Guide to Online Theology Degree Programs

Whether you want to lead a congregation or participate in various ministries theology can prepare you for a career based in faith. We have collected several schools with online theology and related programs like religion and ministry below so simplify your search and help you get started on spreading the Word!

Ohio Christian university – The Associate of Arts in Christian Ministry at Ohio Christian University offers students a curriculum honed over 50 years of careful dedication. The program is designed for the working professional. Classes are taken one at a time, and meet once per week. For those students who are called to lead a ministry, the BA in Leadership & Ministry program is where you can begin that journey.
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Grand Canyon University – Grand Canyon University is a leader in offering powerful, academically charged programs in religion. If you seek a bachelor's degree, the university offers the BA in Christian Studies and BA in Youth Ministry, which provide a college-level introduction to the Bible and basic Christian doctrines and theology. For students with prior experience, the MA programs in Pastoral Ministry and Christian Studies are available.
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Liberty University – The Bachelor of Science in Religion provides students a strong background in the Bible you can use to serve your community and greater world. The curriculum reviews fundamentals of the Bible, Christianity, and Christian theology and the Christian church. For those that seek advanced study, the Master of Divinity and M.Div. in Theology offer world class experiences in examining your faith.
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Southwestern Christian University – Southwestern Christian University is a private, non-profit Christian college in which students will grow not only professionally, but spiritually as well. SCU focuses on providing an environment that is ethically sound, built upon integrity, and emphasizes faith. SCU offers a online program for a BS in Biblical Leadership for student who seek high-level or administrative positions in Christian organizations.
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Argosy University – The online EdD program in Pastoral Counseling is offered through the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. The degree is designed for pastoral counselors to receive advanced individual and communal development. Graduates can be found in churches, hospitals, non-profits, and mental health facilities.
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Lancaster Bible College – In order to enter the BS in Bible Studies program at Lancaster Bible College, you must have at least 45 credits from an accredited college or university. Students receive a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on the Bible and the lessons it brings to each of our lives. Graduation requirements include completing 30 semester credits, maintaining a 2.0 GPA, and completing general education and service requirements.
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Saint Leo University – For over 25 years now, Saint Leo University has placed a strong emphasis on developing students' minds and spirits. In addition to curriculum for their intended degree, students will learn to include their ethics and morals into their business and career decisions. The Liberal Studies associates and bachelors programs are offered online and are accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
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What theology degrees and programs exist and what are they called?

There are various theology programs at every level of higher learning. Those seeking a degree in theology may go on to a career within the ministry or teaching theology or religion courses at the college level.

  • Bachelor of Arts Theology
  • Bachelor of Arts Religious Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts Ministry
  • Bachelor of Arts Biblical Studies
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Master of Theology (Th.M) (M.Th.)
  • Doctor of Theology (D.Th.) (Th.D.)

How do I earn a theology degree online?

Theology degrees vary depending on the learning institution. Some focus on a specific religion, while others focus on general religions studies that transfer to a career in the non-denomination sector of the church. Post-baccalaurate programs like a master of theology or doctor of theology are most common for online theology degrees. Those with a bachelor degree in almost any area of study can apply for graduate level courses in theology.

The type of program you sign up for can vary from school to school, so it’s important you learn everything you can about a program before committing. Set up an appointment with a school advisor to get an idea of the type of education you’ll be receiving. Ask questions like what most students go on to do after receiving their theology degree and what type of accreditation the school has.

Ideally, the program you are applying for will be accredited by a regional or national organization that makes your degree worth having. This is important if you plan on teaching or working in the academic realm regarding religion. Most churches do not require any specific accreditation programs for those with masters or doctorates in theology and are more concerned with work experience and understanding of the religion.

How to explain an online theology degree to your employer

When it comes to having an online theology degree, most employers are understanding. Because there are no specific requirements from most churches for working in the clergy, it does not matter whether you attend a traditional school or an online course, as long as you understand the religion. Working within the church, it is most important that you have experience working with other church members, building a strong congregation and working to make the church a pleasant place for anyone looking to explore the religion. As long as you can display your passion for the church and working to help others do the same, the church will welcome you regardless of how your theology degree was obtained. The theology degree should appear on your resume and if you are asked about it, feel free to comfortably go into why you chose to go to school online. Many employers understand work and family obligations and can see why an adult returning to school would choose an online education that fits their schedule.

If you are going to work in academia, it is important you have an accredited theology degree. Again, the degree should appear on your resume, but should also say what you learned during the course of studying. The academic community is warming up to the idea of online education since it allows more people to pursue higher learning while continuing with commitments like family and work. Most schools will not have a problem hiring someone with an online theology degree as long as it is from an accredited source. Never lie about how you obtained your agree. When looking for a position as a professor or researcher at a university, heavy emphasis will be placed on the quality of education you received. Always be honest and through your hard work show potential employers that those with an online degree are just as education as those who went to a conventional college.

What are  common jobs for someone with a theology degree?

Member of the clergy – Ideally, someone with a background in a specific religion will go on to work for the church. While they can serve as a priest or rabbi, they can also work in the clerical department, organize events or work for a non-profit organization affiliated with the church.

Professor – If a student goes on to obtain their master of theology degree, they can teach at major universities. Your degree must be from an accredited school and additional exams may be required depending what position you’re applying for.

What is the average salary for someone with a theology degree?

Member of clergy – In 2008, the average pay for a minister was $35,000. This can vary depending on the size of the congregation. Many ministers for evangelical “mega churches” make into the millions, but this is not the norm for a member of the clergy. Working for the church often means your bills are paid for by the congregation, so costs like housing and food are not the responsibility of the clergy member.

Professor – Pay for professors depends on seniority and the size of the school they work for. The average pay for professors is $63,000 per year. The longer a professor stays at a position can lead to increased pay and tenure, which guarantees a job for life.

What is a class like when you earn your theology degree online?

Attending theology classes online takes serious self-discipline and time commitment. A student must keep up with all work on their own and be prepared for exams. Some professors organize messageboards for students to interact with each other and ask questions over material. You will sign up for classes and receive all information on the school’s web platform, including how to log in, create a username and set up a password. This will allow you to view all online classes you’re enrolled in and keep up with grades.

Professors issue a syllabus that shows the order in which course work should be completed, including readings and listening to any lectures via video or podcast. Some professors will take a participation grade for interacting on the messageboard, while others simply have it as a tool to aide students (your professor should let you know what is the case for your specific class). Some classes will have weekly quizzes that are taken during a designated time online, while others stick to one or two tests per semester that dictate a student’s grade.