If you have a serious interest in theology, either as a layperson or for your work in a religious context, getting a master’s degree can help you to expand that knowledge further. With online theology degrees, this is now easy to do no matter where you live, and no matter how busy your life. Whatever your denomination or theological interest, there are online programs that can help you advance your career while deepening your connection with the divine. GetEducated has compiled a list of master of theology online programs that are affordable while also providing a solid educational experience.
How to Pick an Online Theology Degree
There are many different groups within Christianity, and each one has different requirements for becoming a clergy member or lay leader. Reflecting this diversity, there are many different schools that offer degrees in theology. Which online theology degree is right for you?
In most cases, a master’s degree in divinity is the degree you will need to go into ministry, while an online master’s degree in theology can be either a way to advance your knowledge if you already serve in the clergy, or it can be a path for educators, lay leaders, or others involved in the religion to advance their knowledge and qualifications. For some, the master of theology online is an intermediate step towards the PhD in theology, while others will be using it to deepen their connection with the religion. In short, if you have a bachelor’s degree and a passion, getting a theology degree online may be the perfect way to continue in your current life, satisfy your urge to better yourself within your faith, and help you advance your career in faith leadership.
Master of Theology Online Programs
What you will study in an online theology degree program is somewhat dependent on the focus of the program. Most programs will have courses in systematic theology, plus specific study of Old and New Testament. Additional courses may be in ethics, moral theology, hermeneutics, or apologetics. Programs that have a focus of advancing students towards the PhD will have intensive language courses, and these could include Biblical Hebrew, Ancient Greek, Aramaic, or modern languages appropriate to a student’s career plans. Some programs will allow you to choose electives to have a concentration in different aspects, such as youth ministry, counseling, research, and more.
Most programs will take about 18 months to two years to complete, with some programs allowing you to go at a slower pace to accommodate a busy life. Programs that operate on the cohort model will have you progress through the courses with the same group of peers, while others will let you pick your own schedule. Few programs have an on-campus portion, and it is not always mandatory, so you can complete you degree 100% online.
Master of theology online programs can cost as little as six or seven thousand dollars, or as much as $30k for some very expensive programs. The schools on our list represent high-quality educational options that will cost you less than $16k for the whole program, and with discounts for religious employment, military service, scholarships, and student financial aid, you may pay even less for your master’s degree.
Careers with an Online Theology Degree
There are so many possible careers with an online master’s degree in theology, including being a pastor, working in youth ministry, missionary work, becoming a director of religious education, or working in outreach. Other possible jobs include chaplain, author, speaker, apologist, college professor, and more. Clergy can expect to earn an average ofper year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while directors of religious activities average per year. Depending on your role, your salary could be lower or higher.
Top 12 Online Theology Degree Programs — Master’s Level
Here are the most affordable online theology degree programs—12 master degrees for less than $16,000!
Grace School of Theology
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $6,625
The online ThM from Grace School of Theology is just 29 credits long, and is part of the institution’s commitment to the tradition of free grace based on Biblical traditions and excellence in higher education. The application requires an MDiv of at least 90 credits with a minimum of 3.0 GPA, plus one year each of biblical Greek and Hebrew. The focus of the program is on biblical languages and theological research. The program culminates in a thesis, and students can petition for extra time to complete the thesis if needed. For those who have studied at other institutions, up to 14 credits may be transferred to the Grace program. For students interested in an evangelical perspective on theology, the ThM program from Grace School of Theology makes a great option.
Find Out More:
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $7,264
Belhaven University’s online MA in Biblical and Theological Studies offers students a very affordable degree program for those in ministry or laypeople interested in studying biblical theology. The program is 36 credits long and offers course in systems theology, Old and New Testament, and hermeneutics. Applicants need to have a 2.5 GPA on their bachelor’s degree, or have 9 credits of graduate work with a grade of B or higher, though applicants who don’t meet these requirements may be offered conditional admission. The program is offered in partnership with Third Millennium Ministries, who specialize in online theological education. The MA from Belhaven University is a great choice for students looking for a high-quality program with an incredibly affordable price tag.
Find Out More:
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $8,970
With three options for a concentration, the online ThM from Campbellsville University offers students choices to most closely conform to their interests. The biblical studies emphasis allows students to explore the history and interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, and also makes a good preparation for those who wish to pursue a doctoral program later. The pastoral leadership track focusses on pastoral ministries, pastoral counseling, and the formation of a healthy church. The third emphasis option is theology, which combines church history and contemporary issues, and includes studies in ethics, Baptist Christian heritage, and moral ideals as they apply to ministry.
Campbellsville’s program comprises 30 credits of study, can be completed in approximately two years, and offers class formats that are 8 weeks long. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with 18 credits in Christian studies, or graduate coursework in the subject. In addition, if the undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, students will be required to submit GRE or MAT scores. Up to 12 credits can be transferred to the program, and students can apply for financial aid or use military benefits to pay for costs. For students with a strong interest in theology, no matter their career goals, Campbellsville University’s ThM program offers choices for an affordable and flexible online degree.
Find Out More:
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $11,025
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers the online MA in Theology with a specialization in Pastoral Theology in a full time (one and a half years) or part time (three years) format. The curriculum covers solid Catholic doctrine, with 21 credits of core courses and 15 credits of electives. Courses include Catholic Moral Theology, Youth Ministry and Family Faith Formation, Church Management and Leadership, Theology of the Body, Ministry in the Intercultural Church of America, and many more. The program welcomes students of all faiths who can benefit from studying Catholic theology, and is open to deacons and lay ecclesial ministers who wish to broaden their knowledge. Applicants can have an undergraduate degree in any subject with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, and many employers have partnered with the program to offer tuition discounts. In addition, for those wishing to go on to the doctoral level, Pontifex University will exempt all MAT graduates from 24 credits of core coursework. The most affordable Catholic master’s program, and a terrific range of elective courses make the Saint Joseph’s College of Maine MA program a great choice for cost-conscious students.
Find Out More:
Martin Luther College
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $11,340
The online MA in Theological Studies at Martin Luther College is 36 credits long, and offers students their choice for the final stage of the degree: comprehensive exam, field project, or thesis. Courses include Bioethics, Genesis, Biblical Hermeneutics, Maximum Impact with Short-term Mission Trips, Ministering to Families in Crisis, and more. Students complete 18 credits of core coursework and 12-18 credits of electives, along with their choice of completion format for the program. Students can complete the program in a little over a year, or schedule the courses to fit around a busy schedule. The program is geared towards teachers, staff ministers, and lay leaders who want deeper knowledge of the Christian faith. Applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA, though lower GPAs may be accepted on a probationary status, and have completed 18 undergraduate biblical theology credits or the equivalent. The Martin Luther College MA program is great for students who want to learn and grow, forming their own philosophy of ministry, and who want an affordable online program that gives them flexibility.
Find Out More:
Holy Apostles College & Seminary
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $11,520
Holy Apostles College and Seminary offers an online MA in Theology that has a low student to faculty ratio, flexible learning, and low tuition rates. Students have the option to concentrate in bioethics, church history, dogmatic theology, moral theology, sacred scripture, Thomist studies, or general studies. Students are also given the option of taking comprehensive exams or completing a thesis to conclude the theology degree online. With courses 100% online, students can complete the program in as little as two years, or take up to six years to schedule study around a busy professional and family life. This program is a good choice for those wishing to study Catholic teachings, choose their emphasis from a wide variety of concentrations, and seek an affordable and flexible online option for the MAT.
Find Out More:
Luther Rice College & Seminary
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $11,855
If you want an excellent academic program that concentrates on the disciplines necessary to proclaim and defend the doctrines of Christian faith, the Luther Rice College & Seminary’s online MA in Apologetics could be the perfect program for you. The 36 credit degree program can be completed in as little as 18-24 months completely online. Courses in the program include Systematic Theology, Biblical Apologetics, Apologetics and the Problem of Evil, and more. The program focuses on practical skills necessary to answer the most common challenges posed to Christianity by skeptics, critics, and believers alike. Online courses are in 8-week or traditional 15-week formats, and students from around the country or world are welcome in this online program. For an evangelical perspective on rational explanations for the belief systems of Christianity, and a very affordable flexible program, the Luther Rice College & Seminary’s online MA in Apologetics is a great choice.
Find Out More:
Clarks Summit University
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $12,450
The Baptist Bible Seminary at Clarks Summit University offers a 100% online MA in Theological Studies that is 30 credits long and can be completed in as little as two years. The online MA in Biblical Apologetics may fit the bill for many students as well. You can also choose from other concentration options like Biblical languages, church planting and renewal, and Old or New Testament studies. There are five start dates per year to the program, and the classes are asynchronous so you can easily complete your studies around a busy work and family life. Tuition discounts are available to Christian workers, military members, and international students. Online students have access to an online library, writing center, and learning support. For students seeking a Christ-centered MA program, the online program from Clarks Summit University offers a flexible degree with many options for financial discounts and support.
Find Out More:
Ohio Christian University
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $13,168
The online MA in Ministry from Ohio Christian University offers a concentration in Practical Theology, or for other interests, students can concentrate in Pastoral Care and Counseling or Sport, Recreation and Fitness. This degree is designed for those who are pastors in the church to enhance ministry skills and increase effectiveness. Courses for the ministry concentration include Worship in the Church, Biblical Preaching, Pastoral Leadership, and Spiritual Disciplines. Other courses for the major include history and interpretation, Theology of John Wesley, and Mission in the Western World. The online courses are in a 5-week format with forum discussions and weekly assignments, and perfect for on-the-go adults. Applicants should have an undergraduate degree with a 2.75 GPA minimum, 2 years of pastoral or lay leadership experience, 6 credits in Bible and 3 credits in theology. For busy adults who are dedicated to service and wish to deepen their skills and understanding in the church, this highly adaptable program is budget-friendly.
Find Out More:
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $15,116
Liberty University offers the online MA in Christian Apologetics with a thesis or non-thesis option, and the online MA in Biblical Exposition. Both programs are 36 credits and can be completed in 1.5 years. Apologetics students will have courses in hermeneutics, miracles, faith and reason, and more. For students in Biblical Exposition, courses include New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes and Greek Syntax. Both degree programs emphasize strong research skills, leadership, and a quality scholarship. Graduates may go on to careers in ministry, doctoral programs, education, or research, to name a few possibilities. Liberty University has an Experience Plus program to help students use their previous education, military or work to count towards their degree. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA for the apologetics programs, or 2.0 for the Biblical Exposition program. The programs are in 8-week blocks, and there are generous tuition discounts for military members and their families, as well as first responders. The high-quality online education platform from Liberty University, along with inexpensive tuition, make these master of theology online degree programs excellent choices for adult learners.
Find Out More:
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $15,220
For students who want to deepen their knowledge of Catholic theological tradition, the online Master of Theological Studies (MTS) from Newman University is a good place to start. For a more rigorous program geared towards those wishing to enter a theology PhD program, the online MA in Theology at Newman offers intensive study in modern and biblical languages, a comprehensive exam, plus a thesis to complete the program. Courses for both are in 8-week formats, with students normally taking 2 classes per session. Students can participate in an intensive on-campus weekend near the start of every session, though it is not a requirement and students can do these portions if travel is inconvenient. The programs operate on the cohort model, meaning that students move through the curriculum with the same group of peers, allowing for class engagement among students. All faculty have the mandatum from the Bishop of Wichita. Courses in the program include: The God Who Pursues, The Four-Fold Gospel, Controversies in Church History, and Current Issues in Moral Theology. An excellent choice for students of Catholic doctrine, the Newman University online master’s degree in theology offer students a very affordable way to increase the depth of their knowledge or prepare for further study. It is also terrific for students who would like to attend the on-campus intensives to be face-to-face with professors and peers, but who need to attend most classes online due to schedule constraints.
Find Out More:
Columbia International University
Total Cost (In-State & Out-of-State): $15,300
Columbia International University’s online MA in Theological Studies is a rigorous, interdisciplinary program offering training in research, analysis, and writing within the field. Courses in this program include: Genesis to Song of Solomon: God’s Plan of Creation and Redemption, Missions and Evangelism in the Twenty-first Century, and Understanding Cultures and Worldviews. The program is 48 credits and may take up to two years to complete. Students with previous study of Bible, theology, and Church history may be able to take a faster track to the theology degree online. Applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA in undergraduate work. Students from around the world are welcome to participate, and the program boasts engaging, hands-on online classes and dedicated faculty. For students who may wish to write for scholarly publications, and who wish to deepen their research and knowledge, Columbia International offers a cost-effective, intensive online MA in theology.
Find Out More:
Get Started on Your Master’s Degree Today
If you feel a calling to understand the Christian faith more profoundly, contribute to the world with your knowledge, and increase the skills for your career, now is a great time to get a master of theology online. Take a look at these affordable options, and you could be starting your journey soon.