Written By - Cynthia S.

Edited By Gabriel D.

Review & Contribution By Dr. Carol Galanis

Master of Divinity online studies Religion and Theology, where one grows in understanding faith, the cultural realities and social settings within religious communities, and emotional maturity, personal faith, and moral integrity. The master’s in divinity, or MDiv, is a professional master’s degree for people who want to pursue a career in a vocational ministry, which is usually a career as a pastor or theologian. The MDiv is the most essential graduate degree for people pursuing a calling in ministry. This article provides in-depth information on the online MDiv master’s degree, the types of degrees, what one can do with this degree, the best schools, scholarships available, information on accreditation, career options, etc.

Masters of Divinity

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master of Divinity Online Programs

The best online master of divinity degree programs are accredited and offer a balanced mix of all essential factors, including the institution’s reputation, quality and experience of the faculty, infrastructure, student services, and affordability. The OMC team has thoroughly examined some of the country’s best online master of divinity programs and created a list to assist future MDiv students in selecting a program that meets their expectations and needs. The best online MDiv programs are listed here:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/master-of-divinity-online/">Divinity </a>

Code copied successfully!

College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Harding University
915 E. Market Ave., Searcy, Arkansas 72149
Clarks Summit University
538 Venard Rd, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania 18411
University of Northwestern, St Paul
3003 Snelling Ave N, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55113
Grace School of Theology
3705 College Park Dr Ste 140, Conroe, Texas 77384
Loyola University Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60660
Columbia International University
7435 Monticello Rd, Columbia, South Carolina 29203
George Fox University
414 N Meridian St, Newberg, Oregon 97132
Moody Bible Institute
820 N LaSalle Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60610
Denver Seminary, Washington DC
3600 Brightseat Road, Landover, Maryland 20785
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
278 Whites Bridge Rd, Standish, Maine 04084
Eastern University
1300 Eagle Rd, Saint Davids, Pennsylvania 19087
Regent University
1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Fuller Theological Seminary
135 N Oakland Ave, Pasadena, California 91182
Anderson University
316 Boulevard, Anderson, South Carolina 29621
Multnomah University
8435 NE Glisan St, Portland, Oregon 97220
Southeastern University
1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, Florida 33801
Houston Baptist University
7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, Texas 77074
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
5001 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Missouri 64118
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, Louisiana 70126

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master of Divinity Online Programs

Master of Divinity online programs include Pastoral Studies and Christian Biblical Theology. The programs generally involve studies in philosophy, church history, Hebrew, and the Greek Old and New Testaments. The MDiv program also includes practical experience like most professional degrees. Many online divinity programs require between 70 and 80 credit hours, which typically takes two years.

The online divinity degree may also contain Christian Education courses, liturgical studies, and services in Latin and Hebrew. The online divinity degree program may or may not include a thesis. In several denominations, the MDiv is required for ordination. For example, the United Methodist Church, one of the largest Protestant Christian denominations in the United States, requires candidates for ordination as elders to earn an MDiv and candidates for ordination as deacons to earn either an MDiv or a master’s degree in another field with additional theological studies.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Divinity Online Programs

Master of Divinity online degree programs may take 72 to 80 credits, usually two to three years. However, a few programs permit students to complete somewhere between two and five years if done part-time. A few of these degree programs are accessible online, yet may include individual service insight through entry-level positions, practicums, part-time apprenticeships, or other field instruction necessities intended for assisting students with cooperating with different clergypersons and giving instances of Christian help in real life.

Students in master’s of divinity online programs ordinarily take courses in Religious Philosophy, Hebrew Scripture, New Confirmation, Service, Christian Morals, and Social Settings. Some programs may offer extra focus on Scriptural Dialects, Apprenticeship Services, or Chaplaincy, and depending upon the program and concentration, a few students may be expected to finish a project.

Students can study a variety of subfields within MDiv based on their interests and career ambitions. These sub-fields or specialties go further into the subject area, providing students with unique knowledge and skills, allowing them to apply for certain professions and stand out from the competition. The curriculum can differ from university to university. Here are a few examples of common core courses graduate students can come across in master of divinity online programs:

Apologetics and Ethics

This course teaches students to prepare for a ministry in a pluralistic world. It addresses the truth and tenets of the Christian faith.

Biblical Studies

This course is a detailed study of the scriptures, directly impacting individuals’ spiritual growth.


This course is a blend of biblical, theological, and pastoral training, which goes deeper into critical areas of theology and traditional and contemporary theological issues.

Some other examples of common core courses in a master of divinity online program are:

  • Christ in Synoptic Gospels
  • History of Christianity
  • Church and Culture
  • Counseling and Spiritual Care
  • Pastoral Studies

As for the learning outcomes of an online master’s in divinity program, graduates would have:

  • A command of the fundamental lexicon and grammar of both Greek and Hebrew, as well as of the process for exegeting the biblical text in the languages in which it was originally written;
  • Assurance in the inerrant and authoritative nature of the Scriptures, as well as the capacity to live and witness truthfully as a Christian in this day of pluralism;
  • A solid understanding of reformed theology, particularly as it is established in the Scriptures and summed up in the church;
  • A more profound affection for God, his Word, and his people and an intensified longing for the sanctification of one’s own life.
  • A distinct comprehension of the overarching ideas, goals, and messages included within each individual book of the Bible, as well as their place within the greater canon of sacred writings;
  • Evangelism and shepherding skills commensurate with the particular gifts bestowed by God on each individual;
  • Competence and knowledge in serving in a church or other ministry-related context; and
  • An understanding essential to building a foundation in church history and the evolution of Christian doctrine.

Master’s in Divinity Degree Types

The Master of Divinity online program prepares students to start their careers in church ministry and for those interested in Christian theology. Typically, many branches of Christianity require 7 to 8 years in the religion to be ordained as pastors or priests. Within the formal degree category, the seminaries offer two master’s degrees: a Master’s in Divinity (MDiv) and a Master of Arts in Divinity (MA) Program.

Master in Divinity (MDiv)

Master in Divinity (MDiv Online) is an advanced program that provides students with an opportunity to do a deeper study of scriptures, deepen their faith, and prepare them to fulfill their calling to serve God. Students who complete the program will be prepared for further studies and also lead pupils and congregations to interpret scriptures.

Master of Arts in Divinity (MA Divinity)

A Master of Arts Divinity (MA Divinity Online) is an alternative to the Master of Divinity online program. This program focuses on developing deep knowledge in divinity-related and based topics. It covers a genuinely comprehensive educational plan and usually requires two years to finish, with around 30 to 60 credits. Students of MA divinity programs could take courses in strict hypothesis, philosophy, history, scriptural investigations, and different electives that give a broad perspective on Christian confidence and other religions.

Specializations in Master’s in Divinity Programs

Apart from what one learns in an MDiv online, an additional focus on specific aspects of divinity can be achieved through specializations and concentrations. Specialization gives students thorough schooling in subjects they need to know in-depth, and it sets them up for higher theological programs like a doctorate in theology (ThD) or a doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.). Some specializations in a master’s in divinity include:

  • Biblical Studies and Languages – Biblical studies make the student understand God’s word, interpret the bible, and learn the different Old and New Test translations. 
  • Christian Ethics – The Christian Ethics specialization is intended to prepare ministers to draw in culture with a convincing Christian comprehension of the world. Through this focus, the student understands how to interpret culture and apply a Christian perspective to issues like those connected with science, theory, visual expressions, film, decisive reasoning, regulation and government, and morals. 
  • Worship, Theology, and Arts – The Master of Divinity in Worship, Theology, and the Arts program will set one up for the exemplary elements of clerical authority, like pastoral care and leading the congregation, cultivating spirit-led worship experience, the art of storytelling, and forming people of faith. 
  • Race, Cultural Identity, and Reconciliation – Supporting reconciliation and building a community amid racial and cultural diversity is very challenging. This area of interest helps students with foundational research and assessment abilities to ponder racial, ethnic, or social conflicts. 
  • Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care – This specialization is an in-depth understanding of pastoral theology, which also relates to the goals of chaplaincy and care.  
  • Catholic Theology – The Catholic Theology specialization offers a deeper explanation of catholic theology and is advantageous for students interested in serving catholic societies and churches. 

A few examples of other concentration and focus areas are:

  • Intercultural and Urban Studies
  • Youth, Family, and Culture
  • Asian American Ministry
  • Leadership in the Times of Change
  • Black Church Studies

Apart from these specializations, MDiv aspirants also have the option to choose related programs, such as:

  • Master of Theology Online
  • Master of Divinity and Social Work Online
  • Catholic Master of Divinity Online
  • Online Master of Divinity Chaplaincy
  • Master of Arts in Theology & Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Religion
  • Master of Sacred Theology

Timeline for graduation from Master’s in Divinity Online Programs

The length of the Master of Divinity online program depends on the course selection and the program’s structure. If the program allows students to study at their own pace, it can lead to late graduation. Those who have fixed schedules and structures have a faster time to graduate. The typical timeline of a master’s in divinity online degree program is as follows:

  • Typical length of a full-time master in divinity program: 2 years (sometimes three years)
  • Typical length of a part-time master in divinity program: 4 years (up to 7 years)
  • Typical credits required:  72 to 80 credits

Some colleges offer flexibility for working individuals to put in fewer hours per week to complete their programs, resulting in an extended duration of the graduate program.

Accelerated Master of Divinity Online Programs

It is common for universities to offer master’s in divinity programs from which one can graduate in less than two years. Lower graduation times can be achieved by opting for fast-track programs or credit transfers. Some universities offer accelerated MDiv online programs that help the applicant complete before the typical schedule of 2 years. Some examples of universities that offer accelerated master’s in divinity are:

  1. Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary 1 – Each accelerated MDiv online program consists of 60 credit hours in Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. However, it is worth noting that Greek, Hebrew, and preaching/teaching are all required at the master’s level, even if they were finished at the bachelor’s level.
  2. Elizabeth Town College 2 – Elizabeth Town College is a School of Graduate and Professional Studies partnered with Lancaster Theological Seminary and offers students an exciting bachelor’s-to-master’s accelerated-admission opportunity. The university has certain criteria to be met by the applicants for admission.

Master’s in Divinity Online Programs Admission Requirements

Many schools and institutions lean toward an applicant with a theology undergraduate degree. Consequently, a bachelor’s degree from an authorized college or school may be required to enter an MDiv program. Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in other areas may also be considered but may have to take some prerequisite courses to be eligible for admission. The common admission requirements for a master’s of divinity online are:

  • Application Form with the applicable fee
  • Official academic transcripts
  • A letter of intent from the applicant explaining the rationale and purpose for obtaining a master’s degree in theology. 
  • Letters of Recommendation – Letters of Recommendation from past mentors and references.
  • Personal Statement – A brief personal statement is required by most MDiv programs. Students must describe the goals and purpose for taking up the program. In lieu, some colleges may ask for a Graduate Résumé or Statement of Purpose.
  • GRE/GMAT Score – GRE or GMAT scores are normally unnecessary for a master’s of divinity online. But it is always best to check with the admissions office for exact requirements.

No GRE Master of Divinity Online Programs

While most master’s programs require a GRE score, it is increasingly common for universities to waive this requirement for MDiv programs. Moreover, even if the GRE score is an admissions requirement, it is generally waived for applicants with a high GPA. Here are a couple of online master’s in divinity with no GRE:

  1. Luther Seminary3
  2. Jesuit School of Theology4

Accreditation for Master’s in Divinity Online Programs

Accreditation is a term covering both starting and progressing endorsement of a school, post-secondary institution, or program that offers to meet the standard requirements of a nationally recognized and authorized accrediting body. The authorized accreditation body monitors the academic and administrative quality of the school, institution, and program. While there are no universities that offer a master of divinity online accredited program, the universities, as institutions, must be regionally accredited by one of the following authorized accrediting bodies:

Find out more about why attending an accredited school is very important in the Accreditation Guide.

Free Divinity Courses Online

Numerous students are keen on a free master of Divinity degree online. Unfortunately, such free programs are scarce. However, there are several individual free online courses from earlier years’ master’s programs. While these free courses will not grant a degree, they will assist students with acquiring the information and comprehension of what they would face if they enrolled in a master of divinity program. Some examples are:

CourseIntroduction to Theology and Religious Studies5
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis course presents an overview of various religious beliefs and approaches employed in theology, unraveling the mysteries of faith and offering insights into diverse religious perspectives and their societal impact. Engaging with this course fosters a deeper understanding of society from a theological standpoint.
CourseComparative Study of Religions6
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis free online comparative theology delves into the concepts, histories, practices, and impacts of major world religions. These belief systems, rooted in diverse perceptions of divinity, shape cultures, and behaviors, occasionally sparking philosophical differences and conflicts. The course explores the histories, tenets, and contemporary influences of various religions, fostering improved understanding and supporting religious coexistence through intercultural dialogue.
CourseChurch Administration Theology and Time Management7
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionChurch Administration Theology involves applying theological principles to manage the organizational aspects of a church. Time management is crucial in balancing spiritual and administrative responsibilities. Effectively allocating time ensures the smooth functioning of church operations, fostering growth and sustaining a vibrant spiritual community.

How to Pay for Master of Divinity Online Programs

An MDiv online program can cost several thousand dollars as the fees of online master’s programs increase yearly. Even though online students do not have to pay for student accommodation, transportation, and meals, they still have to pay the tuition fees, which are sometimes prohibitively high. Fortunately, various funding sources are available that can significantly lower the overall cost of education. Some such sources of funding include:


Scholarships are awarded to students who have an excellent academic record. They can be from the institution or those with a religious affiliation or interest in cultural heritage. Scholarships are free as the student does not need to pay them back. (Note: Read about Scholarship Scams)


Those students whose families cannot afford tuition for a master’s program can apply for a grant. Grants are need-based, unlike scholarships, and can pay all the educational expenses and tuition fees.

Graduate Assistantships

Students can sometimes take up part-time teaching in the same institution or assist other students in projects or workshops for which the institution offers a fee waiver or a stipend.

Student loans

Students can apply for educational loans to lower the cost of tuition fees and other educational expenses. Such loans are sanctioned based on the applicant meeting certain eligibility criteria.


Students can fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to check and be eligible for financial aid.

More information on financial aid is available in the comprehensive Financial Aid Guide.

Scholarships for Master’s in Divinity Online Programs

Scholarships for Master’s in Divinity provide financial support for students pursuing theological education, easing the burden of tuition and related expenses. These scholarships empower individuals to focus on their studies, fostering future leaders in ministry. Students should proactively research available scholarships from various sources to secure funding opportunities and make their theological education more accessible.

Careers and Salary Outlook for Master of Divinity Graduates

Graduates of master’s of divinity online can involve themselves in the local church, work with scriptural dialects, become Christian school instructors, and teach Christian religious philosophy or scriptural religious philosophy. They can also take up church planting and proceed to become religious educators. Here are a few examples of career titles and average annual remuneration that MDiv online graduates can expect:

OccupationHigh School Teachers8
Median Annual Salary$62,360
Job Growth (up to 2032)1% (little or no change)
Job DescriptionHigh School Theology Teachers impart religious education, guiding students in understanding theological concepts, sacred texts, and moral principles. They develop curriculum, facilitate class discussions, and assess student comprehension. High School Theology Teachers also foster spiritual growth, provide guidance, and contribute to the overall academic and moral development of students.
Median Annual Salary$55,907
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionChaplains are spiritual leaders who offer support, counseling, and religious guidance in various settings such as hospitals, military, prisons, or educational institutions. They provide comfort, address spiritual needs, and assist individuals facing crises or challenges. Chaplains often engage in pastoral care, lead religious services, and promote a sense of community and well-being.
OccupationYouth Pastor10
Median Annual Salary$41,446
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionA Youth Pastor is a spiritual leader focused on the spiritual development and mentorship of young people within a religious community. They organize and lead youth programs, events, and activities, providing guidance counseling, and fostering a supportive environment for the personal and spiritual growth of teenagers. Youth Pastors often integrate faith, education, and community engagement in their work.
Median Annual Salary$54,343
Job Growth (up to 2032)No Data Available
Job DescriptionA Pastor is a spiritual leader within a religious community responsible for guiding and nurturing the congregation. They lead worship services, deliver sermons, offer pastoral care, and provide spiritual guidance. Pastors often engage in community outreach counseling and play a central role in fostering a sense of unity, faith, and moral guidance among their congregation.

Certifications and Licensing for Divinity Graduates

An MDiv online program helps students grow in understanding and get a deeper knowledge of the subject. Although graduates from specific degrees may require licensing and certification alongside their degree to be employed, this is not the case for a master’s in divinity.

Additional Resources for Divinity Professionals

An MDiv online degree provides a great platform for students to understand divinity and its various aspects, enhance their credentials, and improve their overall knowledge of Biblical studies. However, numerous experts seek a more profound comprehension of their spiritual practice and explore their faith. These are a few resources available for such seekers:

  1. Society of Biblical Literature12 – The Society of Biblical Literature is an international society and enrollment association with numerous researchers. It is the most well-established and largest learned society committed to interpreting the Bible by experts from various disciplines. Through its work, SBL upholds academic examination and encourages the public comprehension of the Bible and its impact.
  2. The American Theological Society13 – The American Theological Society, established in 1912, convenes annually on the East Coast, notably at Princeton Theological Seminary. Membership, limited to 100, involves nomination and election. This site provides historical narratives, member lists, past presidents, and meeting programs, offering insights for members and the general public.
  3. The Evangelical Theological Society14 – The Evangelical Theological Society, a professional academic society comprising biblical and theological scholars, pastors, and students, dedicates itself to serving Jesus Christ and the church by promoting conservative biblical scholarship. The society pursues its mission through the Annual Meeting, regional gatherings, and publications like the Journal. The meetings are accessible to the public, and the publications can be obtained for a fee. The online archive provides free access to older Journal volumes.

FAQs About Master of Divinity Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a master of divinity degree?

The Master of Divinity degree studies Religion and Theology, where one grows in understanding faith, cultural realities, and social settings within religious communities and growing in emotional maturity, personal faith, and moral integrity.

What will I learn in Master of Divinity?

Will a master of divinity prepare me for a ministry?

Where can I study Master’s of Divinity online?

Do I have to be good at computers to enroll in the online master’s of divinity degree?

How long does an MDIV take? What if I need a break?

What is the difference between a master of theology and a master of divinity?


Find Your Master’s Program

Start Your Next Step Today

Let’s help you find the right online master’s degree. You can browse through thousands of schools and their online programs. Start exploring the top 20 best online master’s programs now.