There 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
- Liberty University: Master of Theology: Biblical Studies
- Ohio Christian University: MA in Ministry – Practical Theology
- Grand Canyon University: M.Div
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 5 online programs.
For more general information regarding distance learning, visit our ranking of the best colleges online.
Rating and Ranking Methodology
- 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
• 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
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Featured Online Schools
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 5 online master in theology programs. In cases of a tie, the more affordable schools received the higher ranking.
#1 –Dallas Baptist University
Online MA in Christian Ministry
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
#2 –University of the Cumberlands
Online Master of Christian Studies
The 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
#3 –Liberty University
Online Master of Theology
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
#4 –Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Online Master of Divinity
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
#5 –Hope International University
Master of Divinity Online
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