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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Theology

Rankings, Salaries & Courses

Updated on: 12/07/2018
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Students in an online theology program gain rewarding knowledge of biblical studies and theology along with the practical skills necessary for a Christian vocation. In an online bachelor's degree in theology, students learn to read, interpret, and apply the Bible. They also explore academic disciplines such as church history, ethics, and apologetics. Coursework in these and other areas prepares students to work in fast-growing and personally fulfilling professions including pastoral ministry, chaplaincy, and community development leadership. Students can earn theology degrees online at many colleges and universities. Thanks to distance education options, learners can engage with a robust community of theological scholars while supporting a family, maintaining ties to a local house of worship, and remaining deeply rooted in their own communities. The following programs reveal sample curriculum, job outlook, and financial aid options for students who choose to undertake theological study at an accredited institution.

Best Online Bachelor's Programs in Theology 2018-2019

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Best Online Theology Programs 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

Notes:
  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

Most students find earning a theology bachelor's degree online an exciting and challenging undertaking. Choosing the right program makes the experience more engaging now and more valuable in the future. A good theology program holds regional or national accreditation, shows a high five-year graduation right, charges reasonable tuition, and makes courses available online. By identifying schools that meet these criteria, prospective students narrow their choices and can select a college or university that best meets their personal and professional expectations.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, Virginia $15,105 88% 24% 55% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The fully online Bachelor of Science in Religion available from Baptist-affiliated Liberty University is designed to develop communication skills and provide a strong biblical foundation to serve students in ministry-related positions. The degree is offered with 7 specializations, including Bible and Theological Studies, Apologetics, Evangelism and Christian Counseling. Students must successfully complete 120 credit hours of coursework, with the degree typically earned in 3? years. Admission into LU's BS in Religion degree program as a first-time college student requires a high school diploma earned with a minimum 2.0 GPA, as evidenced by completion of an online High School and GED self-certification form. Students with a high school GPA below 2.0 may be admitted under caution. Transfer students must additionally provide transcripts for previously completed college coursework. Students can apply up to 90 transferable credits for college-level coursework completed at other accredited institutions to this degree program and, in some cases, may be able to test out of some courses through programs such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), DSST Exams and Institutional Challenge Exams (ICE). Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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2 Moody Bible Institute Chicago, Illinois $9,728 58% 62% 73% 3 No Yes Yes

Students of Moody Bible Institute's fully-online Bachelor of Science in Theological Studies degree receive a solid foundation in Biblical theology, both past and present, allowing them to improve theological literacy within their churches and communicate theology wherever they go. Holders of this degree typically seek careers in the ministry or continue on with their studies to earn a graduate degree. Awarding of MBC's BS in Theological Studies requires successful completion of 120 total credit hours of general education and major-related coursework. The distance learning version of the degree program is presented with a suggested 5-year study plan consisting of 4 courses per semester, 2 semesters per year, with the exception of 3 courses in the final semester of study. Up to 75% of previously earned college credits may be transferred into the program, reducing total degree completion time. To qualify for admission as a freshman into this degree program, an applicant must be a high school graduate with a 2.0 GPA on academic courses, a GED holder, or a home-schooled graduate. Home schooled applicants must submit either an official transcript of their studies or GED with minimum scores of 225. Transfer students must meet all general entrance requirements as well as be in good standing at their most recently attended postsecondary school. Moody Bible Institute is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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3 Bethesda University Anaheim, California $7,250 66% - 92% 4 Yes No Yes

At Bethesda University, those looking to pursue a theology-related education can apply to the Bachelor of Arts in Religion program, which offers two concentrations. The first is Christian Education, which is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed for teaching and discipling through churches and parachurch agencies. The other option is Biblical Studies. Each area requires 126 credit hours of study consisting of general education (communications, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences), Bible/theology, and major-subject courses, as well as 3 credit hours (6 classes) of Christian Service, during which the student participates in an in-person ministry experience. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years, but may be completed earlier with the transfer in of college-level credits from another accredited postsecondary institution. Credits earned from an unaccredited institution may be accepted if they meet specific criteria. A maximum of 45 relevant credits obtained through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) may also be accepted. Individuals applying for admission as freshmen must hold a high school diploma or be nearing high school graduation. Admittance may also be granted to those with equivalent qualifications as determined by the university. Students who have or are working toward a bachelor's degree, or with equivalent qualifications, may be admitted as transfer students. International students must additionally provide proof of English proficiency. Bethesda University is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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4 Manhattan Christian College Manhattan, Kansas $14,496 100% 60% 57% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Earning Manhattan Christian College's online Bachelor of Science in Biblical Leadership degree requires successful completion of 120 credit hours of study, which consists of general education courses and coursework in the fields of Bible/Theology and Leadership/Ministry. MCC's online BS in Biblical Leadership program is a degree-completion program requiring students to transfer in a minimum of 40 acceptable college-level credit hours prior to beginning studies. These credits may be obtained from another properly-accredited college, university or other postsecondary institution, or through military service. Prior learning credit, however, is not acceptable. Transfer credits will be applied to the degree's general education and unrestricted electives requirements. In addition to the necessary transfer credits, admission into MCC's online BS in Biblical Leadership program requires submittal of official transcripts for all high school and prior college work. Transfer students with an overall GPA of 2.0 or lower, or who are on probation or have been academically dismissed from another institution, may be admitted on a probationary basis for the first semester at MCC, maintaining a minimum 2.0 GPA during that time to gain regular student status. Applicants must also distribute 2 personal reference forms to be completed and returned to the MCC's Admissions office. Manhattan Christian Colleges is accredited by the North Central Association's Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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5 Apex School of Theology Durham, North Carolina $4,800 12% - 100% 1 Yes No Yes

Grounded in the history of the of the African-American experience, Apex School of Theology prepares both students and laity for service to ministries and the Christian community while remaining committed to diversity in its faculty, staff and student body. Apex's online Bachelor of Theology (BTH) degree program is offered in both fully-online and blended (online/on-campus) study formats. This 128-credit hour program can normally be completed in 4 years or less, depending on course load and transfer credits accepted. Support resources for online students include tutoring services through AST's Writing Center. Admission requirements include a diploma from a properly-accredited high school, GED, or a demonstrated ability to benefit from the degree program. Applicants without a high school diploma or GED must submit an acceptable score on an independently-administered test to evidence the ability to benefit from the training offered by the program. Life experience is also a consideration for acceptance. All students must additionally provide a spiritual autobiography demonstrating scholastic competence and Christian character. Apex School of Theology is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, (TRACS).

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6 Clear Creek Baptist Bible College Pineville, Kentucky $6,480 71% - 62% 1 No Yes Yes

The Clear Creek Baptist College's online Bachelor of Arts in Ministry degree program prepares students to create and present effective Bible messages and lessons, and competently counsel and provide assistance to others. Earning this degree requires successful completion of 120 credit hours of study, including general education courses, and courses in Bible/theology and ministry studies. In addition to regular coursework, all students must attend chapel twice a week and submit a weekly report of all church-related activities. Students must also serve 30 hours of community service for 2 separate semesters. Completion of the entire degree program normally requires 4 years of study. The degree is offered in both fully online and hybrid (combination of online and on-campus courses) formats. Courses are asynchronous, meaning that students can log on and complete their work at any time of their convenience. Admission requirements for the BA in Ministry program include a church endorsement and personal references, as well as proof of a minimum of 1 year of church membership, history of financial responsibility, mature Christian character and a promise of continued spiritual and intellectual growth. Clear Creek Baptist College is accredited by both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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7 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City, Missouri $7,020 41% 99% 44% 2 Yes Yes No

Spurgeon College, which is part of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, offers a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies degree that provides students with a greater understanding of the theological foundations of Christianity and the Christian worldview, as well as increased competence in communication, decision-making and information management skills. Those in the program at the Evangelical Christian-affiliated school can choose from among 4 concentrations: Biblical Studies and Worship Ministries, Biblical Studies and Humanities, Biblical Studies and Business, and Biblical Studies and Counseling Psychology. The Biblical Studies and Business program is available 100% online, while the remaining programs are presented in a blended online/on-campus format. All options require 120 credit hours of study, including general education, Biblical core, Biblical Studies major and elective courses. The entire program can be completed in 4 years or less depending on the student's chosen course load and number of college-level credits transferred into the program from work completed at other institutions. Admission into Spurgeon's BA in Biblical Studies program requires a high school diploma with minimum 2.0 GPA or GED, ACT or SAT test scores (students 21 years of age or younger), a church endorsement, and pastoral recommendation plus two additional recommendations. Applicants must show the desired qualities of and commitment to Christian leadership. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).

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8 Johnson University Knoxville, Tennessee $13,000 82% 47% 66% 5 Yes Yes Yes

Johnson University, a Restoration Movement-affiliated private institution, offers an online Ministry Leadership Bachelor degree program to prepare students for leadership positions in Christian ministries and related vocations for the purpose of extending the Kingdom of God. The degree is offered in as a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts. The BA includes a foreign language requirement that must be completed in-person either on the university's campus or at another institution. Approximately 4 years of study is required to complete the degree program, but students with transfer and/or CLEP credits can significantly reduce their completion times. Along with their online coursework, students must fulfill a Ministry Leadership Internship in which they provide service in their local communities under the supervision of a mentor for a 16-week period. Admission to the Ministry Leadership program requires a high school diploma, GED, or home school equivalent. ACT, SAT, or Classic Learning Test (CLT) scores are required, with the exception of applicants over the age of 24 who haven't already taken 1 of the tests. Applicants must additionally submit official transcripts for all high school and college-level work, along with 2 letters of reference (one from a pastor, one from an educator or employer), a personal statement essay and a completed and signed Commitment to the Johnson Lifestyle form. Johnson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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9 Grace College of Divinity Fayetteville, North Carolina $4,080 52% 75% 50% 2 No No Yes

Grace College of Divinity's online Bachelor of Divinity degree is designed for individuals interested in gaining the knowledge and training necessary for local church leadership. Earning this degree requires completion of 120 hours of coursework focused on 3 specific disciplines: Theology, Practical Ministry and Biblical Studies. Students can also add a minor in Worship Leadership. All courses are available fully online. In addition to coursework, students must fulfill a Leadership in Action requirement, in which students participate in activities that demonstrate practice in ministry responsibilities. Transfer credits may be accepted from other institutions of higher education at the discretion of the college. Admission into Grace College's Bachelor of Divinity program requires a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent academic achievement as determined by the college. Applicants must submit official transcripts for all high school, GED and previous college work, as well as one pastoral and one personal reference, and a written essay describing the applicant's conversion experience. Grace College of Divinity is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

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10 Heritage Christian University Florence, Alabama $8,952 100% 33% 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Church of Christ-affiliated Heritage Christian University's online Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies degree is designed to provide its graduates with a historical, doctrinal and systematic view of Christianity and its mission, and to prepare them for evangelistic ministry. This fully online degree program consists of 128 hours of coursework that normally can be completed in 4 years. However, students may transfer in up to 68 hours of college-level courses, allowing completion of the program in 2 years when taking 15 hours of courses per semester. The curriculum includes general education, professional studies and biblical and theological courses, as well as 4 hours each of field education and missions practicum courses. Students may choose from 2 concentrations: Family Life Ministry and Preaching Ministry or they can complete an additional 12 hours of elective coursework. Program admission requirements include submittal of official high school, college, training school, and/or military transcripts, test score for either the ACT (minimum score of 17) or SAT (minimum score of 800), and 3 letters of recommendation. SAT/ACT test scores aren't required for applicants 31 years of age or older. Applicants must additionally provide HCU with authority to conduct a comprehensive background check. There are no minimum GPA requirements for admission into the program. Heritage Christian University is accredited by the Association of Bible Higher Education (ABHE).

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11 Barclay College Haviland, Kansas $12,500 89% 67% 42% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Barclay College, a Quaker-affiliated private institution, offers its fully online Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies degree to students interested in developing a better understanding of God, the Bible and the Christian worldview, and a desire to share that understanding with others. To earn this degree, students must complete 128 hours of coursework consisting of general education and major-based required and elective classes. Program completion typically takes 18 months. Admission to Barclay College and this degree program requires possession of a high school diploma or GED, a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or higher on high school or college coursework, and either a SAT test score of at least 500 on the writing section or ACT test score of at least 18 on the English section. International students must additionally provide acceptable TOEFL scores as proof of English proficiency and proof of ability to finance their degree program. Transfer credits are accepted based on relevance to this program from schools accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and other properly-accredited institutions. Barclay College is accredited by the ABHE and the Association of Christian Schools International, and is a candidate for accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.

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12 Cairn University Langhorne, Pennsylvania $24,946 100% 98% 68% 1 Yes Yes Yes

The Bachelor of Science in Bible at Cairn University is considered a degree completion program and can be completed online in 5 semesters, with concentration tracks in biblical studies, Christian ministry and introduction to counseling. Students need 120 credits to graduate, with the option to transfer in up to 60 credits. 32 Bible and theology credits are built into the curriculum, along with general education and core requirements. Undergraduate students are also required to participate in student ministry and service experiences, which are supported through the University Ministry Center. Alumni of this program have gone into positions such as chaplains, church planters, administrators, camp and youth counselors, pastors, music directors, social workers, educators, missionaries, data analysts and graduate students. Admission requirements have slight variations, depending on a student's educational background such as homeschool, recent GED or high school, early entry or dual-enrollment. Typically, a completed application, transcripts, an essay and demonstration of Christian beliefs are required.

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13 University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida $4,478 43% 50% 73% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Students interested in studying theology can earn a BA in Religion and Cultural Studies at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which can lead to careers in areas such as church ministry, nonprofit work and education. This degree is considered an online degree, with the possibility of certain courses having limited availability online, so students will work with an adviser to help with proper scheduling. The curriculum consists of general education, basic and advanced level degree courses, electives, a capstone and a senior research seminar for a total of 120 credits required for graduation. In addition, a foreign language equivalent to 1 year of college instruction is required, with 2 years suggested for students planning to pursue a related graduate degree at UCF. No minor is required for this degree, but if desired, students can choose a minor, and those continuing into UCF's Master's in Religion and Cultural Studies program are encouraged to take Honors in the Major courses, which do have a special admissions and approval process.

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14 The King's University Southlake, Texas $9,960 56% 56% 67% 5 Yes No Yes

The King's University has several fully online bachelor's degrees for those interested in theology, including a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies degree. Most courses are offered in an accelerated, 7-week format, with a few in the traditional 15-week format. As with on-campus courses, classes are interactive, professor-led and have set start and end dates, with the main difference being the asynchronous format, which means students can complete assignments when it's convenient for them. Requirements for graduation from this program include 124 credits, a senior internship, a capstone and experiential learning through practicum. New students are also required to attend an online orientation to support online academic success, and all students may qualify for experiential learning credits through the Portfolio Development course. Both new and transfer students can apply online, and will also be evaluated on previous academic performance, potential for academic success, character and morals, spiritual goals and appreciation for King's University's mission.

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15 Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, Illinois $13,020 97% 53% 51% 3 Yes Yes Yes

Lincoln Christian University (LCU) offers 7 online Christ-centered degree programs, including a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry. Students planning to apply to this program are required to write an essay, provide high school or college transcripts and include a Christian character reference with their application. Once admitted, students must complete 120 credits for graduation, plus each semester, full-time students are required to complete 12 service learning credits and participate in Spiritual Formation Groups. Participation in Restoration Week is also required during sophomore and junior year, and optional for freshman and seniors. This counts towards the required service learning credits, and can take place locally, nationally or internationally, and may be a variety of ministry, church building or monastic experiences. This degree can lead to a variety of vocational ministry careers, including associate pastor, discipleship pastor, small groups leader and administrative pastor. After completion of this degree students can also pursue an online Master of Arts in Bible and Theology at LCU for 12 additional credits.

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16 Gods Bible School and College Cincinnati, Ohio $6,000 67% - 39% 2 Yes Yes Yes

God's Bible School provides several theology-related degree options, including a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology degree, which can be completed on-campus or fully online. The admission process includes an application; fee; recommendation from a pastor, employer or teacher and approval from the Admissions Committee. The 120-credit BA program typically takes 4 years to complete, combines classic and Wesleyan theology and provides a solid foundation for graduate work and basic ministry training. Along with their on-campus counterparts, online students are supported with academic advisement, online library resources and Student Success Center services such as writing assistance, workshops, test preparation and technical support. In addition, several spiritual resources are available, such as on-campus counseling or assistance with off-campus counseling and advisement, pastoral counseling and prayer services. Scholarships are available, along with no-interest payment plans, plus online students who pay their balance in full each semester will receive a 2% discount.

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17 North Greenville University Tigerville, South Carolina $17,594 99% 59% 51% 2 Yes Yes Yes

At North Greenville University, students can earn a 4-year degree in Christian Ministries either fully online or in a blended format. E-learning and academic success courses are part of the general education requirements, plus students work with advisers and faculty throughout the program. Also required are portfolio development courses, a senior thesis and 2 practica, which can be done at a local church, with overseas missionaries or in a nonprofit organization near the student's home base. Concentrations are available in biblical studies, ministry and theology, and students also have the option to earn a minor in youth ministry. Depending on career goals, graduates can pursue further education through seminary or divinity school, or work in vocational ministry in positions such as church planters, deacons, missionaries, pastors and nonprofit leaders. Through the Office of Career Planning, students and alumni receive academic and career support, which includes resume workshops, job fairs, professional seminars and etiquette dinners, along with assistance applying to graduate school.

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18 Multnomah University Portland, Oregon $23,120 98% 70% 54% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Multnomah University (MU) offers a 124-credit, 4-year online bachelors' degree in Bible and Theology, which offers concentrations in Biblical studies, theological studies and Biblical Languages. Courses are offered in 8-week blocks, through Canvas and Atheneo Plus. Also available is the KEEN consortium option, which provides asynchronous general education courses with other colleges. The application process for the BA program is straightforward, with basic requirements such as high school or college transcripts along with references. Academic advisers are available throughout the program, plus a variety of other student resources, such as personal and career counseling, which includes alumni support. Graduates of the program have gone on to work in areas such as business, education, bible translation, churches, leadership and nonprofit organizations, and many have pursued further education through graduate school. Through MU's Summit program, qualifying online students can earn the BA degree along with an MDiv (Master of Divinity) in 5 years.

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19 Grace Mission University Fullerton, California $2,640 - 73% 23% 1 No Yes Yes

The BA of Theology program at Grace Mission University (GMU) provides vocational ministry training along with a strong foundation for graduate school, with concentrations in biblical, theological and ministerial studies. The program is open to Christian students who meet the basic college admission requirements and demonstrate specific Christian-related qualities as outlined by the university. Applicants must also provide references from a teacher and a pastor, write an essay, pass the ABHE Bible knowledge test and participate in an oral interview. Once accepted, students can complete the program in 4-6 years, either on-campus or online. After the first 2 years of study, students can choose an area of emphasis for their minors, in areas such as immigrant church family ministry, Christian family counseling and music. To be eligible for graduation, students must have 128 semester credit hours, a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, pass a comprehensive exam and participate in an exit interview.

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20 World Mission University Los Angeles, California $5,520 - - 44% 2 Yes No Yes

World Mission University offers several online theology-related degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies (BABS). This 4-year degree prepares students for graduate work in theology along with ministry-related work within Christian organizations and churches. Graduates must complete 126 semester hours, pass the Bible Comprehensive exam and demonstrate Christian character. The program values field work, with 6 semesters of student ministry and 8 semesters of student chapel required prior to graduation. Online students have the option to attend chapel on-campus or online, and can communicate with instructors via email. For students planning to transfer credits from other colleges, a total of 84 credits can be used towards this degree, plus a thesis can be submitted for 3 credits. Students applying to this program must meet all WMU standard admission requirements, which includes an application fee, testimony, 1 reference, 2 passport-style photos and be of Christian denomination.

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21 Lee University Cleveland, Tennessee $15,170 78% 87% 56% 6 No Yes Yes

Lee University's Department of Theology is committed to providing a holistic view of theology through a combination of coursework in biblical, theological, historical, philosophical and biblical language studies. The flexible and accessible online bachelor's degree in Bible and theology program is designed for students who are working professionals wishing to eventually pursue further studies in theology through either a graduate degree or seminary. Like most bachelor's programs, the degree requires 120 credit hours to graduate, of which 42 are general education requirements, such as humanities, communications, social science, natural science and mathematics. The degree also calls for 18 credits of religion core courses, including Old Testament Survey, New Testament Survey and Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and 36 credits in specialty areas, such as Theology of the Old/New Testament, Systematic Theology and History of Christian Doctrine.

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22 Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville, Tennessee $23,724 97% 72% 52% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Trevecca Nazarene University's educational foundation is rooted in biblical faith and the belief in God's unique plan for every individual. For students who feel called to further their education in theology, Trevecca offers the online Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry program. This degree appeals to anyone interested in expanding the academic foundations of their faith, which could be full-time Christian ministry or a layperson wanting to grow spiritually and religiously. The program calls for the standard undergraduate general education requirements as well as 12 core Christian ministry courses, including Introduction to Christian Ministry, Theology of the Church, Shepherding the Congregation and Leadership in the Christian Organization. At the conclusion of the program, students complete a Christian ministry capstone, which helps students bring all of the theories, skills and elements of personal development together in a cumulative project.

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23 Lancaster Bible College Lancaster, Pennsylvania $20,320 93% 67% 62% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Lancaster Bible College's Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies is an accelerated and accessible program for students wishing to pursue a degree in theology and the Bible while also managing their busy lives with work, home and church. Students can complete the program entirely online if they wish, but also have the option to take courses at multiple locations in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Lancaster, PA, Greenbelt, MD, or Philadelphia, PA, as well as on campus in Memphis, TN. The curriculum is fast-paced, with students completing one 6-week course at a time. Students must complete 120 credit hours to graduate (30 general education credits, 36 core biblical studies core credits and 54 elective credits). Core biblical studies courses include Creation and Covenants, Pastoral Epistles, Wisdom Literature, Christian Narrative and Conversations with Theologians. Graduates go on to find careers as youth pastors, ministry directors, missionaries and chaplains.

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24 Chaminade University of Honolulu Honolulu, Hawaii $23,180 98% 91% 51% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Chaminade University of Honolulu offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies for distance learners. This accelerated program is grounded in Roman Catholic and Marianist philosophy and helps students explore the religions of the world from a cultural perspective. Upon graduation, bachelor's degree students have a strong understanding of Christian traditions, Catholic theology and religion's historical ties to social justice and peace. In addition to completing 36 semester credits of core Christian studies courses, including Christian Ethics; Justice, Development and Human Rights; and Ethics of Leadership, Chaminade students also complete a minor concentration. Minor offerings include Christian Studies and Asian and Pacific Religions and require an additional 18 semester credits. Courses are traditionally 10 weeks in duration. For graduation, students must complete a total of 120 semester credits. Most students complete the bachelor's degree in 4 years or less. Online students have access to 1-on-1 tutoring services for all subject areas and academic advising. Interested students need only to submit their official transcripts and completed application to the Records Office for consideration.

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25 Florida International University Miami, Florida $4,721 44% 50% 60% 1 No Yes Yes

Distance learners can take advantage of Florida International University's online Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. Located in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, this interdisciplinary degree helps students gain a foundational understanding of world religions, their histories and the beliefs of those who practice them. FIU students explore cross-cultural comparisons of religion, war and peace and how religion plays a role in people's lives around the globe. Students need 120 credits to graduate and pay $212.71 (in-state) or $329.77 (out-of-state) per credit. Degree seekers at FIU may choose courses that fit their academic interests from a flexible curriculum. Graduates can pursue further study in master's programs or seek out careers in counseling, business, medicine, law or politics. Incoming freshman must submit their official SAT or ACT scores, official high school transcripts and should have a 2.0 GPA or higher. Transfer students may be able to receive up to 60 credit hours for previously earned college credits. Online students at FIU received one-on-one academic support from success coaches that help them achieve their academic goals and graduate in a timely manner. Additionally, students have access to technical support, tutoring services, financial aid support and various leadership development opportunities.

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26 Maranatha Baptist University Watertown, Wisconsin $13,100 76% 68% 45% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
27 Southeastern Baptist College Laurel, Mississippi $4,700 67% - 33% 1 Yes No Yes School website
28 Grace Christian University Wyoming, Michigan $11,890 61% 81% 40% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
29 Central Christian College of the Bible Moberly, Missouri $7,500 100% 28% 45% 2 No Yes Yes School website
30 Evangel University Springfield, Missouri $20,874 88% 75% 48% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
31 Nazarene Bible College Colorado Springs, Colorado $10,800 - - 50% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
32 Colorado Christian University Lakewood, Colorado $22,360 96% - 41% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
33 Virginia University of Lynchburg Lynchburg, Virginia $7,200 75% - 57% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
34 Hobe Sound Bible College Hobe Sound, Florida $5,600 86% - 67% 1 No No No School website
35 Oral Roberts University Tulsa, Oklahoma $24,750 94% 68% 48% 3 Yes Yes Yes School website
36 Clarks Summit University South Abington Township, Pennsylvania $22,510 79% 43% 51% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
37 Mid-Atlantic Christian University Elizabeth City, North Carolina $13,600 95% 46% 40% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
38 San Diego Christian College Santee, California $20,635 96% 53% 44% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
39 Wayland Baptist University Plainview, Texas $13,800 87% 100% 32% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
40 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, Florida $9,900 56% 59% 49% 5 No No Yes School website
41 Luther Rice College & Seminary Lithonia, Georgia $6,120 75% 76% - 1 No Yes Yes School website
42 Southwestern Assemblies of God University Waxahachie, Texas $18,900 70% 23% 42% 7 Yes Yes Yes School website
43 Davis College Johnson City, New York $15,000 94% 53% 39% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
44 Virginia Baptist College Fredericksburg, Virginia $5,160 17% - - 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
45 Saint Leo University Saint Leo, Florida $20,760 100% 70% 43% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
46 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary New Orleans, Louisiana $6,840 7% - 26% 1 No Yes Yes School website
47 Toccoa Falls College Toccoa Falls, Georgia $20,714 96% 54% 52% 3 No Yes Yes School website
48 University of Valley Forge Phoenixville, Pennsylvania $19,224 97% 79% 48% 2 Yes Yes Yes School website
49 University of Great Falls Great Falls, Montana $21,334 98% 57% 36% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website
50 Belhaven University Jackson, Mississippi $22,726 100% 43% 51% 1 Yes Yes Yes School website

How Much Can You Make in a Theology Career?

Graduates of an online bachelor's degree in theology can enjoy a wide range of careers in church ministry, community service, or counseling. While no degree guarantees graduates a specific career or salary, theology programs include courses in preaching, counseling, and leadership that equip them for certain careers, many of which are growing at an average or above-average pace. New degree holders can expect to see more openings and less competition. While ministry-minded professionals rarely expect a lucrative salary, they must earn enough money to cover expenses and save for the future, and most theology careers pay above-average wages.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +8.2%
Job Description

Clergy serve as senior pastors, teaching pastors, and staff ministers in local congregations. Typically, clergy members hold ordination within their church's supporting denomination. Most clergy members preach sermons, lead ministry initiatives, counsel parishioners, and visit hospitals and jails. Some clergy members hold a specialized job such as youth minister, children's pastor, music minister, or church administrator.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +7.1%
Job Description

Directors of religious activities and education lead the Sunday school program, conduct youth and children's activities, and oversee senior adult programming, usually in a local congregation. Some religious education directors, however, serve in faith-based schools, on college campuses, or in nonprofits devoted to faith and education. They select or write curriculum, train teachers, and evaluate program effectiveness.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +18%
Job Description

Social and community service managers lead public agencies and nonprofits that provide support, relief, and economic development programs to their target communities. Some of these professionals serve neighborhood associations while others work in citywide, statewide, national, or international agencies. Social service managers typically lead teams of program professionals, fundraisers, and financial managers to ensure high-quality programming.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +23.2%
Job Description

Working in outpatient centers, residential facilities, and hospitals, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors provide treatment and support to people affected by chemical addiction and behavioral disorders. These counselors may offer one-on-one or group therapy, conduct evaluations, create treatment plans, and teach clients and their families how to cope with their disorders. A bachelor's degree and a background in religion can provide a great career start for addiction counselors.

JOB GROWTH 2016-2026: +7.7%
Job Description

Other religious workers may serve as chaplains, missionaries, religious broadcasters, or within a religious community. Chaplains provide clergy-type pastoral care and counseling within a structured environment such as a prison, military unit, or corporation. Missionaries perform evangelism, discipleship, and justice ministry in a cross-cultural context. Religious broadcasters serve in radio, TV, publishing, and movies. Monks and nuns continue to recruit members to serve the church from within their orders.

Sources: BLS 2018

Faith-related vocations remain in high demand. Churches need fresh pastors, social organizations seek new leaders, and marketplace ministries require new chaplains. Job growth data demonstrates the overall growth or decline of expected job openings in a given field, meaning it indicates if a student is pursuing a career in a growing field or a shrinking one. Credentials, employers, and location affect job opportunities and salary. Clergy salaries, for example, rank highest in large states such as California, Michigan, Texas, and New York.

What Courses Can be Taken for an Online Theology Degree?

An online bachelor's degree in theology includes coursework in general education and electives along with core classes in theology, biblical studies, and Christian life and thought. Courses emphasize methodical Bible study, research, and writing. Students usually conclude with a practical ministry capstone project or an academic research paper. Most schools require 120 credits to complete a theology program, but specific curriculum requirements vary. The list below forms a sample of courses in an online theology degree.

Introduction to Apologetics

This introductory course covers the basic ideas of apologetics such as the biblical foundations for apologetics, the relationship between reason and faith, and the apologetic method. Students consider topics such as postmodernism, religious pluralism, and atheism.

Principles of Bible Study

This course equips students to study the Bible for themselves through basic principles of reading and interpretation. Students explore Bible study methods including inductive, comparative, and book studies.

Human Nature and Ethics

Learners consider the theological nature of humanity and its effect on how ethics are derived, perceived, and lived. Discussion topics include biotechnology, transhumanism, and stem cell research in a Christian worldview.

Old Testament Theology

This course examines the history, theology, and narrative of the Old Testament in a historical context so that students may draw theological conclusions from the text. Topics include the image of God, redemption, grace, and ethics in the Old Testament.

Archaeology of the Bible

Students learn about archaeological procedures and discuss important archaeological finds that relate to the Bible. Course discussion centers on the role and argument of the skeptic in biblical archaeology.

How to Choose the Best Online Theology Program

Students must consider several factors when choosing the right online theology degree. A school's reputation, accreditation, and curriculum rightly garner much attention. Cost makes up another important factor, and students should be careful not to overlook fees when comparing the price of two or more schools. Finally, applicants must take into account practical considerations such as time requirements and theological alignment before choosing their top educational options.

What concentrations are available in a theology degree?

Students in most online theology degrees can choose from a range of concentrations, including purely academic disciplines and practical ministry fields. Christian theology, ethics, biblical theology, and religious studies serve as examples of academic concentrations. Practical concentrations include intercultural studies, pastoral ministry, or Bible teaching. Some schools maintain a curriculum-wide concentration in areas such as social justice, evangelism, community development, or technology and theology.

Will employers consider an online theology degree credible?

Most Christian organizations, churches, community organizations, and seminaries consider an online bachelor's degree in theology the equivalent of an on-campus degree from the same school. While no one knows for sure what a specific hiring manager thinks, in general, online theology degrees hold stellar reputations. Seminaries look at an applicant's overall academic package, but do not consider if a student earned their degree online or on campus.

How can I complete internships for a bachelor's in theology if I am studying from home?

Some online theology degrees require an internship. Usually, students who learn in a traditional, on-campus program serve their internships during the summer. They may assist a pastor, youth minister, missionary, or community ministry director for several weeks. Online students can complete internships during the year at an approved location near their homes.

Does a bachelor's in theology qualify me for ordination as a pastor?

This depends. Schools do not issue ordination papers. Denominations issue these papers to demonstrate that their organization stands behind the Christian ministry of the ordained person. In many mainline denominations and historic faiths, ordination requires a master of divinity. Other denominations may accept a bachelor's degree in theology in lieu of a master's degree. In almost all denominations, however, ordination takes many years to achieve and requires education, interviews, and practical ministry experience.

What kind of accreditation must an online theology program have?

Regional accreditation remains the gold standard for any college or university. The regional associations provide institution-wide accreditation. Some Bible colleges hold regional accreditation, and many more maintain accreditation with the Association of Biblical Higher Education. A few Christian schools hold accreditation with the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. A university may hold accreditation with one or more of these associations.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Theology Programs

Earning a bachelor's in theology is a rewarding, though costly experience. Fortunately, federal, state, private, and denominational donors can help fund a student who plans to pursue Christian ministry. Grants and scholarships are the best financial aid options because they do not have to be paid back. Individual colleges and universities typically make scholarships available, as do national foundations. Students seeking ordination in a particular denomination should contact their denominational headquarters to inquire about financial aid options.

Champions for Christ

The Champions for Christ Foundation helps support the education of students planning to go into full-time Christian service. Applicants must submit their official transcripts along with an online application. The application window opens and closes the semester prior to the one in which applicants seek funding. Champions for Christ has existed for 27 years and maintains its headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina. The organization welcomes applications from students across the country.

Journey Toward Ordained Ministry Scholarship

The General Board of Higher Education and ministry of the United Methodist Church (UMC) provide this $5,000 scholarship to students who have been members of a local UMC for at least two years, are pursuing a degree relevant to Christian ministry, and are a racial/ethnic minority age 30 or under, among other criteria. The program includes a mentoring component with a seasoned UMC minister. Students must maintain a 2.85 GPA or higher.

Mary E. Bivins Religious Scholarship Program

The Mary E. Bivins Foundation offers a $2,500-per-semester scholarship to undergraduate students pursuing an education at an accredited school leading to vocational preaching ministry in a Christian church. Applicants must be permanent residents of the northernmost 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle. Recipients must maintain a GPA of 2.75 or above and complete 24 or more academic credits per year. Students may use the scholarship money for tuition, books, fees, or other expenses.

SC Baptist Convention Church Related Vocational Scholarship

The South Carolina Baptist Convention (SCBC) offers the Church Related Vocational Scholarship to qualified applicants who are pursuing undergraduate degrees to prepare for full-time Christian service. Students must complete the online application and attach a church recommendation form, which must show the church's name, address, and pastor's name. The scholarship deadline is usually mid-March. The SCBC also offers the Richard Furman Scholarship for graduate and seminary students planning to seek careers in church-related ministry.

WMU Foundation Scholarships

The WMU Foundation supports Baptist students, especially the children of Baptist missionaries and those planning careers in Baptist ministry. Prospective students must submit an application by the February 1 deadline, including two references, one of which must be from a local WMU leader and the other from an academic source such as a teacher or professor. The WMU oversees numerous scholarships and endowments, but applicants do not have to name the scholarship they are applying to receive. The committee directs applications to the appropriate scholarship fund.