5 Common Degrees for Those Wanting to Study Theology


Theology is a broad subject that offers certificates and degrees on every academic level. If you’re not sure where to go with your religious studies, however, you might be wondering which degree program is right for you. Here are just five common degrees for students who are interested in theology.

Master of Divinity

The MDiv is one of the most common degrees offered by seminary schools and colleges that are sanctioned by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). It isn’t an easy path, however; it’s rigorous and research-based, and you’ll be expected to obtain 80-90 credits in subjects like philosophy, ecclesiology, pastoral theology and canon law. You might also be expected to take classes in Hebrew, Latin or Greek. The MDiv is an intensive degree, but if you’re willing to work hard, it will prepare you for life as a pastor, minister or deacon.

Bachelor/Master of Theology

If you’re interested in theology, it makes sense to obtain a theology degree. The good news is that it has many real-world applications; whether you’re headed for a career in divinity studies or pure academic research, a theology degree will pad out your resume and ensure that you have many employment opportunities. The bad news is that few schools offer a traditional bachelor of theology (Th.B) degree program in this day and age; you’ll either need to take online courses or study something else for undergrad before completing your education with the more-common master of theology (Th.M.).

Master of Ministry

The M.Min. is a practical degree for ministers, pastors, priests, missionaries and anyone who wants to open doors in a religion-based career. It covers the broad strokes of things like Biblical languages and Christian theory, and it can be completed in 1-2 years of dedicated study. Admission requirements for this degree program will vary depending on the college, but most students with theology or humanities backgrounds will be eligible. It doesn’t even cost as much as other ministry degrees, making it an affordable option for people looking to climb the next rung in their church.

Bachelor of Religious Studies

This degree is meant for students who only want a broad overview of religion. It’s common among journalists, politicians, social workers, foreign ambassadors and anyone who might have business overseas because it provides a cultural framework for the people and civilizations that they’ll encounter. A bachelor in religious studies is also commonly used as a jumping-off point for more advanced or specialized degrees in ministry subjects; students can major in religious studies to qualify for graduate programs in things like patristics and liturgical studies.

Bachelor of Religious Education

If you love spreading the Word, consider obtaining a B.R.E. for both personal and professional advancement. More than 20,000 jobs for religious activity directors will open up in the next decade, and a B.R.E. will ensure that you’re qualified for them. It’s a degree program that’s meant for counselors, evangelists, spiritual advisors and worship leaders. It will teach you how to understand and interpret scripture in a way that’s meant to be shared with others. You’ll take classes in everything from religious studies to liberal arts, and you’ll learn how to conceptualize Christian ideas and answer common questions posed by your congregation. When you’re done with your coursework, you’ll be ready to guide others in their own spiritual journeys.

These are just five useful degrees for students who are interested in theology. Whether you’re seeking a career in religious services or just looking to expand your horizons before working or teaching overseas, these paths can take you where you need to go.

Related Resource: The 10 Best Online Religious Studies Degree Programs