Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Theology 2021

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Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Theology Badge

Online theology programs engage enrollees in academic explorations of religious texts, religious practice, and ministry. United States online theology programs often align with specific Christian traditions and serve students seeking ministry and church administration careers within particular denominations. However, some theology schools online offer a more general, nondenominational approach. A few online theological schools focus on Islamic or Judaic traditions.

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Theology online degree graduates often work as clergy, church administrators, religious educators, or social and community service managers. Graduates with additional training in psychology or counseling often choose careers as mental health counselors or marriage and family therapists. Degree-holders usually work for churches, community organizations, or church-affiliated schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that clergy earn a mean annual salary of $55,190 and enjoy a projected 4% job growth rate between 2019-2029.

Getting into a theology online program usually requires a high school diploma or associates in theology and a minimum 2.0-3.0 GPA. Many good colleges and universities seek applicants with above-average SAT or ACT scores. Some theology schools online require satisfactory prerequisite coursework and recommendation letters for acceptance into the major.

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Top Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Theology

FAQ


  • What is the difference between theology and religious studies?

    Theology programs typically examine religion through the lens of faith. Meanwhile, religious studies programs analyze religion through sociological and cultural lenses.


  • Can you study theology online?

    Many theology schools offer online learning options. Online programs accommodate working students’ schedules by permitting asynchronous attendance and participation.


  • What jobs does theology lead to?

    Theology online degrees often support careers in teaching, counseling, ministry, and church administration.


  • How long does it take to get a theology degree?

    Bachelor’s degrees typically require four years of full-time attendance to complete. However, many online theology programs offer accelerated timelines. Students with transferable credits usually finish their degrees sooner.


Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Theology 2021



  1. The Baptist College of Florida
    Location

    Graceville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Baptist College of Florida offers an online bachelor of arts in biblical studies for students who aspire to ministry positions or want to pursue graduate study in biblical literature. The program delivers all coursework entirely online in an asynchronous format.

    BCF's theology bachelor's degree takes four years to complete. The 120-credit curriculum includes a three-credit student success course, 33 general education credits, 12 biblical and theological foundation credits, six credits of general electives, and 66 major credits. Major courses include biblical backgrounds, biblical hermeneutics, the doctrine of creation, and Old Testament theology.

    Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities.

    BCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
    Location

    Standish, ME

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Joseph's College of Maine offers an online bachelor of arts in theological studies grounded in Roman Catholic theology and ministry. The program prepares students to serve the needs of the Catholic community. Graduates can pursue pastoral ministry or further study in theology. SJC also provides a fast-track option to its master of arts in theology or master of divinity programs.

    SJC's online bachelor's degree in theology requires 128 credits, including 42 general education credits, 24 major core credits, and 15 theological studies elective credits, among other coursework. Core courses include Catholic doctrine and theology, foundations of Catholic spirituality, introduction to Catholic social teaching, and theology of the body.

    Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. ACT or SAT scores are required for homeschooled students and recommended for all other applicants.

    SJC is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

  3. Lincoln Christian University
    Location

    Lincoln, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Lincoln Christian University offers an online bachelor of arts in Christian ministry for students who want to work in vocational ministry positions, such as associate pastor, administrative pastor, or small groups leader. This program prepares students to deliver a sermon, teach a Sunday school class, and develop a personal philosophy of ministry.

    LCU's BA in Christian ministry provides students with an understanding of ministry contexts, including the pulpit, classroom, and mission fields. Core courses include foundations of Christian ministry, church administration, pastoral care, and global cultural intelligence.

    Applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. The application also requires a written essay and a Christian character reference. The Christian character reference form should be completed by someone who is a leader at a Christian church or organization with a close relationship to the applicant.

    LCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  4. DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    DeSales University offers an online bachelor's degree in theology grounded in the tradition of Christian humanism. The program provides students with a deeper understanding of the Catholic Church's spiritual and ethical tradition. Graduates qualify for pastoral positions and further graduate study in ministry. The university's theology program is available in an accelerated online format.

    DeSales' bachelor's degree in theology requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. Core courses include Catholic theology, the Old Testament, the church, Jesus Christ, and faith and reason. DeSales accepts up to 75 transfer credits for previous coursework or prior learning assessments. All students must complete at least 15 courses (45 credits) through DeSales.

    Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. Transfer students must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities.

    DeSales is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

  5. St. Thomas University
    Location

    Miami Gardens, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Saint Thomas University offers an online bachelor of arts in religious studies that prepares students for leadership positions in religious institutions or further graduate education. The program serves learners who already have an associate degree and want to complete a bachelor's degree in religious studies.

    Core courses include Catholicism, world religions, surveys of the New Testament, and Christian moral decision-making. Program professors have degrees in theology, practical theology, and ministerial studies. Freshman applicants must have a high school or GED diploma, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and a 960 SAT or 18 ACT score. Transfer applicants must have completed some college-level coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    STU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Palm Beach Atlantic University
    Location

    West Palm Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Palm Beach Atlantic University offers an online bachelor of arts in Christian studies for learners who aspire to provide Christian discipleship and service. Courses are available entirely online or on campus in the evenings to accommodate working professionals.

    PBA's BA in Christian studies requires 120 credits, including 45 general education credits, three technology credits, 18 major core credits, 27 major elective credits, and 27 elective credits. Core courses include spiritual foundations, principles of Christian leadership, exploring the Old Testament, and exploring the New Testament.

    Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must submit all previous college-level transcripts. PBA accepts up to 67 transfer credits from two-year colleges and up to 88 transfer credits from four-year colleges and universities.

    PBA is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. Montreat College
    Location

    Montreat, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Montreat College offers an online bachelor of science in Bible and religion that prepares students for careers in ministry. This program adheres to the Billy Graham Evalgelistic Association's training curriculum.

    The program requires 120 credits and takes four years to complete. The curriculum consists of 53 general education credits, 40 major core credits, 12 general elective credits, and 23 major elective credits. Core courses include Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, Christian doctrine, biblical interpretation, and biblical preaching and communication.

    Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. Freshman applicants with less than 12 credits of college coursework must submit their high school transcripts. Transfer applicants must submit transcripts from all previously attended colleges or universities. All transfer applicants must have a minimum 2.0 GPA. All students must complete at least 32 credits through Montreat College.

    Montreat College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Calvary University
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Calvary University offers an online bachelor of science in Bible and theology for students interested in cultivating a deeper understanding of biblical studies and Christian ministry. The university also provides a five-year bachelor's-to-master's program in either pastoral ministry or divinity.

    Calvary's theology program requires 126 credits, including 30 biblical education credits, 36 general education credits, 60 major credits. Major courses include advanced hermeneutics, teaching the Bible, ethics, apologetics, and contemporary theology.

    Applicants must have a high school or GED diploma. Freshman applicants must submit high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must submit transcripts for all previous college-level coursework. All prospective students must submit two pastoral references from religious and educational leaders in their community. Military members and their dependents receive a tuition discount.

    Calvary is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Warner University
    Location

    Lake Wales, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Warner University offers an online bachelor of science in Christian ministry for learners currently serving in ministry positions who wish to start or finish a bachelor's degree. This program prepares graduates for Christian ministry in local churches, nonprofit outreach, and community-based ministry.

    WU's ministry degree requires 36 major credits in Church ministry, including courses like perspective in Christian missions, communicating the gospel, pastoral care, and congregational leadership and polity.

    Freshman applicants must have graduated from high school in the upper half of their graduating class, have a minimum 2.25 GPA, and earn a minimum composite score of 18 on the ACT or 940 on the SAT. Transfer applicants must have completed 24 credits of college-level coursework with a minimum 2.0 GPA.

    WU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. Oral Roberts University
    Location

    Tulsa, OK

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Oral Roberts University offers an online bachelor of arts in historical and philosophical theology that prepares students to become professionals in ministry organizations, serving in positions such as church staff, ministry worker, or apologetics instructor. This program is available entirely online, and courses take place over accelerated seven-week terms.

    ORU's theology degree requires 124 credits and takes 3.5 years to complete. Core courses include systematic theology, history of Christianity in America, introduction to philosophy, philosophy of religion, and Christian apologetics. Students must also complete an intercultural field experience and a senior paper.

    Freshman applicants must submit their high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants must have completed 15 or more college-level credits and submit all transcripts from previous colleges and universities. Military students receive a tuition discount.

    ORU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

What Are the Goals of a Theology Degree?

Aspiring theology students choose from bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of theology (B.Th., BTheol, or Th.B.) degrees focused on theology or biblical studies. Often more vocation-focused, B.Th. programs usually emphasize field experiences within specific faith traditions. Less likely to require professions of faith, BA in theology programs often prioritize academic study and entail more general coursework.

Theology online degrees often include courses in principles of ministry, sacred texts, and theological history. Many programs encourage specialization in fields such as youth ministry, pastoral counseling, and army or hospital chaplaincy.

Why Get a Degree in Theology?



Online theology programs facilitate valuable experiences and skills for aspiring community and church leaders. Personal and professional benefits include the following:

Educated and Strengthened Faith
For those who approach theology with religious conviction, theology online degrees challenge, inform, and strengthen enrollees’ faith in God. Theology students gain confidence in their ability to articulate and discuss their faith intelligently.
Public Speaking Skills
Many online theology programs emphasize public speaking skills in preparation for preaching. These skills translate well to various career and personal contexts.
Leadership Skills
Online theology programs also cultivate valuable leadership skills. Depending on program focus and concentration, students often learn how to lead congregations, manage church employees, or direct educational activities.
Service-Oriented Career Preparation
Theology online degrees typically prepare graduates for rewarding careers serving various populations, including church congregations, students, or social work recipients.
Internship Experience
Many online theology programs require an internship, practicum, or co-op experience. These experiences offer hands-on learning and mentorship in real-world contexts.

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What Are the Requirements for a Theology Degree?

Most colleges and universities require freshmen applicants to submit standardized test scores, official transcripts, and essays. To enter theology programs, candidates often complete prerequisite courses and submit recommendation letters. Some programs require declarations of faith that align with the school’s theology. The best online theology degrees look for candidates with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Bachelor’s programs require about 120 credits, but students with transferable associate degrees sometimes need to complete as few as 60 credits to earn their bachelor’s degree in theology. Many programs offer field experiences or internships tailored to the enrollee’s interests, career aspirations, or current career. The best online theology degrees usually require a capstone thesis or project.

Professional Organizations for Theology Students



Theology-related professional organizations vary widely in focus, function, and membership audience. However, the three professional organizations below support theology students and professionals by providing networking events, education, and current research. Many professional organizations offer discounted memberships, local chapters, and scholarships for students.


  • Christian Community Development Association The Christian Community Development Association works toward the reclamation and restoration of under-resourced communities. CCDA runs several justice initiatives related to immigration, mass incarceration, and education equity. The organization also provides conferences, training, and networking for Christian activists.

  • American Academy of Religion A professional association of religious studies professors and researchers, the AAR promotes the academic study of religion. Founded in 1909, the Academy today serves more than 8,000 members globally. Members enjoy benefits including access to news, career resources, and networking opportunities.

  • Christians for Biblical Equality An international nonprofit, CBE International produces events, publications, and networking tools that promote equality in Christian leadership and service. CBE International publications include a blog, a magazine, and an academic journal. Networking tools include job and internship postings, volunteer opportunities, and a member directory.

Scholarships for Theology Students

Like many other learners, online theology students qualify for scholarships based on major, academic merit, and background. Scholarships go toward educational expenses and do not require repayment. See below for three scholarships available to qualifying bachelor’s in theology students.

Hub Foundation Scholarship Program


Who Can Apply: The Hub Foundation Scholarship Program offers up to 15 scholarships annually to undergraduate or graduate program enrollees studying Islamic, religious, Asian, or African studies at accredited U.S. schools. Eligible applicants hold community service records and a minimum 3.5 GPA. Application requirements include a curriculum vita, a writing sample, two recommendation letters, and an academic plan.
Amount: $2,500-$20,000

Mary E. Bivins Foundation Scholarship


Who Can Apply: The Mary E. Bivins Foundation Scholarship invites applications from junior- or senior-level undergraduates planning on pulpit preaching careers. Applicants must take 24 credits or more annually at accredited theological schools. Aspiring pastors, ministers, and counselors may also apply, although applicants planning to preach receive precedence. Eligible candidates live on the northern Texas panhandle, hold U.S. citizenship, and maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA.
Amount: $5,000

Bethesda Auxiliary Scholarship


Who Can Apply: The Bethesda Auxiliary Scholarship awards 10 scholarships to Lutheran upperclassmen and first- or second-year seminarians. Eligible undergraduate recipients actively participate in a Lutheran Church, attend an accredited school, and demonstrate career interest in intellectual or developmental disability fields. Eligible recipients hold a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $3,000

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