Best Online Master’s in Theology Programs

If your calling lies in the church or ministry, an online master’s in theology can help turn your faith into a fulfilling career. In a master’s in theology online program, you will immerse yourself in scripture and theological research to further expand your Christian worldview.

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Upon completion, you will have the experience and knowledge needed to lead others and spread the word of God. Read on to learn more about the skills you will develop in an advanced program and the career opportunities that await you with an online master’s in theology degree.

Most graduates with a theology master’s find employment in the church as pastors or parish leaders, but can also find gainful employment at elementary and secondary schools, and universities.

WILL AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN THEOLOGY PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?

A master of theology is a higher degree by research, so graduates of an online program will gain advanced skills in evaluating, analyzing, and disseminating intensive research. In a master of theology online program, you can also enhance your expertise within a specific interdisciplinary area by choosing a specialization; some options include biblical and historical studies, religion and science, or global studies. After completing the program, you will be eligible for several ministry-related leadership careers requiring a graduate degree, including roles as missionaries, pastors, or postsecondary teachers.

WILL A MASTER’S IN THEOLOGY ONLINE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?

Master’s in theology online programs are designed to be flexible, and are ideal for working professionals, parents, or anyone else with life commitments that may prevent them from commuting to and from campus on a daily basis. Distance learning allows you to focus on your calling without uprooting your job or family; you will earn your degree from the same esteemed faculty who teach on campus, and from the comfort of your own home. If you are required to complete an internship, you are encouraged to connect with an online program coordinator to find a site that is close to your home for further convenience.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MASTER’S IN THEOLOGY?

Master’s in theology online graduates are set to become leaders within the church and the community. Common careers for master of theology students include positions as denominational leaders, mission services directors, and professors at postsecondary institutions, among others. A master’s degree will also set you on the academic path to earn a PhD in the field, opening the door to even more advanced roles in the church.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MASTER OF THEOLOGY ONLINE PROGRAMS?

Choosing an online master of theology program is an extremely personal decision, and only you can evaluate whether a school’s teaching approach, available specializations, and course outcomes will help you match your academic and professional goals. The following ranked list of schools is meant to serve as a starting point in your search for the best online master’s in theology programs throughout the U.S. We weigh criteria such as school graduation rates, career support services, and course offerings to determine academic excellence. Be sure to contact admission specialists at your target school to learn more about specific requirements and opportunities.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 Urshan Graduate School of Theology 73.77 58% Florissant, MO

Affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church International and offering a master of arts in Christian ministry and a master of theological studies, Urshan Graduate School of Theology is the only accredited apostolic pentecostal graduate school in the country. For students who can't or don't want to relocate, UGST's online MA program allows distance learners to take advantage of the same courses and opportunities as their on-campus peers.

Located in Florissant, Missouri, the institution is part of Urshan College and within close proximity to St. Louis. UGST serves under 100 students, placing it among a rare class of schools that can offer every one of its students a uniquely personal experience. Learners enrolled in the school's master of theology online programs can expect one-on-one instructor attention and a highly individualized plan of study. Students enroll in one of three graduate programs: divinity, Christian ministry, and theological studies. The school's online master's in theology program offers both a general track and a research track intended for students who wish to pursue further graduate study. Both tracks include courses in biblical studies, practical theology, historical theology, and biblical theology.

UGST's MA in Christian ministry program requires students to complete 48 credit hours, which generally takes students around two years. The program offers a variety of concentration tracks for students to choose from, including: general studies, arts and worship, intercultural studies, and pastoral studies. Each track requires the same collection of core courses, as well as a selection of courses within a student's chosen concentration. To help students map a plan of study, UGST offers a complete outline of requirements for each track on the school's website. UGST's master of theology online option offers two tracks: a general path and a research path. Both also require 48 credit hours to complete.

While most of the program is available entirely online, students must attend two week-long periods on-campus each year, typically in January and June. UGST's online theology master’s degree program and the MA in Christian ministry are both approved and accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) or Master's of Theological Studies (MTS)
Available concentrations: MACM - General, arts & worship, intercultural studies, pastoral counseling; MTS - general, research
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $400/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.7 minimum

Contact
Department phone: (314) 921-9290 x3110
Department email: vdsa@ugst.edu (Vinessa Dsa, Director of Distance Learning)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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2 Covenant Theological Seminary 73.57 17% Saint Louis, MO

Covenant Theological Seminary now offers its master of arts in theology online for students unable (or unwilling) to relocate to the school's campus in St. Louis. This fully online program can be completed on a part-time basis, and has no residential or campus-based requirements. All online courses are taught by the same instructors as their on-campus counterparts, and online students contribute to a community of other distance learners through discussion boards and other digital resources.

Home to approximately 800 students, CTS is operated by the Presbyterian Church in America. Students are not required to be members of that denomination to attend. CTS tailors its master of arts in theological studies program to the needs of emerging Christian leaders and adherents seeking a deeper understanding of their faith. Enrolled students develop a variety of skills applicable to congregational leadership and other higher-level positions inside the church and also benefit from the the ability to apply some of their earned credits in the online master of theology program towards a master of divinity degree.

CTS's online master’s degree in theology is taught exclusively in a part-time format, ideal for working students (though this option may take more time to complete than the traditional, on-campus, full-time track). The program offers a significant amount of flexibility, and allows students to move through at a pace comfortable to them, while still following a set schedule of due dates and coursework.

The program's 48 required credit hours include courses such as Christianity and imagination, common objections to the Christian faith, and film and theology. Students must complete a final capstone project to graduate, a project aimed at applying classroom skills in a real-life setting.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Theological Studies
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $495/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Bible Content Exam
Credit requirements: 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time only
Program length: 2+ years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.25 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (314) 434-4044
Admissions email: admissions@covenantseminary.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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3 Payne Theological Seminary 73.55 90% Wilberforce, OH

Based in Wilberforce, Ohio, Payne Theological Seminary offers an online master of divinity program that requires a small in-person, supervised in-church experience to complete. The school's 90-hour program combines coursework with real-world experience and applications, both in church settings and outside of them, to prepare students to serve a church community upon graduation. With around 150 current students, PTS's small class sizes allow distance learners to feel like a valued and integral part of the learning process.

Payne was first incorporated in 1894 through the work of Daniel Alexander Payne, an educator and bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal church. Based in Wilberforce, Ohio, the seminary prepares African Americans and other religious leaders through an educational philosophy rooted in the ideas of liberation, reconciliation, social justice, and the dignity of humankind. Students learn to examine religion from an Afrocentric perspective that emphasizes assisting local communities.

The school’s master of divinity degree covers four core areas of study: theology and ethics, biblical studies, historical studies, and practical ministry. The theology and ethics track includes a strong emphasis on the foundations of Christian theology through courses such as introduction to systematic theology, world religions, and the African-American religious experience. Though longer than many traditional master of arts in theology online programs, the three to five years it typically takes students to matriculate at Payne are spent preparing for professional roles in Christian ministry. Most graduates enter the pastoral ministry, though others serve as chaplains, educators, community development practitioners, and scholars.

Applying to Payne requires three letters of recommendation -- one from a denominational official, such as a pastor, and two from people familiar with the applicant’s academic background, such as former professors.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $450/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 90 credits
Field education requirements: 1-year supervised learning experience

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3 years full-time; 4-5 years part-time
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Admissions phone: (937) 376-2946 x222
Admissions email: info@payne.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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4 Luther Rice University & Seminary 72.88 97% Lithonia, GA

Founded in Florida in 1962, Luther Rice University & Seminary relocated to its current location just outside of Atlanta in 1991. The school has featured some element of distance education since its inception, and now offers all of its degree programs online. The school offers internet-based graduate programs in apologetics, biblical counseling, Christian studies, and leadership and ministry, along with a master of divinity.

Luther Rice's online master of arts in apologetics is a 36 credit hour program that students can typically complete in just 18-24 months. Learners with earned credit hours from a previous, similar master’s program can also potentially transfer up to six credit hours toward their degree at Luther Rice. The program provides a well-rounded education in apologetics through required courses such as foundations of apologetics, biblical apologetics, and biblical hermeneutics. The program culminates in one of two options: a thesis in apologetics or a practicum.

Luther Rice's online master of arts in Christian studies requires only 36 credit hours to complete. The program aims to prepare students to more competently interpret and explore the scriptures by providing them with important tools and methods for their analysis. Through courses that examine theology and the New Testament, as well as courses focused specifically on specific books of the Bible, this MA in Christian studies helps students build a strong foundation in Christian studies.

Luther Rice has provided students with the ability to earn their master's in theology online for more than 12 years and places a particular emphasis on offering affordable, accessible education to Christian students. According to the school, its tuition was lower than 90% of private, four-year colleges in 2016 and 96% of program graduates have expressed satisfaction in their educational experience.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Apologetics, Master's of Arts in Christian Studies, or Master's of Arts in Ministry
Accrediting body: ABHE
Tuition: $267/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits
Field education requirements: Practicum (Christian Studies only)

Program Length
Program length: 18-24 months
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
GPA: 2.0 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (770) 484-1204 x5758
Admissions email: Admissions@LutherRice.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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5 Bethany Theological Seminary 72.45 66% Richmond, IN

The official seminary of the Church of the Brethren, Bethany Theological Seminary offers an online master of divinity degree tailored to prepare graduates for church positions requiring ordination, including evangelism, chaplaincy, ecclesiastical ministries, and pastoral ministry. This accredited online master’s in theology is required by the guidelines of the Association of Theological Schools to have students complete a certain number of courses on-campus. Students must complete one-third of their course requirements on campus whereas the rest can be finished online. The school also offers weekend intensive courses to help students fit school around their work schedule.

The 82-credit hours required in the program are made up of 28 courses designed to prepare students for ministry and discipleship. The courses encapsulate four different core areas: Bible, peace and intercultural, theology and history, and ministry. The ministry studies core allows students to choose from either taking a ministry course that interests them, or pursuing a ministry focus in conflict transformation, education and human development, evangelism and missional church, leadership and administration, preaching and worship, youth and young adult ministry, or even an area of a student's own design.

A major part of Bethany’s master of theology online program is ministry formation, an experience-based process that requires students to participate in two different ministry placements in two different settings, followed by a reflection on the intersection of practice and learning they experienced in these placements. The ministry formation elective may be an intern year of full time ministry, a summer ministry, or even applying prior ministry experience toward required credits.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Available concentrations: Conflict transformation, education & human development, evangelism & missional church, leadership & administration, preaching & worship, youth & young adult ministry, biblical studies, brethren studies, historical studies, peace studies, theological studies
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $480/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 82 credits
Field education requirements: 2 supervised ministry experiences

Program Length
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 15; spring - December 1
GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 287-8822
Admissions email: admissions@bethanyseminary.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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6 Dallas Theological Seminary 71.83 51% Dallas, TX

Dallas Theological Seminary's online master's in theology degree program boasts a student body composed of students from more than 70 different Christian denominations. The seminary offers two fully online degrees: a master of biblical and theological studies and a master of arts in Christian studies. An evangelical theological seminary based in Dallas, DTS also operates extension campuses in eight locations throughout the United States and around the world, serving more than 2,000 students.

A major difference between the programs at DTS and those at other seminaries is that DTS's program offers a combination of a traditional master of divinity and master of theology, completed in a streamlined four year track. The program provides all of the same necessary foundations as the two degree programs it has hybridized, while also expanding and specializing in certain areas. The fully online seminary programs DTS offers require between 30 and 60 credit hours to complete, depending on the student’s choice of degree path.

The school also offers an MA in Christian leadership in a hybrid format that primarily consists of online courses, along with a 12-hour ministry residency and a single required on-campus weeklong intensive course. Students can complete these weeklong intensive courses at DTS’s Dallas and Houston campuses, or through regular courses at a number of the school's other distance locations. Some of the online program's courses allow students to join campus classes remotely via video conferencing technology. Ideal for non-English speaking students looking to pursue their online theology master’s degree in their native language, DTS offers its master of arts in Christian studies in a variety of languages.

Despite lasting a year longer than many traditional three year programs, DTS offers a unique "Last Year Free" program, which covers the costs of a student’s final 24 credit hours, essentially rendering learners' final year of study free of charge.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Available concentrations: Adult education, apologetics, Bible backgrounds, Bible translation, biblical theology, children's education, educational administration, educational leadership, evangelism & discipleship, exposition of biblical books, family life education, general studies, Hebrew & cognate studies, hermeneutics, historical theology, homiletics, intercultural ministries, Jesus studies, leadership studies, media arts, ministry with women, New Testament studies, New Testament textual criticism, Old Testament studies, parachurch ministries, pastoral theology & practice, pastoral care & counseling, philosophy, spiritual formation, systematic theology, teaching in Christian institutions, textual criticism, urban ministries, worship studies, youth education
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $560/credit (1-8 credits); $533/credit (9+ credits)

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits
Field education requirements: 3-credit internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 1; spring - November 1

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 332-5527
Admissions email: admissions@dts.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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7 Luther Seminary 71.44 48% Saint Paul, MN

The largest Lutheran seminary in the country, Luther serves nearly 600 students from its campus in St. Paul, Minnesota. Though the school is operated by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, it also accepts students of other denominations into its online theology master’s degree program. Luther offers two online degrees: a master of divinity and a master of theology.

The master of divinity offers several concentrations, including Old Testament, New Testament, and congregational missional leadership. The degree combines online courses with a pair of two-week intensive campus sessions each school year. While enrolled in Luther’s Distributed Learning (online) program, students pursuing an online theology master’s degree program can participate in in-person elements such as internships. The program also connects distance learners with a local mentor, with which the the student will periodically meet. Together the two will review the student's experiences throughout the learning process. The degree program provides students with a number of options for concentrations, including Old and New Testament studies, children, youth, and family, and congregational missional leadership.

The online master’s of theology offered at Luther Seminary requires its applicants to have completed either a master of arts, master of divinity, or bachelor of divinity degree prior to entering the program. Generally, students can complete the master of theology program in about two years, the program allots them five years to finish. In addition to traditional theological studies courses, students in Luther’s online program must also show competence in another language through a written exam.

Both degree programs provide students with more than just a solid foundation in theology and divinity -- they also provide students with important graduate academic skills, such as research and critical thinking. Students graduating from degree programs at Luther are trained to write, think, and communicate clearly, and gain knowledge necessary to serve their church communities more effectively.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity (MDiv) or Master's of Theology (Th.M.)
Available concentrations: MDiv - Old Testament, New Testament, history of Christianity, systematic theology, children, youth & family ministry, congregational mission & leadership, Spanish language for ministry, justice & reconciliation; Th.M. - Bible (Old or New Testament), congregational & community care (clinical pastoral theology), congregational mission & leadership, history of Christianity, mission & world religions, pastoral theology & ministry, systematic theology
Accrediting body: ATS, HLC
Tuition: MDiv - $1,700/course; Th.M.: $2,125/course

Delivery
Format: MDiv - Hybrid; Th.M. - Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: Th.M. - Students are required to pass one written examination in Latin or a modern research language (French, German, or Spanish) other than the student's native language, must have MA, MDiv, or BDiv
Credit requirements: MDiv - 30 courses; Th.M. - 6 courses & thesis
Field education requirements: MDiv - internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: MDiv - 3-5 years full-time; up to 8 years part-time / Th.M. - 2 years full-time; up to 5 years part-time
Program start dates: Fall, winter, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: 30 days prior to term start
GPA: MDiv - 3.0 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 522-4913
Admissions email: admissions@luthersem.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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8 Pentecostal Theological Seminary 71.29 57% Cleveland, TN

Established in 1975, the Pentecostal Theological Seminary is an extension of the Church of God. Based in Cleveland, Tennessee, this seminary offers a range of online master's in theology degrees. Distance learners can earn a master of divinity, a master of theological studies with a specialization in Pentecostal theology, or a master of theological studies.

PTS offers its master of divinity in a hybrid format that combines hands-on experience and campus intensive courses with an online curriculum. Consisting of 80 hours of coursework, students can complete this traditionally three-year program in just two years online. Students who have already completed courses in either Hebrew or Greek can complete the degree program with just 74 credit hours. Tailored for students who need to fulfill these language requirements, PTS offers accelerated summer courses in both options. Enrolled learners can concentrate in Pentecostal scholarship, worship, covenant community, holy witness, and formation. At the discretion of the admissions office, students can potentially transfer up to 53 hours towards their degree.

PTS's online theology master’s degree requires students to complete 48 credit hours under the Pentecostal theology track and 60 hours under the biblical studies track. Both tracks are available entirely online. The Pentecostal theology track focuses specifically on Christian ideologies through the lens of a Wesleyan Pentecostal perspective, while the biblical studies track is aimed at preparing students for academic post-graduate work in biblical studies.

PTS offers a number of scholarships for eligible master’s students. In order to be considered, all students must apply through the FAFSA. The school also makes individual scholarships available through its website.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity (MDiv), Master's of Theological Studies - Pentecostal Theology (MTS-PT), or Master's of Theological Studies - Biblical Studies (MTS-BS)
Accrediting body: SACSCOC, ATS
Tuition: $478/credit (1-8 credits or 17+ credits); $466/credit (9-16 credits)

Delivery
Format: MDiv - hybrid; MTS-PT - online; MTS-BS - online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: MDiv - 80 credits; MTS-PT - 48 credits; MTS-BS - 60 credits
Field education requirements: MDiv - internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: MDiv - 3-5 years; MTS-PT - 2-3 years; MTS-BS - 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 15; spring - November 15

Contact
Admissions phone: (423) 478-7725
Admissions email: admissions@ptseminary.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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9 Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary 71.26 67% Jacksonville, TX

Offering seminary education since 1955 and based in Jacksonville, Texas, BMA Seminary is operated by the Baptist Missionary Association of America. The school cultivates a Christ-centered approach to both discipleship and preaching, and offers several options for students interested in earning a master of arts of theology online, including a master of divinity and MA programs in pastoral theology, religion, and church ministries. BMA Seminary's programs in religion and pastoral theology are offered entirely online, while the school's master of divinity and church ministries degrees require intensive campus classes a few times throughout the school year.

The master of arts in theology online program is made up of 36 credit hours which typically take about two years to complete. Through coursework in biblical studies, theological-historical studies, and church ministries, students gain the skills necessary for potential careers as associate pastors, lay leaders, church administrators, and Bible teachers. While a minimum of 21 semester hours must be taken at BMA Seminary, students can potentially transfer up to 15 credit hours from a previous accredited master’s in theology online program (or an accredited similar institution).

Through asynchronous discussion board posts and reading activities, the master of arts in theology online program at BMA Seminary allows distance learners to collaborate and work together despite the lack of face-to-face interaction. Though most program coursework is not time-sensitive, there are a few courses that may require a few live online video sessions (which students will need to be present for at a set time).

BMA Seminary places an emphasis on making education affordable and accessible for students, and the Baptist Missionary Association funds a percentage of tuition for each student enrolled in the online theology master’s degree program. Students who require additional funding may also apply for need-based scholarships.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Pastoral Theology
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $185/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 36 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 31; spring - November 30; summer - April 1
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Seminary phone: (800) 259-5673
Seminary email: bmats@bmats.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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10 Wesley Biblical Seminary 71.16 73% Jackson, MS

Rooted in the Methodist traditions of the American South, Wesley Biblical Seminary was established in 1974 as an interdenominational institution in Jackson, Mississippi. Wesley began offering internet-based education in 2004, and its distance program now serves students from around the world. The seminary’s online theology master's degree features a curriculum focused on the Christian faith as it’s expressed in the Bible, historic Christian orthodoxy, and the religious traditions of John Wesley. Students who enroll in the program typically have a foundation in the Greek language.

The 50-credit curriculum is broken down into six sections: Biblical studies (17 credits), theological studies (18 credits), philosophical studies (three credits), formational studies (three credits), ministry studies (four credits), and electives (five credits). Many students use their electives to fulfill Greek requirements. While most courses are available asynchronously, Greek language lessons must be taken in real time using Zoom video conferencing technology. At least six credits must be earned on Wesley’s campus in Jackson, and the school recommends one be a real-time Zoom course. Other residency options include weekend classes, weeklong intensives, and more traditional semester-long courses. Another possibility is the fall, all-seminary retreat, a weekend-long event that counts toward one whole class. Students taking two classes per semester (including two in the summer) can complete their degree in three years.

Admission to the master of arts in theology online requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, a minimum 2.5 GPA, and four references that demonstrate the applicant’s spiritual and moral integrity. Accreditation is through the Association of Theological Schools. Graduates have served in more than 50 countries all around the world, and the school has educated national ministry leaders from more than 28 countries. The seminary also hosts online master’s in apologetics, Christian studies, divinity, and Biblical literature.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Theology (MAT) or Master's of Divinity (MDiv)
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $425/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: MAT - 50 credits; MDiv - 78-85 credits

Program Length
Program options: Part-time only
Program length: MAT - 2-3 years; MDiv - 3-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 1; spring - December 1 GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (601) 366-8880
Admissions email: ADMISSIONS@WBS.EDU
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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11 Nazarene Theological Seminary 70.97 69% Kansas City, MO

Affiliated with the Church of Nazarene, Nazarene Theological Seminary is based in Kansas City, Missouri, the former national home of the denomination. NTS serves a student body of more than 300 and allows students from around the country to earn their master of theology online. The seminary offers web-based Master’s in Theology and Divinity, giving students an opportunity to work toward ordination or to simply broaden and enrich their understanding of scriptures and the theological basis of the Christian religion.

The 76-credit curriculum of the online master’s of divinity program covers scripture, church history, theology, philosophy, and ministry. Students can earn most of their credits through the web, but they are required to participate in NTS’ convene modules, four one-week intensive residency seminars in Kansas City. These face-to-face courses allow participants to meet and collaborate with other peers in the program, building a community and a network of Christ. Several graduate certificates are available to customize your education, including Christian discipleship, pastoral counseling, church planting, missional leadership and discipleship, spiritual formation, and urban ministries. The program can be completed in three years, and up to 30 credits may be transferred in.

NTS offers the 48-credit master of arts in theology online in two tracks: general academic or research. There are no site requirements and the degree can be earned in two years or less. By concentrating electives, students can add an additional certification in the Old Testament, the New Testament, church history, theology, or biblical languages to their degree. Most classes follow the school’s traditional 14-week semester.

Admission to both programs requires students to pass a Bible content exam and a financial literacy tutorial or enroll in classes in Bible reading and financial management for Christian ministry. Applicants are required to submit their official transcripts, three letters of reference (academic, pastoral, and personal), and a 500-word essay or formal academic research paper. Students are also required to undergo a background check.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $525/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: 6 undergraduate credits in Biblical Languages
Credit requirements: 76 credits
Field education requirements: Supervised ministry

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 831-3011
Admissions email: enroll@nts.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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12 Calvin Theological Seminary 70.91 18% Grand Rapids, MI

Calvin Theological Seminary is associated with Calvin College, a liberal arts school, and the Protestant Christian Reformed Church. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the seminary is internationally renowned: nearly half of the student body comes from outside the United States. For students interested in earning their master of theology online, CTS offers multiple web-based degrees, including graduate-level programs in divinity and theological studies. Both are appropriate for students who want to continue on to doctoral programs, pursue a related career, or be more familiar in scripture.

The 65-credit curriculum of the master of arts in theology online is cohort based and takes students through the Old and New Testaments, Greek, apologetics, and Christian theology. Distance learners are required to visit campus twice per year for weeklong intensive sessions, usually at some time during the fall and spring semesters. With part-time courses, learners can typically complete the theological studies program within three years. Previous classwork in history, philosophy, natural and social sciences, and at least four semesters of Greek, are recommended.

The 101-credit online master of divinity is Calvin’s biggest program and was established to prepare students for opportunities in the ministry. The curriculum combines a broad base in Biblical and reformed theological texts, church history, and ancient languages, with best practices in preaching. Distance students typically take five years to work their way through the program. A dozen areas of concentration are available, including scripture, theological studies, and history.

Applicants should submit their undergraduate transcripts, four letters of recommendation that attest to an applicant’s spiritual and academic maturity, a recent photograph, and two essays, one an autobiography, the other a statement of Christian faith. Online and on-campus students pay the same tuition. Accreditation is through the Association of Theological Schools.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity (MDiv) or Master's of Theological Studies (MTS)
Available concentrations: MDiv - Old or New Testament, ancient Near Eastern languages & literature, history of Christianity, theological studies, new church development, contextual ministry, evangelism & teaching, preaching & worship, pastoral care & leadership, youth & family ministries
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $470/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: MDiv - 101 credits; MTS - 65 credits
Field education requirements: MDiv - internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: MDiv - 5 years; MTS - 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - June 1; spring - November 15

Contact
Admissions phone: (616) 957-7035
Admissions email: admissions@calvinseminary.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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13 Interdenominational Theological Center 70.79 56% Atlanta, GA

The Interdenominational Theological Center is the largest African American theological school in the country. Based in Atlanta, the center is a consortium of six denominational seminaries brought together to encourage progressive, ecumenical African American theology. Participating institutions include: Morehouse School of Religion, Gammon Theological Seminary, Turner Theological Seminary, Phillips School of Theology, Charles H. Mason Theological Seminary, and Richardson Seminary. The Center hosts an online master's in divinity program that prepares graduates for ordained ministry positions in a variety of different religious traditions.

Students must accrue 89 credits while maintaining a GPA of 2.25 or better. The core curriculum comprises 61 credits, covering a foundation in church history, theology, languages, exegesis, and scripture. Concentrations include the Bible, theology, church history, missiology, womanist studies, ethics, sociology of religion, homiletics and worship, church music, Christian education, church administration, religions of the world, pastoral care, and psychology of religion.

The master of theology online program offers a combination of asynchronous classes and real-time courses that allow online students to participate in live campus classes through chat and video conferencing. The degree typically takes four years to complete, and students must complete a third of the program in residency in Atlanta. These campus intensives are accelerated courses, usually scheduled during the summer and just before the traditional semesters begin. Accreditation is through the Association of Theological Schools and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Students should submit undergraduate transcripts, an autobiographical essay on their life and Christian faith, three letters of reference (preferably from an employer, a teacher, and a pastor), and a denominational endorsement. Tuition is the same for distance learners and on-campus students.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Available concentrations: Bible, church history, theology, womanist studies, ethics, missiology, sociology of religion, homiletics & worship, church music, Christian education, church administration & leadership, religions of the world, psychology of religion & pastoral care
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $6,750/fall or spring term; $3,300/summer term (full-time)

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 89 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 1; spring - November 1
GPA: 2.25 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (404) 527-7793
Admissions email: admissions@itc.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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14 Columbia International University 70.29 40% Columbia, SC

Established in 1985, Gratz is the oldest independent college for Jewish studies in the United States. The small school was set up to train the next generation of Jewish educators and community leaders, and operates out of a suburban campus in Melrose Park, Pennsylvania. Gratz’s master of theology online takes the form of a master’s in education that prepares graduates to take jobs in K-12 classrooms and work in corporate training, nonprofit agencies, instructional design, government, and higher educational institutions. The program allows students to concentrate in one of four areas: creativity and technology, dimensions in identity, early childhood education, and integrated curriculum.

The curriculum requires 30 credits to graduate and is distinguished by the close attention to detail it gives to the process of educating children. Coursework includes classes in subjects like educational identity, legal and ethical issues in the classroom, culture and family dynamics, and teaching tolerance. Concentrations are also available in Jewish education, higher education leadership, and K-12 leadership, and students can complete an applied dissertation. Gratz also offers the same program with a safe schools track, which emphasizes crisis in the classroom, and explores ways to protect children from predators, drugs, bullies, and other threats, as well as an MA in educational leadership.

Most of Gratz’s online courses are small, seminar-style classes that are taught asynchronously. Some language courses require participants to meet online with professors at scheduled times. Students interact with one another and their professor on discussion boards, and faculty recommends three or four posts a week. Web-based students become familiar with the environment through an online student orientation and can get technical help 24/7. Tuition is the same for all students in master’s level programs.


Program Overview
Department: Graduate & Seminary Programs
Program name: Master's of Arts in Theological Studies
Available concentrations: Program 1 - for college graduates with no previous studies in Bible or theology; Program 2 - for college graduates who have at least 30 credits of Bible, theology, or Church history
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $495/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: Program 1 - 48 credits; Program 2 - 33 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 1-5 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall I - August 14; fall II - October 9; spring I - January 2; spring II - February 27
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (803) 200-2570
Admissions email: onlinedegrees@ciu.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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15 Bethel Seminary-San Diego 70.22 14% San Diego, CA

Located in Columbia, South Carolina, CIU is a Christian higher education institution with an enrollment of more than 1,100 students. The school is multi-denominational, and offers a liberal arts education rooted in Christian traditions and values. The school’s online master's degree in theology includes two curriculum options: one for students with no previous credits in theology or biblical studies and one for students with at least 30 credits in those areas. The master of arts in theological studies program teaches students how to interpret biblical texts and explain Biblical doctrine. The program prepares graduates for positions as educators, church staff members, assistant or associate pastors, campus ministry professionals, or ministry members.

Students with no experience in theological studies are required to fulfill 48 credit hours, pursuing a curriculum focused on Bible and theology (21 credits), worldview and spiritual formation (nine credits), and 18 additional credits in a concentration of their choosing. Those with 30 previous credits forego the Biblical and theological studies coursework, do additional electives, and earn a total of 33 credits. All classes are asynchronous, and there are no required campus visits. Concentrations are student driven with options in Greek, Hebrew, Bible studies, theology, and history. Another possibility is the Bible and theology integrative seminar, which is a research-based concentration in which students produce a publishable, 30-page paper on a topic of their own choice. Two “chapel” courses bring the CIU community to the student, with Internet visits from alumni and missionaries from around the world.

Admission requires a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 2.5, a 1,000-word essay, and a reference from a church leader who has known the student for more than a year. Learners in the master of theology online program pay the same tuition as students on campus.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Christian Thought (MACT) or Master's of Divinity (MDiv)
Available concentrations: MACT - Church planting, post-Christian ministry, theological & historical studies, transformational leadership, young life youth ministry; MDiv - Single language, dual language, biblical studies, children's & family ministry
Accrediting body: HLC
Tuition: $495/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: MACT - 36 credits; MDiv - 78 credits
Field education requirements: MDiv - internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: MACT - 2 years; MDiv - 3-4.5 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling
Standardized tests: GRE required for those with a bachelor's degree from a college not regionally accredited

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 255-8706 x8018
Admissions email: mark-blaede@bethel.edu (Mark Blaede, Enrollment Counselor)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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16 Phoenix Seminary 69.95 39% Phoenix, AZ

One of the 15 largest seminaries in the United States, Bethel is part of the larger Bethel University and has campus locations in San Diego and St. Paul. The school also boasts a robust distance education program. The seminary has been promoting biblical and theological foundation, leadership strength, and spiritual character for more than 145 years, and it accepts students of all denominations. Bethel offers several options for students interested in earning a master of theology online, including degrees in divinity and Christian thought. The Christian thought program gives students a cultural and social understanding of theology, while the master of divinity program equips graduates with the tools they need to be successful as preachers, pastors, and chaplains.

The 36-credit curriculum of the online master’s in Christian thought centers on theology, scripture, philosophy, and how Christian ideas impact society. Students are typically able to earn the degree in two years. The divinity program is a traditional M.Div. Graduates complete 78 credits, typically in four to five years. Bethel’s career services help online students find internships to gain experience and discover career opportunities. Coursework for both programs can be completed entirely online.

Bethel offers other programs that might appeal to students drawn to an online theology master’s degree, including graduate degrees in children’s and family ministry, theological studies, ministry, and transformational leadership. Master’s level certification in church planting is also an option.

The admissions process can be started online. Tuition is the same for face-to-face, online, and evening classes. Accreditation is through the Association of Theological Schools.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity (MDiv), Master's of Arts in Ministry (MAM), or Master's of Arts in Biblical & Theological Studies (MABTS)
Available concentrations: MDiv - Biblical & theological studies, counseling & family, leadership development, spiritual formation, interdisciplinary studies; MAM - business leadership, church planting, counseling & family, intercultural studies, justice & mission, leadership development, ministry administration, ministry skills, spiritual formation, urban ministries, general studies; MABTS - thesis option
Accrediting body: ATS, HLC
Tuition: $480/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: MDiv - 94 credits; MAM/MABTS - 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: Varies
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Rolling

Contact
School phone: (602) 850-8000
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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17 Bethesda University 69.92 56% Anaheim, CA

PS, an interdenominational Protestant seminary located in Phoenix, Arizona, offers many options for students interested in an online master's in theology. Few places have as many theologically based master’s programs or internet programs as customizable. The seminary hosts a master of arts in biblical and theological studies entirely online, and most of the master of divinity and master of arts in ministry can be completed remotely as well. Students in all tracks take core courses in biblical literature, character development, intercultural studies, and theology, along with specialized classes in their area of concentration.

Phoenix considers its master of divinity the school’s flagship program. It follows a 94-credit curriculum that’s heavy on Greek and Hebrew courses, church history, and theological analysis. The program demonstrates the use of these skills in Bible teaching, preaching, church leadership, and counseling. Students can tailor the degree by selecting from among five areas of concentration: Biblical and theological studies, counseling and family, leadership development, spiritual formation, and interdisciplinary studies. The school’s master of arts in biblical and theological studies is a 48-credit program aimed at church professionals, and it features a systemic study of scripture and theology. Both thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. The master of ministry also requires 48 credits and about half of them can be earned online. The degree is a good option for church administrators and Christian writers, missionaries, and counselors.

Online coursework follows a standard 15-week semester format, aligned with the campus calendar during the fall and spring semesters and an intensive 10-week schedule during the summer. Students should expect six to seven hours of work a week, per class, in an online theology master's degree. Courses are conducted asynchronously.

Students are assigned a “personal librarian” to help with research and library resources. They are available through email, phone, and video conferencing. A variety of scholarships make the seminary more affordable.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Accrediting body: ABHE
Tuition: $265/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 96 credits
Field education requirements: 6 credits of supervised ministry

Program Length
Program options: Full-time only
Program length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July; spring - January 31

Contact
Admissions phone: (714) 517-1945
Admissions email: admissions@buc.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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18 Iliff School of Theology 68.59 47% Denver, CO

Bethesda, a Pentecostal university in Anaheim, California, prepares English- and Korean-speaking students for service and leadership positions in the church. Because the school has an international focus, it has a strong distance education arm, and offers a fully online master of divinity degree that prepares graduates for ordination as ministers. The program combines biblical, theological, and practical education in the context of pastoral or missionary ministry. The 96-credit curriculum includes courses in Biblical studies, theological and historical studies, Hebrew and Greek, practical ministry studies, and supervised field education. Many of the faculty members are Korean, allowing students to learn Asian church history.

The master of divinity is the primary pathway to ordination for most ministers, and Bethesda’s program provides a solid framework. The university’s online theology master's degree includes a three-year curriculum centered on a 60-credit core. Course subjects include Biblical and theological studies, giving graduates a strong foundation in scripture, an understanding of the historic development of theology, an ability to apply Biblical teachings to contemporary issues, and a level of comfort in front of audiences. After students complete the majority of their coursework, they move on to preaching, taking six courses of supervised field ministry and working from the pulpit.

Most classwork is asynchronous, with students watching recorded lectures, making notes, and submitting their notes to their instructors along with any other assignments. Threaded discussions require students to log on and participate regularly. Services at Bethesda Chapel are also recorded, allowing students to “go to church” with their peers and professors. An online master’s in biblical studies is also available.

Admission requires submission of official college transcripts, a Christian testimonial essay, and a photo. Off campus students pay the same tuition fee as students in Anaheim.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $826/credit (1-7 credits); $6,608/term (8-14 credits); $826/each credit above 14 credits

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 120 credits
Field education requirements: Internship

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3-10 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 31
GPA: 2.75 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 678-3360
Admissions email: admissions@iliff.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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19 Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary 67.87 26% Elkhart, IN

Associated with the Mennonite Church, AMBS is an accredited seminary that was founded in 1958 in Elkhart, Indiana. Distance learners use the school’s M.Div Connect program, which allows them to earn their degree through primarily online courses. The program has two majors: pastoral ministry and chaplaincy, and it’s versed in the seminary’s Anabaptist Mennonite traditions, focusing on the history, theology, and vision of the sect. The degree is aimed at students who are interested in pursuing ministry positions and those who want to bring a Christian-oriented leadership perspective into their current career. Students are required to visit campus for two, week-long intensive sessions throughout the school year.

M.Div Connect follows an 80-credit curriculum. Fifty-three credits can be taken entirely online, and students are expected to spend a minimum of ten hours per week on each course. The prospectus begins with the leadership education in Anabaptist perspective orientation course and concludes with a senior ministry case study paper, a presentation demonstrating knowledge gained during the seminary experience, and an interview with faculty. Learners study scripture, Greek and Hebrew, Biblical theology, and the role of the church in contemporary society. They participate in the peer-reviewed ministry in church and world program, do a supervised ministry experience, and attend a capstone ministry assessment seminar.

The online master’s in theology is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission, and it can typically be completed in five and a half years. Admission is based on prior college experience, faculty recommendation, submission of a plan for growth and spiritual formation, and a personal inventory. AMBS also has online master’s in theology and peace studies and Christian formation.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Available concentrations: Pastoral ministry & chaplaincy
Accrediting body: ATS, HLC
Tuition: $480/credit

Delivery
Format: Hybrid
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 80 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 5.5 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: July 31
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 964-2627
Admissions email: admissions@ambs.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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20 The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 67.55 28% Louisville, KY

SBTS, the oldest seminary affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, was founded in 1859 and moved to its current campus in 1877. It's located in Louisville, Kentucky, and offers two, “high-tech, high-touch,” fully online degrees: a master of divinity and a master of arts in theological studies. The divinity program prepares students for professional ministry positions, while the theological studies degree helps distance learners deepen their understanding of Christianity and the Bible. Students can earn credit for either degree through SBTS’s Global Campus, which gives them several options for completing courses, including online classes, locally supervised ministry apprenticeship programs, and intensive campus courses held in between semesters.

SBTS’ online master of divinity is an 88-credit program that focuses on scriptural and theological study, church history, evangelism, and applied ministry. Students can select from more than two dozen areas of concentration, including applied apologetics, church planting, Islamic studies, and urban missions. An advanced option is available to ambitious students, and it requires placement tests in Greek and Hebrew and an academic paper. The 48-credit master of arts in theology online devotes much of its time to in-depth study of scripture, church history, and systematic theology. Classes in both programs are mostly asynchronous and are offered in accelerated, eight-week terms, six times per year.

Admission to SBTS requires submission of academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation from a pastor, and a spiritual autobiography. The seminary is already among the most affordable options for an online theology master's degree, and members of a Southern Baptist Church can take advantage of half priced tuition. Online students also have access to many campus resources, including academic advising, the writing center, and library services. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Department: School of Theology
Program name: Master's of Divinity (MDiv) or Master's of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS)
Available concentrations: MDiv - Biblical & theological studies, biblical spirituality, Christian ministry, pastoral studies, worldview & culture
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $280/credit Southern Baptist; $560/credit Non-Southern Baptist

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Prerequisites: MDiv - Elementary Hebrew, Elementary Greek, Written Communication; MATS - Written Communication
Credit requirements: MDiv - 88 credits; MATS - 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 3-3.5 years
Program start dates: Fall, winter, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 15; winter - December 1; spring - December 1; summer - May 1
GPA: 2.4 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 626-5525 x4701
Admissions email: sso@sbts.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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21 Apex School of Theology 65.60 100% Durham, NC

Apex School of Theology was founded in 1995 in Durham, North Carolina, with the mission of providing theological education grounded in the African American experience. The school prepares future religious leaders for service in churches, ministries, and communities, emphasizing personal responsibility in a civic, social, and religious context. AST is one of only a few independent theological schools to offer distance education to students interested in an accredited online master's in theology. The school’s Master of Divinity program emphasizes Christian thought from a historical, cultural, and ministerial perspective, preparing students for leadership positions in the church. Coursework covers everything from theology and Christian ethics to church administration and biblical languages.

The seminary’s online arm, ApexDE, was established to bring the school’s distinctive programming to students who are unable to relocate to North Carolina. The curriculum mirrors the one on campus. It requires students to complete 90 credits in courses such as foundations in theology; history of Christian thought; and the Bible, Africa, and the African American experience. Students also take credit hours in scriptural study and Biblical languages, church management and leadership, and the role of the church in society. Towards the end of the program, learners take introduction to field education, an experiential course. Apex also offers online master’s in Christian education and Christian counseling.

Admission requires college transcripts, two letters of reference, a spiritual autobiography, and a medical release. Tuition is the same for online learners and students on campus. Accreditation is through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Student services include the school’s Writing Center, financial aid, and career counseling.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Accrediting body: TRACS
Tuition: $233/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 90 credits

Program Length
Program length: Varies
Program start dates: Fall, spring

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - July 6; spring - December 7

Contact
Distance education phone: (919) 572-1625
Distance education email: katrinabyrd@apexsot.edu (Katrina Byrd, Populi Administrator)
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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22 United Theological Seminary 65.10 88% Dayton, OH

UTS is a United Methodist seminary located outside of Dayton, Ohio. Founded in 1871, United Methodist is one of the fastest growing seminaries in the country, currently serving a student body of over 400 through on-campus and online courses. For students pursuing a master's in theology online, UTS offers a theological studies program, designed to be flexible for working pastors and Church professionals. The 48-credit curriculum was designed to provide a broad foundation in theology, a thorough understanding of scripture, and a solid grasp of Christian history. Concentrations are available in systematic theology, the history of Christianity, and Wesleyan-Methodist studies, giving students the opportunity to focus their education according to their personal interests.

The master of arts in theology online program begins with a required orientation class and is then divided into core theology courses (21 credits), a focus area and project (18 credits), a colloquy seminar (three credits), and electives (six credits). Students must also make their way through several non-credit requirements, including a mid-program evaluation, a graduation portfolio, and final advising. Coursework is largely asynchronous, though some classes have real-time components in which online students virtually attend the same class as on-campus students. Students can finish their degree within two years.

United is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, but students are of different denominations. Admission requires submission of transcripts, a background check, two essays, and four letters of recommendation (one academic or professional, two from church pastors or members, and one from a lay person). Interviews are often also necessary. Tuition fees are the same whether students do their studying in Dayton, Oregon, or Dayton, Ohio.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Theological Studies
Available concentrations: History of Christianity, systematic theology, Wesleyan-Methodist studies
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $730/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall - September 11; spring - February 5

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - August 14; spring - January 8
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 322-5817
Admissions email: admissions@united.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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23 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 64.64 51% Wake Forest, NC

SEBTS was founded in 1950 in Wake Forest, North Carolina, to meet the educational needs of the Southern Baptist Convention on the East Coast. The seminary, a center of theological education in the region, is a popular choice for Baptist students looking to earn their master’s of theology online. The school’s online programs include a master’s degree in divinity intended to ready pastors, missionaries, and other Christian professionals for work in the church. The 81-credit program is the flagship degree at the school, taking students through theology and scripture, ethics, Christian history, missions, and applied ministry. It allows students to concentrate in a dozen areas, including Christian ethics, advanced Biblical studies, and next generation ministry and Christian apologetics. SEBTS recommends web-based students select the Christian ministry emphasis due to its high number of elective courses and curricular flexibility.

The online theology master’s degree runs concurrent with the on-campus class, following the semesters system. Fall and spring classes last 16 weeks, summer courses 11. Coursework is asynchronous. Students watch recorded lectures, do assigned readings, and interact with their professors electronically. Threaded discussions create a community among classmates.

SEBTS often grants graduate credit for undergraduate through its Southeastern Collegiate Partnership program. Admission to the seminary requires a bachelor’s degree, medical clearance, a criminal background check, a personal statement from a spouse (if students are married), and two character references (a pastor reference, and a church reference.) Applicants must also sign the Southeastern Covenant. Tuition fees are the same at SEBTS regardless where a student attends class.

The seminary also offers an online master’s in Christian studies, church planting, and intercultural studies. SEBTS hosts ten online courses in subjects including theology, Bible interpretation, and work and worship that are can be taken free of charge.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Divinity
Available concentrations: Advanced biblical studies, biblical counseling, Christian apologetics, Christian ethics, Christian ministry, international church planting, ministry leadership, ministry to women, missiology, next generation ministry, North American church planting, preaching & pastoral ministry, worship leadership
Accrediting body: SACSCOC, ATS
Tuition: $263/credit Southern Baptist; $526/credit Non-Southern Baptist

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 81 credits
Field education requirements: Internship or practicum

Program Length
Program options: Full-time
Program length: 3-4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, winter, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: One month prior to term start

Contact
Admissions phone: (919) 761-2324
Admissions email: admissions@sebts.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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24 Assemblies of God Theological Seminary 64.56 10% Springfield, MO

Located in Springfield, Missouri, AGTS functions as part of Evangel University and has been endorsed by the Assemblies of God for its graduate programs in ministry. These include an online master's of arts in theological studies that distance learners can typically finish within two years. Requiring degree candidates to complete 48 credits, the curriculum features courses like healthy habits of leadership, Genesis preaching the stories, ministry in an emerging culture, and missional leadership dynamics. Classes are available in the fall, spring, and summer terms.

All students in this master's in theological studies program pay the same tuition rates, regardless of their state of residency. Those degree candidates with certain undergraduate credits may enter the program with advanced standing and complete their degree in a shorter time. However, AGTS will not permit life experience to count toward such standing. Students may transfer up to half of the credits required for their online master's in theological studies from any accredited graduate institution as long as they were earned with a grade of C or better. AGTS will also accept transfer credits from certain non-accredited institutions, provided they were earned with a grade of B or better. The school also allows students to earn a limited number of credits through directed research, where they work closely with assigned faculty members through a range of learning methodologies.

AGTS requires applicants to evidence born-again beliefs and dedication to Christian service. Prospective students should also have earned a bachelor's degree from an acceptable college with a GPA of 2.5 or above. Other admission requirements include official transcripts, ministerial and personal recommendations, a brief autobiography, a photo, and a $75 application fee. Distance learners at AGTS can access a variety of online resources, like job boards, interview critiques, career workshops, and other job planning tools. Additionally, the school provides a range of financial aid opportunities including scholarships and tuition discounts.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Theological Studies
Available concentrations: Biblical & theological studies, New Testament studies, Old Testament studies, biblical languages, pentecostal & charismatic studies, intercultural theology
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $565/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 48 credits

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: 30 days prior to registration
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (866) 773-2226
Admissions email: admissions@agts.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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25 Moody Bible Institute 63.25 34% Chicago, IL

Established in Chicago in 1886, Moody now boasts satellite learning centers in Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, and Texas. The school also offers a variety of degrees through distance learning programs. With the education directive of marrying "higher learning and a higher calling," Moody focuses its curricula on study of the Bible and real-world application of its teachings. Additionally, the school provides a range of support services to all students, including distance learners, like help with test-taking techniques, peer tutoring, and academic advising. Online courses at Moody last for two or four months each, and students can enroll part- or full-time to earn their degree at their own pace. All course content is available online in an asynchronous format.

Available entirely online, Moody's master's of arts in divinity centers around biblical languages like Hebrew and Greek. Other topics in the curriculum include biblical and systematic theology, ministry leadership, church history, and narrative preaching. In addition to their coursework, degree candidates must complete two internships wherein they apply their newly acquired knowledge to real-world settings. Students with a background in Bible- or ministry-related coursework can potentially qualify for advanced standing credits that would replace up to seven courses in the master's of arts in divinity program.

All distance learners at Moody pay the same tuition, no matter where they live. The school provides scholarships and payment plans to help students manage their costs. Prospective students must submit an autobiographical essay, three references -- one from a pastor, one from a peer, and one from a professor -- and official transcripts with their online application. Moody also considers applicants' personal ministry histories. Prospective students should have at least a 2.5 GPA, although those applicants with lower grades may receive conditional admission that requires them to earn a GPA of 2.5 or better on their first 12 credits in the program.


Program Overview
Program name: Master's of Arts in Divinity
Accrediting body: ATS
Tuition: $410/credit

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction style: Asynchronous & synchronous

Program Requirements
Credit requirements: 90 credits
Field education requirements: 2 internships

Program Length
Program options: Full-time or part-time
Program length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, spring, summer

Admission Requirements
Application deadline: Fall - August 1; spring - December 1; summer - May 1
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Admissions phone: (800) 588-8344
Admissions email: admissions@moody.edu
Social media accounts: Facebook; Twitter

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To get the most out of studying your master’s in theology online, it’s important to find out which program best suits your needs. Details vary depending on the school and program chosen, but the following covers the basics of what you should expect.

CONCENTRATIONS OFFERED FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN THEOLOGY

Concentration Description Careers This Concentration Prepares For
Biblical studies Course electives focus on scripture, including intensive study of an ancient language, the history of Christianity, spiritual formation, and how to interpret theological themes. This provides a deep understanding of the religion. Ministry director, foreign or domestic missionary, school enrollment counselor, chaplain, social worker, youth pastor
Religious education This concentration explores education with a biblical perspective. Students have the opportunity to develop professional competency in specific types of instruction, such as catechetical or secondary education, and may prepare you to complete a teacher certification. Catholic (elementary, middle, or high) school teacher, Catholic school administrator, director of religious education
Christian leadership The Christian leadership concentration allows you to specialize in an area specific to your ministry needs or area of interest. These may include revival strategies, ministry administration, or church planting. Community leader, teacher, youth leader, nonprofit organizer, director
Pastoral counseling Pastoral care or counseling combines biblical, theological, and pastoral training with the skills needed to provide care. Depending on the subject areas you focus on – which may include marriage and family, psychology, and human sexuality – the concentration might prepare you for licensure. Clinical counselor, marriage and family counselor, chaplain, addiction counselor, youth pastor

CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE MASTER’S DEGREE IN THEOLOGY

Coursework can vary between programs. To give you an idea of a typical master’s in theology online curriculum, sample courses are listed below.

  • Church history: This course provides foundations in historical, biblical, and theological training, exploring Christianity through different cultures and eras. Historical theology can provide skills useful for teaching, research, and doctoral studies.
  • Spiritual formation: Spiritual formation emphasizes spiritual growth and gaining a deeper understanding of concepts and practices leading to a Christ- and community-centered life. This subject can equip you for a future as a spiritual director or leader of a spiritual formation ministry.
  • Intercultural studies: Intercultural studies, which generally integrate theology with ethics, sociology, and anthropology, develops global leadership skills and appreciation for diversity. These skills can prepare you for work among other ethnic and cultural groups, such as military chaplaincy or diplomatic positions in overseas U.S. embassies.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE MASTER’S IN THEOLOGY?

On average, a theology master’s program online requires students to earn 34-38 credit hours, and this can be accomplished with about two years of full-time study. Some programs can be completed in 18 months while others take up to four years. This depends on the depth of instruction, the specialization or concentration you choose, whether you study part time or full time, and whether the school offers an accelerated track.

There are also variables specific to distance learning to consider as online degrees are presented in various formats. Asynchronous delivery provides flexible, 24/7 access to coursework that you can complete on your own schedule. Synchronous and cohort learning mimic the traditional classroom; all students attend online classes at the same time.

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES A MASTER’S IN THEOLOGY PREPARES FOR

  • Biblical counseling: Gaining online seminary licensure in counseling can open the door to roles in vocational, family, and ministry settings, such as pastors or high school counselors. Some curricula are designed around certifying agencies’ requirements so that students automatically graduate with certification. Coursework will qualify you to sit for licensure examinations.
  • Teaching: Agencies such as the Religious Education Department of the Catholic Education Office grant certifications with different requirements for various age levels. A master of divinity online concentration in teaching is usually required to qualify for certification.

Proper accreditation is important to the ministry as it demonstrates that you received a quality education – one that meets recognized standards in curricula, faculty, learning resources, and governance. Accreditation also allows you greater flexibility if you pursue education beyond your master’s of divinity online, as some institutions won’t accept credit from unaccredited schools.

Most online seminary schools are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Regional accreditation, compared to national accreditation, is more widely accepted between schools and sought after by employers.

The DOE and the CHEA have a strong influence on accreditation. Both oversee the approval of accrediting organizations to ensure they meet strict regulatory criteria, which in turn, ensures the quality of accredited schools. You can find a database of accredited institutions on the the DOE’s and the CHEA’s websites.

Ministerial and theological work is not for everyone. Students blessed with the belief, patience and grace for religious training are a rare breed, and prospective theological students should understand and evaluate the rigors of studying in an advanced program before pursuing an online Master’s in Theology.

For those called to theology, both the classwork and the career opportunities that await after graduation are incredibly rewarding. Students can expect to deepen their understanding of Christian principles and the Bible. The programs listed above provide exposure to the world’s most influential religious texts, while renowned faculty train students to become experts in religious history and cross-cultural ethics. Those programs prepare you for a career in religious-based academia or for life in the ministry, and the school will offer insight into the challenges inherent in providing religious counsel in the modern world. Students also emerge from school prepared to integrate scripture with modern technology in either academia or the church.

Most graduates with a theology master’s find employment in the church as pastors or parish leaders. Beyond religious organizations, theology degree-holders often find gainful employment within educational institutions, including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and professional learning facilities. Though master’s degree-holders are typically eligible for teaching jobs at churches and schools, most colleges require theology professors to hold a doctorate.

Obtaining a Bachelor’s in theology may help you qualify for an entry-level job, though most theological careers require at least a master’s degree. Fortunately, fulfilling positions are increasingly in demand for postsecondary graduates: the BLS projects an employment growth of 8.9% among religious workers between 2012 and 2022 and reports an annual mean wage of $34,700 as of May 2014 for professionals in this occupation, an increase from a reported $31,600 in 2011.

While the coursework in any postsecondary program will challenge people of all backgrounds, the online format facilitates efficient instruction while providing sufficient resources for students to succeed. Distance learners have as much access to world-class faculty and a variety of theological subfields as residential students, and the online format is ideal for working professionals to strengthen their bond with Christ without disrupting their professional and familial responsibilities. If a career and a life in theology is your true calling, earning your diploma from one of the best master’s degree in theology programs online is the perfect way to get started.

Best Online Master's in Theology Programs of 2016
Rank School Location
1 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
2 Luther Rice College & Seminary Lithonia, GA
3 Southwestern Assemblies of God Universities Waxahachie, TX
4 Hope International University Fullerton, CA
5 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
6 Regent University Virginia Beach, VA
7 Dallas Theological Seminary Dallas, TX
8 Lincoln Christian University Lincoln, IL
9 Nazarene Theological Seminary Kansas City, MO
10 University of the Cumberlands Williamsburg, KY
11 Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary Jacksonville, TX
12 Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN
13 Kentucky Christian University Grayson, KY
14 Apex School of Theology Durham, NC
15 Concordia University - Chicago River Forest, IL
16 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
17 Baptist Bible College & Seminary of Pennsylvania Clarks Summit, PA
18 Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, MI
19 Missouri Baptist University Saint Louis, MO
20 Southeastern University Lakeland, FL
21 Loyola University - New Orleans New Orleans, LA
22 Heritage Christian University Florence, AL
23 Virginia Baptist College Fredericksburg, VA
24 Bethesda University of California Anaheim, CA
25 South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary Deerfield Beach, FL