
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Enrollment: 2,073
  • Tuition: $4,950
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Louisiana
  • Master of Theological Studies - (Mts)
  • Master of Arts in Theology
Saint Joseph's College of Maine
  • Enrollment: 1,690
  • Tuition: $8,279
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Maine
  • Master of Arts in Theology
University of Dallas
  • Enrollment: 1,564
  • Tuition: $14,205
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Texas
  • Master of Theological Studies - Bible Studies
  • Master of Theological Studies
Columbia International University
  • Enrollment: 800
  • Tuition: $10,080
  • College Type: Private
  • State: South Carolina
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Online Doctoral Degrees

Doctoral degrees are the highest level of education attainable for theology students. It is an ideal route for those who wish to teach at a seminary, college, or university or to work on scholarly research. Given the selection of concentrations students may choose from within the realm of theology, there are several doctoral degrees available, including but not limited to:

  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Ministry

Online doctoral degrees can be completed in around 60 credits, and some may offer concentrations such as Christian Ethics, New Testament, and Practical Theology. Degree programs and courses will differ widely depending on the school.

Students applying to an online doctor of theology program must hold a graduate degree in theology or related study and may be required to submit a substantial written essay.

Liberty University
  • Enrollment: 42,537
  • Tuition: $9,170
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Virginia
  • Ph.D. in Theology & Apologetics

Best Online Theology Degree for 2017

From certificate programs through doctoral degrees, an online degree in theology provides a core background in religious studies in a flexible environment. Quality programs are accredited through the Association of Theological Schools, illustrating a commitment to specific criteria and standards. Many online theology degrees are also flexible and have a variety of student services and support to assist students through the program. Theology programs should also offer a variety of concentrations, allowing students to seek a number of careers after graduation. We’ve scoured colleges all across the country to compile this list of the Best Online Theology Programs for the 2017 school year. Check out who made the list below.

University Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
Henry Ford Community College Score99.36
Net Price
Financial aid %1%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
RankUniversity Name Score Net Price Financial aid percent Online Programs Aavailable Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateUniversity Information Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services
1Lee University Score99.82
Net Price
Financial aid %71%
#Online programs8
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
2Clarks Summit University Score99.27
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs8
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate52%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
3Johnson University Score98.93
Net Price
Financial aid %87%
#Online programs10
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
4Liberty University Score98.85
Net Price
Financial aid %78%
#Online programs13
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate46%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
5Southwestern Assemblies of God University Score98.84
Net Price
Financial aid %73%
#Online programs11
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate38%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
6Jewish Theological Seminary of America Score98.58
Net Price
Financial aid %85%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate91%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
7Virginia Baptist College Score98.49
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs7
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
8Heritage Christian University Score97.96
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
9Indiana Wesleyan University Score97.75
Net Price
Financial aid %50%
#Online programs10
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate70%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
10Piedmont International University Score97.60
Net Price
Financial aid %84%
#Online programs7
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate32%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
11Harvard University Score97.56
Net Price
Financial aid %56%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate97%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
12Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Score97.34
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
13Lincoln Christian University Score97.32
Net Price
Financial aid %91%
#Online programs7
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate45%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
14International Baptist College and Seminary Score97.30
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
15Harding University Score97.27
Net Price
Financial aid %91%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate61%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
16Barclay College Score97.24
Net Price
Financial aid %84%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate53%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
17Oral Roberts University Score97.22
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
18Judson College Score97.20
Net Price
Financial aid %95%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate37%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
19Saint Joseph's College of Maine Score97.16
Net Price
Financial aid %97%
#Online programs6
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
20Manhattan Christian College Score97.14
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate38%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
21Messenger College Score97.13
Net Price
Financial aid %36%
#Online programs7
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate73%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
22Dallas Baptist University Score96.92
Net Price
Financial aid %86%
#Online programs8
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
23Amridge University Score96.87
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
24New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Score96.84
Net Price
Financial aid %8%
#Online programs14
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate14%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
25Ave Maria University Score96.82
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate64%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
26Belhaven University Score96.78
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate49%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
27Mount Vernon Nazarene University Score96.76
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
28Summit Christian College Score96.74
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate25%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
29Loyola University New Orleans Score96.62
Net Price
Financial aid %98%
#Online programs6
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate59%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
30Clear Creek Baptist Bible College Score96.60
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
31Southwestern College Score96.56
Net Price
Financial aid %95%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
32Central Christian College of the Bible Score96.48
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate25%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
33Newman University Score96.37
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
34Saint Leo University Score96.20
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate43%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
35SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary Score96.18
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
36Graceland University-Lamoni Score96.16
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate50%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
37Colorado Christian University Score96.09
Net Price
Financial aid %97%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate40%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
38Northwest Nazarene University Score96.08
Net Price
Financial aid %99%
#Online programs6
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate55%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
39Palm Beach Atlantic University Score95.97
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate51%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
40North Greenville University Score95.95
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
41Virginia University of Lynchburg Score95.91
Net Price
Financial aid %44%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad RateN/A
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
42Crown College Score95.81
Net Price
Financial aid %89%
#Online programs8
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesNo Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
43Brescia University Score95.72
Net Price
Financial aid %89%
#Online programs2
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate46%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
44Saint Johns University Score95.70
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate77%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
45Moody Bible Institute Score95.69
Net Price
Financial aid %60%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate62%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
46Campbellsville University Score95.67
Net Price
Financial aid %90%
#Online programs3
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate44%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
47Gods Bible School and College Score95.65
Net Price
Financial aid %66%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate27%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
48University of Valley Forge Score95.64
Net Price
Financial aid %93%
#Online programs5
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate47%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
49Columbia International University Score95.62
Net Price
Financial aid %92%
#Online programs4
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate69%
Credit for ExperienceNo Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less
50Freed-Hardeman University Score95.61
Net Price
Financial aid %100%
#Online programs1
Student-Teacher Ratio
Grad Rate54%
Credit for ExperienceYes Placement ServicesYes Counseling ServicesYes Read More Read Less

How to Assess Online Theology Schools

Like any degree, finding the right theology program can be challenging, especially when prospective students have several different options and colleges to choose from. Below are some of the key things theology distance learners should keep an eye out for when researching and evaluating programs and institutions:

Accreditation

ATS, or The Association of Theological Schools, is the nation’s main commission for accreditation for theology degrees. If a program is accredited by ATS, it has passed a series of criteria that meet the standards set by the commission and students can trust that their degree is high quality, with applicable and relevant coursework. Although many theology schools are accredited by ATS, only some of them offer fully online theology, religion and ministry degrees. Below is a sample of ATS-accredited online programs. The list, plus other exceptions, can be found here.

  • Anderson University School of Theology
  • Chicago Theological Seminary
  • Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Moody Theological Seminary
  • New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College
  • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • United Theological Seminary
  • Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Western Seminary

Flexibility

Students should have options when it comes to course availability and scheduling. Flexibility, after all, is one of the main reasons people pursue online degrees. Students should call schools and research course schedules to find the program that best fits their lifestyle.

Student Services

Because online programs lack the in-class interaction and discussion normally found on-campus, it’s important to make sure your program offers an accessible and positive online discussion forum that facilitates student and teacher interactions. Schools should also provide distance education support such as student advisors or mentors, and tech support for the online learning platform. Online professors should also be easily accessible.

Other student services include internship and career placement or other field experience, workshops or programs for current students and alumni.

Curriculum

As you learn more about schools’ individual degree programs and course offerings, you should keep in mind your areas of focus and make sure schools offer classes that serve your interests and goals.

If you’re curious to know more about the curriculum or teacher, don’t be afraid to reach out to the school for more information.

Concentrations and Sub-disciplines

There are a variety of concentrations and sub-disciplines within theology because there are many different views of God and religion and ways to study them. And just as there are different types of theology, there are different focus areas within theology and the study thereof.

Not all theology degrees are created equal. It’s important to know the difference between concentration areas so you can get the education you need for your specific career and personal goals. Below is an explanation of the five main sub-disciplines of theology and a breakdown of some of the concentrations available. Exact names of degrees and availability may differ between schools, but subject matter will be similar.

Biblical Theology is the interpretation of the Bible. It heavily focuses on each of the biblical texts, their literal and symbolic content, and their relationships and links with other Bible texts. Students can choose a bible studies emphasis as well as other areas of concentration while studying biblical theology.

Practical Theology, sometimes called Pragmatic theology, is the study of the practical use of religion in daily life. It commonly includes degrees in Divinity and Ministry, in which students learn to apply and share principles of religion as they serve God in their lives. Students in practical theology programs can further concentrate on youth, family and individual counseling, and Christian Leadership, as well as other emphases.

Systematic Theology narrows Biblical and other religious content into categorical systems of doctrine. Each main category from sin to feminism is deeply studied, giving students very specific and streamlined information on the principles. Areas of emphases within systematic theology will differ between universities and seminaries.

Historical Theology is the study of religion in terms of historical events both in and out of scripture. Students can focus on world religions, Bible studies, and other emphases while studying historical theology.

Moral Theology is an examination of the ethical aspects of religion and establishes how Christians are taught to live according to religion. Students can pursue degrees in Divinity and Ministry within the teachings of moral theology and can emphasize in various fields.

Surprising Careers for Theology Graduates

Most theology graduates go on to pursue careers as pastors or ministers at local churches, or teachers at universities or religious schools, but there are other options for students wanting to take their careers in a different direction. Some less conventional careers theology grads can pursue include missionary, scholar, and organization directors.

Missionary

In some cases, students feel called to share their religion and/or participate in global service projects after they graduate. Some types of missionaries include Missionary Pastor, Support-Ministry Missionary, Parachurch Missionary, and Apostolic Missionary.

Many missions are based in third-world countries, which gives graduates the opportunity to travel to many other areas of the world. Common mission projects include establishing schools, housing, and congregations, as well as teaching and proselytizing the natives.

For students who want to pursue missionary work but do not want to travel for long periods of time, there is often work at local churches and ministries as missionary interns. You will be trained under an experienced religious leader and develop skills necessary to work as a missionary.

Scholar

Scholars are similar to teachers in that they achieve high levels of education and pass their knowledge on to students, but unlike teachers, who conduct classroom sessions at schools and universities, scholars publish books and papers in theology journals and speak at conferences and seminars. Scholars may also find guest lecture opportunities at colleges and universities.

Organization Director or Worker

You don’t have to start your own church to put your theology degree to use. Many organizations, from professional to non-profit to religious, need ethical leaders to serve on boards, as directors, or in other capacities within the group. The BLS named the following organizations as some of the top areas of employment for theology graduates:

  • Religious Organizations
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Home Health Care Services
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
  • Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools
  • State Government
  • Nursing Care Facilities
  • Social Advocacy Organizations

You may also be able to find work based on your degree specialty. For instance, if you concentrated your theology studies on Youth Counseling, you might serve well as a child or teen counselor at a public or private school, or in an independent counseling center. The same follows for Family Counseling or Substance Abuse Counseling.

Online Theology Degree Search Tool

Whether entering college for the first time or changing careers, online programs in theology offer students an exciting curriculum designed to provide multiple career paths upon graduation. Online learning programs are known for providing flexible learning environments, but what about other important factors? The search tool below will not only sift through different degree types, but also take into account important qualities such as accreditation, flexibility, student services, and curriculum to find online theology programs matched to student goals.

Degree Level:
Tuition:
Student Population:
School Type:
see map

Best Online Theology Degree for 2015-2016

Methodology here.


Rank School Name Score Student-Teacher Ratio Financial Aid Cost More Info
1 Apex School of Theology 98.34 19:1 92%

Apex School of Theology's online bachelor's in theology is a 128-credit program that allows graduates to take their formal theological training to work in the faith community. Applicants must show evidence of Christian character and provide a spiritual autobiography with their application materials. Students should also be able to demonstrate a Godly life and have a teachable spirit. Special admission consideration is available for applicants who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent; these students must demonstrate the ability to benefit from the program and have an acceptable score from an independent assessment.

2 Mid-Atlantic Christian University 98.21 12:1 100%

Mid-Atlantic Christian University's Department of Biblical Studies offers an online degree in Christian ministry. Students take 30 semester hours in biblical studies and 36 semester hours in Christian ministry. They learn about effective Christian leadership, how to understand and appreciate non-Christians, how to counsel others and about the value of their role in society. This online degree is comparable to the traditional on-campus program and includes a 24-hour support center to assist students whenever possible. Most degree completion students can finish the program in about two years, depending on how many credits they transfer in and how many classes they take at a time.

3 Southwestern Adventist University 98.13 12:1 100%

Distance learners may pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Theology, a Bachelor of Arts in Religion or a certificate in church ministry. The college has been educating students with a curriculum grounded in the Christian faith, with a special emphasis on Seventh-Day Adventism, for more than 120 years. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their calling to the ministry. Coursework will focus not only on biblical understanding, but on personal application, evangelism and church service. Graduates can move on to become pastors dedicated to the service of individuals and communities.

4 Liberty University 98.51 18:1 95%

An online degree in biblical educational studies prepares graduates to help educate tomorrow's leaders in the Christian education system. Students learn church history, theological issues, best practices in education and classroom management and develop a philosophy of education. Liberty provides the Liberty Online Communities for students and their families to provide spiritual support and additional resources. Online students are eligible to participate in mission trips, just like traditional on-campus students, so they can affect communities all over the world. Students are also encouraged to participate in intensive on-campus visits to get to know fellow classmates and instructors.

5 Dallas Baptist University 98.04 14:1 95%

Dallas Baptist University's College of Professional Studies offers an online bachelor of arts and sciences in Christian ministries for the aspiring Christian leader. It incorporates 12 hours each of business and management, Christian leadership and educational ministry courses. Students who have at least 24 hours of technical or occupational coursework in a specific area are eligible for the inverted degree program, where the 42 credits of upper division work is waived. Students may also earn credit through examinations and military or corporate training. Online classes are small, allowing students and faculty members to get to know one another for a more personalized experience.

6 Belhaven University 97.88 12:1 100%

An online bachelor of arts in biblical studies from Belhaven University allows students to study and apply the Bible in depth. Students have the flexibility to complete their degree at their own pace while fulfilling a Christian liberal arts education. Coursework includes Old Testament history, New Testament history, world literature, Christian interpretation of life, research writing, outreach ministry and more. Students must post to the course discussion board at least three times a week and watch professors' lectures online. While there is no on-campus requirement, some students find it helpful to attend classes on the traditional campus to supplement their learning.

7 Heritage Christian University 97.80 5:1 100%

An online bachelor of arts in biblical studies includes 128 hours of coursework with a concentration in practical theology, life ministry or general electives. Requirements include 45 hours of biblical and theological studies and 24 hours of professional studies. Students access lectures and supplemental materials online and submit assignments, take tests and communicate with instructors and peers through the course management system. Classes are searchable, so students can find specific information quickly. Students have access to notes, presentations and slideshows as well. Online courses follow the traditional academic calendar with classes starting two times during the year.

8 Brescia University 97.79 14:1 100%

Those interested in pastoral ministry and theology can earn and online bachelor of arts in theology with an emphasis in pastoral studies from Brescia University. This is an accelerated program, allowing students to finish their degree quickly without diminishing the quality of the education. It aligns with the

9 Ecclesia College 97.78 9:1 100%

Ecclesia College's online bachelor's in biblical studies allows students to study the Bible in depth with classes like Life of Christ, Old and New Testament survey and Christian foundations and apologetics. The online program is designed to provide a flexible format for busy adults who want to earn a degree. Courses are steeped in core foundational values, including comprehensive learning, inclusion of the whole body of Christ and to increase quality of learning and service. Multiple start dates throughout the year allow students to begin study as soon as they've made the commitment, rather than wait for a new semester.

10 Heritage Bible College 97.71 7:1 100%

Heritage Bible College has an online bachelor of religious education, pastoral ministry major, with several tracks to meet the needs of many interests. Students can choose to study Christian counseling, discipleship, evangelism or youth ministry and complete their degree in just over eight semesters. HBC welcomes students from all denominations who are interested in the college's diverse programs and support the school's core values in faith, morality, sanctity of life and marriage, teamwork and servant leadership. The online programs allow busy students to earn a degree while still maintaining other responsibilities.

11 Toccoa Falls College 97.69 14:1 100%

Acquire the skills, knowledge and personal characteristics necessary for a life in the ministry with a Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership. The 126-credit program is grounded in a strong biblical base, but includes coursework designed to prepare students for the demands of the ministry in the digital age, including educational technology and social sciences. Students must complete 18 hours of lower-level Bible and theology; 15 hours of humanities; 12 hours of social sciences; nine hours of computers, math and science; 12 hours ministry and leadership core; 12 hours of upper-level Bible and theology; 30 hours of ministry leadership specialization and 18 hours of electives.

12 Oklahoma Wesleyan University 97.54 15:1 100%

A Bachelor of Science in ministry and leadership degree could lead to a life in the ministry, seminary training, a calling to lead a church, or a leadership role in a nonprofit. The program focuses on critical coursework such as church administration, Christian education, theology and preaching fundamentals. Students must complete 126 credit hours consisting of 45 general education credits, 46 core ministry credits and 35 elective credits. An articulation agreement allows students to transfer qualifying credits from some schools without regional accreditation. Students are required to maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.

13 Warner University 97.34 22:1 99%

Students have three options in their pursuit of a Transformational Christian Ministry degree. They may pursue a B.S. in Transformational Christian Ministry, a Church Science associate degree or a certificate in church ministry. Part-time enrollment is possible, but in order to be considered a full-time student, participants must take at least 12 credits at any given time. Students who assume larger workloads can finish the program in as little as 16 months. There are two, eight-week sessions in every semester, which means that students will enroll in two courses every two months.

14 Webster University 97.27 15:1 97%

The Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Global Society presents students with the opportunity to examine difficult, emotionally charged subject matter in an academic atmosphere. Classes cover material such as the divide between liberal values and traditional values, new communication mediums and technology, human rights and conflict resolution. Students must complete 128 credits, 30 of which are in religious studies and 12 in required credit and science. Students will also take elective courses and achieve credits through participation in the University Global Citizenship program. In order to graduate, students must complete at least 18 credits at Webster.

15 Palm Beach Atlantic University 97.17 13:1 100%

Students in the Bachelor Arts in ministry degree are preparing for careers as pastors, social workers, directors of children's ministries, student ministers, community service leaders, or other life callings. The curriculum and coursework in the online program is identical to that found at the physical campus. Students receive a comprehensive education grounded in conservative biblical principles and practical ministry principles. The 120-credit program requires students to complete at least 27 major credit hours, 43 general education credits, 12 core ministry credits and 15 ministry elective credits.

16 Tabor College 97.11 15:1 100%

Students can transfer as many as 84 credits toward to the completion of the Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry degree. The program takes roughly a year and a half to complete, and prepares students to become Christian ambassadors in the digital age by combining traditional coursework with modern tools and tactics. Coursework is diverse, and includes subject matter such as personal development, biblical studies, ministry and business. Graduates will be qualified to work in several settings, including the church, nonprofit organizations and missions. Students who complete the program may also go on to pursue advanced degrees in graduate school.

17 Northwest University 97.09 13:1 99%

Students can grow their ministry or prepare themselves for entry to graduate school with a Bachelor of Arts in ministry leadership degree. Not only do students complete comprehensive core courses, but the program's holistic approach also includes two years of practical ministry, theology and Bible courses. Graduates should emerge with strong interpretative skills and a more complete Christian worldview. The program is built for the modern era, with students learning media skills they can apply in a range of different leadership, educational, organizational and administrative roles and settings.

18 Campbell University 97.02 16:1 100%

The accelerated online bachelor of arts in religion from Campbell University allows students to study religion and Christianity in a flexible format. Students study the Old Testament and New Testament as well as historical development in Christianity. This flexible alternative to a traditional degree allows students the ability to earn a degree from overseas or in conjunction with a busy professional and family life. Graduates go on to careers as children's ministers, pastors, biblical counselors, writers and missionaries.

19 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School 96.96 5:1 100%

Students can pursue one of two different undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Arts in Bible and theology, which is a four-year program, or the Bachelor of Arts in Christian professional studies, which is a degree-completion program. Both programs prepare students for a wide range of careers, including as Christian educators and biblical counselors. Students in the Bible and theology program first complete general education requirements and then choose from between eight potential areas of concentration. The Christian professional studies program requires students to have completed an associate degree or to have accumulated 60 transferable credits. It features three concentration areas: biblical counseling, biblical studies and Christian teacher education.

20 Dallas Christian College 96.94 12:1 100%

Dallas Christian College's unique FLEXCampus allows students to attend classes on campus, online and on demand. Students can earn an online bachelor of science in business and bible in as little as two years. Personal mentoring is available to help students transition into the coursework, which includes biblical foundations for ethics, principles of business management and classes for a nonprofit or business administration and ethics track. FLEXCampus gives students the flexibility to watch class lectures while they are being delivered or when it's convenient for them-or even on campus in the traditional classroom setting.

21 Lee University 96.71 18:1 94%

Lee University's online degree in Bible and theology is available in both a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science format. It includes 18 hours of biblical and theological foundation that includes methods of Bible study, introduction to Christian ethics and doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Students also take 36 hours of specialty area requirements, which includes additional Bible and theology coursework. Online courses are in an intensive format, allowing students to work at their own pace to fulfill the requirements. Graduates grow spiritually and intellectually and are prepared for professional success.

22 Saint Louis Christian College 96.27 14:1 100%

Most students will be able to finish the Bachelor of Science in Christian ministry degree in two years. The program is designed for students who have already completed their required general education credits and are ready to begin advanced coursework. Graduates should be qualified to enter not only church ministries, but also other ministries, such as those on campus. Graduates may become chaplains, evangelists, church planters or directors of church camps. Students should graduate from the program with a complete Christian education, having taken coursework in theology, expository speaking, leadership and ethics.

23 Grace Bible College 96.19 11:1 100%

Aspiring church leaders and ministers can hear an online bachelor of science in leadership and ministry from Grace Bible College. Students can explore concentrations in business, human services or criminal justice and typically finish in about 24 months, depending on the number of transfer credits they bring with them. The program is offered in a cohort model, with a maximum of 16 diverse students in each group. Coursework is 100 percent online in a dynamic and interactive environment. Students participate in group work and discussions through online resources.

24 Saint Leo University 96.15 15:1 94%

The online Bachelor of Arts in religion program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education based on the fundamentals of the Christian faith. However, students can customize the program according to their goals and interests. While the program is meant for students entering the ministry or preparing for graduate school, those who finish the program can pursue a variety of callings. Students must complete 120 credits and will be immersed in courses that cover both the Old Testament and the New Testament, as well as Christian morality, global religion, philosophy and social justice as it relates to faith.

25 Trevecca Nazarene University 96.11 15:1 99%

Students will learn the holistic, servant-leadership mindset required for success in the ministry, and develop the skills and knowledge required to develop a mission vision that can be applied to a calling in the church. In order to enter the program, applicants must have completed at least 40 transferable credits from an accredited institution. The 30-credit program can be finished completely online in 20 months. Since the classes are asynchronous, students may work at their own pace and pursue coursework on their own schedule. All online courses and degree programs are accredited by the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools.

26 Moody Bible Institute 96.08 17:1 73%

Students who want to serve in the ministry while maintaining a school/life balance can earn an online bachelor of science in biblical studies from Moody Bible Institute. Students

27 University of Central Florida 96.04 31:1 96%

The Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Cultural Studies degree is offered through the College of Arts and Humanities. The program, which can be finished completely online, is unique because it is designed to give students a broad and wide-ranging conceptual knowledge of religion, from ancient times to the present. Students will also learn to analyze and develop critical methodologies and theories regarding religion as a global and human force, without emphasizing or favoring one religion over another. The program culminates in a three-credit capstone course and requires students to complete both basic and advanced core coursework.

28 College of Biblical Studies-Houston 95.79 12:1 75%

At the College of Biblical Studies - Houston, students can earn a bachelor of science in biblical counseling completely online in the accelerated degree completion program. Applicants should have at least 69 hours of credit meeting the prerequisites. The cohort program is delivered in five-week courses that students can complete in as little as two years. The online degree is flexible so students can attend classes and study when it's convenient for them and classes run year-round to allow for quicker graduation. Graduates are ready for ministry professions or to go on to a higher degree.

29 Bethesda University 95.77 6:1 29%

Students in the United States and overseas can earn a bachelor of arts in religion with a biblical studies concentration from Bethesda University. The university is dedicated to providing a biblically centered learning experience for those who want to make an impact on the community for Jesus Christ. The degree includes 45 hours of general education credits, 51 hours of Bible/theology classes and 30 hours of professional studies. Students learn about biblical history and ethics and are able to interpret and communicate the Scriptures for others.

30 Hope International University 95.74 14:1 98%

Prospective online students at Hope International University can take a

31 Cornerstone University 95.62 20:1 98%

An online bachelor of science in ministry leadership from Cornerstone University is a 48-credit program that busy adults can complete in less than two years. Each cohort has about 15 students, so each benefits from personalized attention from professors and students develop personal and professional relationships with one another. They participate in both individual and group assignments that helps develop team-working and leadership skills. Students gain a deep knowledge of Biblical texts, ministry and non-profit organizations. Graduates demonstrate a Christian worldview with exceptional values and ethics they take with them to the workforce.

32 King's University 95.61 6:1 60%

The online bachelor's degree in biblical and theological studies at King's University allows flexible scheduling so students who cannot access on-campus classes can still continue their education. Classes are seven weeks long and students may enroll in two courses at a time or four per semester. Students receive weekly assignments from professors through the online learning platform and students are required to communicate within the class each week. The asynchronous format lets students participate when it's convenient for them-day or night. A practicum is required throughout the program at a location near the student.

33 Indiana Wesleyan University 95.51 15:1 80%

An online bachelor of science in biblical studies provides a foundation for those who want to learn more about the Christian faith and pursue a career teaching others about God's word. Students develop biblical skills for personal development and become involved in a meaningful way. This degree allows students to transition easily into a master of divinity program. It prepares them academically and practically for requirements for licensing and/or ordination in a number of denominations. The online program starts multiple times during the year, allowing prospective students to begin working toward their degree as soon as they are ready.

34 Crown College 95.43 17:1 96%

Crown College's online bachelor of science in Christian ministry has the added benefit of adding one year of study for a master's degree. The bachelor's program includes a strong background in biblical and theological studies. Students learn how to communicate effectively and manage faith-based organizations. Four courses in the senior year include internship components, allowing students to work with leaders in the field and gain real-world experience. Students learn collaboratively in this program to gain different perspectives from a wide variety of individuals.

35 Nazarene Bible College 95.26 12:1 50%

Aspiring ministers, counselors and theology educators can earn an online bachelor of arts in ministry from Nazarene Bible College. Students study advanced topics in Bible, theology and ministry principles to prepare them for a future in a Christ-centered profession. The program can take on a traditional four-year degree format or an advanced, degree completion format designed for busy adults. A variety of other options are also available. Classes are delivered in an asynchronous format, so students can access course materials and lectures at their convenience. The electronic library and study resources are also available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

36 DeSales University 95.18 15:1 99%

An online theology degree from DeSales University helps students develop and foster an understanding of one's calling to a Christian-centered life. While the program is 120 credits, students can transfer up to 75 credits or earn credits for life experience. Major classes include Christian apologetics, The Church, As Jesus Speaks and an internship or independent study. Students also choose one course in philosophy and moral theology as well as three additional theology courses. Online courses are designed to be flexible with 6- and 8-week sessions and 11 start dates throughout the calendar year.

37 W L Bonner College 95.14 NR:1 100%

The Bachelor of Religious Studies in Biblical Studies can be finished in anywhere between four and six years. The 127-hour course can be completed totally online, and consists of 37 general education credits, 39 Bible and theology credits, three credits in church history and six credits in biblical language. Students must also complete 28 credits of professional core, which includes ministry development, leadership and internship. Graduates will leave the program prepared for a life of service in the community and in the church after receiving a well-rounded education based in the Apostolic-Pentecostal tradition.

38 California Baptist University 94.92 18:1 95%

An online bachelor of arts in Christian ministries from California Baptist University helps working professionals who have a calling to pastoral studies earn their degree while balancing a busy work and home life. Students gain the building blocks of biblical-based theology they can use in their professional life or to pursue a career in ministry or church leadership. Online students have 24/7 access to their coursework and can access course lectures and readings on their own schedule. They are assigned an individual advisor to help them navigate the program, which is taught by Christian faculty members dedicated to student success.

39 Regent University 94.66 37:1 100%

For students pursuing careers as Christian educators, missionaries, ministers or nonprofit administrators, their journey can start with a BA degree in biblical and theological studies. For those seeking to continue their education, the degree can prepare students for entry into a related graduate program. The program, which requires 120 credits to complete, offers two concentrations: biblical studies and theological studies. Students must complete 49 general education credits, 21 theological and biblical core credits, 32 elective credits and 18 credits in their chosen concentration.

40 Summit University 94.56 11:1 100%

Students who pursue a Bachelor of Science in Christian ministries degree can work entirely at their own pace, and the program may be finished completely online. They must complete 121 credits to graduate: 18 credits from required global ministry core courses, 18 credits from ministry courses, 42 credits of Bible and theology, 12 English literature credits, 12 credits of social studies, six science credits and 13 elective credits. Upon graduation, students will essentially have earned a double major in Christian ministries and Bible. They will be qualified to enter a church setting or pursue a graduate degree.