Online Theology Degrees 2021

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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.

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

Rank School Location
1 Moody Bible Institute Chicago, IL
2 University of Northwestern-St Paul Saint Paul, MN
3 Anderson University Anderson, SC
4 Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach, FL
5 Oral Roberts University Tulsa, OK
6 Franciscan University of Steubenville Steubenville, OH
7 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City, KS
8 Concordia University-Wisconsin Mequon, WI
9 Johnson University Knoxville, TN
10 Southwestern Adventist University Keene, TX

Common Questions to Ask About a Bachelor's in Theology

  • 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

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. Moody Bible Institute

    Chicago, IL

    Located in Chicago, Illinois, Moody offers an online bachelor of science in theological studies. Students complete 120 credits and develop an understanding of their faith and purpose from a Christian perspective.

    In addition to general education requirements and electives, students take courses in the story and structure of the Bible, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and biblical studies methods. Students choose from two concentrations: Christian thought or spiritual formation. Students spend the final two years of the program focused on concentration-specific courses. Notable options include a survey of historical theology and communities and spiritual formation, respectively.

    Applicants must demonstrate a Christian belief and possess an active membership in a Protestant church for at least one year before applying for the program. Students must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school also requires students to submit SAT or ACT scores.

    Moody is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  2. University of Northwestern-St Paul

    Saint Paul, MN

    Located in Roseville, Minnesota, UNW offers an online bachelor of arts in biblical and theological studies. The program consists of 125 credits and provides meaningful training in theology, missions, and biblical languages.

    Notable courses include elementary and intermediate Greek, second temple Judaism, biblical customs and geography, and theological methods. Students may add optional minors in philosophy or ancient languages. The school offers the opportunity to study abroad in Israel, and students may opt to enter the accelerated master's program. The school allows students to overlap credits and graduate with both a bachelor's and master's degree in just 147 credits.

    The school does not require a statement of faith to apply to the school or program. Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school does not require students to submit SAT or ACT scores. UNW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  3. Anderson University

    Anderson, SC

    A private university located in Anderson, South Carolina, AU offers an online bachelor of Christian studies. Students complete the 120-credit program in convenient eight-week terms and can transfer previous credits into the program to graduate faster.

    The program includes required general education core and electives, as well as major courses. Students take core courses such as foundations for ministry, systematic theology, history of Christianity, and evangelism and church health. Notable elective choices include Hebrew poetry and wisdom literature, pastoral epistles and revelation, and the psychology of religion.

    The school offers rolling admissions. Applicants may choose to send in SAT or ACT scores or may waive the standardized test requirement by submitting two prompted essays. AU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. Palm Beach Atlantic University

    West Palm Beach, FL

    A Christian liberal arts university located in West Palm Beach, Florida, PBA offers an online bachelor of arts in Christian studies. Students can deepen their understanding of Christian thought through this nontraditional 120-credit track.

    Students complete general education and elective courses through the School of Leadership before moving to major-specific courses. Notable choices for major courses include spiritual formation, introduction to Christian thought, principles of Christian leadership, and exploring the Old Testament and New Testament. Electives allow students to explore specific books and writers of the Bible and focus on ministry areas relevant to their careers.

    The school notifies students of an admission decision within two weeks of receiving a completed application. Students need a grade of "C" or better in all previous coursework. The school also prefers online applicants to possess prior work experience.

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

  5. Oral Roberts University

    Tulsa, OK

    Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ORU offers an online bachelor of arts in historical and philosophical theology. Students complete 124 credits in convenient seven-week terms to prepare for ministry-related careers. Students can complete the program in as few as 36 months.

    The program includes required general education courses in addition to the major requirements. Notable options include philosophy of religion, major religions of the world, Christian apologetics, and philosophy and theology in modern culture. Students may opt in to an intercultural field experience to explore theology outside the classroom. Students gain an understanding of spiritual leadership and ministry principles.

    First-year applicants must submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores to qualify for admission. The school does not require a statement of faith or membership in a church to apply. ORU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  6. Franciscan University of Steubenville

    Steubenville, OH

    A private, Franciscan Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio, Franciscan offers an online bachelor of arts in theology. The program explores the mysteries of God through the Catholic faith and tradition.

    Students take courses such as foundations of Catholicism, Christian moral principles, and the theology of the church. Students choose electives based on interest with the advisement of faculty. Motivated students may apply for the combined bachelor's and master's degree, allowing them to complete both in the same online format in just five years.

    Applicants do not need to supply a statement of faith, but the school encourages students to adhere to Catholic ideals. Applicants must send SAT or ACT scores unless they possess more than 24 eligible transfer credits from an accredited institution.

    Franciscan is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  7. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

    Kansas City, KS

    Based in Kansas City, Missouri, MBTS offers an online bachelor of arts in Christian ministrythrough its undergraduate college: Spurgeon College.

    The 120-credit program includes general education and elective courses, as well as ministry-related courses. Students begin the major courses with a biblical core, including an introduction to hermeneutics, an introduction to ethics, and personal evangelism and discipleship. Christian ministry courses include an introduction to student ministry, interpersonal counseling and conflict management, pastoral care and ministry, and an introduction to church planting and church growth.

    The undergraduate school requires students to possess a high school diploma with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores. All applicants must provide both a church endorsement for ministry studies and a pastor's recommendation to show a commitment to Christian ministry.

    MBTS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  8. Concordia University-Wisconsin

    Mequon, WI

    Based in Mequon, CUW offers an online bachelor of arts in theology. The 126-credit program aims to train the next generation of Lutheran educators and ministry leaders.

    Students take theology-related courses such as Old Testament, Lutheran confessions, a survey of Christian theology, and communicating Bible messages. Students choose courses from several tracks, including religious education, church worker studies, and theology and philosophy. An internship requirement allows students to receive hands-on training and mentoring from those already working in the field. All students in the program gain a thorough understanding of Lutheran philosophy and traditions.

    Applicants must possess a high school diploma with a minimum of GPA of 3.0 to apply as a test-optional student. Students not meeting the GPA requirement must submit standardized test scores. The school does not require a statement of faith or church membership to apply for the program.

    CUW is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  9. Johnson University

    Knoxville, TN

    Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, JUTN offers a bachelor of science in ministry leadership. Students receive training for leading and nurturing churches in education, leadership, and ministry capacities. Students may also pursue a bachelor of arts but must complete the degree's language requirements in person.

    The 120-credit program includes topics in biblical interpretation, advanced biblical teaching and preaching, pastoral counseling, and leading effective churches. Students must also complete an internship in ministry at an approved location to receive hands-on training and mentorship from Christian leaders already working in the field. The program also requires general education and elective courses outlined by Tennessee.

    Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for admission. The school does not specify a minimum GPA requirement. The school also requires students to submit standardized test scores to complete the application.

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

  10. Southwestern Adventist University

    Keene, TX

    Located in Keene, Texas, Southwestern offers an online bachelor of arts in theology. Students complete the 120-credit program without any on-campus requirements and gain training and experience for pastoral ministry.

    Students take general education courses and electives as well as ministry-related courses. Notable options include the life and teachings of Jesus, the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, personal evangelistic ministry, and biblical conflict resolution. Students also take electives such as accounting principles, ancient cultures, and philosophy of Christian education to gain a well-rounded understanding of what it means to run a ministry.

    Applicants must hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent with a minimum GPA of 2.75 for regular admission or a minimum GPA of 2.5 for conditional admission. Applicants do not need to submit standardized test scores.

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

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.

Online Guide to Accredited Colleges and Universities

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

    Explore Here

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