The 25 Best Master’s in Theology Online for 2018

BCR_27_Theology_Masters_badgeThere a dizzying number and variety of graduate degrees available for Christian ministering. Out of all of those, the Master’s in Theology is perhaps one of the more dynamic, flexible, and foundational. Combining essential perspectives on the history of Christianity, Biblical hermeneutics, and practical pastoral training, the Master’s in Theology gives students a balance of both academic and real-world experience.

Featured Online Masters Degrees in Theology Degree Programs

Graduates can go on to become ministers and pastors, in addition to a number of other church-related vocations – counselors, missionaries, associate pastors, church administrators, and more. They may also choose to pursue doctorate studies. Below we’ve ranked our top 25 online programs.

For more general information regarding distance learning, visit our ranking of the best colleges online.

Rating and Ranking Methodology
Tuition Points:

  • Under $20,000—1 point
  • Under $15,000—2 points
  • Under $10,000—3 points
  • Under $5,000—4 points

U.S. News & World Report’s Ranking of Online Programs (Highest Ranking at the Graduate Level)

  • Top 10—6 points
  • Top 50—5 points
  • Top 100—4 points
  • Top 150— 3 points
  • Top 200— 2 points
  • Top 250— 1 point

Customization Options
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option

Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Ranking the Best Online Master Degree Programs in Theology

To develop this ranking, our editors began with an initial pool of 58 online master’s in theology programs. To narrow this pool, we applied an affordability filter, eliminating any schools with graduate tuition rates of over $20,000. We then began the process of collecting the data necessary to apply the rating and ranking methodology above, consulting both College Navigator and U.S. News & World Report as well as each program’s website. The results are listed below in the following ranking of the top 25 online master in theology programs. In cases of a tie, the more affordable schools received the higher ranking.

#25 –Moody Bible Institute

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Preaching

Website
Points: 5
The online master of arts in theology offered by Moody Bible Institute focuses on biblical preaching. Core courses include Methods for Biblical Interpretation, Preaching Narrative and Prophetic Literature, and Church and Culture. The program uses a cohort format, which provides distance students with more structure than many similar online programs do. However, students still enjoy most of the flexibility that comes from studying online. Most coursework is delivered asynchronously, so students can schedule their studies around family and work responsibilities.
In-State Tuition: $7,560

#24 –Lincoln Christian University

Online MA in Theology

Website
Points: 6
Lincoln Christian University’s master of arts in theology online is designed to be broad and applicable to a wide variety of students regardless of their individual career goals. There are no separate tracks, but courses are offered in all major areas of Christian theology, including historical, systematic, and philosophical theology. Most students can complete this program in only a year and a half. Online master in theology students with an undergraduate background in theology may qualify for advanced standing and can graduate in even less time.
In-State Tuition: $7,812

#23 –Gonzaga University

Master of Arts in Theology Leadership Online

Website
Points: 7
Gonzaga University’s online master’s degree in ministry approaches theology from a Jesuit perspective, but it is designed to be open to a wide range of Christian denominations as well as from a variety of educational backgrounds. Semesters are divided into two eight-week sessions, allowing students to complete two courses per semester while only having to focus on one course at a time. While the program is primarily online, students are required to visit campus twice during the summer for a total of eight days.

In-State Tuition: $16,421

#22 –Cornerstone University

Online Master of Theology

Website
Points: 7
Cornerstone University offers a master in theology online with New Testament and Old Testament specializations. This program is only available on a limited basis, and students must have completed a master of divinity or similar MA program before they can be admitted. Both concentrations include a professional practicum and master’s thesis, and both require 30 credit hours of work. Courses offered include Biblical Theology, Grammar and Translation, and Advanced Old Testament Exegesis. Most online master in theology students can complete this program in less than three years, even while working full time.
In-State Tuition: $12,960

#21 –Campbellsville University

Online Master of Theology

Website
Points: 7
The master in theology online program offered by Campbellsville University is designed with flexibility as a priority. The program is completely online, so students don’t have to worry about visiting campus for orientation or intensives. Coursework is also delivered asynchronously, allowing students to easily fit their studies into an already busy schedule. Three areas of emphasis are available: Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, and Pastoral Leadership. The curriculum for this master’s in theology online offering approaches Christian theology from a general Protestant perspective with a slight Baptist angle.
In-State Tuition: $11,904

#20 –Regent University

Master of Theology Online

Website
Points: 8
The master’s in theology online degree offered by Regent University is designed for students who have already completed a master of divinity, master of arts, or master of theological studies program. It prepares students for both advancements in ministry and doctoral study. Topics studied include apocalyptic literature, renewal theology, advanced hermeneutics, and advanced research methodologies. Students are not required to attend an on-campus residency, and most students are able to earn their degree in as little as one year. Online master in theology students who complete this program may qualify for advanced standing in the university’s Ph.D. in renewal theology.
In-State Tuition: $12,726

#19 –Bryan College

Online MA in Christian Ministry

Website
Points: 8
Bryan College offers an online masters in ministry with specializations in Bible Education and Administration. This 36-credit hour degree is an accelerated program with nine-week courses. No matter which specialization students choose, they are able to complete their degree entirely online with no required on-campus residencies. Students take only one or two courses at a time, which allows them to balance schoolwork with work or family obligations. This degree can be finished in as little as 18 months, though online masters degree in ministry students are given more time to complete the program if needed.
In-State Tuition: $11,208

#18 –Saint Leo University

MA in Theology Online

Website
Points: 8
Saint Leo University is Florida’s oldest Catholic institution of higher education and is deeply rooted in Benedictine tradition. Its online master of arts in theology is a 36-credit hour program that emphasizes leadership and spiritual development. The program is open to students from a wide range of spiritual and educational backgrounds. It’s designed with busy students in mind and blends a variety of delivery formats to give students a balance of flexibility, interaction, and structure. Courses offered through this online MA in theology program include History of Jewish-Catholic Relations, Spiritual Direction, and Management/Human Resources for Ministry.
In-State Tuition: $9,990

#17 –University of Dallas

Online Master of Theological Studies

Website
Points: 9
The University of Dallas offers a highly flexible master’s degree in ministry online. It includes two concentrations: Catholic Secondary School Teaching and Biblical Theology. However, if students’ career goals do not fit neatly into either of these concentrations, students can opt to pass on these options and instead use their electives to create a degree that better fits their goals and interests. Topics of study include models of catechesis, liturgy and sacraments, and pastoral administration. Instead of a traditional master’s thesis, master’s in theology online students complete an annotated bibliography as their culminating experience.
In-State Tuition: $33,750

#16 –Grand Canyon University

Online Master of Arts/Divinity

Website
Points: 9
Grand Canyon University offers multiple online master of arts in theology programs, as well as an online master of divinity program. Available MA programs include Christian Leadership, Urban Ministry, and Christian Ministry. The MDiv program is less specialized, but also more comprehensive. It covers much of the same material as the MA programs, as well as systematic theology, biblical languages, and apologetics. All programs use eight-week terms, which allows students to move through their program quickly, even while only taking one or two courses at a time.
In-State Tuition: $9,737

#15 –Cedarville University

Online Master of Ministry

Website
Points: 9
The master’s in ministry online offered at Cedarville University is designed specifically for individuals interested in vocational leadership. It is open to a wide variety of students, whether they are already serving in ministry or are coming from a different field. It includes courses such as Christian Apologetics, Trinitarian Implications for Practical Ministry, and Biblical Leadership. All coursework can be completed online. Upon completion of courses, students will participate in an internship that equips them with the real-world experience they need to be successful after graduation.
In-State Tuition: $9,385

#14 –Maranatha Baptist University

Master of Arts in Biblical Studies Online

Website
Points: 9
Maranatha Baptist University offers an online MA in ministry that is broad enough to accommodate students with a wide range of career goals. Courses are offered in topics such as biblical languages, pastoral theology, historical theology, and systematic theology. Students also have an impressive amount of flexibility when it comes to formatting. One option is asynchronous delivery with eight-week sessions. This option allows for a maximum amount of flexibility in terms of scheduling. Students may also choose the synchronous full-semester option. This option requires students to attend live streamed sessions, reducing flexibility but increasing interaction with peers and instructors.
In-State Tuition: $7,360

#13 –Newman University

Online MA in Theology/ Master of Theological Studies

Website
Points: 10
Newman University offers two online master degree programs in theology: a master of arts and a master of theological studies. Both programs provide a comprehensive education in Catholic theology. However, the MA is a more rigorous program geared towards preparing students for further study, whereas the MTS is designed for students who want to be better diocesan catechists and high school-level religion teachers. Students are not required to visit campus, but there is typically an on-campus intensive once during each course that students are highly encouraged to attend.
In-State Tuition: $9,864

#12 –Franciscan University of Steubenville

MA in Theology and Christian Ministry Online

Website
Points: 11
The Franciscan University of Steubenville’s online master of arts in theology boasts an expert faculty, all of whom have met canon law requirements for the mandatum. This is a standard only 30 US Catholic universities have met. The program includes specializations in Catechesis and Canon Law as well as a research-intensive track for students who plan to go on to a doctoral program. The program is designed to be highly flexible in terms of scheduling. It is entirely online, and primarily asynchronous. Ambitious students can finish the program in only two years, but students whose other obligations require a slower pace may take up to seven years to complete this master in theology online degree program.
In-State Tuition: $12,330

#11 –Biola University

Online Master of Arts in Theology

Website
Points: 11
Biola University offers multiple online master degree programs in theology, including MAs in Bible Exposition, New Testament, and General Theology. There is a lot of overlap in the early courses for these programs, but each includes advanced coursework tailored to students’ specific interests and career goals. While other tracks, such as spiritual formation or Old Testament, are not available completely online, many of their courses are offered in an online format, making them suitable for students looking for a hybrid program as opposed to a fully online degree. Students who choose one of the fully online degrees are not required to visit campus, though they are free to do so if they wish.
In-State Tuition: $10,656

#10 –Saint Joseph’s College

Master of Divinity Online

Website
Points: 11
The master of arts in theology online program offered by Saint Joseph’s College is based in Roman Catholic doctrine and is in full accord with the magisterium. Specialization options include Pastoral Theology, Advanced Diaconal Studies, and Sacred Theology. Students already studying theology at Saint Joseph’s as an undergraduate may choose the “fast-track” option, which allows them a smoother transition into the master’s program and allows them to enter the program with four courses already completed. Some study away opportunities are also available to online master in theology students.
In-State Tuition: $8,720

#9 –Missouri Baptist University

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Website
Points: 12
Missouri Baptist University Top Online Bachelor's in Sports ManagementMissouri Baptist University’s online master’s in ministry emphasizes pastoral studies, but it is flexible enough to accommodate students with a wide variety of career goals. The program includes not only a pastoral ministries track, but also apologetic studies, biblical language, and urban ministries. Students whose specific interests and career goals don’t fit into any of the available tracks may develop a custom focus area with the help and approval of faculty. There is no traditional master’s thesis, but master’s degree in ministry online students are required to complete an internship.
In-State Tuition: $9,405

#8 –Harding University

Online MA in Theology

Website
Points: 15
Harding University offers three online master degree programs in theology: a general Master of Arts, a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, and a Master of Divinity. All programs give students room for customization, but the general MA program is the only one that includes separate concentrations such as New Testament, Historical Theology, and Systematic Theology, for instance. The general MA is meant to prepare students for research and teaching, whereas the MA is designed primarily for students planning to work in ministry.
In-State Tuition: $15,514

#7 –Asbury Seminary

Online Master of Divinity

Website
Points: 15
Asbury Seminary’s online masters in ministry program is a Master of Divinity based in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. It is highly customizable, featuring 11 different concentrations. Concentration options include Youth Ministry, Pastoral Counseling, Anglican studies, and Church Planting. Students who majored or minored in religion during their undergrad may qualify for “advanced standing” and could receive up to 18 credits towards their master’s degree. Most of the coursework can be completed entirely online, but students will have to attend on-campus intensives to complete roughly one-third of their coursework.
In-State Tuition: $15,240

#6 –Northwest Nazarene University

Online MA/Master of Divinity

Website
Points: 15
Northwest Nazarene University’s School of Theology and Christian Ministries offers multiple master degree programs in theology online. Both MA and MDiv programs are available in Missional Leadership, Spiritual Formation, and Children and Family Ministry. An MA is also available in Pastoral Ministry. No matter which program they chose, students participate in a mentor relationship with a leader in a local ministry setting. The MA programs can be completed in under two years, and the MDiv programs can be completed in just over four years.
In-State Tuition: $9,639

#5 –Hope International University

Master of Divinity Online

Website
Points: 16
The online master in theology program offered by Hope International University is a 72-credit hour master of divinity with seven available concentrations. Concentration options include Spiritual Formation, Worship Ministry, Intercultural Studies, and Church Planting. On-campus residencies are available, but they are not required. The program is open to students with no undergraduate background in biblical study or theology. However, they are required to complete an additional six credits of Bible courses. Full-time online master in theology students can complete this program within three years.
In-State Tuition: $11,480

#4 –Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Online Master of Divinity

Website
Points: 16
The master in theology degree online program offered at Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a broad master of divinity designed to accommodate a wide range of students. It includes eight different concentration options, such as Chaplaincy, Family Ministry, Biblical Ministries, and Theological Studies. All concentrations prepare students for both ministry and further study, and all concentrations offer both thesis and non-thesis options. Online master in theology students are not required to come to campus, but they are free to visit and receive the same access to on-campus resources that traditional students receive.
In-State Tuition: $10,530

#3 –Liberty University

Online Master of Theology

Website
Points: 16
Liberty University offers an online master’s in theology designed for students who have already completed a master of divinity or similar degree. Students in this program choose from six different specializations, including Christian Apologetics, Homiletics, Church History, and Global Studies. No matter which specialization students choose, they are able to complete the program entirely online. Some optional intensives are available to students who want to visit campus for some activities. All coursework is delivered asynchronously, so students can schedule their schoolwork around family and work obligations. This particular online master in theology program does not include a thesis.
In-State Tuition: $8,217

#2 –University of the Cumberlands

Online Master of Christian Studies

Website
Points: 17
University_of_the_CumberlandsThe master degree in ministry online offered by the University of the Cumberlands includes six different concentration options, including Church Planting, Missions, Christian Education, and Youth Ministry. No matter which concentration they choose, all students take foundational courses in theology and both the Old and New Testaments. Coursework is delivered primarily asynchronously, and any synchronous activities will have at least two different times for students to choose from to attend. Online master’s in theology students are never required to visit campus, though they are welcome to participate in any campus activities.
In-State Tuition: $5,670

#1 –Dallas Baptist University

Online MA in Christian Ministry

Website
Points: 18
Dallas Baptist University offers an online master degree in ministry that is designed to be highly customizable. Students have several concentrations to choose from, including Christian Ministry and Education, Heritage and Missions, and Urban Ministry. There is also a general theology track that includes Old Testament and New Testament readings alongside any two courses from the other concentrations. The program can be completed entirely online, but students can also choose a hybrid format that includes in-person class meetings scheduled during the evenings.
In-State Tuition: $16,308

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