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The 10 Best Online Bachelor’s in Theology Degree Programs

Theology is all about searching for answers to the Big Questions.

Today, many working adults choose to return to school to pursue new career goals or to complete a degree they never got to finish. That means the need for flexible online degree options has increased noticeably in recent years. This increase in demand for online degrees is true for many Christian affiliated careers, like pastors, Church administrators, and Christian educators. For many people wanting to enter these fields, a great undergraduate degree option is a Bachelor’s in Theology. As many of the schools on our ranking show, theology is often folded into degrees of other names, like Bachelors’ in Biblical Studies, Religious Studies, or Christian Ministry. Regardless of the name, all of these programs have several things in common: a study of Christian theology, pastoral methods, and application to work in the Church.

For this ranking, we narrowed our focus to online degree programs because more theology students need the flexibility of an online degree. First, we gathered a list of all colleges and universities in the United States that offer Bachelor’s degrees in Theology and narrowed our selections to the universities that offer online programs. Our results are the culmination of a multi-dimensional metric system that focused on three key qualities. First, we wanted to know whether or not the school’s tuition made it a viable choice for online theology students. Second, we looked at whether the school offered flexible options to accommodate student needs, like fast-track options or multiple specialities. And finally, we wanted to determine the academic prestige of the institutions we sampled. You can find a more thorough explanation of the methodology we used below.

Methodology:

  • Affordability (1/3): Average out-of-state tuition
  • Flexibility (1/3): The range of flexible options in the program, including the ability to accelerate degree completion, work part-time, choose different concentrations, get credit for prior experience, and other unique degree options.
  • Academic Prestige (1/3): Each institution’s rank according to national data

1. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, evangelical Christian university in Marion, Indiana. IWU pursues its Christian mission through incorporating the values of commitment, leadership, service, stewardship, innovation, and diversity into all facets of university life. IWU is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church and the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. With nearly 16,000 students, IWU has a lot of options for its students to explore, including online degree programs. IWU boasts well over 50 online degree and certificate programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

One of those online programs includes a Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies. The program offers in-depth education from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective. Students take courses in Old and New Testament, Church history, the Gospels, and Biblical Studies Colloquium. Graduates from the Biblical Studies program go on to careers in Christian ministry, para-church organizations, and pursue graduate level work in divinity or ministry. Biblical Studies students at IWU also leave the program having met many academic and practicum requirements for licensing and ordination across many Christian denominations.

2. Southwestern Christian University

Founded in 1946, Southwestern Christian University was the first Pentecostal educational institution in the state of Oklahoma. While it was initially established as a Bible college for training Church leaders, it quickly expanded into a junior college. Today, SCU is a Christian liberal arts university with undergraduate and graduate programs forwarding the school’s Christian mission. SCU has a small student body of 850 students, which means it can offer individualized educational experiences to each of its students.

One of the degrees offered by SCU is a fully online Bachelor’s of Professional Leadership with a concentration in Christian Leadership. The program is designed for students to create their own philosophy of leadership and ethics as they align with biblical theology. Students take courses in bible teaching methods, Christian theology, Wisdom literature, and Lead Issues in Ministry. This leadership prepares students to enter careers in local churches as ministers, youth ministers, Christian Education coordinators, or church administration, or to pursue graduate degrees in Ministry, Theology, or Biblical Studies.

3. Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Shasta Bible College and Graduate School, or SBC, is a Baptist college and graduate school in Redding, California. It offers a range of degrees, both on-campus and online. SBU is known for its programs on Biblical Studies, Christian Teacher Education, and Biblical languages. In fact, nearly 100% of SBC’s Christian teacher graduates have been placed in Christian schools. SBC offers many of their programs in Christian theology and education in online formats as well. That allows students to continue their faith based studies, but with the flexibility of online courses.

Many of SBC’s online bachelor’s degree programs relate to Christian theology, so students can choose a degree that suits their career goals. One such degree is a Bachelor’s in the Bible and Theology. In this degree, students take a variety of core courses across topics in ministry, and choose from one of 6 concentration areas, like Theological Studies, Biblical Counseling, or Youth Ministry. Another similar online degree option is the Bachelor’s in Christian Professional Studies with a concentration in Biblical Studies. In this degree is designed for students who already have an associates degree and related work experience. Those credits can then be applied to the completion of their Bachelor’s degree with additional coursework in Theology, Biblical studies, and Ministry.

4. The King’s University

The King’s University is an evangelical post-secondary institution based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The university was founded by Dr. Jack Hayford in collaboration with The Church on the Way in 1997. The King’s University offers a variety of degrees in Christian ministries, Biblical and theological studies, Biblical counseling, cross-cultural ministry, and general Christian studies, as well as a Doctor of Ministry. The King’s University consistently pursues its Evangelical mission through promoting Christian values of Christian education, spiritual development, and service.

TKU offers several degree programs fully online, several of which relate to Christian Theology. One of these online bachelor’s degrees includes the Bachelor’s of Biblical and Theological Studies. The degree is designed to provide in-depth coverage of the Bible, education students in the various methods of hermeneutics, explore theological issues, and offer instruction in Hebrew and Greek. Students take courses in Christian Doctrine, Cultural Apologetics, and Church history, among other theology courses. Online theology students also have the option of concentrating in Messianic Jewish Studies within their Theology degree.

5. Central Christian College of the Bible

Founded in 1957, Central Christian College of the Bible is a four year college, affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Moberly, Missouri. The college’s mission is to prepare leaders with biblical instruction and practical training for entering Christian service positions. CCCB offers degrees in Christian Education, Christian Counselors, Pastoral Ministry, Youth and Family Ministry, Religious Studies, and Cross-Cultural Ministry. CCCB began serving online students in 2007 and currently offers 4 online degree programs.

All of CCCB’s online degree programs relate to the Bible and Theology. Bachelor’s degree options include a bachelor’s in Religious Studies with a specialization in Christian Leadership, and a Bachelor’s in the Bible. The online bachelor’s in Religious Studies degree uses credits earned from other colleges or an associate’s degree to help students complete their degree faster. In the bachelor’s of Religious Studies degree, in addition to taking courses on books of the Bible, students also take courses on worldviews & ethics, vocational preparation, ministry in the local church. For the online bachelor’s in the Bible, students take core courses in Biblical Studies, as well as theology and ministry. In this degree program, students take courses on all books of the bible, as well as Basic Biblical Theology, core education classes, as well as professional studies courses on Christian Discipleship, principles of evangelism, and leadership in the local church.

6. Apex School of Theology

Apex School of Theology was founded in 1995 by Reverend Dr. Joseph Perkins through the Apex First Baptist Church in Apex, North Carolina. Eventually the school relocated to Durham to accommodate a growing student body. ASOT continually pursue its goals of providing clergy with formal theological training, meeting the educational needs of lay leaders within the faith community, and to include training on several denominations. With a small student body of just over 1,000 students, ASOT offers individualized theological training to each of its students.

One way ASOT works to meet the educational needs of its students is by offering online degree options. Online students have several options ranging from the associate’s to the master’s level. One of the fully online degree choices includes a Bachelor’s in Theology. For this theology degree, students take core education courses, as well as courses on the New and Old Testaments, systematic theology, theology electives, Church history, and Ministry courses. With flexible options and avenues for financial aid, ASOT students can design a career path that works for them and fits within their budget.

7. Trinity College of Florida

Established in 1932, Trinity College of Florida is a private evangelical interdenominational Bible college in Florida. The college is particularly known for stressing interdenominational components, both in its core mission and through its educational programs. Trinity has also several notable alumni, most famous of which is Billy Graham, one of the most well known evangelical preachers in modern history. With a small student body of 200, Trinity offers individualized educational experiences in each of the 4 areas of its mission: spiritual, academic, intellectual, and professional.

One of the ways Trinity pursues its mission to offer quality academic and professional preparation for ministry is to offer online degrees so that they may reach more students. Through the Trinity Quest program, working adults can complete their bachelor’s degree through online courses. One of the degrees offered through the Trinity Quest program is a Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry. The degree prepares students to deliver Biblical knowledge, articulate a Christian worldview, and be ministry-ready professionals. For this online bachelor’s degree, students take courses in Christian theology, Biblical Ethics, Pastoral Methods, Youth Ministry Skills, and World Missions and Religions.

8. Southwestern Adventist University

Southwestern Adventist University is one of 13 colleges and universities in the U.S. affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. SWAU was founded in 1893 as Keene Industrial Academy before being purchased by Seventh-day Adventists. SWAU pursues its Adventist academic mission through promoting a Christ-centered environment, service, and integration of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and practices into daily life. Today, the University offers degree programs from the associate’s level to the master’s to its nearly 800 students. That means that despite its small size, students still have a lot of degree options.

One way that SWAU pursues its educational mission is through offering online degree programs. One such program is the Bachelor’s in Theology. The fully online program is designed for students pursue careers as pastors or church leaders. Students take courses in Christian Beliefs, Prophetic Studies, Biblical Theology, Field Evangelism, and Hospital Ministry among other core education requirements. SWAU also requires theology students to engage in practical ministry and evangelism opportunities through church assignments and the Field School of Evangelism. That means students finish their degrees with work experience that can help them in their careers.

9. Catholic Distance University

Catholic Distance University is a private Roman Catholic university in West Virginia. The school offers exclusively online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. All of CDU’s degree programs work to meet the Catholic colleges and universities goals outlined by Pope John Paul II. In that vein, CDU’s central mission is to promote the search for truth in all fields and the promotion of Catholic Church teachings. With a little under 300 students, CDU can pursue their institutional mission, while still offering personalized educational experiences for each of their online students.

One of CDU’s online programs includes a Bachelor’s in Theology. This program is specifically designed as a degree completion program for students who want to expand their knowledge of Catholicism, and to be able to explain the Catholic Church through texts like the Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, magisterial documents, and other significant texts to the Church. Theology students take classes in Principles of Moral Theology, Four Constitutions of the Vatican, Foundations of Catholicism, and Theological Readings of Scripture. CDU also offers flexible options that allows students to transfer theology classes from another institution that can help shorten the time-to-degree.

10. Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Southwestern Assemblies of God University, or SAGU, is a private Christian university in the Dallas-Forth Worth metro area. Founded in 1927 as three separate Bible Schools that eventually merged in 1941, SAGU today remains as the only Assemblies of God affiliated university in the state of Texas. SAGU enrolls a little of 2,000 students which means each student gets the individualized attention they need to complete their education. Part of ensuring that SAGU students receive a quality education includes following their institutional mission to promote a Bible-based education, encourage Pentecostal distinction, foster spiritual formation, and pursue academic excellence.

One way SAGU pursues its mission is through offering online degree programs so that they may reach more students. One such program includes a Bachelor’s in Bible and Theology. This degree teaches students methods and resources to interpret the Bible, to defend theological doctrines central to Christian faith, and to communicate distinct elements of a Christian worldview. To that end, students take courses in the Old and New Testaments, Authentic Christianity, Christian Ethics, Pentecostal Doctrine, and Systematic Theology. Most theology students start careers as chaplains, youth pastors, community outreach leaders, evangelists, ministry leaders, and spiritual care counselors.