The Most Affordable Online Theology Programs

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A rigorous theology program prepares graduates for careers as a minister, missionary, educator or to work for nonprofit organizations built on Christian principles. Traditionally, theology students studied exclusively in campus-based programs. But as online higher education opportunities have expanded across disciplines in recent years, online theology programs have become increasingly common. Today, thousands of distance learners pursue their spiritual and professional calling remotely.

Many accredited colleges now offer a comprehensive online bachelor’s in theology degree program. These schools allow students to pursue the degree at their own pace, a convenience for anyone who must work full-time to pay for school, and those who provide childcare. Oftentimes, online programs are also more affordable. Students can save on commuting and living expenses, and in many cases, even pay a lower tuition rate.

It’s important to consider that the cheapest online theology degree program may not always be suitable. A quality curriculum from an accredited and reputable school offers far more benefits than a college that offers offers low tuition but a poor education. Fortunately, there are several affordable options available for online theology degree-seeking students.

Our list below separates the cheapest online theology degree programs from more reputable, affordable offerings. Our “College Affordability Score” is calculated based on a comprehensive list of online universities offering attractive educational programs in theology, biblical studies and ministry, as well as financial assistance and financial aid packages. These schools have a proven track record of keeping tuition rates low and helping students graduate with little or no college-related debt. The data below can help you decide which colleges will help you earn your degree at the most affordable price.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1 Bethesda University 85.21 2/5 78% Anaheim, CA

Located in the Los Angeles suburb of Anaheim, California, Bethesda University offers an affordable opportunity for global learners to earn a theology degree online. BU offers a bachelor’s of arts in religion with a concentration in biblical studies or Christian education. Courses review scriptural texts, systematic theology, Pentecostal theology, evangelism, and missions. Christian education electives include Christian education of youth and family ministries in the church.

This four-year degree requires 126 credit hours, including 81 credits of specialized training in biblical interpretation or ministry. Online learners complete classes within the traditional academic calendar. While most coursework can be completed remotely, students apply classroom knowledge with required service hours in a ministry setting.

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2 Summit University of Pennsylvania 73.75 3/5 52% Clarks Summit, PA

Founded in 1932 as a Baptist Bible seminary, CSU is located outside Scranton, Pennsylvania, and offers an affordable online theology degree to prepare remote learners for careers in ministry or for advanced graduate study. The bachelor's of science in integrated studies introduces students to foundational methods of biblical interpretation. Electives include New Testament interpretation, evangelism, preaching, and philosophy.

Students may begin eight-week classes in August, October, January, March, or May, and incoming students may begin their degree in any term. Full-time students typically complete the 123 required credits in four years. Offered entirely online, the program includes virtual discussions and collaborative group projects to promote student engagement. Tuition discounts are available for applicants currently serving as ministers or involved with programs such as Teen Challenge USA or Word of Life.

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3 Luther Rice University & Seminary 69.38 3/5 100% Lithonia, GA

With a 14-year history of online learning, LRU’s bachelor's of arts in religion incorporates state-of-the-art lecture videos. Students have access to the academic library, and the faculty mentors students spiritually and academically throughout their studies. All students earning an online theology degree enroll in 42 hours of biblical interpretation coursework, including advanced studies of Genesis, Psalms, or Acts of the Apostles, with a focus on apologetic methods. Students may pursue minors in biblical counseling, Christian worldview, or ministry, with concentrations in family and personal counseling, forms of church ministry, or the nexus of faith and culture.

Full-time students typically complete the 120-credit program in four years. Need-based tuition assistance reduces costs by up to 50%.

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4 Gods Bible School and College 67.50 2/5 41% Cincinnati, OH

God’s Bible School offers an online ministry degree rooted in Wesleyan theology and biblical approaches to ministry: a bachelor's of arts in biblical and theological studies. Students encounter basic doctrines of Christian theology and prepare for careers as pastoral counselors, missionaries, and preachers. This 120-credit, four-year degree includes humanities classwork and advanced electives, such as approaches to urban ministry and critical issues in holiness.

Committed to providing an inexpensive education for future ministers, God’s Bible School offers low tuition rates, along with payment plans, discounts for students with ministerial parents, financial incentives for on-time tuition repayment, and internal endowment and merit-based scholarships.

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5 The Baptist College of Florida 62.71 3/5 43% Graceville, FL

Owned and operated by the Florida Baptist Convention, BCF offers degree programs online, at two satellite locations, and on the main campus in Graceville, Florida. Multiple online ministry degrees are available; students major in fields such as biblical studies, Christian education, and missions with a concentration in aviation. BCF’s bachelor's of arts programs provide foundational knowledge of biblical interpretation and Christian theology. Advanced seminars prepare students for future ministry careers; topics include biblical foundations of leadership, church business administration, and life on the mission field.

Courses are offered asynchronously within traditional academic semesters. Online students partner with faculty to complete capstone projects that require extracurricular ministry experience. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, submit a statement of faith, and possess a recommendation from their local church.

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6 Piedmont International University 60.42 3/5 39% Winston-Salem, NC

Piedmont International prepares students for Christian ministry through award-winning online education. Students earning a bachelor's of arts in Bible master biblical texts, events, and methods of interpretation. Online students may pursue a minor to prepare for specific ministry work. Online minors range from American Sign Language to management for nonprofits.

The university is committed to providing affordable, flexible degrees, and students pursuing an online theology degree benefit from small class sizes and multiple program formats. Classes are taught in seven-week sessions, and applicants choose from six enrollment dates throughout the year. Piedmont International offers extensive financial aid options, along with scholarships and grants for candidates serving in or preparing for Christian ministry.

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7 Johnson University 58.33 3/5 61% Knoxville, TN

Through intensive leadership training and deep biblical study, Johnson’s online bachelor’s degree in ministry leadership prepares students for careers in Christian ministry. The main campus, located outside Knoxville, Tennessee, provides students completing a theology degree online with 24/7 technology support, online academic advisement, and bi-weekly chapel services streamed online. In addition to Bible, theology, and leadership coursework, the program includes a capstone ministry internship. Students partner with a mentor in their local community to supplement theoretical studies with real-world ministry experience.

Full-time students typically complete the 120 required credit hours in three years. Johnson University offers discounted tuition for online students.

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8 The King's University 57.92 3/5 18% Southlake, TX

Founded in 1997, TKU in Los Angeles, California, is a leader in Pentecostal/Charismatic seminary education. Available entirely online, the bachelor's of biblical and theological studies provides distance learners with comprehensive exposure to scriptural analysis, Christian doctrine, and ministry techniques. The 124 required credit hours include biblical Greek and Hebrew. TKU’s online theology degree includes electives such as church history, messianic Jewish studies, advanced exegesis, and apologetics.

The seven-week courses are offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters. Students taking the maximum of four online courses per semester can expect to graduate in four years. Online students pay the same tuition rate as on-campus students.

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9 Lancaster Bible College 57.71 3/5 65% Lancaster, PA

Tailored to both future scholars and pastors, LBC’s bachelor's of arts in biblical studies blends rigorous biblical training with a focus on the day-to-day needs of ministers. This online theology degree requires classes such as spiritual life, evangelism, and cultural context of the New Testament. Degree minors, such as business administration and sports management, provide students with specialized knowledge to advance their careers.

Of the 120 required credit hours, students must earn only 30 credits through LBC. Apart from transfer credits, students may earn degree credit for military service or life experience. Applicants to this fully online program must have a 2.0 GPA and pastoral recommendation.

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10 DeSales University 56.46 4/5 70% Center Valley, PA

DeSales University offers a distinctly Catholic approach to theological education. The bachelor's of arts in theology introduces students to religious philosophy, church history, and systematic theology, while integrating knowledge of church doctrines, contemporary theological issues, and ministerial concerns. The program prepares students for graduate theological work and careers across disciplines.

Online courses are delivered synchronously and asynchronously, and the required 120 credit hours can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format, which involves some on-campus learning. Students may apply prior work experience or up to 75 transfer credits toward their online theology degree. With 11 enrollment dates throughout the year and affordable tuition, this is one of the most flexible programs available.

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11 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 56.46 4/5 64% Marion, IN

For applicants with at least 60 credit hours from an accredited university, Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, offers an accelerated online ministry degree. The bachelor's of science in biblical studies, designed for students entering advanced ministry positions, meets ordination requirements of several denominations. The curriculum focuses on biblical interpretation from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective and includes a comprehensive review of Christian scripture. Coursework covers key Christian doctrines, such as salvation and holiness, as well as Church history and Christianity in North America.

Enrollment dates are offered throughout the academic year, and the core 60 credit hours can be completed asynchronously. Substantial discounts to the already affordable tuition are available to pastors, especially those with appointment in the Wesleyan Church.

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12 University of Northwestern-St Paul 56.04 4/5 68% Saint Paul, MN

From its main campus in Roseville, Minnesota, the University of Northwestern offers online students the same small, Christian learning experience. Online students complete courses over traditional semester timelines and engage in real-time with peers and professors. The bachelor's of arts in biblical studies and theology includes fully online classes, as well as blended formats. Students complete 125 credit hours in the humanities and Christian theology, emphasizing advanced studies of interpretation methods and biblical Greek. This affordable online theology degree is deal for students pursuing careers in ministry or graduate seminary work. Financial aid and monthly payment plans are available for distance learners. Students with family at the university and full-time ministers receive additional tuition assistance.

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13 Manhattan Christian College 54.79 3/5 41% Manhattan, KS

Manhattan Christian College’s bachelor's of science in biblical leadership is a degree-completion option for applicants with 40 completed credits. Transfer credits are applied to humanities general education requirements. Online learners begin by studying the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, then advance to curriculum integrating biblical studies with Christian leadership. Students study theories of leadership in conjunction with pastoral counseling, preaching, and administration. Graduates serve local churches, pursue global mission work, and apply management skills in diverse professional settings.

The program offers two online start dates per academic semester, and most students take two classes per eight-week term. Online tuition is discounted heavily, making Manhattan Christian College an affordable option for students completing their theology degree online.

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14 John Wesley University 51.25 3/5 43% High Point, NC

Unlike other peer programs, the bachelor's of arts in Christian ministry at John Wesley University offers six concentrations, allowing students to train for a particular area of ministry, such as counseling, education, intercultural studies, worship arts, pastoral ministry, or youth and family ministry. The program requires 122 credit hours, and classes are delivered in eight-week sessions during the fall and spring semesters.

John Wesleyan accepts transfer credits from accredited institutions, and online students typically complete their online theology degree in four years. On-campus students enjoy one of the lowest tuition rates among private North Carolina colleges, and online students receive an additional discount.

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15 Mount Vernon Nazarene University 48.75 3/5 60% Mount Vernon, OH

MVNU’s bachelor's of arts in ministry is an accelerated and affordable online theology degree designed for applicants pursuing a second undergraduate degree. The core curriculum reviews concepts and theories of pastoral leadership; graduates are prepared to tackle practical ministerial tasks like budgeting, volunteer recruitment, and evangelism. Remote learners take courses synchronously with peers, promoting collaboration and creating a support network that lasts beyond graduation.

While the degree can be completed fully online, students near Mount Vernon, Ohio, may take a combination of online and on-campus courses. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college and a minimum GPA of 3.0.

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16 Ecclesia College 47.92 3/5 10% Springdale, AR

Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arkansas, offers a fully online bachelor's of biblical studies. In addition to general education classes, the 120-credit degree includes training in exegetical methods and specific books of the Bible. The program integrates Christian ethics and theology with practicums in ministry, which remote learners complete in their own communities. Online students are welcome to participate in service-learning projects offered through the school, some of which involve travel and charitable work abroad.

All courses are offered asynchronously, and start times are spaced throughout the year. Its low, per-credit tuition rate makes this one of the most affordable online theology degree programs available. Merit scholarships can further reduce expenses, and Arkansas residents can apply for additional funding.

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17 Palm Beach Atlantic University 47.50 3/5 51% West Palm Beach, FL

A growing, interdenominational university in Florida, PBA’s bachelor's of arts in ministry empowers students with biblical, theological, historical, and practical Christian knowledge. Requiring 120 credit hours, this online ministry degree builds on foundational studies of biblical texts, advanced exegesis, and theological training. Core classes include apologetics, evangelism, missions, and the nexus of church and society, and students may specialize in specific avenues of ministry.

Classes are offered every six weeks, and while most allow students to study independently, two synchronous courses are required. Applicants must complete a writing assessment and submit any prior transcripts. Transfer credits are accepted, and PBA also offers streamlined master’s degree options.

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18 Central Baptist College 47.08 3/5 35% Conway, AR

Offered completely online, the bachelor's of science in leadership and ministry at Central Baptist College is an economical and rigorous online ministry degree. Foundational classes introduce learners to principles of the Christian faith and review the Old and New Testament texts. Advanced electives, such as biblical archeology and modern cults, allow students to explore global faith. Graduates serve as ministers, sometimes bi-vocationally, applying their studies to other disciplines.

Online coursework is delivered asynchronously. Classes typically last five weeks, though longer formats are occasionally available. Most students complete the 120 required credits in four years. Applicants should apply through Central Baptist for need-based or merit-based assistance.

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19 Saint Joseph's College of Maine 40.63 4/5 59% Standish, ME

Students of diverse faith backgrounds will find Saint Joseph’s bachelor's of arts in theological studies to be academically challenging and spiritually rewarding. Based in Standish, Maine, Saint Joseph’s accredited, 128-credit online theology degree is taught by highly trained faculty. Coursework includes systematic theology, Catholic doctrine, liturgy, and biblical studies. Advanced theological courses cover spirituality, ecumenism, and moral theology.

Remote learners complete courses with a cohort of peers, and classes are available throughout the year. Graduates work in ministry, business, education, and international aid. Online students may also take advantage of Saint Joseph’s fast-track program to advance toward a master’s degree. Financial aid is available for those taking courses on at least a half-time basis.

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20 Nazarene Bible College 38.96 3/5 40% Colorado Springs, CO

The first Nazarene institution to offer higher education degrees online, NBC’s convenient and affordable online theology degrees include a bachelor's of arts in ministry. The customizable program offers eight majors—such as leadership and ethics, Christian school education, and counseling for Christian ministries—and four minors. Each major requires core Bible and theology classes.

Online classes are delivered asynchronously, and NBC allows up to 75% degree completion through transfer credits. The 120-credit program features an active online student body and personalized academic support. Applying is free and does not require recommendations or writing samples. NBC is regionally and nationally accredited and offers need-based and merit-based scholarships.

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