Cynthia Sullivan
Written By - Cynthia Sullivan

Check MarkEdited By Gabriel D.

Check MarkReview & Contribution By Dr. Carol Galanis

The study of religion is called Theology. This study inspects how culture and people express religion and their faith. 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 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.

Theologians examine and study

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 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’s in Theology Online Programs

Many seminars, universities, and leading theology schools provide outstanding master’s in theology programs. Opting for a program aligned with current circumstances and future objectives is advisable. A table of top theology schools, considering program quality, tuition, graduation rates, and reputation, has been compiled to identify excellent master’s in theology programs.

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska 68178
Franciscan University of Steubenville
1235 University Blvd, Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Biola University
13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, California 90639
Asbury Seminary
204 N Lexington Ave, Wilmore, Kentucky 40390
Fordham University
441 E Fordham Rd, Bronx, New York 10458
Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
278 Whites Bridge Rd, Standish, Maine 04084-5236
Concordia University Irvine
1530 Concordia West, Irvine, California 92612
University of Dallas
1845 E Northgate Drive, Irving, Texas 75062
Harding University
915 E. Market Ave., Searcy, Arkansas 72149
Northwest Nazarene University
623 S. University Blvd., Nampa, Idaho 83686
Lincoln Christian University
100 Campus View Drive, Lincoln, Illinois 62656
Hope International University
2500 E Nutwood Ave, Fullerton, California 92831
Columbia International University
7435 Monticello Rd, Columbia, South Carolina 29203
Dallas Baptist University
3000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75211
Saint Leo University
33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, Florida 33574-6665
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, Virginia 24515
Missouri Baptist University
One College Park Dr, Saint Louis, Missouri 63141
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
1200 Sycamore, Waxahachie, Texas 75165
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
2001 W. Seminary Dr., Fort Worth, Texas 76115

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

Most Affordable Master’s in Theology Online Programs

Most higher education programs are getting very expensive. An online master’s in theology is no exception to this trend. When choosing a master’s in theology program, affordability is a significant factor. We have gone through dozens of programs and created a list of the most affordable online seminary degrees. Here is the list:

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
Holy Apostles college & seminary
33 Prospect Hill Road, Cromwell, Connecticut 06416
Heritage Christian University
3625 Helton Dr, Florence, Alabama 35630
Luther Rice College & Seminary
3038 Evans Mill Road, Lithonia, Georgia 30038-9869
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
120 S. Wingate Street, Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587
University of the Cumberlands
6191 College Station Drive, Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Veritas Baptist College
181 US 50 E., Suite 204, Greendale, Indiana 47025
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
5001 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, Missouri 64118
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
3939 Gentilly Blvd, New Orleans, Louisiana 70126
Carolina University
420 S. Broad St., Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
Maranatha Baptist University
745 West Main Street, Watertown, Wisconsin 53094
Urshan Graduate School of Theology
1151 Century Tel Drive, Wentzville, Missouri 63385
University of Mobile
5735 College Parkway, Mobile, Alabama 36613
Evangel University
1111 N Glenstone, Springfield, Missouri 65802
Trevecca Nazarene University
333 Murfreesboro Rd, Nashville, Tennessee 37210
Belhaven University
1500 Peachtree St, Jackson, Mississippi 39202
Ohio Christian University
1476 Lancaster Pike, Circleville, Ohio 43113
Campbellsville University
1 University Dr, Campbellsville, Kentucky 42718
Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 South Washington Street, Marion, Indiana 46953
Lee University
1120 N Ocoee St, Cleveland, Tennessee 37311
Regent University
1000 Regent University Dr, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464

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’s in Theology Online Programs

Master’s in Theology programs delve into advanced studies of religious beliefs, texts, and practices. Students explore theological doctrines and historical contexts and engage in critical analysis. The curriculum often includes biblical studies, ethics, church history, and systematic theology coursework. Graduates gain a deepened understanding of theological concepts, preparing them for roles in ministry, education, or further academic pursuits.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Master’s in Theology Programs

An online master’s in theology covers various courses. These theology courses provide an in-depth understanding of various religious belief systems and faith-based perspectives of the world and its citizens. Theology courses also improve the student’s skills in 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 one can expect to come across in master’s in theology online programs:

Theology and Spirituality in Contemporary EngagementThis 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 WorshipThis 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 a “primary theological action.”
Advanced Biblical ExegesisThis 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. Using relevant approaches, students will also inspect various texts, literature, and historical or other critical issues.
Philosophy of Religious HistoryThis course sheds light on the developments in the past and historical methods in religions from classical Greece to the current times. 
Public TheologyThis course enables students to use their creativity to develop coherent, meaningful, and appropriate expressions of insights derived theologically. 

A student gains several abilities from the theology degree, including:

  • In-depth Scriptural Understanding: Master’s in Theology programs equip students with a profound knowledge of sacred texts, fostering a deep understanding of religious doctrines and principles.
  • Critical Thinking: Students develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills, enabling them to engage with complex theological concepts and apply reasoned perspectives to theological issues.
  • Research and Writing Proficiency: Through academic research and writing, students enhance their ability to articulate complex theological ideas and contribute to scholarly discussions within the field.
  • Communication Skills: The programs emphasize effective communication, enabling students to convey theological concepts clearly and engage in meaningful dialogue with diverse audiences.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Students gain cultural competence, appreciating diverse religious perspectives and understanding the cultural contexts in which different theological beliefs and practices emerge.
  • Pastoral and Counseling Skills: Some programs incorporate pastoral care and counseling components, helping students develop skills to support individuals in spiritual need.
  • Leadership and Organizational Skills: Many programs emphasize leadership principles, preparing students for roles within religious organizations and communities, including church administration and organizational leadership.
  • Ethical Decision-Making: Students cultivate a strong ethical framework, considering the moral implications of theological perspectives and applying ethical principles to various situations.
  • Interfaith Dialogue: Programs often encourage engagement with other faith traditions, fostering interfaith dialogue and promoting an appreciation for religious diversity.
  • Spiritual Formation: Some programs focus on personal spiritual development, allowing students to deepen their spiritual practices and reflect on their faith journey.
  • Teaching and Education: Graduates may acquire the skills needed to teach theology at various educational levels, from high schools to universities, contributing to disseminating theological knowledge.

Online Master’s in Theology Degree Types

The Master’s 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.

MA Theology

MA in Theology, also known as Master of Arts in Theology, is a graduate-level study of theology with a profound understanding of various religious aspects in Theology. These programs allow students to study religious missions and religious life identity and try to answer the various problems plaguing the world. 

MTH Degree

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 by engaging in the traditions and teachings of the religion.

Specializations in Master’s in Theology Programs

There are many religions worldwide, and most religions have several denominations. Each religion and denomination has 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 offer. Here are some of the most widely available specializations in theology that universities offer:

MinistryThe online ministry degree allows students to work with people worldwide directly. The program includes courses tailored to ministry and foundational lessons in ethics, pastoral ministry, poetry, grief counseling, etc.
Conflict TransformationThis specialization is related to conflict resolution based on faith. Theology students will be able to learn conflict studies, restorative justice, trauma healing, interfaith dialogue, etc.
Biblical StudiesThe 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 to real-life situations.
Music MinistryThe Music Ministry studies 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. 
Catholic TheologyThe online catholic theology degree offers theological education to students who dream of serving Catholic societies and churches. 
Church HistoryThe 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, liturgical dramas, etc. 
DivinityThe Divinity studies teach students about God and Divinity through ministry and theology. This degree prepares students for careers as a preacher or minister. 
International MissionsThis program is for students who wish to become missionaries and go overseas to spread the word of God. 

Timeline for graduation from Master’s in Theology Programs

Another critical factor to consider before enrolling in an online master’s in theology program is knowing how long it takes to graduate. The timeline needed to graduate with a master’s in theology depends on several factors: specialization in theology, full-time or part-time, how many credits per semester, any university restrictions on timelines, etc. An MA in theology, a 48-credit program, can be completed in two years. Some programs can take up to three years. The master’s in theology (MTH degree) can also be finished in 2 years.

Accelerated Master’s in Theology Online Programs

Accelerated Master’s in Theology programs offer an expedited path for students seeking a swift and efficient completion of their degree. These programs often compress coursework and streamline requirements, allowing for quicker graduation. Prospective students should research program structures, faculty expertise, and accreditation to ensure quality. Evaluating alum success and available resources can further guide students in choosing an accelerated program that aligns with their educational and career goals. Here are examples of universities that offer accelerated master’s in theology:

Online Master’s in Theology Programs Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for master’s in theology programs vary between universities. Some universities want students to report test scores 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; most universities have some common admission requirements. Here are a few common requirements:

Master’s in Theology Online No GRE Programs

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test assessing readiness for graduate-level studies. Some universities waive the GRE requirement for admission, considering factors like work experience, prior academic achievements, or specific professional qualifications. This policy aims to attract a diverse pool of applicants and acknowledges varied strengths beyond standardized test scores, promoting inclusivity in admissions. Here are a few examples of universities that offer admissions without the GRE:

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Theology Programs

Accreditation is the most crucial factor in 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 the high-quality standards of education, faculty, curriculum, etc. The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Commission on Accrediting6 is the leading accreditation body for degrees in theology. 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. 

Universities can also be accredited nationally or by one of six regional accrediting agencies:

Read more about accreditation in the accreditation guide

Free Master’s in Theology Online Courses

Many students are interested in finding any master’s in theology programs that might be free. The answer is no; there are no free accredited master’s 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.

CourseReligion and Conflict Transformation7
Provided byedX
DescriptionThis course introduces theology at a global level and practices conflict transformation based on faith. It prepares individuals with fundamental conflict analysis tools in communities, families, systems of oppression, and organizations, fostering leadership skills.
CourseChurch Administration Theology and Time Management8
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionChurch Administration Theology and Time Management entails the application of theological principles to oversee the organizational aspects of a church. Time management plays a pivotal role in harmonizing spiritual and administrative duties. Efficiently distributing time is essential to the seamless operation of church functions, promoting growth, and maintaining a dynamic spiritual community.
CourseWorld Religions Through Their Scriptures9
Provided byedX
DescriptionThis course helps individuals understand world religions’ roles in recent times and throughout history. It enables them to acknowledge various global religions’ internal diversity and evolutionary aspects.

How to Pay for Master’s in Theology Online 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. Here are a few options for students to consider in funding their program:


Scholarships provide financial assistance to deserving individuals, easing the burden of educational expenses. These merit-based or need-based awards empower students to pursue their academic goals, fostering inclusivity and equal learning opportunities.


Individuals receive grants for research or education in a specific area or target groups. They are usually not focused on academic accomplishments or the student’s success but are based more on the applicant’s financial standing. Grants also target factors that regular scholarships will not account for.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Assistantships offer graduate students valuable opportunities to gain hands-on experience in teaching, research, or administrative roles while pursuing advanced degrees. These positions often include stipends or tuition waivers, enhancing academic and professional development for aspiring scholars.


FAFSA is the foremost step in getting any financial aid. Students need to fill out the FAFSA application. Filling out this form will make one eligible for financial aid, as this is a requirement to get any federal student aid.

Many other financial aid options are available for students pursuing their master’s in theology online. Read the best financial aid guide for more information.

Scholarships for Master’s in Leadership Students

Scholarships are another way to help fund an online master’s in theology program. Most scholarships are merit-based financial assistance to students who 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 Program10The Mary E. Bivins Foundation Religious Scholarship Program supports individuals pursuing theological education or ministerial training. Established by the Bivins family, this program encourages the academic and spiritual growth of aspiring religious leaders, fostering a commitment to service and advancing the understanding of faith.VariesVaries
Reverend Robert E. And Gladys Ernst Scholarship11The Rev. Robert E. and Gladys G. Ernst Scholarship, established by the Ohio Baptist Educational Society (OBES), honors the couple’s fifty-plus years of dedicated service to Baptist churches in Ohio. Endowed by family and friends, this scholarship supports students pursuing higher education, recognizing Rev. Ernst’s extensive contributions to Ohio Baptist churches and community service since 1953.$1000 to $1500Varies

Careers and Salary Outlook for Theology Master’s Graduates

A master’s degree in any field will enhance careers and provide 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 study area. And the icing on the cake is that a master’s degree in theology also helps career growth. Here is a table that shows various career titles that graduates from an online master’s in theology can expect to have:

TitleAverage Salary Job Growth for 2022-2032Job Description
Pastor12$52,343No Data AvailablePastors 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.  
Chaplain13$55,907No Data AvailableLarge organizations usually hire chaplains to lead prayer services. Chaplains provide religious comfort and counseling to the patients and their families. 
Youth Pastor14$41,446No Data AvailableYouth ministers work 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. 
High School Teachers15$62,3601% (little or no change)High school teachers inspire students by integrating advanced theological knowledge into their teachings. They cultivate a deeper understanding of faith, ethics, and spirituality, fostering an enriched educational experience. These educators play a vital role in shaping students’ moral compass and facilitating their spiritual growth.

Certifications and Licensing for Theology Master’s Graduates

Certifications, though not mandatory, can significantly boost the careers of Theology Master’s graduates. Specialized credentials, such as pastoral counseling or theological education certifications, enhance expertise. They demonstrate commitment, broaden employment opportunities, and provide a competitive edge in fields like ministry, education, or counseling, fostering professional growth. Here is an example of a certification:

Board Certified Chaplain16

The Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. (BCCI) offers a certification course for students entering any Chaplaincy type. While these certifications are not mandatory, students will gain an advanced understanding of Chaplaincy by going through these certifications.

Additional Resources for Theology Professionals

Master’s in online theology programs provide an excellent platform for students to improve their understanding of theology, enhance their credentials, and improve their overall standing in the field of theology.  However, theology is a field that is more of an art than an empirically driven science like the subject. 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. This can happen if Theologists network with others in the same field, 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:

  1. Christian Classical Ethereal Library (CCEL)
    The CCEL is one of the best and largest online Christian spiritual and theological works. This library contains a wide range of electronic texts from the early theologians to the authors of the 19th century. 
  2. Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA) 
    The CRTA site consists of several historical documents of churches: confessions, creeds, catechisms, etc. CRTA provides sound biblical resources online to improve people who have faith in life and God. 
  3. Society of Biblical Literature
    The Society of Biblical Literature 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.
  4. Association of Youth Ministry Educators
    The Association of Youth Ministry Educators is a professional organization 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. 
  5. 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.

FAQs About Master’s in Theology Online Programs

Can you go to seminary right after high school?

Yes, attending seminary right after high school is possible. Some seminaries offer programs or tracks designed for students who wish to pursue theological education immediately after completing their high school education, allowing them to begin their training for ministry at an early stage in their academic journey.

What is a theology major?

Where can I study theology online?

How many credits do Theological degrees provide?

What is the best online theology school?