Overview

A master’s in theology allows a student to fully immerse themselves in scripture and theological research to further expand their Christian worldview. With this master’s, a student will the tools and experience to lead others and spread the word of God. A master’s in theology is not just a study focused on Christianity, its a study of religious beliefs and the nature of God where one can systematically build theories and beliefs.

Students of a master’s program can expect courses to focus primarily on systematic theology, Bible interpretation, spiritual foundations, and modern evangelism to name a few. Students can expect to see some online programs to allow them to learn asynchronously so they can complete their coursework at their own pace. This allows students to pick and choose from the program versus having to follow a strict guideline on what needs to be taken in certain semesters.

Degree holders can work as pastors under biblical counseling or go into teaching.

Yes, but it is important to find an accredited program that suits your specific scheduling needs.

Many highly respected programs now offer online degrees, and most employers accept them.

It takes around 2 years to complete. That said, some students complete their degrees faster by taking on heavier course loads.

A master’s in theology often leads to higher salaries and chances of employment compared to holding a bachelor’s degree.

A career in theology will typically fall into three categories: teaching, biblical counseling, and ministry. If the students wants to pursue the biblical counseling route, certain programs will automatically programs integrate certification with their seminary licenses. This opens the doors to many roles in vocational, family, and ministry settings. Graduates can also move into teaching as their career choice, where many programs incorporate certifications with different requirements for various age levels. In short, a degree opens the door to rewarding careers.

Best Online Masters in Theology Programs

We took a deep-dive and analyzed every online Masters in Theology program in the nation. Below are the results of our analysis and list of the 31 best online Masters in Theology programs.

Read about our methodology here.
School Type
Private
Tuition
$299 per credit
Best Value

Campbellsville University offers great value in terms of affordability for students interested in pursuing their master's degree in theology. With some of the most affordable tuition rates among Christian colleges, students receive a high-quality education without accumulating massive student debt.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Theology
Program Name: Master of Theology
Available Concentrations: Biblical Studies, Pastoral Leadership, Theological Studies
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Spring B: March 11, 2019; Early Summer Sub-Term: May 6; June/July Sub-Term: June 3; Late Summer Sub-Term: June 27; Fall A: August 19; Fall B: October 14; Spring A

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1 University Dr

Campbellsville, KY 42718

888-244-0609

School Type
Private
Tuition
$425 per credit
Best Experiential Education

Though Fuller Theological Seminary emphasizes theoretical principles of theology, it also focuses on practical and experiential application. Students in the theology program build on their experience through hands-on learning, improving their skills to lead in churches, nonprofits and other settings.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Theology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry
Accrediting Body: Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 56 credits
Field Education Requirements: Quarter-long practicum

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Spring: April 2019, Summer, Fall, Winter

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Spring: February 1, 2019
GPA: 3.0

Address:

135 N Oakland Ave

Pasadena, CA 91182

800-238-5537

School Type
Private
Tuition
$510 per credit
Best Interdisciplinary Studies

Columbia International University offers a rigorous, interdisciplinary theology program to give students a solid foundation in biblical studies, theology and church history. Graduates emerge with the skills and knowledge to engage in critical research and to explain and evaluate biblical doctrine in their respective ministries and beyond.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Seminary and School of MInistry
Program Name: Master of Arts in Theological Studies
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Association for Biblical Higher Education, Association of Theological Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's or Master's degre
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

7435 Monticello Rd

Columbia, SC 29203

803-200-2570

School Type
Private
Tuition
$565 per credit for full-time, $615 per credit for part-time
Best Introductory Program

Liberty University's master's in theological studies program is designed for students who are seeking an introductory graduate degree in religion. Students can use this degree to assume supportive roles in church or to build a foundation for further studies in Liberty's advanced religion and divinity programs.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Theological Studies
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from a regioinally or nationally accredited program
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: February 11, 2019

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.0

Address:

1971 University Blvd

Lynchburg, VA 24515

800-424-9595

School Type
Private
Tuition
$818 per credit
Best Focused Studies

Loyola University New Orleans gives students a way to hone their educational studies in specific focus areas to improve their skills and leadership abilities for serving in ministries. With focus areas in Christian spirituality, digital culture, pastoral life and more, students gain specialized knowledge and skills to advance their theological careers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Institute of Ministry
Program Name: Master of Pastoral Studies
Available Focus Areas: Christian Spirituality for Ministry, Digital Culture and Ministry, Marketplace Ministry, Pastoral Life and Administration, Religion and Ecology, Youth Ministry, Pastoral Care
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0+ preferred

Contact:

Nikita Milton

Admissions Contact

Address:

6363 St Charles Ave

New Orleans, LA 70118

504-865-3240

School Type
Private
Tuition
$484 per credit
Most Pastoral Development

Calvin Theological Seminary offers a theology master's program with concentrations in everything from the Old Testament to educational ministry, preparing students for a variety of ministry careers after college. This program takes anywhere between one and two years to complete depending on the students' schedule and meets the needs for knowledgeable pastors in today's ministries.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theological Studies
Available Concentrations: Old Testament, Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Literature, New Testament, History of Christianity, Systematic Theology, Philosophical and Moral Theology, Pastoral Care, Leadership, Preaching, Worship, Evangelism, Educational Ministry
Accrediting Body: Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS)

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 65 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: June 1
GPA: 2.67

Contact:

Aaron Einfeld

Admissions Contact

Address:

3233 Burton St SE

Grand Rapids, MI 49546

616-957-7035

School Type
Private
Tuition
$650 per credit
Best Curriculum

The University of Dallas offers a Master of Theological Studies program with a concentration in biblical studies to give students improved theological knowledge. The program's curriculum is comprehensive in nature, covering everything from moral theology to liturgy and sacraments and rounding out with an annotated bibliography to showcase their knowledge of the subject matter.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Ann & Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry
Program Name: Master of Theological Studies
Available Concentrations: Biblical Theology
Accrediting Body: SACS, USCCB

DeliveryFormat: Online. On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: U.S. bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university (or comparable foreign degree)
Credit Requirements: 37 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.75
Work Experience: 2 years of teaching experience

Address:

1845 E Northgate Dr

Irving, TX 75062

888-447-4777

School Type
Private
Tuition
$515 per credit
Best in Distance Education

Nazarene Theological Seminary excels at distance education and offers learners a fully distance master's in theological studies program. With no residency required, students can complete the entire program on their own schedule from the comfort of home.


Program OverviewProgram Name: MA in Theological Studies
Accrediting Body: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous options available

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-4 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall, Summer: February 15 (Priority); Spring: November 1 (Priority)
GPA: 2.5

Contact:

Matthew Wiseman

Admissions Contact

Address:

1700 E. Meyer Boulevard

Kansas City, MO 64131

816-268-5444

Graduation Rate
86%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$474 per credit
Best Supplemental Studies

Moody Bible Institute offers a one-year theology program that's designed particularly to supplement the students' ministry majors at the undergraduate level. This program provides further education with a focus on biblical and theological studies, providing a solid foundation for students who wish to increase their knowledge in theology or for those seeking career advancement in their ministries.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
Accrediting Body: ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall I, Fall II, Spring I, Spring II, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall I: July 24; Fall II: September 25; Spring I: December 7; Spring II: February 19; Summer: April 22

Address:

820 N LaSalle Blvd

Chicago, IL 60610

800-588-8344

School Type
Private
Tuition
$745 per credit
Best in Ordained Preparation

United Theological Seminary's online master's in theological studies program prepares graduate students for ordained ministry, including leadership positions as lay professionals. Students can study online or with a combination of online and on-campus lessons, graduating with the skills to provide servant leadership in as little as three years.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Theology
Program Name: Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Available Concentrations: Church History and Theology, Biblical Studies
Accrediting Body: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, and the Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: At least one month prior to the start of classes
GPA: 2.5

Address:

4501 Denlinger Rd

Dayton, OH 45426

937-529-2201

School Type
Private
Tuition
$826 per credit
Most Customized

Students in the theology master's program at Iliff School of Theology can customize the program to align with their career goals. Students are able to create a personalized learning plan to determine their courses and to keep them on track throughout the program.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theological Studies
Available Concentrations: Biblical Studies, Black Religious Studies, Congregational Practices, Gender and Sexuality, Historical Studies, Leadership in Emerging Contexts, Social Justice and Ethics, Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy, Systematic/Constructive Theology
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Winter, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: January 31 (Priority), July 31 (Final); Spring: November 15; Summer: January 31 (Priority), April 30 (Final)
GPA: 2.75

Address:

2323 E Iliff Ave

Denver, CO 80210

800-678-3360

Graduation Rate
54%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$650 per credit
Most Flexible

Clarks Summit University offers a theology master's program through Baptist Bible Seminary, providing flexible formats to accommodate the students' schedules. Students can complete the program online and on-campus in a hybrid format, meeting weekly for in-person experience while enjoying the freedom to complete coursework online.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theology
Accrediting Body: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: M.Div. degree from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 32 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall: August, Spring: January, Summer: May

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

538 Venard Rd

Clarks Summit, PA 18411

800-451-7664

Graduation Rate
55%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$959 per credit
Best in Career Development

Dallas Baptist University offers a comprehensive master's in theology program that prepares graduates for servant leadership. Many graduates already serve as senior pastors, missionaries and church staff members, and current students will learn from a Christ-centered curriculum and join successful alumni in communicating the Christian faith in the 21st century.


Program OverviewProgram Name: M.A. in Theological Studies
Available Concentrations: Christian Scriptures, Christian Heritage, Christian Ministry
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Dr. Jim Lemons

Admissions Contact

Address:

3000 Mountain Creek Pkwy

Dallas, TX 75211

214-333-5242

Graduation Rate
85%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$587 per unit
Most Innovative

Santa Clara University delivers a master's in theological studies program for online students who are serving as ministers or wanting to seek theological fulfillment of their faith. This program accommodates both full- and part-time students and provides numerous specialization areas, from liturgy to ethics, making it an ideal choice for current or aspiring senior pastors who want to expand their knowledge.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.)
Available Concentrations: Biblical Studies, Christian Spirituality, Cultural and Historical Studies of Catholicism, Ethics and Social Theory/Religion and Society, Church History, History of Art and Religion, Liturgical Studies, Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Accrediting Body: Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree. Backround in theology or religious studies
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: March 1; Spring: September 1
GPA: 3.0
Work Experience: One year in active ministry or its equivalent (preferred)

Address:

500 El Camino Real

Santa Clara, CA 95053

408-554-4000

Graduation Rate
45%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$495 per credit
Most Prestigious

Saint Leo University is the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in Florida and offers an established master's in theology program for students seeking careers in ministry or pursuing greater skills for leadership development. This program explores every aspect of theology, from the mystery of God to the role of humility, giving students a better understanding and deeper knowledge to excel in their careers as parishes and chaplains.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Theology
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Asynchronous, Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's, Master's Degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: 60 days prior to term start date
GPA: 3.0

Address:

33701 State Road 52

Saint Leo, FL 33574

800-334-5532

School Type
Private
Tuition
$621 per credit
Most Cutting-Edge Program

Biola University offers a cutting-edge Master of Arts in Science and Religion program, providing students with essential knowledge of theology to integrate science with Christianity. Students learn to defend their faith within the realm of science and gain the knowledge to answer challenging questions regarding intelligent design, other life in the universe and more.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Talbot School of Theology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Science and Religion
Accrediting Body: WSCUC, ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 39 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

13800 Biola Ave

La Mirada, CA 90639

562-903-6000

Graduation Rate
26%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$330 per credit
Best for Missionaries

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a master of theological studies providing basic theological education in Bible, History and Theology. Concentrations, such as cross-cultural missions, may be added for additional hours. The master of theological studies classes are taught by full-time faculty experts rather than by adjuncts and classes are streamed live online.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theological Studies
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: By the first day of class
GPA: 2.0

Address:

2001 W. Seminary Drive

Fort Worth, TX 76115

817-923-1921

Graduation Rate
63%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$365 per credit
Best for Catholic Leadership

Saint Joseph's College offers online Master of Arts in Theology programs that are designed for students who want to serve the Catholic church in a variety of ministries, from teaching to parish life to chaplaincy. The in-depth curriculum covers foundational theology and advanced topics in ministry, providing graduates with the skills to lead more effectively.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Counseling Studies Department
Program Name: Master of Arts in Theology Degree
Available Specializations: Pastoral Theology, Sacred Theology, Advanced Diaconal Studies
Accrediting Body: New England Commission on Higher Education

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits (30 for the Advanced Diaconal Studies only)

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2.5-3 years
Program start dates: September, December, March, June

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Jennifer Higgins

Admissions Contact

Address:

278 Whites Bridge Rd

Standish, ME 4084

855-752-4636

Graduation Rate
57%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$440 per credit
Most Accelerated

Lincoln Christian University offers an accelerated path for students to earn their master's in theology degree. Students can complete the coursework online or on campus and finish in only 18 months with full-time study.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Theology
Accrediting Body: HLC, ABHE, ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsCredit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 2.5

Address:

100 Campus View Dr

Lincoln, IL 62656

217-732-3168

Graduation Rate
76%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$500 per credit
Most Established

Franciscan University of Steubenville founded its theology program in 1980 and has become the ideal destination for students who want to earn their master's degree for career advancement. Combined with its renowned faculty, Franciscan University develops leaders in ministries, nonprofit organizations and other faith-based settings.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Theology and Christian Ministry
Available Concentrations: Catechetics Specialization, Research Intensive Track, Canon Law Track
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

DeliveryFormat: Online, On-campus
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 or 42 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

1235 University Blvd

Steubenville, OH 43952

740-284-5239

Graduation Rate
54%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$465 per credit
Best Transfer Policy

Multnomah University offers a generous transfer credit policy for students who wish to pursue their master's degree in theology. Students can transfer up to 12 credits into this 48-credit program, requiring fewer classes and credit hours needed to graduate and to earn their degree.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theology
Accrediting Body: ATS, NWCCU

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 32 semester credits in general studies, including English composition, speech, history, psychology, and sociology
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: August 15; December 15
GPA: 2.5

Address:

8435 NE Glisan St

Portland, OR 97220

503-255-0332

School Type
Private
Tuition
$656 per credit
Best for Theological Research Careers

Students who have keen research abilities or are currently working as researchers will benefit from Abilene Christian University's Master of Arts in Theology program. It's a research-intensive program and provides students with the skills to advance the practice of theology in ministries and academies.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Graduate School of Theology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
Available Tracks: Student and Family Ministry, Spiritual Formation, Ministerial Leadership, Ministry and Bible
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2.5 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Jamie Bearden

Admissions Contact

Address:

16633 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 800

Addison, TX 79699

855-219-7300

School Type
Private
Tuition
$552 per credit
Best Course Intensives

Dallas Theological Seminary offers a fully online master's in theology program with an option to supplement some courses with on-campus intensives. These intensives last for three to five days and are the ideal choice for local students who want to gain first-hand experience and networking opportunities with faculty members and peers.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Biblical and Theological Studies (MBTS)
Accrediting Body: SACSCOC, ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 1; Summer: April 1
GPA: 2.0

Contact:

Nate McKanna

Admissions Contact

Address:

3909 Swiss Ave

Dallas, TX 75204

800-387-9673

Graduation Rate
80%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$902 per credit
Best Foundational Studies

Fordham University provides students with a solid foundation in theology, giving them the skills to enhance their current vocations in psychology, law, counseling and others. The theology program also prepares graduates for doctoral-level education and is the ideal choice for students who want to work in lay or campus ministry.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
Program Name: MA in Pastoral Studies

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
Credit Requirements: 42 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Address:

441 E Fordham Rd

Bronx, NY 10458

718-817-4800

Graduation Rate
58%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$485 per credit
Best Student Support

Milligan College assures students receive a quality education in the theology program, providing one-on-one mentoring from ministry leaders. Online students can access faculty support and receive help with coursework, technical difficulties and more as they work toward their degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: School of Bible and Ministry
Program Name: Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
Accrediting Body: ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree from an institution of higher learning accredited by a US agency recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the demonstrated educational equivalent of a North American baccalaureate degree
Credit Requirements: 48 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: January

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Submitted no later than 30 days before the beginning of the semester

Contact:

Lauren Gullett

Admissions Contact

Address:

1 Blowers Blvd

Milligan College, TN 37682

423-461-1535

School Type
Private
Tuition
$690 per credit; $540 per credit with scholoarship
Best in Furthering Education

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary designed its Master of Theology program for students who hold their Master of Divinity degrees. This program provides advanced preparation for Christian ministry and also prepares graduates for continuing their education at the doctoral level.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
Accrediting Body: ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online, Hybrid

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 61 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years (full-time)
Program start dates: Fall, Spring

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1
GPA: 3.0

Address:

130 Essex St

South Hamilton, MA 1982

704-527-9909

Graduation Rate
63%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$935 per credit
Best for Educators

St. Mary's University provides quality education for students who want to pursue teaching careers in Catholic parochial and high schools. Graduates are equipped with abundant theological skills and knowledge to excel as educators in the classroom and prepared to seek doctoral education upon earning their master's degree.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Theology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Theology
Available Concentrations: Psalms and Passion Narratives, Prophets and Visionaries, Johannine literature
Accrediting Body: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 4 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Fall: July 1; Spring: November 15; Summer: April 1

Address:

One Camino Santa Maria

San Antonio, TX 78228

210-436-3011

Graduation Rate
79%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$1,170 per credit
Best for Administrative Careers

Marquette University's online master's in theology program prepares graduates for administrative careers in churches and organizations. Students can choose one of three concentrations to enhance their degree, such as historical theology, improving their skills and knowledge to provide better servant leadership upon graduation.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Theology
Program Name: Master of Arts in Theology
Available Concentrations: Judaism and Christianity in Antiquity, Historical Theology, Systematic Theology/Theological Ethics
Accrediting Body: Higher Learning Commission

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 30 credit hours

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2 years
Program start dates: Fall

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: December 15 (Financial Aid Consideration), May 15 (Final)
GPA: 3.0

Contact:

Mary Wacker

Admissions Contact

Address:

1217 W Wisconsin Ave

Milwaukee, WI 53233

414-288-0327

Graduation Rate
73%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$788 per credit
Best Theology Tracks

Loyola University Chicago provides four tracks in which students can choose to enhance their master's degree in theology: digital communication, health care chaplaincy, religious education and church management. These tracks allow students to hone their skills in a specific area to apply theological principles in their leadership careers.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Department of Theology
Program Name: MA in Pastoral Studies
Available Concentrations: Church Management, Digital Communication, Health Care Chaplaincy, Religious Education

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Undergraduate degree
Credit Requirements: 36 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 2-3 years
Program start dates: Fall, Spring, Summer

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Rolling
GPA: 3.0

Address:

1032 W Sheridan Rd

Chicago, IL 60660

773-508-2350

Graduation Rate
50%
School Type
Private
Tuition
$650 per credit
Most Unique

Regent University's Master of Theology program provides unique courses for experienced ministers and lay people who have a calling for pastoral work. This program increases the students' knowledge of hermeneutics, global Christianity and miracles, broadening their understanding of faith and bringing new ideas into their ministries and organizations.


Program OverviewProgram Name: Master of Theology
Available Concentrations: Church History, Practical Theology
Accrediting Body: ATS, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

DeliveryFormat: Online

Program requirementsPrerequisites: Bachelor's degree
Credit Requirements: 24 credits

Program LengthProgram Options: Full-time, part-time
Program Length: 1 year
Program start dates: Eight start dates per year

Admission RequirementsApplication deadline: Two weeks prior to session start date
GPA: 3.5

Address:

1000 Regent University Dr

Virginia Beach, VA 23464

757-352-4127

School Type
Private
Tuition
$565 per credit
Best for Experienced Professionals

Cornerstone University designed its Master of Theology program for students who already hold Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degrees in a related theological specialty. Students learn from expert instructors and gain the knowledge to advance their careers in pastoral or teaching ministry.


Program OverviewDepartment Name: Grand Rapids Theological Seminary
Program Name: Master of Theology
Available Concentrations: Old Testament, New Testament
Accrediting Body: HLC, ATS

DeliveryFormat: Online, Residential

Program requirementsPrerequisites: An accredited undergraduate degree and a Master of Divinity degree or M.A. degree in a related discipline, with a minimum 3.0 cumulative G.P.A. in the master's program
Credit Requirements: 30 credits

Program LengthProgram Length: 3 years

Admission RequirementsGPA: 3.0

Contact:

Kris Rolls

Admissions Contact

Address:

1001 E Beltline Ave NE

Grand Rapids, MI 49525

616-949-5300

What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Theology Program?

Students enrolling in an online master’s in theology program can expect to receive a thorough grounding in theological studies, including in-depth classes covering the Old and New Testaments. Online theology studies are beneficial to students who may not live near a seminary or Bible studies college, as well as students whose other life responsibilities make attending traditional classes difficult. This online master’s degree can also enable students already working in ministry to better balance work and school demands. Differing online programs hosted by universities throughout the country offer students the ability to further specialize in ministerial topics and vocations.

Concentrations Offered for an Online Master’s in Theology

CONCENTRATIONDESCRIPTIONPOSSIBLE CAREERS THIS CONCENTRATION PREPARES FOR
LeadershipPrepare students to take on leadership roles within congregations and ministry-related organizations.Minister, church administrator, theology program administrator, lay leader
Biblical StudiesEnable deep dives into both testaments of the Bible plus classes on the history of Biblical books and related interpretations.Minister, college professor, church education director, Christian writer
Church HistoryA deeper understanding of how history has impacted and reformed church and how the church has shaped history.Church leader, college professor, Christian writer
HomileticsEquips students to evaluate their church needs, design sermons and programs to suit those needs, and host educational opportunities.Minister, Christian educator, missionary, college professor

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Theology

Online master’s in theology degrees vary widely between educational institutions. Bible colleges, divinity schools and colleges offering degrees in theology shape their curriculum based on which church, if any, they are associated with as well as the overarching mission of the school. When you are evaluating different programs, remember to also learn more about the institution. That research can help you to pick the program best aligned with your background and your future career goals. If you are already working in ministry or plan to after graduation, spend time understanding the requirements your denomination may place on how or where you obtain your degree. Also consider whether a master’s in theology program requires any in-person participation, such as summer or winter intensives.

Some courses you may encounter for this degree include:

COURSESDESCRIPTION
New Testament ApologeticsDefenses for the New Testament.
Old Testament ApologeticsDefenses for the Old Testament.
History of ChristianityHow the church began and developed over time.
Christianity in AmericaOrigins of Christianity in America and its impact on current churches.
EvangelismSharing the gospel through preaching and teaching.
EvangelismSharing the gospel through preaching and teaching.
Interreligious DialogueComparative studies of Christianity with other world religions.
PreachingFramework for selecting topics and developing sermons.
Doctrinal HistoryHow certain beliefs or customs came about in the church.
Current Doctrinal ConcernsThe impact of current affairs on church doctrine.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s Degree in Theology?

Just as specializations and courses vary widely for online master’s in theology programs, so do program lengths. Credit requirements from leading online theology schools vary from 30 credit hours upward to 48. Students may complete all studies in as few as three semesters through full-time course loads. Higher credit counts and part-time versus full-time status may require two or more years to complete. Some universities allow students to take courses of their choosing in different semesters, while others are a lock-step experience of taking classes in a set order. Typically, new students can begin in August or January. Some colleges do let master’s in theology students begin at other times of the year or engage in self-paced studies.

Certifications and Licenses an Online Master’s in Theology Prepares For

Various denominations in the Christian faith have widely divergent policies in the certifications and licenses they confer after a student finishes their master’s studies. In many cases, the governing body of a denomination requires students to go through certification or licensure requirements as they are also completing their educational studies. In some denominations, the only step necessary is completing a degree before taking on a certain role. Others offer umbrella certifications that enable newly degreed students to take on any role within the church. And finally, some denominations confer different licensure depending upon the role sought, such as a licensed pastor, a certified lay leader or a pastoral counselor.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Theology Degrees

You have many factors to consider when choosing the right master’s program for your needs and belief, and one of the most important is whether an institution has achieved accreditation for the degrees it bestows. Because church-related studies are so uniquely personal to a theology student, you may find that you’re best served by a school run by your denomination. In those cases, you may find the school to only be accredited by the very church that it serves. Larger universities that serve broader nondenominational students may attain accreditation independent from any church body. Additionally, schools may obtain multiple accreditations, first to confer certain levels of degrees and second for their theology-based programs.

The leading accreditation earned by many universities that offer theological and divinity programs is from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Studies. Other accrediting bodies include the Higher Learning Commission and the Association of Biblical Higher Education. And depending on geography, schools may be accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) or the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Theology Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Most churches and Christian organizations require leaders and higher-level professionals to attain a master’s degree. Students who attain a bachelor’s in theology have opportunities to use their degrees in settings like church-run elementary and secondary schools, teachers in church-run classes or other church roles including children and youth ministries. Growth estimates for various clergy and religious occupations are in line with the county’s average, growing at a rate of 8 percent. The BLS doesn’t differentiate between professionals holding bachelor’s versus master’s degrees in religious settings.

Expected Salary

According to the BLS, salary levels are more dependent on job type within the religious field versus differing between degree level. Online master’s in theology programs do prepare students for more specialized job types, paying average salaries higher than more entry-level positions.

Reported Median Annual Wage of Possible Religous Careers

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earning your master’s in theology degree helps prepare you to take on roles within the clergy, church leadership positions and faith-based jobs within Christian organizations. Most of those positions require a master’s and in turn pay a higher salary.

Geography also plays a large role in the salary you can expect to earn after completing your master’s degree. Clergy-level salaries can be vastly different depending upon where you live.

Top Paying States for Clergy

Below is a map of annual mean wages of clergy nationwide. Blank states indicate data is not available.

Clergy Annual Mean Wages by State
Figures in US Dollars per year

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Many career opportunities exist for individuals with advanced theology degrees outside of a typical church setting. These opportunities often hinge on the specialization you choose for your degree program.

JOB TITLEJOB DESCRIPTIONMEDIAN SALARYPROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Minister (Clergy)Ministers are assigned to or selected by specific churches or organizations and charged with leading worship and supporting parishioners. Most ministers work with a specific church, while others may work in hospitals, hospices and schools.$50,800 per year8%
Director of Christian EducationAs a director of Christian education, you’ll work within either a church or school setting to create educational strategies and paradigms, manage individual teachers and ensure all teachings are in line with specific religious doctrine.$45,470 per year7%
MissionaryMissionaries take Christian teachings and messages to underserved populations in both developed and developing nations. They often embed with the population they seek to teach.$36,380 per year8%

Professional Organizations

Many Christian denominations offer their own network of religious workers for individuals to join, but nondenominational organizations are also available for clergy and other church professionals to take part in. These organizations enable religious personnel to make valuable connections, enhance development opportunities and further grow in their profession. Consider these organizations that may be instrumental in your future career.

National Association of Christian Ministers: This organization offers resources to license and ordain ministers. For those who have already achieved that through their home denomination, the NACM offers professional development opportunities as well as valuable networking opportunities.

Association of Professional Chaplains: This group formed more than 70 years ago to provide much-needed support to ministry professionals whose vocation is to support others.

National Association of Evangelicals: The NAE supports and advises on issues a clergyperson may face within their church home as well as in their work with other organizations.

A more complete list of associations religious personnel can join is offered by the New Media Project at Christian Theological Seminary.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Theology

Online learning can be less expensive than obtaining a degree through a traditional education setting, but programs can still be quite costly. Your first step toward obtaining help in paying for your master’s in theology is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once done, you can learn about the many resources the federal government offers through grants and loans. Additionally, you can find grants and scholarships offered by both church and private organizations to help you cover the cost of tuition and other expenses. Always look within your own church and denomination to see what aid you may be able to obtain.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship Program

Award: $3,500 per semester

Deadline: Last Friday in January at 12 noon

Eligibility: Graduate students may apply for this scholarship after completing 9 credit hours.

Marguerite Young Endowment Fund

Award: $1,500

Deadline: March 31

Eligibility: Students studying theology at all levels.