The study of religion is called Theology. This study inspects how culture and people express religion and their faith in it. Theologians examine and study the different religions all around the globe and how these religions have an impact on society. Theologians are responsible for debating and thinking about God’s nature. A theology degree prepares the students for their careers in ministry-related organizations, churches, or teaching in Christian schools. A master’s in online theology program will sharpen one’s theology, critical-thinking, and ministry in an intellectual community of scholars and students. A theology degree is recommended to those who wish to deeply learn about spiritual truths and help others apply these truths to live a desired life. Many opportunities in various capacities and contexts will be open to such students.
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Many seminars, universities, and top theology schools offer the best master’s in theology programs. It would be best to choose the one that suits your current situation and your long-term goals. Based on the program quality, tuition, graduation rates, and program reputation, we have made a table of the top theology schools to find the best masters in theology programs for you.
Most higher education programs are getting very expensive. An online master’s in theology is no exception to this trend. When it comes to choosing the master’s in theology programs, affordability is a big factor. We have gone through dozens of programs and created a list of the most affordable online seminary degrees. Here is the list:
Students need to understand the details of online master’s in theology programs before they apply. In this section, we will break down the masters in theology online programs. We will walk you through the types of degrees, specializations, accreditation, curriculum in the theology degree plan, and all other details you will need to know.
Online Masters in Theology Degree Types
Masters in Theology degree includes studying religious practices, ideas, faith, belief systems, and theories about the original universe from a religious perspective. There are types of theology degrees mainly, MA in Theology and MTH degrees.
MA in Theology, also known as Master of Arts in Theology, is a graduate-level study of theology with a profounds understanding of various religious aspects in Theology. These programs allow students to study the religious missions and religious life identity and try to answer the various problems plaguing the world.
MTH Theology, also known as Master of Theology, is the widely offered degree type. These programs are very similar to MA in Theology and cover the same aspects of Theology. MTH Degrees allow students to study human existence via engaging in the traditions and teachings of the religion.
Specializations in Masters in Theology Programs
There are many religions in the world, and most religions have several denominations. Each religion and denomination have different theological practices, rituals, and theories. And these various fields become different based on the region from which these religions and denominations have evolved. This makes the field of theology to be a vast field with many specializations on the offer. Here are some of the most widely available specializations in theology that universities offer degrees for:
The online ministry degree allows the students to work with the people across the world directly. The program includes courses tailored to ministry and foundational lessons in ethics, pastoral ministry, poetry, grief counseling, etc.
This specialization is related to conflict resolution based on faith. Theology students will get an opportunity to learn conflict studies, restorative justice, trauma healing, interfaith dialogue, etc.
The Biblical Studies degree will lead to spending more time studying God’s words and getting equipped to serve in the ministry effectively. Students with this degree can expect workplaces that interpret the Bible by developing biblical thinking and applying it for real-life situations.
The Music Ministry is the study of music, faith, and spiritual passion. This specialization teaches students about using music as a factor to inspire others to the service of God and healing.
The online catholic theology degree offers theological education to the students who dream of serving Catholic societies and churches.
The Church History degree program includes studying the church’s history right from the early days to the modern-day. Many universities require a thesis and research on a particular topic about religious figures or liturgical dramas, etc.
The Divinity studies teach students about God and Divinity through ministry and theology. This degree prepares students for careers as a preacher or minister.
This program is for students who wish to become missionaries and go overseas to spread the word of God.
Curriculum and Skills Gained in Masters in Theology Programs
An online master’s in theology covers a wide variety of courses. These theology courses provide an in-depth understanding of various religious belief systems, faith-based perspective of the world and its citizens. Theology courses also improve the students’ skills in the areas of critical thinking, abstract reasoning, writing, logical analysis, etc. While the curriculum in Theology programs can differ from university to university, here are a few subjects that you can expect to come across in masters in theology online programs:
Theology and Spirituality in Contemporary Engagement
This course teaches students about the changes in spirituality over the centuries and its relationship with theology. It addresses the historical separation of spirituality and theology.
Studies in Liturgy and Worship
This course allows students to engage with the interrelationship of theology and worship. This course digs deep into the world of worship and how it is used as ‘primary theological action.’
Advanced Biblical Exegesis
This course dwells into a detailed exegesis of the Bible in the original language. Students will also attempt to translate passages to understand the original intent. Students will also inspect various texts, literature, historical, or other critical issues using relevant approaches.
Philosophy of Religious History
This course sheds light on the developments in the past historical methods in religions from classical Greece to the current times.
This course enables students to use their creativity to develop coherent, meaningful, and appropriate expressions of insights that are derived theologically.
Accreditation for Online Masters in Theology Programs
Accreditation is the most important factor when it comes to selecting an institution for a master’s program. Accredited institutions provide quality education, and most employers also prefer a degree from an accredited institution. Accredited online bible college degrees demonstrate that the high-quality standards of education, faculty, curriculum, etc. The main accreditation body for degrees in theology is the Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accrediting (ATS). More than 270 theology degree schools are accredited by the ATS in the US and Canada. These accredited online bible college degrees differ in many ways, but having ATS accreditation demonstrates that the university has committed to providing high-quality education in theology. Read more about accreditation on our accreditation guide.
Timeline for graduation from Masters in Theology Programs
Another important factor to consider before enrolling in an online master’s in theology program is knowing how long it takes to graduate from the program. The timeline needed to graduate from master’s in theology on several factors: specialization in theology, full-time or part-time, how many credits per semester, any university restrictions on timelines, etc. But we have researched several programs and interviewed experts and determined the following – An MA in theology, a 48-credit course can be completed in two years. Some programs can take up to 3 years. A master’s in Divinity can be completed in two years. Master’s in theology (MTH degree) can also be finished in 2 years.
Online Masters in Theology Programs Admission Requirements
The admission requirements for master’s in theology programs vary between universities. Some universities want students to report a test score from standardized tests like GRE or GMAT. Other universities do not require a GRE or a GMAT score. A master’s in theology is a graduate-level program, and most universities have some common admission requirements. Here are a few common requirements:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college might be required. Many schools prefer a student with a theology undergraduate degree. However, they can waive that requirement for students with an undergraduate degree and have demonstrated high-level interest in theology.
Many universities want a minimum GPA from an undergraduate program. While the minimum GPA requirement can be different between various programs, the widely accepted minimum GPA for master’s in theology programs is 2.5.
The GRE or GMAT scores are usually not a requirement for a master’s in theology. But we highly recommend checking the university’s requirements that you are interested in, as that university’s requirement might include a GRE or a GMAT score.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation from past mentors, professions, or people of influence in the student’s life.
A personal statement, also known as a statement of purpose, is required by most programs. The student needs to write a personal statement that describes their goal and purpose of getting into the masters in theology.
Declaration of Religious Affiliation
A religious affiliation declaration might be required. This requirement is rarely enforced, but we recommend checking with the university that you are applying to.
Free Masters in Theology Online
Many students are interested in finding out any masters in theology programs that might be free. The answer is no; there are no free accredited masters in theology programs. However, there are many individual free courses from the previous year’s master’s programs. While these free courses will not award a degree or a certificate, they will help students gain the knowledge and understand what they would face if they enroll in a Master of Theology online program.
Religion and Conflict Transformation: This course introduces theology at a global level. It practices conflict transformation based on faith. It will prepare you with fundamental conflict analysis tools in communities, families, systems of oppression, and organizations and make you a leader.
Master of Biblical Theology: The International Seminary of Distance Education in Theology (ISDET) provides is free masters in online theology programs. While this program is not accredited, ISDET makes a strong case about why accreditation is not required for theology programs. We recommend reading more about the program and understanding ISDET’s case about accreditations.
Bachelor of Christian Ministry: In this program, students will learn the basics of theology, apologetics, and the Bible study required to run a ministry. This free online ministry degree might help students become successful Ministers.
Master of Christian Divinity: It is a free master’s in theology online while gives fundamental knowledge of theology, apologetics and gives a worldview to the students. This course also provides a broad knowledge of ministry subjects.
How to Pay for Online Master’s in Theology Programs
Higher education keeps on getting expensive every year. The average tuition expenses at private national universities have increased leaps and bounds over the years. Given these rising costs, how to pay for an online master’s in theology program becomes an important question. In this section, we will walk you through various ways using which you can fund the online masters in theology program:
FAFSA: FAFSA is the foremost step in getting any financial aid. Students need to fill the FAFSA application. Filling this form will make you eligible for financial aid as this is a requirement to get any federal student aid.
Student Loans: Many students approach banks and credit unions for student loans to fund their higher education. Some students also apply for government or public student loans.
Scholarships: Scholarships are another way to help fund your online masters in theology programs. Most scholarships are merit-based financial assistance to students that do not need to be paid back. There are many scholarships for students pursuing a master’s in theology online. Here are a few scholarships:
Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship Program: It is a scholarship program for students pursuing a degree to work as a Christian minister. The scholarship provides around $2,500 for each semester for undergraduate students and $3,500 to pursue graduate-level studies. Master of Theology Students can apply for this scholarship.
Reverend Robert E. And Gladys Ernst Scholarship: It is a scholarship program that offers around $1,000 to $1,500 annually. The scholarship is provided to pastors in Ohio that are pursuing graduate-level degrees in ministry. Master of Theology Students can apply for this scholarship.
Grants & Fellowships: Grants and fellowships are another way students pursuing a Master of Theology can fund their education. Grants are usually awarded to the students based on financial need and not necessarily merit. Fellowships are usually research-based jobs for which students get paid. There are several grants & fellowships for students pursuing a master’s in theology online. Here is one such grant:
Fund for Theological Education: This program provides a fellowship for students pursuing their masters in the faith-based field. This organization has supplied more than 7000 fellowships. Master of Theology Students can apply for this fellowship.
There are many other financial aid options for students who are pursuing their master’s in theology online. Read our best financial aid guide for more information.
FAQs about Theology Masters Programs
We have compiled a list of the most common frequently asked questions that potential students of online master’s in theology programs have asked in the past.
Q: Can you go to seminary right after high school?
A: Every seminary has its unique set up, and it depends on the seminar you choose. You can join a few seminaries at a young age. You can also join seminaries once you turn 18, and there are others that you can pursue along with your college degree.
Q: What is a theology major?
A: A theology major is a study of religion that puts on becoming a leader within the religious community. A theology major has two career paths: Academic and theological career. A master’s in theology online will put you on track to pursue either of the paths.
Q: Where can I study theology online?
A: Many accredited universities offer online theology degrees for students interested in developing a deeper knowledge of Christian ministry and biblical studies. Look at the best place for theology degrees in this guide.
Q: How many credits do Theological degrees provide?
A: Typically, theological programs provide 48 credits, which are made up of courses like Historical and Systematic Theology, Biblical Studies, Ethics, Language Study, Comparative theology, etc.
Q: What is the best online theology school?
A: There are many accredited schools, colleges, and universities that provide the best master’s in online theology programs. Check out the “Best online master’s in theology programs” section in this guide.
Careers and Salary Outlook for Theology Masters Graduates
Getting a master’s degree in any field will enhance careers and provides upward mobility. Getting a master’s in theology is slightly different as theology is a very diverse field with specific organizations that hire theology graduates. With that said, theology students get a master’s degree not just for upward mobility or career aspirations but because they genuinely want to grow their understanding of this rich and diverse area of study. And the icing on the cake is that a master’s degree in theology certainly helps career growth as well. Here is a table that shows various career titles that graduates from an online master’s in theology can expect to have:
Pastors are responsible for leading the congregation at a Christian Church in assemblies, prayers, and spiritual guidance. Pastors also lead worship services. Pastors are expected to have a deep understanding of theology and have good oratory skills.
Large organizations usually hire chaplains to lead prayer services. Chaplains provide religious comfort and counseling to the patients as well as to their families.
Youth ministers are responsible for working with preteens and teens in religious environments like churches to deepen their spiritual knowledge. Youth Ministers also improve the youth’s creativity by administering creative assignments using religion as the background.
Certifications and Licensing for Theology Masters Graduates
Getting a master’s degree in theology helps students gain more knowledge. However, some organizations might require licensing and certifications. In this section, we will walk you through some of such certifications among the theology students.
Board Certified ChaplainThe Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc (BCCI) offers a certification course for the students entering any Chaplaincy type. While these certifications are not mandatory, students will gain advanced understanding of Chaplaincy by going through these certifications.
Ordained MinisterBecoming a clergy is the most common profession for students pursuing a master’s in theology. But by part of a church, clergy does not necessarily qualify students to perform all the Church duties. Most denominations require that the Church clergy perform and administer religious rituals. To administer these rituals, the church clergy needs to be ordained ministers. Getting an ordained
Additional Resources for Theology Professionals
Master’s in online theology programs provide a great platform for students to improve their understanding of theology, enhance their credentials, and improves their overall standing in the field of theology. However, theology is a field that is more of an art rather than an empirically driven science like the subject. And theologists expand their knowledge and deep understanding of issues in this complex field by debating extensively with their peers. Theologists must work in a black box environment where interpretation is the key. All of this can happen if Theologists network with others in the same field or attend conferences, follow journals, etc. As a master’s degree in theology, it is essential that students also start doing the same to expand their knowledge. There are many resources available for students to network with some phenomenal personalities across the globe. Here are a few such resources:
Christian Classical Ethereal Library (CCEL): It is one of the best and largest Christian spiritual and theological works online. This library contains a wide range of electronic texts right from the early theologians to the authors of the 19th century.
Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA): It is a site that consists of several historical documents of churches: confessions, creed, catechisms, etc. CRTA provides sound biblical resources online for the improvement of people who have faith in life and God.
Society of Biblical Literature: It is one of the largest and oldest societies dedicated to researching the Bible. It is an international society that offers intellectual growth, mutual support, and professional development through various facilities provided by this organization.
Association of Youth Ministry Educators: It is a professional organization meant for people who teach youth ministry at undergraduate and graduate levels. It is an organization that encourages youth ministry educators to contact each other and create a friendly and insightful atmosphere.
WOCATI: World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions: WOCATI is a global platform that facilitates networking and dialogue between regional associations of theology schools. They also serve as a learning community that helps students explore new mutual enrichment models and infer contextual exchange between different theological theories worldwide.
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