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.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Receiving Loans Location Description
1

Bethesda University of California

802/521%Anaheim, CA

campus-bethesda-university-of-california

The bachelor's in religion program at Bethesda is offered both online and on-campus. Students can concentrate in biblical studies, pastoral ministry, Christian education, or missions. These specialized programs provide students with the professional training required for ministry while also preparing them for a master’s program.

Upper division courses include a preaching practicum component which cannot be completed online. Financial Aid at Bethesda is awarded based on need and federal financial aid is available to qualified students. The Board of Trustees has also made a commitment to keeping tuition affordable.

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2

Johnson University

74.173/559%Knoxville, TN

campus-johnson-university

Students at Johnson University can enroll in an affordable online theology degree program that covers ministry leadership, pastoral care, and intercultural studies in detail. This school offers integrated programs with a biblical foundation and an arts and sciences core, providing distance learners with a well-rounded education. Online bachelor’s degree programs include one-on-one academic advising opportunities and a virtual library service so students have easy access to research papers, books, reports, and other materials.

Affordable tuition is a staple at Johnson University. The tuition structure varies by program, and financial aid counselors are available to help students submit a FAFSA and to provide information about their financing options.

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3

The Baptist College of Florida

73.852/556%Graceville, FL

campus-baptist-college-of-florida

The Baptist College of Florida offers an inexpensive online theology degree. Online courses cost the same as traditional classes and students from around the nation are welcome to apply. The bachelor of arts in biblical studies provides foundational knowledge in interpreting biblical passages and the program prepares students for rigorous bible study. The program includes both general education and biblical and theological foundation courses.

The college’s financial aid office works with students to determine their eligibility for different financial aid programs. Financial assistance is available in the form of grants, loans, and scholarships. Students may also be eligible to apply for Florida Ministerial Aid.

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4

Clarks Summit University

73.133/556%Clarks Summit, PA

campus-clark-summit-university

Clarks Summit University offers a certificate, associate, and bachelor’s degree in ministry and biblical studies. The school also offers an integrated program for students interested in studying biblical truth. Online programs are tailored to the needs of the student and include access to faculty who can serve as lifelong mentors.

Financial aid is available in the form of a tuition relief plan that provides reduced or free degree options for low-income students, along with grants, loans, and scholarships. The university also offers a reduced rate for distance learners who study entirely online.

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5

Gods Bible School and College

71.153/519%Cincinnati, OH

campus-gods-bible-school-and-college

God’s Bible School & College is one of the most affordable bible colleges in America. The school’s online bachelor’s degree in biblical & theological studies provides students with a comprehensive training in the traditional doctrines of classical Christian theology, while also introducing basic ministry leadership skills. Students work closely with experienced faculty members with backgrounds in theology, ministry, and teaching.

The school is committed to helping students graduate with minimal debt, offering low tuition and endowment scholarships. Students who pay their semester balance in full receive a 2% discount. Payment plans without finance charges are also available; 20% of the total bill is added to the final bill, plus any fees with these payment plans.

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6

World Mission University

69.273/54%Los Angeles, CA

World Mission University is a Korean theological school located in Los Angeles. The school is also among the most affordable universities for students pursuing a theology or Christian studies degree. Students can complete a bachelor of arts in biblical studies or Christian counseling online, or pursue a master’s in theology. Students must complete a Moodle tutorial before taking classes; the tutorial provides an introduction to school expectations and the online format.

Financial aid is available through institutional scholarships, including the Joo Eun Scholarship, Scholastic Achievement Scholarship, and Overseas Mission Scholarship.

Students applying for scholarships must be full-time and actively involved in the WMU community.

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7

Taylor University

67.814/545%Upland, IN

Taylor offers its online degree programs amidst a Christ-centered curriculum. The school offers an associate degree in biblical studies, where students take courses in theology and introductory courses in ministry. Courses include biblical literature and foundations of Christian thought.

The school offers affordable tuition rates and also permits consortium agreements, were the student’s home institution pays for the full cost of tuition at Taylor. High school students are eligible for a reduced tuition rate when taking online dual credit courses.

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8

University of Northwestern – St Paul

66.464/546%Saint Paul, MN

The biblical studies program at UNWSP is offered online and on-campus. The degree provides students with a comprehensive study in biblical theology, theological methods, and advanced biblical interpretations. The program is intended for students who want to pursue teaching positions or proceed to a pre-seminary program after graduating.

Financial aid is available for online courses, and discounts may be extended to students currently working in Christian ministry or education. Students who have family members attending Northwestern can also qualify for reduced fees.

Monthly payment plans are available by semester, and the school honors employer tuition assistance plans.

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9

Luther Rice College & Seminary

64.063/554%Lithonia, GA

All courses and seminary programs at Luther Rice are available online, with no campus residency requirements. Students can complete a bachelor’s program in religion with a major in biblical counseling if they want to focus on theology. Other majors include a Christian worldview program and various ministerial degrees.

Students interested in becoming pastors, missionaries, or ministers graduate prepared to pursue their calling. Luther Rice provides a need-based tuition assistance program, which can help students reduce their tuition and technology fees by as much as 50%.

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10

Lancaster Bible College

63.133/566%Lancaster, PA

Lancaster Bible College offers both a four-year and two-year biblical studies track for theology students. The four-year program takes an integrated approach to theology and biblical studies, allowing students to apply key concepts in a practical setting. Students enrolled in online courses can complete their degree on their own schedule and still have opportunities to work with a mentor from their church or workplace.

Nearly all undergraduates receive financial aid, and the school’s financial aid office can help students obtain need-based assistance. Student loans may be an option for others, while grants and scholarships are also available. Students who want to earn money while studying may consider a campus job funded through the Federal Work Study program.

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11

Piedmont International University

63.023/553%Winston-Salem, NC

Piedmont offers affordable biblical education programs in a flexible online curriculum. Online programs are available for students pursuing an undergraduate degree, as are dual enrollment courses for high school juniors and seniors.

The university offers low fees and a stable tuition rate. Undergraduate scholarships include funded grants and awards--including the Atlantic Scholarship for Ministry Training and the Johnny Albert Award--along with institutional grants and scholarships where students can pursue merit-based funding. Tuition assistance and vocational rehabilitation are available for military members.

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12

King’s University

61.154/550%Southlake, TX

The King’s University partners with Gateway Church--one of the most influential churches in the country--to offer an integrated and comprehensive ministry learning experience. Online students complete courses in seven-week sessions.

The bachelor of biblical studies and theology program provides a detailed review of biblical content while also teaching students how to interpret scripture. Beginning courses in Hebrew and Greek are also part of the program.

Tuition is the same for residential and online students, although distance learners must pay a fee for each online course. Students can also apply for scholarships, including The King’s University Scholarship and The Grady and Edna Hughes Missionary Scholarship.

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13

John Wesley University

60.733/542%High Point, NC

Students at John Wesley University can explore several majors in theology and biblical studies, including Christian education and family & youth ministry programs. Students in the school’s Christian ministries program can pursue several concentrations, including:

- Christian Education
- Christian Counseling
- Family & Youth Ministry
- Intercultural Studies
- Pastoral Ministry
- Worship Arts

These programs are available on-campus and entirely online. Distance learners can obtain federal and state aid, along with grants and scholarships from outside sources, such as area businesses or employers.

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14

Barclay College

60.423/568%Haviland, KS

Barclay College offers an affordable online biblical studies program with an emphasis on systematic theology, literature, and spiritual studies. Tuition is lower here than at many similar private Christian colleges, and students can explore various financial aid, grant, and scholarship options. Online programs are designed for working adults and can be completed in just 18 to 20 months. These programs also prepare students for graduate work after completing their online bachelor’s of theology.

Students enrolled in online programs may consider seeking financial assistance from their church, local, regional and national organizations. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement benefits to employers. Students can work with the Financial Aid Director to learn more about federal loans and other forms of aid. Still, we found the overall cost of online programs to be significantly lower than similar private Christian colleges.

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15

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

58.334/565%Standish, ME

Students looking to complete an affordable degree on an accelerated track can pursue Saint Joseph’s interdisciplinary studies program that includes a minor in theology. This is among the cheapest online theology degree options for students planning to pursue their calling in ministry or Christian education. There is no on-campus residency requirement.

Scholarship assistance is available for full-time distance learners. Some students may be eligible for a tuition waiver through the tuition exchange program, or as a dependent of an employee at the school. Scholarships can be renewed for up to four years.

Prominent awards include the Sisters of Mercy Scholarships, which offer up to a few thousand dollars worth of annual aid.

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16

Nazarene Bible College

57.53/548%Colorado Springs, CO

Nazarene Bible College has offered online courses since 1998, and the school’s online suite now includes customized four-year and two-year ministry programs. Students can complete their bachelor’s in ministry with a concentration in bible and theology, where they’ll complete extensive training in the exegetical study of Christian Scripture. Students can also take additional courses to fulfill education requirements for ordination as an elder in the Church.

This school offers several forms of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study packages. NBC institutional scholarships can also help students defray their cost of attendance.

Special assistance funds, such as the Lyle Potter Loan Fund and the Burt Stewart Samaritan Fund, are also available for students experiencing economic hardship.

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17

University of Mary

57.193/565%Bismarck, ND

Students seeking an affordable online theology degree can complete the Catholic studies program at the University of Mary. This interdisciplinary degree caters to students around the globe, and the curriculum covers the Catholic Church’s contributions to culture and epistemology.

Students can work with financial advisors to review all payment and financial aid options. Most students receive scholarships or some other form of financial aid, and the school remains one of the most affordable private universities in the country.

All students are encouraged to fill out a FAFSA and apply for academic scholarships, such as the Sister Thomas Welder Leadership Scholarship and The Catholic Scholars Program. Other scholarship opportunities for students are available, including the Women’s Opportunity Scholarship fund and the NOAH’s Event Venue Scholarship program.

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18

Truett-McConnell College

56.773/525%Cleveland, GA

Students at Truett McConnell can pursue a bachelor’s in Christian studies with a concentration in biblical and theological Studies. Applying to the online program is free and students can submit their entire application through an online form.

Tuition is relatively affordable and financial aid is available to students who need it. More than 95% of students attending Truett McConnell receive some form of financial aid, including scholarships and grants. Institutional aid is offered to all eligible students, including TMU Scholar awards, transfer scholarships and a ministerial scholarship.

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19

Lee University

56.153/553%Cleveland, TN

Lee offers a bachelor’s degree in bible and theology entirely online. The program provides students with strong biblical and theological fundamentals while covering scripture and biblical interpretation. The program includes a combination of general education and specialty courses, along with 15 hours of collateral requirements.

Financial aid is available and all students are encouraged to pursue private scholarships from their high school, employer, parent’s employer, church, and community organizations for additional support.

Incoming freshman and transfer students may be eligible to apply for academic scholarships offered by the school, including the Centennial scholarship, Honor Scholarship, and John D. Nichols Scholarship.

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20

Palm Beach Atlantic University

55.524/555%West Palm Beach, FL

Palm Beach Atlantic offers an online bachelor’s in ministry, a program with a strong focus on theology, biblical studies, and understanding scripture in context. The degree prepares students for Palm Beach’s master of divinity program with a combination of practical ministry and academic work.

Students can qualify for up to $3,000 in financial aid simply by enrolling. This program is also available in an accelerated course format that allows students to complete courses in eight-week terms. Tuition is priced per credit, plus a resource fee per semester. Financial aid is available in the form of federal loans and work-study awards.

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21

Manhattan Christian College

54.273/567%Manhattan, KS

The biblical leadership program at Manhattan Christian College features a strong focus on theology, and is one of two online bachelor’s degree options available to students who feel called to the ministry. Half of the curriculum focuses on the bible and theology, while the other half covers leadership and ministry. Classes are taught in an accelerated eight-week course format with small class sizes.

The school offers institutional scholarships, both merit and need-based. Academic scholarships, including a President’s Scholarship and an Honors Scholarship, are also available.

The Thunder Merit Scholarship is awarded based on student involvement in the community, service, and other factors. The Timothy Days Leadership Scholarship is a prestigious award for incoming freshmen. Students may also apply for other scholarship opportunities such as the Yvonne Kafka College Scholarship and the Alexander Christian foundation awards for young people from select states.

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22

Central Baptist College

51.753/559%Conway, AR

A core component of Central Baptist College’s bible program is its theology requirement. Students in the degree must take 12 credits of theological study, alongside courses that cover the new and old testaments, Greek, interpreting the Bible, and the life of Jesus Christ. Distance learners must complete a total of 120 credits to graduate. The program prepares students to follow their calling, and pursue a career in ministry.

Distance learners are encouraged to fill out a FAFSA and apply for state and federal aid. The school also awards a number of need and merit-based institutional scholarships; students can apply here.

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23

DeSales University

51.464/566%Center Valley, PA

The online theology program at DeSales is part of the university’s ACCESS distance program. DeSales permits students to transfer their credits, and also allows prospective attendees to submit their practical working experience for course credit. Students must pass 16 theology courses to graduate, including three intermediate courses.

ACCESS students can pursue a tuition deferment plan, if necessary, and the school offers military benefits to qualifying distance learners. Private grants and scholarships are available to eligible students and students are encouraged to explore external scholarship opportunities to cover any tuition expense gaps.

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24

Ecclesia College

50.833/561%Springdale, AR

Students interested in theology can pursue their bachelor’s in biblical studies or Christian leadership at Ecclesia College. Both programs are offered online and include theology classes and a detailed review of the bible. The school is committed to making Christian education as affordable as possible and does so by offering a discounted rate per credit hour for online students, providing an affordable online theology degree for distance learners across the country.

Arkansas residents can apply for up to $2,000 per year in scholarship money by applying for the scholarship directly through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website.

Other funding options include the Ecclesia College Subsidy, a performance-based scholarship, and through the school’s work-study program. Other campus-based awards include the John Tate Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Founders Scholarship Fund, and the Twila Paris Scholarship Fund.

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25

Johnson University

50.633/574%Knoxville, TN

Students interested in a program focused on the Bible, theology, and leadership can pursue their online degree in ministry leadership online at Johnson. This comprehensive program includes an internship where students must complete coursework and degree requirements in a practical setting.

The university has provided affordable tuition for students since the day it opened, and offers one of the cheapest online theology degrees you’ll find south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Johnson maintains low tuition fees through the financial support of various donors, including churches, alumni, and friends of the university. Students who need financial help to cover the costs of their education are encouraged to apply for federal aid by completing a FAFSA.

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