2020 Best Master's in Theology Online Programs

By OnlineU Staff | Updated 3/9/2020
2020 Best Online Master's in Theology Badge

The 11 schools on this list are the best value options for obtaining an online master's program in theology based on alumni salaries and low tuition rates. Covenant Theological Seminary is ranked #1, offering a Master of Arts in Theological Studies for $14,175 per year. Graduates of the school reported a median salary of $76,900. In the #2 spot, Multnomah University offers a Master of Arts in Theological Studies for only $11,160 per year, making it an affordable choice for distance learners who are looking for a high quality and affordable education.

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

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RankSchool Annual Tuition Mid-Career Salary
# 1 #1 Covenant Theological Seminary $14,175 $76,900
# 2 #2 Multnomah University $11,160 $71,900
# 3 #3 Regent University Online $7,500 $68,500
# 4 #4 Dallas Theological Seminary $5,310 $65,300
# 5 #5 Western Seminary $16,800 $68,200
# 6 #6 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary $9,085 $61,800
# 7 #7 Biola University $15,825 $64,200
# 8 #8 Liberty University $5,500 $58,300
# 9 #9 Luther Seminary $14,400 $59,600
# 10 #10 The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary $17,552 $59,000
# 11 #11 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary $7,810 $51,300
Salary data provided by Payscale Logo

2020 Online Colleges Offering Theology Degrees - Ranking Details

#1 Covenant Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $14,175
  • Median Salary: $76,900
  • Locations: St. Louis (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Covenant Theological Seminary, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is founded on the teachings of the Presbyterian Church. The institution recently began offering a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (MABTS). The program requires 66 credit hours to complete. The courses are delivered entirely online, allowing working ministry professionals the flexibility to continue working full-time while completing their degrees. The program takes two to four years to finish and includes a capstone requirement and an optional thesis component. All students must pass a Bible Content Exam to meet graduation requirements. A Master of Arts in Theological Studies is also offered fully online. It is designed for those in church leadership positions or those who would like to gain a better understanding of their faith.

#2 Multnomah University

  • Annual Tuition: $11,160
  • Median Salary: $71,900
  • Locations: Portland (OR)
  • Accreditation: NWCCU

Multnomah University is a non-denominational Christian institution that is located in Portland, Oregon. The school strives to connect traditional biblical teachings with an arts and sciences curriculum. Individuals who seek professional positions within the ministry or careers in theological education may consider pursuing a Master of Arts in theological studies (MATS). This fully online program is a 48-credit, two-year commitment, though applicants who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited Christian university may receive up to 12 transfer credits.

#3 Regent University Online

  • Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • Median Salary: $68,500
  • Locations: Virginia Beach (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Regent University Online provides a flexible option for working adults and parents who aspire to earn a master's degree in theology. Their online Master of Theology (Th.M), offered through Regent's School of Divinity, delivers a Christian-based curriculum that prepares individuals for positions in church leadership or more secular organizations. A Master of Arts in Practical Theology and a Master of Theological Studies are also available online. Regent University Online strives to combine a religious foundation through biblical doctrine with programs that focus on practical application. Classes are organized in eight-week and 15-week sessions and instructed by experienced practitioners in the field.

#4 Dallas Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $5,310
  • Median Salary: $65,300
  • Locations: Dallas (TX)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

An online Master of Biblical and Theological Studies (MBTS) is available through Dallas Theological Seminary's online campus. Distance education courses share the same instructors as on-campus courses. The fully online MBTS requires a total of 36 credit hours. Applicants are typically business professionals who aspire to serve in the workforce or church. Online students are welcome to attend on-campus intensives, where certain courses can be completed in three to five days. Students can select from a range of electives to customize their study.

#5 Western Seminary

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

Western Seminary prepares its graduates to pursue leadership positions within the Christian church by providing a curriculum that balances academics with practical ministry. Students seeking a flexible online advanced degree may choose Western Seminary's Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. This 56-credit program focuses on biblical texts and Christian church history and can be completed in two years. Students will train to become ministry leaders and educators within the church or other Christian institutions. The program provides several specialization areas, including women's transformational leadership, chaplaincy, and biblical languages.

#6 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $9,085
  • Median Salary: $61,800
  • Locations: Kansas City (MO)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers an online Master of Theological Studies degree program that can be completed entirely online. The standard degree requirements will explore biblical and theological knowledge and spiritual discipline. Students can choose a concentration in the following areas: Biblical Counseling, Church Planting, Church Revitalization, Leadership, Discipleship Ministries, Mission, Preaching and Pastoral Ministry, and Women’s Ministry. Each program option requires a total of 45 credits, comprised of 33 foundational core hours and 12 hours devoted to the emphasis area. Students can participate in practicums to gain real-world ministry experience during their education. Classes are offered in eight-week sessions, allowing students to begin their studies from seven different start dates throughout the year. Full course loads are offered during spring, summer, and fall semesters. Course materials are accessed through the Canvas learning management system, and students have the option to connect face-to-face with professors and peers during symposiums hosted by the school several times a year. Online resources include the college library, a student writing center, and academic advising. To apply, students must submit official transcripts and complete an online application form.

#7 Biola University

  • Annual Tuition: $15,825
  • Median Salary: $64,200
  • Locations: La Mirada (CA)
  • Accreditation: WSCUC

Biola University offers an online Master of Arts Degree in Theology through its Talbot School of Theology. Students can choose to complete either a Greek or Non-Greek track. Both Master’s in Theology programs focus on biblical interpretation and include foundation courses that examine the Old and New Testaments. The 49-credit program can be completed in as little as two years but must be completed within five years. The program requires all students to complete a capstone seminar, which will be based on the student’s preferred topic. The school delivers online courses through the Canvas learning platform. To be considered for admission, applicants need to hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited college with a minimum GPA of 3.0. They should have completed an accredited course in Old Testament survey and New Testament survey. Prospective students will need to submit a written statement about how the degree will support their career objectives along with their application. Students have online access to support resources, including librarians, disability services, and an assigned Success Coach to help them throughout their course of study.

#8 Liberty University

  • Annual Tuition: $5,500
  • Median Salary: $58,300
  • Locations: Lynchburg (VA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

Liberty University offers several online master’s programs for students looking to expand their careers through an online theology degree. The Master of Divinity and Master of Arts programs offer specializations in Theology, Biblical Studies, Christian Apologetics, Church History, Religion, Global Studies, and Homiletics. All specializations require 75 credits and can be completed in two years. The school also offers a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, which offers specializations in areas like Discipleship and Church Ministry, Marriage and Family, Crisis Response and Trauma, Addictions and Recovery, and more. This program can be completed in an average of one and a half years. Students can choose to take classes full- or part-time, but degrees must be completed within ten years of their initial start date. Online courses follow an eight-week schedule and are delivered asynchronously. Students have access to academic advising, a student advocate office, and technology services. All students applying to the online master’s in theology degree programs will need to submit transcripts proving a completed bachelor’s degree.

#9 Luther Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $14,400
  • Median Salary: $59,600
  • Locations: Saint Paul (MN)
  • Accreditation: HLC

Luther Seminary hosts a Master of Arts with a specialization in Systematic Theology that can be completed entirely online. The master’s in theology degree program concentrates on exploring diverse biblical and theological perspectives. Students who take on a full-time course load can finish the program in two years, and part-time students must complete the degree within five years. All students will be required to complete a noncredit capstone project in either writing or ministry. The concentration in Systematic Theology requires 16 courses, including six core classes, four elective courses, and specialized courses. Online courses follow the same schedule as traditional classes. Prospective students must submit proof of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program and a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Technical assistance is available during regular school hours through the help desk. Students can also virtually access the full library catalog and the Student Resource Center for career development resources, academic advising, and writing center support.

#10 The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $17,552
  • Median Salary: $59,000
  • Locations: Louisville (KY)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree with concentrations available in Intercultural Leadership and Lay Leadership. Both programs can be completed entirely online. The degree requires 48 credits, and the core curriculum aims to prepare graduates for a variety of ministry leadership roles. The Lay Leadership program focuses on serving locally, while the Intercultural Leadership program prepares students to serve abroad. Online learners will use the Canvas platform to access course materials and discussion forums and to receive and submit assignments. Online courses are offered in six eight-week terms. Coursework is typically divided into sections with weekly deadlines so students can login whenever it is best for their personal schedules. All applicants must submit official transcripts as well as an official endorsement and letter of recommendation from the local church where they are a member. Virtual learners have access to the Center for Student Success throughout their course of study to help with degree planning, meeting graduation requirements, and general support.

#11 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

  • Annual Tuition: $7,810
  • Median Salary: $51,300
  • Locations: New Orleans (LA)
  • Accreditation: SACS COC

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary offers three options for students looking to expand their knowledge with an advanced education in theology. The 52-credit Master of Arts in Theology is ideal for students looking to serve as teachers, researchers, or writers in various fields within theological studies. It is also meant to prepare students to pursue a doctoral degree in biblical studies. The 44-credit Master of Theological Studies is available in both the English and Spanish languages. This program is designed for students looking to serve in ministry positions at local churches or organizations. The school offers both synchronous and asynchronous course schedules. Students can access materials, discussion boards, and assignments through the Blackboard learning platform. These advanced online theology degrees require students to have a bachelor's degree in religion or philosophy or significant coursework in these areas. Cumulative GPA and GRE scores will be used to determine admission eligibility.

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.

This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the school by this site.