2019 Best Master's in Theology Online Programs

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The eight seminaries and universities on this list provide high-quality, affordable online master’s degrees in theology. Half of the schools on the list cost less than $10,000 annually. Students can earn an M.A. in Theological Studies for just $11,880 per year at the #1-ranked school, Covenant Theological Seminary. Graduates of this online program report a median salary of $76,900. Liberty University, ranked #6, costs just $5,500 annually, making it the most affordable online school on the list.

Alumni salaries were provided by PayScale. View our methodology for more details or learn more about SR Education Group.

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Rank School Annual Tuition Median Salary
#1 #1 Covenant Theological Seminary $11,880 $76,900
#2 #2 Western Seminary $16,380 $68,200
#3 #3 Dallas Theological Seminary $9,936 $65,300
#4 #4 Biola University $17,400 $64,200
#5 #5 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary $8,855 $61,800
#6 #6 Liberty University $5,500 $58,300
#7 #7 The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary $16,832 $59,000
#8 #8 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary $6,500 $51,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo. Updated 2018.
  • Annual Tuition: $11,880
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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Denominational institution Covenant Theological Seminary is located in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri and details its mission to train religious leaders for the country and the world at large. With a faculty that subscribes to the Westminster Standards, the Covenant Theological Seminary hosts a series of theological courses, including Master of Theology programs for distance students interested in online degree acquisition. The Master of Theology program, which requires prospects to have a Master of Divinity, has a modular, hybrid in-person and online option for prospects who are working full-time in ministry. The course requires 12 hours of on-campus seminars and the remaining 18 hours can be completed in self-paced, independent study with a six-hour thesis capstone course.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,380
  • Median Salary: $68,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: NWCCU
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With campuses in Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; Sacramento, California; and Seattle, Washington, Western Seminary is wide-ranging seminary college that focuses on the needs of their student body in unprecedented ways. This evangelical seminary has options for distance-based students wanting to take advantage of its educational tools. Its online campus serves almost 200 students every year in 34 faculty-led courses across all degree levels. The university's Master of Theology is a 56-credit hour program that immerses students and working professionals into the world of biblical text analyses and modern-day application. While it is almost fully online, the program does require two visits to the seminary's Portland campus. The entire program can be completed in as little as two years.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,936
  • Median Salary: $65,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Evangelical theological college Dallas Theological Seminary has its main campus in Dallas with extension campuses in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Knoxville, San Antonio, Tampa, Washington D.C., and a global campus in Guatemala. It also offers options for distance learners through its online education program, which has seminary degrees across educational levels. Its Master of Biblical and Theological Studies program is composed of 36 semester hours, with 13 customizable elective hours, in a fully online format that lasts two years. For prospective online students, the application process evaluates academic records, references, aptitude, and general involvement in Christian services.

  • Annual Tuition: $17,400
  • Median Salary: $64,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: WASC WSCUC
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Biola University is a private, Christian university founded in 1908. The name is derived from its official name upon creation, Bible Institute of Lose Angeles. It serves a student population of over 6,000 and even provides opportunities for distance learning students through its online degree programs. Its Master of Theology program, with Greek and non-Greek options, has a fully online and blended format and seeks to educate prospective students in the foundational aspects of biblical knowledge. Offered through the Talbot School of Theology, this program only admits students and professionals who submit Christian and vocational testimonies complete with proper references, and transcripts with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. For ESL students, demonstrative proficiency in English is also a requirement.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,855
  • Median Salary: $61,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: HLC
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As one of the six seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has been around since 1957 and offers a Christian-based educational experience for students interested in ministry, divinity and overall theological studies. The program has expanded its resources to distance-learning students through its virtual studies platform, Online Connect. Through this platform, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary provides options for a Master of Theological Studies. The MTS online program offers seven degree concentrations including Church Planting, Christian Counseling, and Discipleship Ministries. Providing students with the theological core necessary to excel in religious roles, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's MTS programs are among the most cost-effective with an average tuition rate of $10,000.

  • Annual Tuition: $5,500
  • Median Salary: $58,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and TRACS
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Liberty University is both a residential and an online nonprofit, private university with over 100,000 students enrolled online and on campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. This Christian research university is one of the largest in the world. Through its online program, it offers a Master of Theology (Th.M.) and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (M.T.S.) for students interested in pursuing religious education. The university is accredited by SACSCOC and both programs are fully online. The M.T.S. option is a 36-credit-hour program that takes an average of one-and-a-half years to complete. The general Th.M. program is 30 credit hours and offers degree customization with six specializations: Church History, Homiletics, Theology, Biblical Studies, Global Studies, and Christian Apologetics.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,832
  • Median Salary: $59,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded in 1859 as the first seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention in America. It is located in Louisville, Kentucky but has options for distance learning students through its e-learning programs that offer fully online options. Through its e-learning system, students can complete a Master of Arts in Theological Studies designed for professionals interested in further preparing for a ministry or parochial vocation. This program is broken down into 36 credits in Biblical and Theological Studies, nine credits in Missions, Evangelism and Ministry and three free elective credits with an optional two-credit Written Communication course. For $309 per credit hour, students can complete the 48-credit hour MTS program for about $14,832.

  • Annual Tuition: $6,500
  • Median Salary: $51,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
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Founded over 100 years ago, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a private, non-profit institution of higher learning affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. With 37 educational centers across the country, NOBTS serves distance and on-campus students. NOBTS offers two master-level degrees for students interested in theology: a Master of Theological Studies and a Master of Arts (Theology). The latter is a 57-credit hour program designed specifically to prepare students for doctoral work in theology; the former is a more comprehensive program tailored for the career goals of working professionals and traditional students. The MTS program is 49-credit hours and includes a week-long workshop, with a hybrid option for students close to campus who wish to explore on-campus coursework.  

Online Master's in Theology Overview

It takes about two years to complete a master’s degree in theology online; the programs require approximately 36 academic credits, or 60 credits if the college or university uses the quarter system. As a theology graduate student, students will take courses such as Legal & Financial Issues in Ministry, Evangelism, Early Faith Foundations, and Ministry to Children at Risk. Students also may be required to complete a research methods course, as well as undertake a research project and write a thesis.

Applicants to online theology master’s degree programs will be required to provide academic records proving their completion of an undergraduate course of study. Some schools will also require standardized test scores, or an undergraduate degree in theology specifically. Students should be prepared to answer questions about their character and faith to gain admission. Divinity schools at public and private universities and theological seminaries typically offer online master’s degree programs in theology.

An online master’s in theology may prepare students for leadership roles in churches, nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions. Graduates may also find jobs teaching theology and religious studies at two- and four-year colleges or working as chaplains in colleges and universities, healthcare organizations, or the United  States military.

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