The Best Online Christian Colleges

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Because of the very nature of service and outreach, the availability of online Christian colleges is increasing year after year. Religious-minded academics have made creating accessible, online Christ-centered curriculums a prerogative since the advent of web-based education. Some colleges in the U.S. have created thriving distance learning campuses that reach students not just in America, but internationally as well.

Students choose online Christian colleges, in particular, because they are interested in a career focused on service, compassion, and humanitarian works, yet need the flexibility to balance family, work, and education. Whether this means working for a non-profit, pastoral professions, or areas such as Christian counseling and education, scholars will find a number of online degrees available, taught from a Biblical worldview.

Online colleges make sense for many men and women who are looking to make their passion for Christ an integral part of their education and career. The fastest growing demographic of students is adults who work 20 hours a week or more; many of these prospective students are exploring a Bible-based degree program online. This is because distance learning caters to busy, working adults and creates a learning environment that is both welcoming and structured.

The following schools have been included in our lists of top Christian colleges because of their Christ-centered online programs and academic merits. We have assessed each school’s overall academic strengths by reviewing their acceptance, enrollment, retention and graduation rates, as described in the methodology applied to all rankings on the site. We then review the merits of the school’s online programs and compile a list of the very best programs based on our findings.

Rank School Name Relative Cost Location Description
1 Liberty University 4/5 Lynchburg, VA

As one of the world's largest Christian universities, Liberty Online prides itself on its vast selection of degree programs that cover a diversity of fields, including aeronautics, business, criminal justice and education. Distance students are supported academically and spiritually through a writing center, 24/7 virtual tutoring and online ministries.

Blackboard hosts Liberty's virtual learning ecosystem, and a new student orientation is provided to acclimate students who are new to distance learning.

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2 Bethel University 3/5 McKenzie, TN

Bethel University’s Success Undergraduate Degree Program is designed for adults over 23 years of age with a high school diploma or GED and at least 3 years of work experience. Bethel caters to busy adults in need of flexibility to complete a college degree.

At Bethel there are no SAT or ACT requirements for admission, and all admitted online students receive a laptop or tablet to facilitate class participation. Programs include Organizational Management, Criminal Justice, Emergency Services Management and General Studies.

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3 University of Findlay 4/5 Findlay, OH

The University of Findlay offers online programs guided by the same instructors responsible for teaching on-campus courses. The Findlay faculty are known for their original research, textbook authorship and professional organization leadership. Blackboard hosts the virtual environment at Findlay, known as UF Online.

For undergraduates, Findlay offers a degree completion program in business management, with tracks in Health Care Management, Business Management, Environmental Safety & Health and Emergency Operations. Applicants must have at least 61 transferable credit hours at a C level.

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4 Indiana Wesleyan University 4/5 Marion, IN

With Education Centers and Learning Sites scattered throughout Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana, IWU Online is an ideal option for distance learners wanting access to a physical campus. With over 80 programs offered at undergraduate, graduate and certificate levels, there should be an online option that caters to everyone's interests.

As a faith-based university, IWU offers Christ-centered spiritual support for all its students through access to online forums to post prayer concerns and access e-devotionals.

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5 Southeastern University 3/5 Lakeland, FL

Southeastern University offers a student focused community in a Christ-centered environment. The school offers degrees in Business, Criminal Justice, Ministry, Nursing, Education and Behavioral & Social Sciences through the Moodle learning management system. A mandatory online student orientation is in place to help students acclimate to the quirks of a virtual education.

The cost per credit hour is typically around $390, but may vary between programs. Each program requires the completion of General Education Requirements in addition to specialized studies related to each major. Most programs also offer a healthy choice of electives.

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6 Azusa Pacific University 5/5 Azusa, CA

Students wanting an education strongly centered in Christian values will want to explore the degree offerings at APU. "God First Since 1899" is the motto driving the staff and faculty, and it is evidenced in their many services, including a live chapel feed. The school offers a variety of programs at the certificate, associate, bachelor's and master's levels.

The completion time for each degree varies; for instance, the B.A. in Applied Studies requires about 10 months to complete, while a B.A. in Clinical Psychology requires 2-4 years.

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7 Mississippi College 3/5 Clinton, MS

Like so many Christian colleges, Ecclesia College’s students are presented with an academic experience that is biblically informed and that places an emphasis on becoming upright and moral citizens, not just excellent students or successful graduates.

The college reports that online students have been proven in studies to perform better academically than on-campus learners. Online, Ecclessia College students can earn a Master of Christian Leadership, Bachelor of Christian Leadership, Bachelor of Biblical Studies or Associate of Biblical Studies. Classes are held in two sessions each quarter, and the average course is six weeks in length.

Tuition at Ecclesia is competitively low, at only $799 per class. Students in Arkansas are eligible for a scholarship of up to $2,000 per year, and there are many more opportunities for Arkansas students, out-of-state students and international students.

The learning management system in place at Ecclesia, Moodle, makes online learning accessible and interactive. Students can access pre-recorded lectures, PDF and Powerpoint presentations, and participate in focused discussions with peers and instructors online. Students also have a dedicated school email, and access to Moodle’s peripheral functions, as well as wiki tutorials and Microsoft Office.

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8 Anderson University 4/5 Anderson, SC

The Moodle-based virtual environment at Anderson offers 14 undergraduate degrees and 6 graduate degrees in both fully online and hybrid formats. The school offers a number of unique services to students, including prayer request forums and textbook delivery. Federal aid is available for all online students.

Degree programs are hosted in areas such as Health, Human Services, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement and Liberal Studies.

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9 Concordia University-Wisconsin 4/5 Meguon, WI

The largest Lutheran university in the United States, Concordia offers undergraduate programs in Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Healthcare Management, Criminal Justice, Human Resource Management and Business Management. As a school dedicated to providing a personal and spiritual experience, each online student is assigned a support specialist to act as a personal distance learning guide.

Sample courses are available to demonstrate to interested applicants the immense possibilities of online learning powered by the ANGEL LMS.

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10 California Baptist University 4/5 Riverside, CA

California Baptist University (CBU) offers one of the broadest catalogs of online majors powered by the very popular Blackboard LMS. Accelerated programs are available for those wanting to complete unfinished degrees as quickly as possible. The school provides a number of additional resources to online students, including a career center, virtual tutoring and live online support.

Available bachelor's degrees span a wide range of areas: Accounting, Business, Christian Ministries, Communications, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Studies, Graphic Design, Kinesiology, Marketing, Nursing, Public Administration, Public Health and Sociology, to name a few.

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11 Palm Beach Atlantic University 4/5 West Palm Beach, FL

Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), a leading Florida Christian University, is actively engaged in faculty and student research. PBA online undergraduate offerings are in Ministry, Organizational Management and Psychology. The virtual classroom is powered by the eCollege LMS.

Time required to complete an online degree at PBA can range from 1 year and 4 months to 2 years and 10 months. Enrollment is in August, January and May.

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12 Campbellsville University 4/5 Campbellsville, KY

Campbellsville offers bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Business Administration, Healthcare Management, Human Resource Management and Criminal Justice. They also host a number of degrees at the associate and master's level. Over 90% of students receive financial aid, including those pursuing degrees online.

Moodle runs the virtual learning environment for CU, and the school relies on a variety of other online resources, such as the Smarthinking online tutoring service.

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13 Ohio Christian University 3/5 Circleville, OH

Ohio Christian University (OCU) employs an asynchronous format, allowing students to log in at any time to access course material. The school recently made a change to their learning management provider, switching to the Edvance360 system to provide advantages such as ePortfolios, group discussion boards and social media integration. Available subjects include Business, Criminal Justice, Ministry, Nursing, Psychology and Substance Abuse Counseling.

OCU carries a favorable student to faculty ratio of 15:1. Credit for prior learning is available for all online programs.

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14 Olivet Nazarene University 4/5 Bourbonnais, IL

Olivet Nazarene University offers undergraduate programs in Applied Sciences, Business Administration, Criminal Justice and Nursing. Degrees are typically competed in two years or less. Olivet Nazarene allows for program payment in-full or by monthly installments. Up-front payment provides enrolled students with a partial discount.

Starting dates begin in March and every six weeks thereafter. Online class meetings occur weekly.

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Financing Your Online Degree

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. But rest assured, loans aren’t your only option. Explore our collection of financial aid resources or dig into one of the following guides to read more about financing your education.

An Overview of Financial Aid

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options savvy students can use to reduce the total costs of their education.

Understanding the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first and most crucial step for any student seeking financial aid. Follow our step-by-step guide for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid for Online College Students

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and funding opportunities for online students.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Millions in education benefits are available for veterans and active members of the military. Unfortunately, much of this goes unused. Find out if you’re entitled to help with college and start planning for your future.