2020 Best Master's in Religious Studies Online

By OnlineU Staff | Updated February 23, 2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Religious Studies Badge

The 7 best value online master's in religious studies programs can be found at these colleges and universities. At #1, Covenant Theological Seminary charges $17,325 per year for their Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (Non-Thesis Option). Regent University Online offers distance learners an M.A. in Christian Spirituality and Formation for $12,000 per year. Alumni reported a mid-career salary of $68,500.

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

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Rank School Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 $17,325 $76,900
# 2 #2 $12,000 $68,500
# 3 #3 $12,100 $67,300
# 4 #4 $9,145 $65,300
# 5 #5 $16,800 $68,200
# 6 #6 $5,500 $53,943
# 7 #7 $9,230 $51,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Religious Studies Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Covenant Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $17,325
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Covenant Theological Seminary is a Christian University affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. It is located in St. Louis. The university offers a fully online Master of Arts in Biblical Theological Studies with both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students study Biblical languages — they can choose Greek, Hebrew, or both — and church history, and a capstone is required. A total of 66 credits are needed for the degree, and the program can be completed in two to four years. A Master of Theology and a Master of Divinity are also offered in hybrid format. The MDiv allows for two-thirds of the degree to be completed online, with just six visits to campus. Three tracks are available: pastoral ministry, specialized ministry, and church planting. 

#2 Regent University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $12,000
  • Median Salary: $68,500
  • Locations: Virginia Beach (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Established in 1977, Regent University is located in Virginia Beach, Virginal. The Christian university offers an online Master of Arts in Practical Theology with five concentrations: church & ministry, interdisciplinary studies, marketplace ministry, missiology, and worship & media. A total of 48 credits are required to complete the degree. Applicants must have already completed a four-year bachelor’s degree. The university also offers an online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality & Formation and a Master of Arts in Church Leadership, both of which are available only online.

#3 Denver Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $12,100
  • Median Salary: $67,300
  • Locations: Littleton (CO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Located in Littleton, Colorado, Denver Seminary is a Christian university that offers several online master’s degrees, including a Master of Arts in Biblical & Theological Studies (39 credits), a Master of Arts in Christian Studies, a Master of Arts in Leadership, and a Master of Divinity (78 credits). The MA degrees can be completed in two years or less, and the MDiv in four years. The degrees can be completed fully online, but students can also choose to take some courses on campus. Coursework is delivered via the Moodle online learning management system.

#4 Dallas Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $9,145
  • Median Salary: $65,300
  • Locations: Dallas (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Established in 1924, Dallas Theological Seminary is a non-denominational seminary with campuses in both Dallas and Washington, DC. The institution offers a Master of Arts in Christian Studies that can be completed 100 percent online in just two years. The degree is also available in Chinese and Spanish, but some courses in the Chinese program need to be completed in residence in Dallas, Houston, or Hong Kong. A total of 62 credits are required to complete the degree. A Master of Biblical and Theological Studies is also offered; the 36-credit program includes 13 credits of electives so students can customize their degree. The degree is also available in Chinese.

#5 Western Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $16,800
  • Median Salary: $68,200
  • Locations: Portland (OR)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Founded in 1927, Western Seminary has campuses in Oregon, California, and Washington. An online Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies is available, and the program is available with several tracks: Biblical languages, Biblical/theological studies, chaplaincy, coaching, exegetical studies, pastoral studies, and women’s transformational leadership. A total of 56 credits are needed, and the degree can be completed in two years of full-time study. A hybrid option is also available, which requires 36 credits plus five 1-week residencies on campus for face-to-face learning. Applicants must have already earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

#6 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $5,500
  • Median Salary: $53,943
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University offers over 70 online master’s degrees in the religious studies discipline. They are available in biblical exposition, biblical studies, Christian apologetics, divinity, human services counseling, music and worship, pastoral counseling, religion, sports chaplaincy, theology, and worship studies. Most degrees are available entirely online and delivered in eight-week formats, with eight start dates per year. They can be completed in a total of 1.5 to 2 years and, depending on the degree, require 30–60 credits to complete. Coursework is delivered via the Blackboard online learning management system, and learning is asynchronous. Students can access more than 750,000 electronic books, journals, and peer-reviewed articles. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, and transcripts need to be submitted. Standardized test scores are not necessary for admittance into LU, and students can transfer up to 50 percent of the total credits required for a master’s degree. Online students receive academic support from the university’s advising team. They also have access to library services, writing assistance, tutoring, study aids, technical support, live webinars, online communities, and more than 30 tutorial videos.

#7 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $9,230
  • Median Salary: $51,300
  • Locations: New Orleans (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Master of Arts in Biblical Studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is available entirely online or in combination with on-campus classes and weeklong workshop classes. The degree program is designed for those seeking research degrees in biblical studies with a goal to teach, conduct research, or write in a related field. A total of 52-55 credits are needed to complete the degree. Master's degrees are also offered online in Christian education, discipleship, missiology, pastoral ministry, and theology. These programs range between 36-84 credits. Online education at NOBTS is available in three formats: standard online, where students study a semester-long course asynchronously; NOLA2 Live, a synchronous lecture broadcast held weekly, where students log on and interact with one another in real-time; and NOLA2 Flex, in which students can log in for live lectures or watch recordings afterward. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). If their degree is from a non-accredited school, they may be admitted on a probationary basis with additional requirements. Distance learners have access to services such as academic advising, library resources, technical support, writing assistance, and counseling.

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