online master theologyIf you feel God calling you to ministry or to serve him as a teacher, missionary, youth worker, or to be able to share your faith in your life and workplace more effectively, there is an Online Masters in Theology degree out there for you.

As our society moves ever faster and education evolves to meet our modern challenges, online degrees have proliferated. They provide you the ability to continue earning a living while obtaining your degree. Often, online education is faster and cheaper than completing a degree on-campus.

What is a Masters degree in Theology?

There are now many Bible colleges, seminaries, and universities that offer online Masters degrees in Theology. There are theology degrees for you whether you are currently a pastor or minister, religious education teacher, or just a Christian who desires to enrich your faith. Masters in Theology programs can refer to a specific degree or be a general title or a variety of programs from an MA in Theological Studies to an MA in Christian Doctrine.

online master theologyThe amount of concentrations available is a testament to our university system. There are programs targeting youth ministry, Biblical counseling, apologetics, Christian worldview, academic degrees such as a Masters in Theology, and the Master in Divinity, which focuses on training pastors. The Christian faith tradition is also very diverse. There are schools set up for specific denominations while others are more ecumenical.

What type of classes are required?

Classes vary greatly depending on which type of Masters in Theology you choose to earn. Although the curriculum scope and sequence varies, there are core types of classes that you can expect. Students will most likely take classes on the following topics:

  • New Testament 
  • Old Testament 
  • Biblical Leadership and Ministry
  • Christian Apologetics
  • Christian Worldview and Mission
  • Biblical languages including Hebrew and Greek
  • Church History
  • Church Fathers and influential Christian leaders

online master theologyRegardless of the actual classes, students should expect an intensive program that walks through the history of Christianity, the biblical languages and Christ-centered teaching. There will be an emphasis on correct biblical interpretations and the application of biblical principles. Students also explore the fundamentals of ethical Christian leadership within organizations.

How did you compile this ranking?

There are many Online Masters in Theology degrees that stem from various denominations and religious affiliations. We combed through programs in small schools, Bible colleges, seminaries, and major universities. The programs offered vary, representing the wide range of theology degrees available. All statistics were gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics, payscale, and school websites. Once the list was compiled, the ranking was formed based on the following calculations:

  • Program Cost – 40%
  • Percentage of Graduate Students – 15%
  • Average Mid-Career Salary – 15%
  • Graduation Rate – 10%
  • Retention Rate – 10%
  • Student to Faculty Ratio – 10%

The Top 30 Online Masters in Theology

  1. MERIT: 100.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $45600

    Online Master of Theological Studies

    • Location: Santa Clara, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission

    online master theologySanta Clara University’s roots go back to Father Junipero Serra in 1777 and the many Catholic missions he founded. SCU has evolved from an all-boys prep school to the coeducational institution of nearly 10,000 students it is today. The University offers over 50 academic programs in the Jesuit Tradition.                 

    The online Master of Theological Studies at Santa Clara is a general degree designed for working people. SCU is respected and effective with a graduation and retention rate both over 90 percent. The 48-credit, ATS-accredited program can be completed in two years as a full-time student. The curriculum includes scripture, systematic theology, culture/ethics, and spirituality/pastoral theology.

    Distance learning is delivered through a platform and model that allows you to complete courses when it’s convenient. There are nine credits of electives allowing some customizing. There is a final project or 40-page research paper as a capstone. Also worth noting are two intensive residential courses required.

    Students are assured personal attention from their professors due to the low student to faculty ratio; combine that with an affordable price tag, and outstanding academic reputation, there is no doubt that Santa Clara deserves a spot at number one.

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  2. MERIT: 90.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,472

    Online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality

    • Location: Bronx, NY
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 40%   
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    online master theologyFordham University is a private, liberal arts Catholic university in the Bronx. Fordham offers 16,000 students outstanding academics with over 168 Fulbright Scholarships since 2003. FU’s location is ideal with over 2,600 NYC-based internship companies. Service is an important element of the Jesuit tradition with over 1 million service hours spent annually.

    The Fordham Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education offers several online master’s degrees. The Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality prepares you for ministry positions such as retreat or campus ministry or spiritual direction. There are three concentrations: research, spirituality, or generalist. The shared focus is on the biblical and theological foundations for human flourishing in the Christian spiritual tradition.

    The 36-credit program is suited for the working person are the research and generalist concentrations are offered fully online (the spirituality focus requires some on-campus intensives). All concentrations of the MA in Christian Spirituality feature a comprehensive exam.

    Other available online options:

    • MA in Pastoral Care
    • MA in Pastoral Studies
    • MA in Religious Education, Youth and Young Adult Ministry
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  3. MERIT: 87.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $57,20

    Master of Arts in Theology

    • Location: Cromwell, CT
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 68%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    online master theologyHoly Apostles College and Seminary is a liberal-arts Catholic institution dedicated to training future priests and leaders in the Catholic Church. At $320 per credit hour, the tuition rates are 72 percent lower than the average private liberal arts college. The College offers degrees in philosophy, theology, and pastoral studies.

    In recent years, Holy Apostles began entirely online education. They now offer several options. Most importantly, Holy Apostles is the most affordable on our top 30 at a total of $5720. The fully-online, 36-credit Master of Arts in Theology is offered with eight concentrations: Apologetics, Bioethics, Church History, Dogmatic Theology, General Studies, Moral Theology, Sacred Scripture, or Thomistic Studies.

    All concentrations are built on a core curriculum of four courses and all concentrations require a thesis or comprehensive exam. Notably, the Bioethics focus comes with an option to earn a  National Catholic Bioethics Center certification. Admission does not include a GRE.

    Other available online degrees:

    • Master of Arts in Philosophy: Christian Wisdom
    • Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies
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  4. MERIT: 86.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $33,900

    Master of Arts in Christian Doctrine

    • Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 27%     
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    online master theologyMarquette University is one of 28 Jesuit Colleges and Universities.  The private, Catholic Jesuit University is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is known for research, sports, an active student life, and study abroad options. Marquette was founded by famous missionary and explorer Fr. Jacques Marquette in 1881.

    The online Master of Arts in Christian Doctrine (MACD) is designed for working people. The MACD program is for those who seek an integrated approach to theological studies in any career. A sampling of professionals who completed the program are teachers, physicians, lawyers, business people, diocesan and parish employees, and church lay officers.

    The 30-credit curriculum is made up of 10 courses (up to nine transfer credits are possible); Old Testament Method, Late Medieval to Early Modern, and Christian Doctrine to name only a few. Applicants are not required to submit GRE scores. The online program is hybrid in style and some on-campus visits are required.

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  5. MERIT: 86.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $24,050

    Online Master of Theological Studies

    • Location: Irving, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 30.1%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: One but less than two years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyThe University of Dallas is a private, Catholic, independent school in Irving, Texas. UD was founded and developed by various religious orders and currently educates 2,500 students.  One of the most popular and well-known facets of a UD education is their emphasis on Great Books, reading, writing, and contemplation.

    UD’s Neuhoff School of Ministry fosters theological education for transformative service. The 37-credit MTS program offers a concentration in Biblical Theology. The Master of Pastoral Ministry is offered with five choices for concentrations: Campus Ministry, Church Management, Health Care Ministry, Youth Ministry, and Executive Youth Ministry. The degree is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and in accordance with the USCCB’s standards for certification and accreditation.

    Other available 100-percent online options:

    • Master of Pastoral Ministry
    • Master of Catechetical Ministry
    • Master of Catholic School Leadership (hybrid)
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  6. MERIT: 82.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $16,458

    Master of Arts in Theology

    • Location: La Mirada, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 34%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    online master theology

    Biola University is a private, Christian university in La Mirada, California. It was founded as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles in 1908. The school is known for being a spiritually active campus with a focus on studying all subjects through a Christian worldview. Biola offers more than 150 academic programs.

    At Talbot School of Theology, the Master of Arts in Theology prepares you to know, understand, and express your faith in a dynamic way. The four concentrations, New Testament, Old Testament, Theology, and Bible Exposition, all feature a core of biblical and theological foundation courses from patristic through medieval times, to the Reformation and modern day.  

    Talbot’s Spiritual Formation Core prepares evangelically minded Christians for service and ministry. You also take elective and concentration courses. Fully accredited and fully online, the 49-credit MA can be completed in two to four years.

    Other available online (hybrid) degree options:

    • Master of Arts, concentration in Spiritual Formation
    • Master of Arts, concentration in Christian Apologetics
    • Master of Arts, concentration in Science and Religion
    • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Leadership, concentration in Preaching and Pastoral Ministry
    • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry and Leadership, concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling
    • Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care
    • Master of Divinity
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  7. MERIT: 79.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $32,400

     Master of Arts in Theology

    • Location: San Antonio, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 36%     
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyHumble beginnings mark the history of St. Mary’s. Founded in 1852 by Catholic Marianist brothers and priests, the first year saw five teachers and twelve boys. St. Mary’s University now serves nearly 4,000 total students. SMU is known for Business, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Psychology, to name only a few.

    The online Master of Arts in Theology at SMU prepares you to serve the Church and world as teachers, parish and diocesan administrative positions, and catechetical leaders. The degree is rooted in Catholic tradition and teaches both traditional and contemporary interpretations that are “open to ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue.” The online program is uniquely delivered synchronously with students on-campus.

    The MA program does include a capstone, either a thesis or general examination. Beyond the 36 required credits, you are required to participate in 10 hours of community learning experiences. A unique option among our top schools is SMU’s combined Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Arts in Theology program.

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  8. MERIT: 78.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,900

    Master of Arts in Theology & Christian Ministry

    • Location: Steubenville, OH
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 32.9%   
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    online master theologyFranciscan University of Steubenville is a small, liberal arts, private Catholic school in Steubenville, Ohio. Franciscan is known for a spiritually active campus and close-knit community feel. The Catholic school is also recognized for its philosophy, theology, and catechesis programs. FUS offers over 40 undergraduate degrees as well as several graduate and online programs.

    Franciscan’s Master of Arts in Theology & Christian Ministry is offered entirely online. The program is taught by international scholars who have all taken an Oath to the Magisterium of the Church (FUS is one of only 30 U.S. Catholic universities whose entire theology faculty have met canon law requirements for the mandatum).

    There are three tracks available: Catechetics Specialization, Research Intensive, Canon Law. The curriculum of Sacred Scripture, Dogmatic Theology and Moral Theology prepare you for parish ministry, diocesan leadership, teaching, doctoral work, or canon law.  

    Other available online programs:

    • MA Catechetics & Evangelization
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  9. MERIT: 77.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $16,308

    Master of Arts in Bible and Theology

    • Location: Lincoln, IL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 41%    
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 12 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    online master theologyLincoln Christian University was founded in 1944 as a Bible college. Today that mission and identity continue. LCU’s philosophy is to “Encounter God’s Word, Engage God’s World and Embrace God’s Work.” The University offers 800 total students degrees in business, ministry, psychology, and education.

    The Master of Arts in Bible and Theology is affordable and convenient. Offered completely online with excellent faculty you will be immersed in the Christian worldview. The degree is particularly designed for those who want Bible and Theology without going to seminary. For example, a current pastor or minister who wants to enhance and deepen their knowledge of the Scriptures and Christian Theology would be a good candidate.

    The program is 12 courses; courses include Old and New Testament, Christian Worldview, and Interpreting the Bible. Since there are no set class times you can take classes when they work for you. A capstone research paper (35-45 pages) or faith-based project is required.

    Other available online degrees:

    • MA in Church History/Historical Theology
    • MA in Formative Worship
    • MA in Ministry
    • MA in Spiritual Formation
    • Master of Divinity (MDiv)
    • Master of Religious Education
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  10. MERIT: 77.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $10,950

    Online Master of Theology

    • Location: Standish, ME
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 37.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate
    • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

    online master theologyAbout 18 miles northwest of Portland, Maine is St. Joseph’s College. The private, Catholic, liberal arts school finds its home on the shores of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. SJC is committed to academics and recognized for community engagement. SJC offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing, and business.

    At Saint Joseph’s the Online Master of Theology is grounded in the Catholic faith. The fully-online program offers three specializations: Pastoral Theology, Sacred Theology, and Advanced Diaconal Studies. The Pastoral and Sacred Theology concentrations are 36 total credits, while the Advanced Diaconal and Fast-Track option are 30.

    The Fast-Track is for undergraduates to move into the Master of Theology with four courses already completed. There are also tuition discounts with several partners such as healthcare providers, Catholic schools, or Catholic organizations.

    Other available online programs:

    • Jewish-Christian Studies
    • Master of Divinity
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  11. MERIT: 75.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $10,164

    Master of Theological Studies

    • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 37.6%   
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
    • Degrees Offered: Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

    online master theology

    Calvin Theological Seminary was established in 1876 by Dutch immigrants to train ministers in the Reformed tradition. Located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, CTS continues to educate leaders and ministers in the Christian Reformed Church. The Seminary offers graduate degrees in ministry and theology.

    Whether you’re looking to study theology and teach or enter full-time ministry as a pastor, CTS has options. True to their mission, the Seminary will ground, train, and enrich you in the Christian Reformed faith. The Master of Theological Studies program is 60 credits and takes three years to complete. The MTS includes courses in Old and New Testament, Greek, Christian theology, apologetics, and more.

    The MTS is online with two five-day campus visits per year (as with the other available options). The program feature a cohort model delivered both asynchronously and synchronously. The programs are an ATS-approved and CTS online education is part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

    Other available distance learning options:

    • Master of Divinity
    • Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Bible and Theology
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  12. MERIT: 75.4
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,872

    Online Master of Biblical and Theological Studies

    • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 32.4%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
    • Degrees Offered: Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyDallas Theology Seminary was founded in 1924. The seminary’s mission has stayed true since the beginning—“to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders.” DTS faculty and student adhere to a traditional Christian belief statement. The Seminary offers 15 graduate programs in Dallas, Houston, DC, and online.

    The Master of Biblical and Theological Studies (MBTS) is fully online, affordable, and convenient. The 36-credit MBTS program prepares working people for ministry in the workforce, home, local church, or abroad.

    The MA in Christian Studies is more intensive at 62 credits and takes two years to complete. The 100 percent online MACS program is for those working in the church or church organizations. In addition to coursework, the program includes a spiritual formation small-group requirement.  DTS has a generous transfer policy, up to 31 credits for the program.

    Other available online/hybrid degrees:

    • Master of Theology (ThM)
    • MA in Biblical Counseling (MABC)
    • MA in Christian Education (MACE)
    • MA in Christian Leadership (MACL)
    • MA in Cross-Cultural Ministries (MACM)
    • MA in Media Arts and Worship (MAMW)
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  13. MERIT: 75.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $59,472

    Online Master of Theology

    • Location: Denver, CO
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 11.1%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
    • Degrees Offered: Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission

    online master theologyIliff School of Theology is one of 13 United Methodist Seminaries in the U.S. It is not exclusively United Methodist and serves over 30 denominations. The private graduate school is adjacent to the University of Denver campus. IST has been educating men and women for over 125 years.

    Iliff prides itself on diversity and an interdisciplinary approach. The Master of Theology degree focuses on theology, history, political theory, sociology, ethics, pastoral care, leadership, preaching, and ministry. The two-year hybrid degree includes several concentrations and an interdisciplinary thesis.

    Online learning at IST utilizes state-of-the-art technology. Iliff also provides you with the flexibility to take more than one of the master degrees at the same time. This unique course/credit sharing allows you to knock off two theological birds with one stone.

    Other available ATS-accredited online/hybrid degree options:

    • Master of Arts in Social Justice and Ethics (MASJE)
    • Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care (MAPSC )
    • Master of Divinity
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  14. MERIT: 74.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $69,600

    Online Master of Divinity

    • Location: Abilene, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 5.6%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree – other
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyAbilene Christian University was established in 1906 by the Churches of Christ. It is located in Abilene, Texas. The school is small but offers approximately 100 degree options. The University has been named an Apple Distinguished School in recognition of its “culture of innovation, its leadership in the area of mobility, and its overall educational excellence.”  

    Abilene Christian University’s Graduate School of Theology offers four online master’s programs. The M.Div is the most comprehensive program. It is 72 credits and takes four years to complete. Coursework aims to inculcate strong Christian character, leadership, a knowledge of contemporary society, and the ability to care for souls. There is an emphasis on case scenarios, contextual learning, and mentorship.

    Classes include Foundations of the Theology of Ministry, Critical Interpretation of the New Testament, Introduction to Hebrew I, and Christian Mission in Global Context. If you’re seeking to minister to children, youth or families ACU offers the online MA in Christian Ministry.

    • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
    • Master of Divinity
    • Master of Arts in Global Service
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  15. MERIT: 71.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,450

    Online Master of Arts in Bible

    • Location:  South Abington Township, PA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 32%     
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

    online master theologyPreparing “Christ-centered, career-ready graduates” is the mission of Clarks Summit University. The private, Christian University is located right outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. CSU requires daily chapel attendance and the culture on campus is intentionally Christian. Academic programs 40 undergraduate options as well as several online and graduate programs.

    At $12,450 total cost and 30 credits, the 100 percent online Master of Arts in Bible is one of the most affordable degrees on our top 30. The accredited program is customizable as well with 27 of the total 30 credits electives (within the Bible concentration). Additionally, CSU takes up to nine transfer credits.

    If you are interested in improving your Biblical literacy as a pastor, youth minister, or teacher, the program can be completed in two years. Admission requires a minimum 3.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university.

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  16. MERIT: 70.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $18,360

    Online Master of Arts in Theological Studies

    • Location: Columbia, SC
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 33.2%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 15 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyFor almost 100 years, Columbia International University has been training men and women in a Biblical worldview. The private, Christian University serves about 1000 total students with 24 total programs. CIU has been recognized for being affordable, military friendly, and one of the regionally best schools several times.

    CIU offers an online Master of Arts in Theological Studies. The degree prepares you to serve Christ in academic, church and ministry, missionary work. You will be taught by dedicated Christian faculty and online courses feature conversations and interaction with people from all over the world. The 30-credit program can be completed in about two years. The MA program is interdisciplinary and focuses on critical research and analysis, biblical studies, church history, intercultural studies, and theology. Admission requires a Bachelor’s degree, and if you have previous theological studies credits you are put on a different track.

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  17. MERIT: 69.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,240

    Online Master of Theology

    • Location: Virginia Beach, VA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 60%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 42 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    online master theologyPat Robertson founded Regent University to train men and women to bring Christ into their professions. Since the first class of 77 students in 1977, Regent University has carried through on that vision. Known for their robust Christian education and culture, popular majors include Business Administration, Psychology, Theological, and Ministerial Studies, and Public Administration.

    There are eleven online graduate options in the field of theology at Regent. The Master of Theology is fully online and ATS-accredited. With the convenience of learning anywhere and anytime, you can complete the degree in one year’s time. The Th.M is designed to enhance and deepen your theological knowledge. You choose one of four concentrations: Biblical Studies, Christian Theology, Church History, or Practical Theology.

    These degrees serve to prepare you for a doctoral program such as an M.Div, to gain advanced standing in Regent’s Ph.D. in Renewal Theology, or to help you improve professionally. Through 15-week courses, the 34-credit program takes you through courses such as Hermeneutics, Reformed Theology, Charismatic Theology, and more. A thesis is required.

    Other available online theology degrees:

    • M.A. in Christian Spirituality & Formation
    • M.A. in Church Leadership
    • M.A. in Pastoral Counseling
    • M.A. in Practical Theology
    • M.S. in Cosmogony (Origins Science)
    • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
    • Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
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  18. MERIT: 68.1
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,724

    Master’s in Religion Education

    • Location: New Orleans, LA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 30%    
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 11 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyLoyola University – New Orleans is a private, Jesuit comprehensive university. Loyola educates 4,000 men and women with 66 undergraduate programs and 17 graduate and professional programs. Leadership and service are central at Loyola. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranks Loyola among the Top U.S. Fulbright Producers for the 2018-2019.

    At Loyola, there is a long tradition and high reputation for preparing effective individuals in the ministry. Added to the reputation is real affordability and convenience. The Master’s in Religion Education is a 36-credit hour degree program that is 100 percent online. Coursework is delivered through a multidisciplinary perspective and offered to lay people who desire to teach.

    A sampling of the focus area courses for religious educators is: Curriculum Development, Religious Education across the Curriculum, and Catechetical Leadership. The online application is free and admission requirements do not include a GRE.

    Other available online theology degrees:

    • Online Master of Pastoral Studies
    • Online Master of Pastoral Studies (MPS)
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  19. MERIT: 67.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,850

    Online Masters in Theology

    • Location: Lynchburg, VA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 33.5%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Two but less than 4 years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges as well as several other accrediting bodies.

    online master theologyLiberty University is a private, non-profit, Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia with a large online student population. Educating more than 100,000 students all over the world, Liberty prides itself on a Biblical and Christian worldview in every and all of its hundreds of degree options.

    The Masters in Theology at Liberty is 100 percent online (with optional on-campus intensives) and offers multiple specializations. Whether you’re interested in teaching, preaching, leading a Church, serving in a non-profit, or pursuing scholarship Liberty has an option.

    The Th.M. does require an M.Div (or equivalent) for admission, as well as a 3.0 GPA. Options for concentration include Biblical Studies, Christian Apologetics, Church History, Global Studies, Homiletics, and Theology. The 30-credit program can be completed in less than two years. There are eight start dates and Liberty will accept up to six transfer credits.

    Other available degree options:

    • Master’s Degree in Biblical Exposition (M.A.)
    • Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies (M.A.B.S.)
    • Master’s Degree in Christian Apologetics (M.A.)
    • Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry (M.C.M.)
    • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
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  20. MERIT: 67.2
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,888

    Master of Arts in Theological Studies

    • Location: Portland, OR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 39%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 10 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree
    • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

    online master theologySituated in the beautiful Northwest in Portland, Oregon is Multnomah University. The small private, Christian university has been offering a Biblically-grounded education since 1937. Multnomah currently offers 700 students programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in Business, Psychology, Education, Ministry, and Theology to name a few.

    Multnomah University offers a Master of Arts in Theological Studies for those in ministry or looking to teach in a variety of religious settings. The MATS is completely online; and with two learning management systems, Canvas and Ateneo Plus, you daily interact with classmates and caring professors.

    You have options within the degree: apologetics, intercultural studies, and biblical, historical, and systematic theology. Designed with working people in mind, the 48-credit curriculum operates through eight-week courses. If you have previous Bible credits, you may be eligible to have up to 12 credits waived. The ATS-accredited program takes two years to complete.

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  21. MERIT: 67.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $12,600

    Master of Arts in Christian Ministries

    • Location: Redding, CA
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 23%     
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 5 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Two but less than 4 years certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation:  Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, Accreditation Commission

    online master theologyShasta Bible College and Graduate School grew out of Multnomah University in the ’80s. Today the small private Christian institution offers theological, biblical, and ministerial training as well as education and counseling. Their mission is “To educate and equip Biblically committed Christian leaders who will impact the world for Jesus Christ.”

    For a small school, Shasta Bible offers several choices for online theology programs. The MA in Christian Ministries extends four concentration choices: Bible Exposition, Biblical Interpretation, Biblical Studies, and Pastoral Ministry. The MA programs are fully accredited, 100 percent online, and flexible to your schedule and life. The curriculum consists of three 15-week units where you are immersed in theology, Bible, and ministry classes.

    Tuition is one of the lowest on our list at $12,600 total program cost. The unique niche of Shasta Bible College is the small, family-like atmosphere, Baptist theological tradition, and personal interaction with a student to faculty ratio of five to one.

    Other available online theology degrees:

    • MA in Biblical Counseling
    • MA in Christian Family Life Education
    • MDiv: Pastoral and General Ministries
    • MDiv: Biblical Counseling and Christian Family
    • MDiv: Military Chaplaincy Traditional
    • MDiv: Military Chaplaincy Basic
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  22. MERIT: 65.8
    View Profile Average Cost: $14,850

    Master of Arts in Theology

    • Location: Gallatin, TN
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 0.5%    
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyWelch College is a private, four-year, Free-Will Baptist College located in Gallatin, Tennessee. Welch serves about 400 students. WC academics include 40 academic programs in theology, arts and sciences, music, and teacher education. The beautiful campus is close-knit and spiritually active with daily chapel required.

    Welch College School of Theology offers a hybrid Master of Arts in Theology. The MA program is designed for those who desire to deepen their theological knowledge for teaching, feel called to ministry, or want to serve as a missionary. The 33-credit hybrid program has two fully online classes with the remaining a combination of on-campus and online.

    The eight-week courses consist of seven weeks of online learning and a one-week intensive. Campus housing is provided for intensives. Courses include The Armenian Theological Tradition, Issues in Old Testament Studies, and Discovering and Communicating Biblical Truth. A Summative Experience is required.

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  23. MERIT: 65.5
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,680

    Master of Divinity

    • Location: Salem, OR
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 30.9%   
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 14 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Post Baccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree
    • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

    online master theologyCorban University is a private Christian school in Oregon’s capital city of Salem. Corban’s motto is “make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ.” The school prides itself on a Christian campus environment and requires a profession of faith for admission. CU offers about 3,000 total students over 50 degrees in counseling, theology, ministry, business, education, and more.

    The M.Div. at Corban is 100 percent online, hybrid or on-campus and has two tracks, Church Ministry or Biblical Languages. The Biblical Language track does include some face-to-face classes in languages. Since the program is online and asynchronous you can take it either full-time or part-time. The degree can be completed in three years if you attend full-time.

    The curriculum is grounded in the Bible and the faculty’s personal faith. Admission to the program requires a profession of faith, an agreement to a Christian belief statement, minimum 3.0 GPA and a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

    Other available online programs:

    • The Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
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  24. MERIT: 65.3
    View Profile Average Cost: $8,964

    Master of Arts in Christian Scripture

    • Location: Florence, AL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 33%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 9 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation: The Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

    online master theologyReal World Ministry is the focus of Heritage Christian University. Serving the poor, the widow and orphan, and bring souls to Jesus Christ is Real World Ministry. The small private Christian college in Florence, Alabama serves the Church of Christ. All undergraduates major in Biblical Studies and choose one of several minors. HCU offers three graduate programs, MA in Ministry, Christian Scripture, and an M.Div.

    If you are a member of the Church of Christ and looking to serve the Church, HCU offers an affordable, flexible, and online option. For a total cost of $8,964, the second most affordable on our top 30, you will get your bang for the buck. The MA in Christian Scripture focuses on Greek and Hebrew with four classes in each language.

    The 36-credit program is rigorous and rewarding preparing you for work as a minister or teacher and a Master’s Thesis is required. The online delivery of coursework is recorded lectures and supplemental coursework. Admission requires you to sign the Mission Statement and the program is fully accredited.

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  25. MERIT: 65.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $8,970

    Online Master in Theology

    • Location: Campbellsville, SC
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 38.3%    
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    2 Campbell-logoCampbellsville University is a private Christian university that was established in 1906. CU is located in Campbellsville, South Carolina with several other sites throughout the State – one in Costa Mesa, California and a fully online division. The University prepares Christian servant leaders to be lifelong learners and to contribute to our global society.

    The online Master in Theology at CU is fully accredited, one of the most affordable, and asynchronous. You can take the 10 courses and 30 credits when and where you want. This can allow you to continue working while earning your degree; the Th.M. can be completed in two years.

    You are also given three choices of concentration: Biblical studies, Pastoral leadership, or Theological studies. The concentrations make up 18 credits of the total 30. Admission requirements include an undergraduate degree, 3.0 GPA (if under you are required to submit GRE scores), a philosophy of ministry essay, and an interview.

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  26. MERIT: 64.0
    View Profile Average Cost: $37,410

    Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

    • Location: Chicago, IL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21%    
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

    online master theologyFounded by famous evangelist Dwight Moody, Moody Bible Institute has grown into one of the most respected evangelical Christian schools in America. MBI’s main campus is in Chicago, Illinois. They operate an aviation school in Seattle, a second graduate campus in Plymouth, Michigan, and online education. With a 90 percent graduate job placement rate, MBI delivers results.

    At Moody, you receive respected Christian evangelical training. MBI offers several online options including the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies. The MA program can be taken online, on-campus, or hybrid—whatever works best for you. It is also flexible and delivered asynchronously in 16-week units or synchronously in eight-week blocks; this allows you to continue working and still be able to earn a degree.

    The Biblical Studies program is designed for anyone wanting to integrate their faith with everyday life, their job, or for those in ministry, looking to get into ministry or to move into further theological studies.

    Other available online theology degrees:

    • Master of Arts in Biblical Preaching
    • Master of Arts in Global Ministry Design
    • Master of Divinity
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  27. MERIT: 62.9
    View Profile Average Cost: $9,864

    Online Master of Arts in Apologetics

    • Location: Lithonia, GA
    • Total Undergraduate Students: 69
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 22 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: The Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

    online master theologyLuther Rice College & Seminary is a private Christian school in the Southern Baptist Tradition. Founded in 1962 and located in Lithonia, Georgia (metropolitan Atlanta), Luther Rice educates to transform lives through the Bible. They offer their ministry, theology, and Bible degrees 100 percent online or hybrid.

    There are five online options in theology at Luther Rice. The online Master of Arts in Apologetics is 36 credits and can be completed in one and a half to two years. Luther Rice is known for having generous transfer credit policies for all their degrees. You can transfer up to six credits for the MA in Apologetics.

    The program features in-depth real-world training in Ethics, Miracles, Science and Religion, and a Capstone. This program is suitable for any Christian wanting to learn to defend their faith in an increasingly secular world.

    • Master of Arts in Apologetics
    • Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling
    • Master of Arts in Christian Studies
    • Master of Arts in Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Ministry
    • M.Div
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  28. MERIT: 62.7
    View Profile Average Cost: $27,880

    Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

    • Location: Phoenix, AZ
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 21%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 19 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, One but less than two years certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Post-master’s certificate, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship, Doctor’s degree-professional practice

    Grand Canyon University Online DBAGrand Canyon University is a fast-growing comprehensive Christian university headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. The school was once a for-profit institution but is now a non-profit school. They have not raised tuition for ten years. GCU offers degrees through the schools of Business, Education, Fine Arts, Nursing and Health Care, Science, Engineering and Technology, and Theology.

    Grand Canyon University offers several online or hybrid options. The MA in Christian Ministry is designed for pastors, ministers, or others who teach in church or church-related organizations. The 38-credit program provides theological, biblical, and pastoral training completely online and fully accredited.

    Eight-week courses taught by full-time faculty include Old and New Testament, Practical Theology, and Christian Doctrines. Also worth mentioning is the generous transfer policy—GCU will accept up to 12 credits. There are a variety of field-work hands-on experiences included in the curriculum as well. These can be completed locally where possible.

    Other available online theology degrees:

    • Master of Arts in Christian Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Urban Ministry
    • Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry
    • Master of Divinity
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  29. MERIT: 61.6
    View Profile Average Cost: $17,820

    Online Master of Arts in Theology

    • Location: St. Leo, FL
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 33.5%  
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: 18 to 1
    • Degrees Offered: Less than one year certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree – research/scholarship
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologySaint Leo University is a private, Roman Catholic university headquartered in St. Leo, Florida. It was founded by the Order of St. Benedict in 1889. SLU offers over 50 degree programs at over 35 regional locations. It was also one of the forerunners of online education starting in 1998.

    The Master of Arts in Theology at St. Leo is online, affordable, and flexible. The program is designed for lay people and clergy (esp. those in the diaconate) seeking to serve others in jobs such as Director of Religious Education, Teacher, Clergy, Hospital Chaplain, Mediator, Social Worker, or Youth Counselor.

    The online program offers the same classes taught by the same expert faculty as on-campus degrees. There is one on-campus requirement every month on a Saturday. The 36-credit curriculum includes knowledge of biblical, systematic, historical, pastoral and moral theology. The MA in Theology is infused with a particular focus on being Catholic and the challenges associated in our global and modern culture.

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  30. MERIT:
    View Profile Average Cost: $11,880

    Online Master of Theological Studies

    • Location: Fort Worth, TX
    • Percentage of Graduate Students: 100%
    • Student to Faculty Ratio: N/A
    • Degrees Offered: Certificate, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Doctor’s degree
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

    online master theologyIn 1908, B.H. Carroll established a seminary on the campus of Baylor University. This has since grown into Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and moved to Fort Worth, Texas. SBTS is dedicated to teaching Scripture and training men and women to serve the Christian community.

    The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is fully online and fully accredited. With the convenience online education offers, you can complete the 36-hour MTS in three years. You are not required to have an M.Div for admission.

    The degree also comes with the option of a concentration in cross-cultural missions (MTS + Missions). This focus hones in on world religions and cross-cultural ethics, missiology, and evangelism. Upon completion of all coursework, you take a summative evaluation; there is no thesis project. There is also a Spanish MTS at Southwestern.

    *Please note, we were unable to score and rank this program due to lack of statistics.

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What are some different types of online theology degrees?

online master theologyWith the variety of denominations and religious organizations and positions, it’s not surprising there is a great variety of online programs in theology. The Masters in Theology typically refers to an academically focused degree for pastors or ministers. They often require an M.Div. Many Bible schools, seminaries, and universities offer the program with several concentrations: youth ministry, pastoral ministry, Christian counseling, media and art, and more.

The ThM degree is designed for those who teach theology. It includes courses in theology, scripture, and doctrines, as well as practically-oriented courses such as hermeneutics and Biblical languages. The ThM generally takes three years to complete. There are also a variety of MA programs in theology that target those serving in churches, religious schools, or other church or church-affiliated organizations. Examples of these programs include MA in Pastoral Studies, Religious Education, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Spiritual Formation, Christian Apologetics, and more.

The Master in Theological Studies (MTS) is for lay ministry and doesn’t require an M.Div. The MTS can usually be completed in two years. The organization that guides schools in accreditation is the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).

What are the differences between an online Masters in Theology and a Master of Theological Studies?

online master theologyThe Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is a standard master’s degree. The programs are generally about 30-40 credits and can be completed in about two years. Admission requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.0 (most commonly) and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. The MTS is designed for those seeking to deepen their knowledge of theology and move into a doctoral program.

The MTS is similar to the MA in Pastoral Studies or Spiritual Formation (or any other MA theology or Bible concentration). The difference is the MTS is narrower in focus. The MA programs are for can be pursued by working professionals seeking to enrich their ability to express and understand their faith, those seeking to enter the ministry and serve, teachers in religious schools, or aspiring pastors.

The Master of Theology (ThM) is an advanced degree designed to prepare you for the Ph.D. program or to study a particular area of theology. The ThM requires an M.Div. to enroll and lasts about one year. Another difference between the two is that often an MTS does not require a Thesis, whereas a ThM does, often with an oral defense component. The MA programs vary but generally requires a final capstone research paper or practical project.

What kind of accreditation should I be looking for?

online master theologyAccreditation is an essential aspect of analyzing programs and institutions. Accreditation provides an objective point-of-view and respected judgment of the educational program or institution. In the case of online theology degrees, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) is the most common and trusted.

The ATS was founded 100 years ago and has a tremendous track record of evaluating seminaries, colleges, and universities. The ATS has over 270 member institutions. “Member schools conduct post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs to educate persons for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the theological disciplines.” When you are searching for schools seeing the program is ATS-accredited means a lot. This is especially important in online learning.  

With the proliferation of programs in recent years, it is important to know a trusted organization with proven standards has evaluated the one you’re interested in. In addition to accrediting graduate schools theology programs, the ATS provides research and collaboration. Though not all the programs on our list are ATS-accredited, most are, and all of them are accredited by national accrediting organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, among many.

What are the programs like in terms of curriculum and academic requirements?

online master theologyGraduate schools, seminaries, and universities are all unique. Though the structure of the MA, MTS, or MDiv programs are similar, the content can vary greatly. For example, the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from a Catholic school would differ from a Southern Baptist Seminary because they approach theology from their different faith-traditions. In general, there are around 12 courses and 30-40 credits for the degrees on our list. The programs take about one and a half to three years to complete. All schools require courses in theology, Bible, contemporary issues, and many programs have language requirements such as Greek or Hebrew.

Depending on the faith-tradition, you may see an emphasis on studying and interpreting the Bible as opposed to a philosophical engagement with theological ideas. Something else to be aware of in terms of the curriculum is on-campus requirements. The schools that made our list all offer online theology programs, but some are not fully online.

The hybrid programs often only require a few on-site visits a year; however, some require a campus visit every month. All in all, what matters is what you’re looking for. If you’re a Catholic, Protestant, liberal, or conservative, there is a program that fits you. It’s just a matter of finding it!

What kind of jobs can I get with an online master’s degree in theology? What is the average salary?

online master theologyThe first fact to note is that those that get a theology degree are not just pastors or ministers. There are many jobs and fulfilling careers for those interested in theology and religion. Remember, theology is about the rational study of God, and the majority of citizens in our country consider themselves religious. When you look historically at all cultures, human beings are spiritual by nature. So then, it’s natural there would be a need for religious leaders.

Here are just some examples of available jobs that open up with a master’s degree in theology: Religious School Teacher, College Faculty, Minister, Writer, Journalist, Missionary, Executive Director. Social Worker, Volunteer Recruiter, Fund-Raising Specialist, Bible Translator, and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook varies from three percent to 13 percent. For example, religious writers job growth through 2024 is three percent whereas a post-secondary teacher is 13 percent. Salary also varies quite a lot.

A general range is $30,000 to $80,000 .Religious Education Teachers can make $65,000 a year. A Pastor’s salary is about $70,000 a year. Missionaries, social workers, youth pastors, and others make $30,000 to $45,000 a year depending.