The 10 Best Online Religious Studies Degree Programs


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An online religious studies program provides students with a liberal arts education focusing on world religions, traditions, and theology. Religious studies degrees are designed for individuals interested in entering the ministry or working in religious organizations and education centers. These degrees are an excellent foundation for students who would like to continue their studies and become professors of theology, religion or philosophy at a university or college. These programs provide a broad understanding of how religion and culture are formed around the world for those seeking spiritual enrichment. Program lengths vary, but most can be completed in four years.

To help you decide which religious studies program is for you, we have compiled a top ten list of online colleges that provide an entirely only Bachelor of Religious Studies program.

Ranking methodology is based on:

* Affordability
* Flexibility
* Recognition
* Classification and Accreditation
* Student satisfaction and faculty.

10. University of Saint Thomas

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The University of Saint Thomas has a Theology program that emphasizes Sacred Scripture, Systematic Theology, Moral Theology and Church History. Students in the Theology program frequently double major with Catholic Studies, Drama, History, Philosophy or Psychology. The faculty is active and prolific in research as well as publishing and has a strong dedication to service.

U.S News and World Report named the University of Saint Thomas as the Best Regional University-West and Best Regional University-West for Veterans. Onlinecollege.org recognizes the school with an award for best financial support for online students. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The School of Theology is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.

9. North Carolina Wesleyan College

North-Carolina-Wesleyan-CollegeNorth Carolina Wesleyan College offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. The program takes a close look at world religious traditions for their historical importance, religious beliefs, practices, and institutions. Students will learn about the impact of religion on contemporary society. Students who complete this program will be prepared to take on career opportunities such as clergy positions, social work, human rights organizations and ministry positions.

8. Arizona State University

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Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Religious program that is customizable. The program explores the diversity of religions around the world with particular focus on historical, social and cultural contexts. Students will engage in comparative, cross-cultural studies of religion and cultures. Students may choose from three thematic tracks that focus on religious life in global context, in practice and representation or modernity. Participants must complete a minimum of nine credit hours in the chosen track within the major. Students are also required to complete 15 courses in related topics.

There are no additional program fees. Interested candidates must meet general admission requirements to be considered for this program. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the Northern Central Association of Schools and Colleges. Onlinecollege.org recognizes Arizona State University as the best value in a school offering an online bachelor’s degree in religious studies as well as being the most flexible online religious studies program.

7. Briercrest University

Briercrest-UniversityBriercrest University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theology program. It is designed to guide students in a complex heritage of Christian belief and practice. Students will learn to interpret contemporary culture and appreciate the many complex traditions. The program consists of 126 credit hours which is made up of 12 credit hours of cognate language requirements, six credit hours of cognate biblical studies beyond the core requirements and 39 credit hours must be of 300 or higher level. Other related programs include Biblical Studies, Christian Ministry, Worship Arts, Youth Ministry as well as Christianity and Culture. The school is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

6. Catholic Distance University

Catholic-Distance-UniversityCatholic Distance University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree completion program. It is designed to expand on student’s knowledge of Catholic faith and develop the skills necessary to explain the founding teachings of the Catholic Church through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterial documents. The program is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. It is designed for adult learners who are busy raising families or careers. There are no residency requirements.

5. American Public University

american-public-univAmerican Public University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religions. It is a social science degree made up of 121 hours. Students study eastern and western religions as well as cultural, political and spiritual aspects of religion. Program objectives include defining the term religion, identifying religion’s influence throughout society and identifying unique forms of religious expression like sacred places, rituals, symbols, and ethics. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years. American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

4. American Military University

american-military-univThe American Military University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religion that consists of 121 credit hours. The program is designed to be completed in four years, but may be completed sooner based on transfer credits. Topics covered include Religion in American, Old Testament, New Testament, Hinduism, Buddhism, Muhammad, Celtic Christianity, Middle East Religions as well as Catholicism and the Modern World. Students must complete a seminar in their senior year. Grants are available for military-affiliated students. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

3. Global University

global-univGlobal University School of Bible and Theology offers a Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology, Intercultural Studies and Christian Education. The Bible and Theology major consists of 128 credit hours. There is an option for students to complete the degree in three years.

Some course offerings include Principles of Biblical Interpretation, Wisdom Literature, and Cross-Cultural Communication. Students planning on continuing their studies in graduate school or seminary are strongly advised to complete Greek courses. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.

2. University of Central Florida

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The University of Central Florida offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Cultural Studies. It provides a foundation for students to comprehend religious traditions from around the world. Students will study religion from ancient and contemporary cultures as well as become familiarized with critical theories and methods used to view and analyze religion. The program focuses on the academic study of religion about culture and does not privilege any one tradition or belief system.

Courses include Asian Religions in America, Native American Religions, Buddhist Though, Hinduism, Islam, Roots of Western Mysticism and Christianity. Students must earn a C or 2.0 in each course to receive credit towards degree completion. Tuition is $105.07 per credit hour for in-state and out of state students. The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Our number one choice is Athens State University because of its affordability, flexibility, course offerings, recognition and prolific faculty members.

1. Athens State University

athens-state-univAthens State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religion program that was first initiated in 1938. Since then, it has been a central academic program for the school. The program courses cover topics such as theology, religious ethics, biblical studies, religious education, religious history, world religions, religion, and culture. The school provides some resources to religious studies students through the Curtis Coleman Center for Religious Studies and Ethics. Some of these learning resources include lecture series, public forums, seminars, workshops, continuing education opportunities, newsletter, training events, service projects, service activities and leadership development.

Students seeking admission are admitted conditionally as long as admission requirements are met, and unofficial copies of transcripts from previously attended schools are submitted. Students transferring must move at least 60 semester hours with a minimum of 2.0 GPA. Athens State University if accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Onlinecollege.org recognizes Athens State University as having the best faculty credentials.