When most people think of a degree in theology or religion, the mind automatically goes to one who is looking to make their living within the walls of a church as a priest, pastor, minister, or member of the clergy. While this is one of the options students have when they obtain theology degrees, it is far from their only avenue of employment.
Becoming a teacher is another way graduates can utilize a degree in theology. Students may be able to become a teacher of theology classes in a private religious school, whether it be elementary, middle, or high school level. Even still, those with a Master’s Degree in Theology may find themselves not leaving college, but finding a job as an instructor for courses like Religion, Christian Education, and even Philosophy.
Becoming a professional writer or journalist is another avenue for those with a degree in theology or religion. While students may not feel up to the task of writing the next great religious novel, there are many religious publications to write for. Students may not find themselves on the staff at Christianity Today right away, but there are certainly plenty of places to submit a resume.
Helping to make the world better for others is another way theology degree holders can find employment. Many courses taken while obtaining theology degrees emphasize helping other and being compassionate, which are excellent qualities for those who are social workers. Some others may turn to charity work and become organizers for fundraisers. Others may become volunteer recruiters for non-profit organizations.
Using facts, statistics and information found at CollegeData, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and Niche as well as individual school websites, online colleges were first considered eligible to be ranked by their price, and all are under $35,000 Annual Cost for Residents. However, it should be noted that many private schools charge the same or similar amounts for non-resident students. Schools in this ranking also have to have online courses in religion, bible, or theology.
The ranking formula used for the remaining schools used the Niche grades in a numeric formula whereas A+=100, A=90, A-=80, B+=70 and so on. Niche grades for overall school performance were added to niche grades for academics and then added to the NCES overall graduation rate as a whole number (dropping the %). For example, a 46% overall graduation rate would be represented with a 46 in the mathematical ranking formula. From that product, the number of students per faculty member was subtracted, so that those with a smaller ratio would retain more value.
Founded in 1917 by Quakers in Haviland, Kansas and first known as Kansas Central Bible Training School, then later renamed Friends Bible College, Barclay College welcomes students from all evangelical faiths. The college strives for excellence in academics and aims to provide spiritual growth for students.
Tradition and technology come together to create the online learning programs at Barclay College. Certificate programs are offered in Biblical Studies, Christian Ministry Leadership, Business Management or Psychology. Bachelor degree programs can be found online in the same areas of study as mentioned previously for the certificate programs. Barclay College also offers an associate degree program in General Studies.
Grace Theological Seminary was established in 1937 by Alva J. McClain who served as president of the institution until 1962. A two-year degree college was added in 1948 and later the school transitioned into a four-year Liberal Arts college. Today, Grace College & Theological Seminary upholds a standard of excellence in higher education and inspirational guidance.
Grace College offers several programs online for their students. Bachelor of Science degrees are available in three areas of study, Human Services, Management, and Business Administration. Masters programs are also available online through Grace. Students can earn a Master of Arts in Ministry Studies or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. A Master of Business Administration is also available online. Those seeking Master of Science degrees have two choices available to them, Nonprofit Management or Higher Education.
In 1950, Appalachian Bible College was founded as a bible training institute for the youth of Pettus, West Virginia and surrounding areas. In 1956 the growing school moved to a 95-acre tract of land in Bradley, West Virginia. In 1978, the name officially changed to Appalachian Bible College to reflect the growth to a 4-year degree granting school.
ABC Connect is the online school for Appalachian Bible College. It is designed for people who are considering attending ABC, dual enrollment for high school students, or for people who wish to gain more insight and focus on the word of God. There are currently 15 online courses available on the course schedule, such as Bible Study Methods, Ministries for Women, Life of Christ/Christology, Practical Christian Service, and more. Students may also enroll to earn a 1 year Bible Certificate online through ABC Connect.
Founded by Dr. B. Myron Cedarholm and his wife Thelma in 1968 and named Maranatha for the Aramaic phrase which means, “Lo, He cometh”, Maranatha Baptist University is a small Christian university in Watertown, Wisconsin. The school began with 173 students, and MBU continues to grow, expand, and educate and now has an enrollment of over 1000 students.
Maranatha Baptist University offers students an array of online courses. For undergraduates looking to major in Bible/Ministry, they can choose from a certificate, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree. MBU also offers both associate and bachelor’s degree in Business Management. There are four other associate degrees available online and bachelor’s degrees are also offered in Interdisciplinary Studies and Educational Studies. Seminary programs offered at Maranatha Baptist University include an online master’s degree program in English Bible.
Originally named the Golden Valley Institute upon its founding in 1907 and located in North Carolina, it wasn’t until 1911 that Toccoa Falls College moved to Georgia in order to be near a railroad. The Toccoa Falls itself is located on the campus property and with a vertical drop of 186 feet it is an impressive natural landmark.
Online programs offered by Toccoa Falls College are for undergraduates. There are certificate programs available in Biblical Studies or Cross-Cultural Studies. Students can also earn associate degrees in General Studies, Criminal Justice, or Business Administration. There are 9 different bachelor degrees offered online at TFC in the following areas of study: General Studies, Biblical Studies, Ministry Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Youth Ministries, Counseling Psychology, Non-profit Business Administration, Business Administration, and Sport Management.
Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee opened doors to its first class in fall of 1908 under the name of National Teachers’ Normal and Business College. The school was renamed Freed-Hardeman College in honor of its founders in 1919. Much later in 1990 the school officially became a university.
While bachelor degrees are available at Freed-Hardeman University, it is the graduate degrees through Memphis which are offered online that is most related to theology. The Graduate School of Theology has an online presence and offers the following degrees: M.A. in Old Testament, M.A. in New Testament, M.A. in Ministry, M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, and a Master of Divinity. All courses are available through web conferencing and are broadcast so that online and traditional are held simultaneously as well as recorded for later viewing. The Blackboard system is used for communication between instructors and distance students.
In 1959 the University of Mary was founded in Bismarck, North Dakota and today is the only private Catholic university in its home state. Within six months of graduation, 96% of those who attend UMary are either gainfully employed or pursuing graduate degrees.
The University of Mary offers online students a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. While none of the majors presented are Theology, a minor in Catholic Studies is available to all undergraduates. Majors that are available are Nursing, Healthcare Administration, Psychology, Criminal Justice, Information Technology Management, Accounting, Business Administration, and Business Management. A bachelor in University Studies is also available to undergrads. Masters programs at UMary include, but are not limited to, Business, Business Administration, Public Administration, and Project Management, these are all available with a concentration in Virtuous Leadership.
Originally founded in Johnson City, New York in 1932, Clarks Summit University did not move to Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania until 1968. Now the university is tucked in the foothills of the Endless Mountains and thrives as both a traditional and online Christian university.
Clarks Summit University offers students both graduate and undergraduate degrees through their online program. Undergraduate degrees include a degree completion program, both associate and bachelor’s degrees in Intercultural Studies, a B.S. in Christian Ministries, or a B.S. in Counseling and Counseling Ministries. They also offer a one-year Bible Certificate. Master of Arts can be earned online in the following concentrations: Bible, Counseling, Literature, and Organizational Leadership (in partnership with Pilgrimage Educational Resources). Also offered online are a Master of Education degree, Master of Science in Counseling, and Master of Arts in Literature.
Tigerville, South Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is home to North Greenville University. Founded in 1892 as North Greenville High School, the Christian university has gone by several other names as it grew, changed, and developed into the four year institute it is today.
The online program at North Greenville University offers undergraduate students a small variety of majors, including Christian Ministries. Also available are General Studies, Elementary Educational Studies, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Business Administration. The programs, both online and traditional, offered at NGU have been recognized for excellence and quality a number of times in online publications and rankings.
The merger of Midwest BIble College and Kansas City Bible College in 1961 formed Calvary University. The Citadel Bible College also merged with Calvary University in 1987. Today the university helps more than 300 students find their professional calling, religious or otherwise, while offering a faith-filled and positive atmosphere for learning.
There are a number of degree programs available at Calvary University with courses that are either partially online and some completely online. To find out more about particular courses, the calendar and schedule on their website has color coded lists for students to learn more about how their courses will be taught, or contact Calvary University.
There are a large number of undergraduate degrees available, which include, but are not limited to, Advanced Biblical Studies, Children’s Ministry, Biblical Counseling, Pastoral Ministry, Music: Worship Arts/voice, and Youth Ministry. Bachelor degrees include a major in Bible & theology as well as a chosen professional major. There are three master’s degree programs offered through the seminary school and they are M.A. in Bible and Theology, M.A. in Biblical Counseling, or Master of Divinity.
With more than 5,000 students enrolled today, Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small Bible institute with 12 students. While Lee University is still in touch with its religious roots, it is obvious that the school has grown and changed with times and technologies. The online distance learning provided through Lee University is proof positive that change can be good.
Lee University has several distance learning programs offered for adult or non-traditional students. Certificate programs are offered for students who are not pursuing a degree, yet wish to learn more about a particular subject, such as Bible, Christian Education, Christian Leadership, Pastoral Studies, and Intercultural Studies. Bachelor degree programs are available online in Bible and Theology, Christian Studies, Ministry Leadership, and Liberal Studies. Students can also earn a M.A. in Ministry Studies, a M.S. in Marriage and Family Studies, or a MBA online through Lee University.
Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
The Omaha Bible Institute was founded in 1921 in Omaha, Nebraska in order to teach men and women on the Bible, theology, and ministry. With later changes in size and leadership the school became renamed Omaha Baptist Bible Institute, and later Omaha Baptist Bible College. When it was relocated to Ankeny, Iowa in 1967, the name then changed to Faith Baptist Bible College. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the seminary was added.
Online college courses offered at Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary can begin to be taken as early as the summer before a student’s junior year in high school with their Jump Start program. Upcoming Fall and Spring courses include Introduction to Bible Study, Old Testament Survey I & II, and New Testament Survey. These same courses can also be taken as non-degree courses for people who wish to learn more about the Bible but are not enrolled full-time at Faith, including Sunday school teachers, deacons, youth group leaders, or any others who wish to enrich their lives with the word of God. Students can also take hybrid master’s degree programs for M.A. in Biblical Studies, M.A. in Theological Studies, and a Master of Arts in Religion.
In 1944, Lincoln Christian University was founded as a Bible institute in Lincoln, Illinois. Originally built in order to prepare and educate preachers, teachers, and other Christian workers for their service in churches, LCU now strives for excellence in Christian higher education as it prepares students for their future professions while supporting them in their faith.
Students who wish to attend Lincoln Christian University online have seven different degree programs to choose from. There is an Associate of Arts in Bible, and those interested in a Bachelor of Arts degree program can choose from Christian Ministry, Psychology, and Business Administration. Master’s degree programs are in Bible & Theology, Organizational Leadership, or Intercultural Studies.
Founded in 1893. Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee is a small private Christian university with over 700 students. Johnson has a history of being innovative in reaching its students. As early as 1886 Johnson began enrolling students in a Correspondence Bible College. Today, the university remains innovative with its online campus.
Johnson University Online offers two undergraduate certificate programs in Christian Ministries and Intercultural Studies. Bachelor degree programs offered online are Pastoral Care and Counseling, Ministry Leadership, Intercultural Studies, Nonprofit Administration, and Business Administration. Graduate students are offered programs for master’s degrees in New Testament, Intercultural Studies, and Business Administration. There are several graduate certificates available to choose from as well as a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies.
Jackson, Mississippi is home to the Christian college Belhaven University which was founded in 1883. The science curriculum at Belhaven has been recognized by the White House STEM Initiative, making one of only two Christian universities with that distinction. The university is also one of the mere 36 universities nationally accredited in each of the four major arts.
Belhaven University proves to be advancing with technology with its accomplishments, as well as the online programs available. Among the certificate programs available online, Belhaven offers a certificate in Biblical Studies. Associate degree programs available are Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies, and Associate of Arts in Business. There are a number of bachelor degree programs available which include a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. Also offered are Interdisciplinary Studies, Applied Psychology, Management, Nursing (RN to BSN), Health Administration, Business Administration, and Accounting. There is also a large number of programs for master’s degrees offered.
Grace Bible College got its start when Milwaukee Bible Institute was founded in 1939 as an educational facility for laymen and Sunday school teachers. The school grew and by 1953 the name was changed to Milwaukee Bible College to better match their curriculum. It wasn’t until 1961 that the name was changed to Grace Bible College when the school relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Students are offered online courses at Grace Bible College alongside their adult programs. GBC offers two bachelor’s degrees, one is a Bachelor of Science in Leadership & Ministry, and the other is a Bachelor of Science in Business. Core classes for both include Life of Christ, Marketplace Ministry, Knowing God, and Biblical Theology of Leadership.
Founded in 1923 as Columbia Bible School, Columbia International University is a private Christian University located along the Broad River in Columbia, South Carolina. The school motto is “To Know Him and to Make Him Known”. CIU strives to prepare students not only for ministry and missionary, but also other professional careers.
There are several master’s degree programs available online at Columbia International University. Those who are seeking a Master of Arts can choose from Theological Studies, Bible Exposition, Muslim Studies, and Intercultural Studies. A Master of Education is offered to students with a concentration in either Instruction & Learning or Educational Administration. For those who would want a Master of Divinity, concentrations include Ministry Studies, Bible Exposition, Muslim Studies, and Global Studies.
FLancaster, Pennsylvania is home to Lancaster Bible College. Founded in 1933, it serves as a small, private school for Christian students. At LBC they strive to provide a caring and technologically advanced learning environment for their students and help them to find and cultivate their God-given talents.
At present there are a handful of online courses and are accelerated undergraduate programs designed for adults with busy schedules, yet are fast paced. There is a Concentrated Bible Course offered which is a certificate program for those who would like to learn more about bible studies and theology but are most likely not working toward having a career in Christian ministry. Both associate and bachelor’s degree programs in Biblical Studies are available for students online. Also offered is a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Moody Bible Institute, originally known as the Chicago Evangelization Society, was founded in 1886 in Chicago, Illinois by D.L. Moody. Later, in 1901 the Moody Correspondence School began for students who were unable to physically attend the school which later became Moody Distance Learning. In 2000, it became the first to offer a B.S. in Biblical Studies entirely online.
Students who take courses online are offered two formats, one is 8 weeks and the other 16 and is self-paced. However, there are more limited course options for the self-paced courses. There is both an associate as well as a bachelor’s degree available in Biblical Studies through Moody Bible Institute. There are also programs for bachelor degrees in Theological Studies, Theology and Cultural Engagement, and Ministry Leadership. Currently, there are two master’s degree programs available, Master of Arts in Applied Biblical Studies, and Master of Arts in Biblical Exposition.
Established in 1927, Bob Jones University began in Bay County, Florida under the name of Bob Jones College. In 1933, however, it had moved to Cleveland, Tennessee. Later, in 1946 construction in its current home, Greenville, South Carolina, began. Since then, the university has continued to grow while retaining the same Christian ideals it was founded upon. BJU uses the tagline, “Build Faith. Challenge Potential. Follow Christ.” which is excellent advice for all Christians.
Students can begin their online studies at Bob Jones University as early as their junior year in high school and start earning credits. Among other undergraduate subjects, there are Bible courses available online through BJU. Graduate programs online offer the following subjects: Biblical & Systematic Theology, Old Testament Interpretation, New Testament Interpretation, Church Ministries, Professional Ministry, Homiletics Studies, Educational Leadership, Professional Education, and Music Education.
There are a number of people who have graduated from Bob Jones University and gone on to have highly successful careers. Likely, aside from the family of Bob Jones, Sr. who was the founder of BJU, the evangelist Billy Graham, now 98, is the most well-known, loved, and respected among the alumni.