The Top 10 Online Theology Programs


about_img-01For those seeking a graduate or undergraduate degree in theology, the experience is about more than a career path, it’s also about a path towards spiritual fulfillment and exploration. The study of theology includes the study of history, art, psychology, sociology, writing, speech and more. Of course, students with a theology degree also have many career options available to them.

Featured Online Theology Programs:

The most common profession for those with a theology degree is the clergy. This includes roles such as pastor, priest, chaplain, reverend and similar. There are many non-clergy professionals as well, including writer and educator. The Bureau of Labor statistics lists a mean salary of $43,460 for those with a master’s in theology, with a growth outlook estimated at 8% over the next seven years.

A theology degree can be immensely rewarding, both professionally and personally. Combined with the flexibility and ease of online education, today almost anyone can obtain a high quality education, no matter how busy they are or where they live. Regardless of the type of theology you want to focus on, or what your career goals may be, there is an online theology program out there which can help you earn an undergraduate or graduate degree.

10. LaTourneau University

logoVerticalThis university, based in Longview Texas, offers an education for those who wish to pursue a career in ministry, often as soon as possible. Online courses begin year round, so students can start quickly. They move fast, too. After 126 hours, spread across 40 classes, students can earn an Online Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies and Ministry. Students can enter right out of high school, or transfer from another university.

From there, they are qualified to begin service in a ministry immediately, or they can also move on towards additional study in a graduate degree. LaTourneau offers an Online Master of Arts in Counseling, so students can become either a Licensed Professional Counselor or a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – both of which can be invaluable tools for ministers who which to provide counseling.

• Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 41%

9. Colorado Christian University

ccucougars_1Since 1914, CCU has been a Christian-based, private, liberal arts university located just outside of Denver. Their online classes are available to students around the world, however. They offer classes through their “Cohort Model.” Classes are taken one at a time, although students move from class to class with the same peers.

All of the classes involve the application of Christian principles and ethics, and several degrees are directly theology-based, including their bachelor’s in Biblical Studies. The same teachers who teach on campus also conduct the classes online, so students receive the same instruction no matter where they are.

• Accreditation: The Higher Learning Commission of
• North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2012): 83.4%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 13 to 1

8. Iliff School of Theology

iliff-school-of-theologyNestled in the Rocky Mountains, the Iliff School of Theology promotes a multi-faith education which combines academics with experiences.

The Master of Theological Studies degree is tailored to the individual student’s needs, and can include a wide variety of courses beyond traditional theology and biblical studies courses. Depending on the student’s goals, additional study can involve ethics, sociology, philosophy, social change and more. The degree is also a bit longer than many others, with 72 quarter credit hours.

• Accreditation: Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): Open admission policy
• Student to Faculty ratio: 21 to 1




7. University of Dallas

university-of-dallas_200x200This “Catholic University for Independent Thinkers” in Irving, Texas, traces its roots back to 1956. Today, however, the entire curriculum is transferred online and available for students around the world. Their Master of Theological Studies degree is based on eight core courses and five electives. The electives may be a further study of any of the core courses, or it may be a concentration of Biblical studies.

Students have many online resources, including easy access to the Academic Information Systems page, a comprehensive tech support system for online students. Additionally, graduate students have access to a Career Services page.

• Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 90%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 11 to 1

6. University of Northwestern – St. Paul

downloadLocated in St. Paul, Minnesota, UNW is a private university which promotes Christ themes throughout all of their liberal arts programs. For students interested in a theology degree, they offer a bachelor’s in Biblical Studies, an Associate of Arts and Bible and a Certificate in Bible.

The online environment is similar to the campus environment, where students pledge to always support and hold one another accountable.

• Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 69%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 17 to 1

5. Regent University College of Arts and Sciences

RegentLogoA well-regarded online university, Regent offers the following five online master’s degrees: Old Testament, New Testament, English Bible, Christian Doctrine and History, and Biblical Interpretation/Pre-Doctoral Studies.

Each degree has the same general core curriculum, which consists of 60 credit hours. The final degree is determined by the student near the end of the 60 hours.

Regent has small online classes, and student will receive personalized attention from instructors. The Blackboard program is used for class discussions, augmented by a portal for a live, virtual classroom experience.

• Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 85%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 30 to 1


4. Grand Canyon University

GCU-SEALGrand Canyon University is dedicated to helping students apply Christian principles and values to the workplace, offering over 100 online degrees, including a Master’s of Divinity and degrees in both Christian Studies and Worship Arts.

Students choose one of four course of study: Pastoral Ministry, Youth Ministry, Urban Ministry and Christian Leadership. The degree program typically takes about 18 months to complete.

GCU has a full time faculty, including adjunct instructors, solely for their online students. Additionally, classes are offered one at a time, which is ideal for busy professionals.

• Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Higher Learning Commission
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 55%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 19 to 1

3. Ohio Christian University

220px-Ocu_seal-500x501_pms293Started in 1948 as Mount of Praise Bible College, today Ohio Christian University has fully embraced modern technology with their online classes. Of their approximately 2,300 students, 1,700 attend online. Their approach is Christ-centered in the Wesleyan tradition.

Their approach is also designed for busy adults. Students take one class at a time, only as a team, so they work through the curriculum with the same group of people. This fosters a sense of community and vibrant online interactions.

Their Master of Arts Ministry program is popular among students who are, or wish to become, a member of the clergy, specifically a pastor. The curriculum emphasizes the Bible, as well as historical interpretation and church context.

• Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 63.20%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 8 to 1

2. Saint Leo University Online

1901304_10152901387333880_6627752738722699418_nThis private, Catholic university is considered a leader in online education. Their entire online curriculum is very flexible and designed for active professionals. In fact, they’re one of the largest providers of higher education for stationed members of the U.S. military — a group certainly known for being busy.

The school is the oldest Catholic higher education institution in Florida, and offers 15 undergraduate majors as well as 40 graduate degrees and certifications, including an Online Master of Arts in Theology. The program requires 36 credits, 27 of which are core credits and three of which are electives.

Saint Leo has offered online classes since 1998.

• Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 77%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 16 to 1

1. Liberty University

libertyFounded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell, Liberty University was quick to embrace online education. Today, they are the largest Christian university in the world, with over 90,000 online students. Don’t let those numbers fool you into thinking the classes themselves are crowded; online classes are capped at 25 students, which promotes a high level of interaction between students and faculty.

Liberty University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theology, as well as many other religion-based subjects including Pastoral Counseling, Sacred Theology and Worship. Because Liberty is a non-profit institution, tuition is an average of 51% lower than other private colleges.

• Accreditation: Southern Association of Campus and Schools (Level VI)
• Acceptance Rate (Fall 2013): 22.08%
• Student to Faculty ratio: 19 to 1

>>>Click here to request your free Liberty University information<<<

Top Online Theology Programs Methodology:

We ranked online theology programs according to both academic and online criteria.

Online students typically are not overly concerned about campus security or the average age of their fellow students, since they’re rarely, if ever, on campus and the non-academic interactions between online students is usually very minimal. Since the virtual environment has the potential for impersonality, however, online students do care about personalized attention. This includes attention from the instructor, which can be determined from the student to faculty ratio, and interaction with their fellow students for purposes of classroom discussion, which can be measured by online class size. Additionally, years of experience with online instruction on the part of the university usually has a strong correlation to a smoother technical experience.

Overall academic performance was determined from various criteria including affordability, credibility (including factors such as years of accreditation, overall reputation and awards won), and student satisfaction (including factors such as graduation and retention rates). All information used is the most recent available, and dates are noted.