Online Master’s Programs in Ministry

Entering a master's program for ministry online can provide students flexibility, and other benefits, too. Learn how to earn an online master's in ministry.

October 13, 2021

reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Master’s Programs in Ministry

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Earn a Master's in Online Ministry Programs

Earning a master's in ministry online prepares graduates for careers in ministry, church leadership, and spiritual guidance. Students can earn an online MA or MS in ministry, both of which can lead to roles like pastor, counselor, clergy member, and church administrator.

Best suited for compassionate, insightful individuals, ministry master's programs prepare students for lives of service while also providing a solid academic foundation for doctoral-level theological study. This page covers important information about earning a master's in ministry online, including common courses, financial aid opportunities, and potential careers for graduates.

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What Can I Learn in an Online Master's in Ministry Program?

Online master's programs in ministry vary by school, but most programs include training in counseling, theology, sermon writing, and church leadership. Students learn general counseling skills, such as listening and boundary setting, as well as faith-based, therapeutic approaches for working with individuals, couples, and families. Theology courses cultivate interpretation and analysis skills, while sermon courses focus on skills in composing and articulating spiritual messages.

Although most coursework in online programs takes place virtually, many programs include an onsite internship requirement that students can typically complete at a site near their home. Some online master's in ministry programs are counseling-oriented, while other programs focus more on theology. Many schools allow students to specialize their knowledge and skills through a concentration.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Online Masters in Ministry Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

What Courses Are Offered in a Master's in Ministry Program?

In addition to theology and sermon-writing courses, ministry programs typically incorporate courses from fields like counseling, history, and language studies. However, curricula vary by program and school; prospective students should research the curricula at potential schools to ensure coursework aligns with their interests and goals. The following list outlines some common master's in ministry courses.

What Exams or Projects Should I Expect?

Students earning a master's in ministry online should expect to complete a capstone experience, project, or thesis as part of the program. While some programs accept an internship or upper-level coursework as the capstone requirement, others require a capstone paper, thesis, or project. A written thesis involves scholarly research and an analysis of a ministry issue, and students must defend their work before a faculty committee.

What Specializations Are Available in a Master's in Ministry Program?

Some master's in ministry programs provide concentration options, such as global missions, strategic ministry, and ministry leadership. However, not all programs offer concentrations; students interested in a specific subfield of ministry should ensure that potential programs offer specializations aligned with their interests and goals.

How Much Can I Make With a Career in Ministry?

Graduates with a ministry master's degree can qualify for a variety of roles, such as pastor, activities director, and education director. Although no degree guarantees employment, the following table outlines common careers and average salaries for graduates with a master's degree in ministry.


Online Master's in Ministry Program Accreditation

The best online master's in ministry programs hold accreditation. Accreditation indicates that a school and/or program meets high academic standards while expanding employment, financial aid, and education opportunities for students.

Master's in ministry programs may hold programmatic accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, the Association for Biblical Higher Education, or the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Specializing in faith-based education, these organizations work to ensure that religious schools and programs meet rigorous academic standards.

How to Pay for a Master's in Ministry Degree

Students can take advantage of several financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of tuition, such as employer assistance, fellowships, grants, and scholarships. The list below outlines a few opportunities for master's in ministry students.

Scholarships for Master's in Ministry Students
Scholarship Amount Who Can Apply

Mary E. Bivins Foundation

$2,500 per semester for up to six years To qualify, applicants need to be pastors serving in churches in the Texas panhandle. They must also be enrolled full time in an accredited academic program and have a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Ernst Scholarship

$1,000-$1,500 Ordained American Baptist Church pastors in Ohio pursuing graduate ministry degrees at accredited schools may apply for this scholarship.

Dora Maclellan Brown Ministry Scholarship

Up to four years of full tuition coverage Biblically conservative students in the greater Chattanooga area who are pursuing service-related degrees are eligible for this scholarship. Applicants must also demonstrate academic merit and financial need.

Disciple Chaplains' Scholarship

$2,000 Eligible applicants must hold U.S. citizenship; membership in the Disciplines of Christ Church; and status as a full-time, first-year seminary student. Applicants must also have a minimum 2.0 GPA.

David Tamotsu Kagiwada Memorial Scholarship

$2,000 Full-time Asian American religion or theology students with a minimum 2.0 GPA may apply for this award. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, members of the Disciplines of Christ Church, and aspiring ministers.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Master's in ministry students and graduates can take advantage of professional organizations and resources, which offer benefits like networking, career development, and financial aid opportunities.

A national nonprofit organization devoted to interfaith ministry and chaplaincy, this organization supports chaplains. In addition to providing a variety of career and education resources, APC sets professional standards and publishes APC Forum: News and Ideas in Chaplaincy Care. This international organization offers professional development and networking opportunities to clergy members. Members gain access to benefits like volunteer opportunities, a writing contest, articles and reviews, and regional colleague groups. ACPE helps improve ministry services by running, accrediting, and certifying clinical pastoral education programs and educators. ACPE also offers leadership and networking opportunities for spiritual professionals, including spiritually integrated psychotherapists and counselors. An interdisciplinary group of professionals who provide leadership to community developers, CDS provides members with access to benefits like job listings, professional development opportunities, and networking tools and events. NALM cultivates pastoral leadership among ordained and lay ministers in the Catholic Church. The organization offers access to discussion forums, webinars, newsletters, and conferences.

Online Master's in Ministry Programs 2021

Grace College and Theological Seminary View School Profile Winona Lake, IN Unconfirmed

Grace offers a 36-credit online master's in ministry. Courses follow eight-week delivery schedules. Students enroll in two classes each 16-week semester. They can complete the program in six semesters (including summer terms). Classes run asynchronously. However, enrollees can interact with professors and peers through forums, email, and discussion boards. The program follows a cohort model of education.

This online master's in ministry offers concentrations in areas such as Christian ministry and counseling. Students complete 18 credits each of foundation and concentration coursework. All learners complete core coursework covering topics such as spiritual formation and discipleship methods.

Concentration coursework covers topics such as creative communication strategies. Other classes address Bible study methods and biblical foundations of leadership.

Lee University View School Profile Cleveland, TN Unconfirmed

Lee offers an online master's in ministry with three emphasis areas. The areas include leadership, worship studies, and youth and family ministry. Students with a bachelor's degree in religion or ministry can apply to the 36-credit program. Learners with a bachelor's degree from another field of study can apply to the 48-credit program. Applicants need a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA.

Students enroll in six core subjects regardless of their concentration. Core courses cover topics such as Christian spirituality and ministry. Other core courses assess practical theology and principles of Bible study. Degree-seekers can transfer up to six credits from another accredited institution.

Learners must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. They must also complete an internship or final project.

Huntington University View School Profile Huntington, IN Unconfirmed

HU offers a 36-credit master's in pastoral leadership. Learners study ministry leadership, spiritual formation, and intergenerational ministry. Classes follow seven-week delivery schedules. Most students earn their degree in two years. Enrollees may transfer up to six credits from another accredited college or university. Degree candidates must complete a field-based research project before graduating.

Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. They must also complete three credits each of Old and New Testament courses. Additionally, applicants must complete a three-credit theology course.

The program may grant conditional acceptance to applicants without these prerequisite courses. However, students must complete the courses at the same time as pastoral leadership coursework. Prerequisite courses do not count toward the degree's final credit requirement.

Dallas Baptist University View School Profile Dallas, TX Unconfirmed

DBU offers a 36-credit master's in Christian ministry. Learners can earn the degree through online, on-campus, and hybrid courses. Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA from an accredited college or university. Applicants must also submit proof of membership and active participation in a Christian church. They must be active members for at least 12 months before applying.

This online master's in ministry program offers 10 concentration areas. Options include Christian ministry and education, professional life coaching, and urban ministry. Learners complete 24 credits of core classes and 12 credits of concentration courses. Core classes cover topics such as ministry mentorship and foundations of spiritual life. Some classes include field-based learning parts.

Students can pair their master's in Christian ministry with another master's degree in a field such as business or counseling.

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