Best Online Bachelor's in Theology Degrees

By the OnlineU team | Updated 2/22/2021
Quick Facts
Accreditation: CAATS
Average Tuition: $27,440
Alumni Salary: $29,120

Online theology degrees are offered at many different schools and across many degree levels, from undergraduate to graduate. Students who major in theology hope to develop an analytical understanding of biblical texts and use their knowledge to help others understand the Bible. People who earn degrees in theology typically become clergy members, educators, community leaders, social workers, counselors, writers, or religious studies professors. Our list of the best online master's in theology programs ranks schools based on tuition costs and alumni salaries provided by PayScale.

Students who require financial aid should apply to theology programs offered at accredited schools. Theology students typically seek hands-on training, either serving as pastors in their community churches or volunteers in their communities. This type of experience can help theology degree and certificate holders get jobs upon completing their program.

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Online Bachelor's in Theology with the Highest Return on Investment

2021 Best Online Colleges Offering Bachelor's Degrees in Theology Badge

The 12 schools below offer top theology programs based on return on investment (ROI). At #1, Lee University has the lowest tuition rate on the list and has the highest ROI, at $404,500. ROI is an estimate of 10-year alumni earnings after subtracting student loans. As the cheapest degree isn’t always the best investment and the most expensive degree does not always signify quality, students can use ROI as an indicator of the long-term financial benefits from a degree. The top four theology programs on this list have a higher ROI than the national average across all online and in-person programs.

ROI amounts are based on data reported by the U.S. Department of Education. Tuitions are manually researched in order to determine tuition amounts specific to online degrees. Read our methodology for more details.

RankSchool Annual Tuition Median Starting Salary Median Debt 10-year ROI
# 1 #1 Lee University $7,860 $32,704 $14,777 $404,500
# 2 #2 Nazarene Bible College $11,400 $35,060 $38,787 $313,400
# 3 #3 Regent University Online $11,850 $31,127 $32,541 $279,900
# 4 #4 The King's University $15,040 $30,771 $32,000 $276,900
# 5 #5 Clarks Summit University $12,555 $28,960 $17,477 $276,400
# 6 #6 Multnomah University $17,980 $29,064 $23,200 $270,300
# 7 #7 Liberty University $13,650 $28,598 $24,250 $264,200
# 8 #8 Southwestern Assemblies of God University $14,970 $28,598 $29,250 $258,000
# 9 #9 Northpoint Bible College $14,124 $27,497 $24,550 $252,500
# 10 #10 Oral Roberts University $15,330 $24,615 $27,250 $219,500
# 11 #11 Manhattan Christian College $14,850 $21,508 $22,000 $194,000

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Theology Rankings Details


Lee University

Cleveland (TN)
  • 10-Year ROI: $404,500
  • Median Salary: $32,704
  • Annual Tuition: $7,860
  • Median Debt: $14,777

Lee University offers an online Bachelor of Science in Bible and Theology and Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology. Each program requires 120-credit hours. Both programs focus on methods of Bible study, Old Testament and New Testament survey, systematic theology, Christian ethics, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Bachelor of Arts program requires the study of a foreign... language. Lee University teaches according to the Church of God’s theological standards and accepts students who are Evangelical or Pentecostal. Online students are able to complete their degrees in three and a half years.

Classes are conducted entirely online through the Canvas learning management system, and students receive and complete assignments and exams over the internet. Students applying to Lee may be able to receive scholarships from their local churches, employers, and community organizations. Grants, loans, and other financial aid types are available.

Applicants may apply online for annual enrollment, and Lee’s schedule runs from the fall through the summer. Each academic year consists of six sessions that last seven weeks. The enrollment deadline is December 31 for the following year. Lee’s online platform gives students access to an online library, coursework, discussion boards, faculty members, online coaching, tutoring, and technical support.

Cost per Credit: $262
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 60%
Acceptance Rate: 85%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 910 - 1230
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 446


Nazarene Bible College

Colorado Springs (CO)
  • 10-Year ROI: $313,400
  • Median Salary: $35,060
  • Annual Tuition: $11,400
  • Median Debt: $38,787

Nazarene Bible College (NBC) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry of Bible and Theology program to students interested in pursuing graduate work to support their ministry goals, as well as students planning to pursue ordination as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene. The degree requires 120 credit hours to graduate, with an extra 24 credit hours required for students pursuing... ordination. Since NBC is affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, students are expected to follow standards of conduct that align with church beliefs, although no denominational affiliation is required.

Classes are asynchronous to allow for maximum flexibility, but NBC encourages a sense of community among classmates. To that end, most classes involve discussion posts with both classmates and the professor. There is a 7:1 student-faculty ratio. Students can transfer up to 60 general education credits into the program. NBC offers institutionally funded scholarships to supplement students' financial aid packages. Veterans are also eligible for support while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in ministry.

NBC prefers online applications. Each accepted student has an advisor who serves as the primary touchpoint from acceptance through graduation. They also have access to many of the resources on-campus students enjoy.

Cost per Credit: $380
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 36%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 696


Regent University Online

Virginia Beach (VA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $279,900
  • Median Salary: $31,127
  • Annual Tuition: $11,850
  • Median Debt: $32,541

The online Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies at Regent University is a 120-credit degree program that gives students a solid foundation in practical ministry, theology, and biblical studies through appreciation of the history, context, and message of the Bible. Courses occur in eight-week sessions. At this Christian university, students develop their knowledge... of the Bible and apply it to contemporary issues and other religions. Graduates can pursue careers in various ministry roles such as church administration, planting, teaching, pastoring, youth ministry, education, missions work, or human services. They will also be prepared to further their studies at seminary school.

Students will learn through the Blackboard online learning management system, where they will have access to course materials, professors, and peers. Regent offers customized financial aid, as well as military and corporate partnership benefits. Regent has a generous transfer policy for students of up to 90 credit hours, although 50% of core degree courses must be taken at Regent.

To apply, students should complete an online application. Resources for online students include enrollment counselors, advising and financial aid, access to the university library, writing lab, IT, and help desk, multiple online resources and tools, chapel services, and success coaching.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 57%
Acceptance Rate: 78%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 990 - 1220
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,146


The King's University

Van Nuys (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $276,900
  • Median Salary: $30,771
  • Annual Tuition: $15,040
  • Median Debt: $32,000

In the 124-credit, online Bachelor of Biblical and Theological Studies - Messianic Jewish Studies program at the King's University, students prepare for a life of preaching or to enroll in a master's program. This degree includes courses on the principles of exegesis, methodologies of hermeneutical and exegetical tasks, issues with Bible interpretations, theological responses to... biblical texts, and elementary instruction in Hebrew and Greek. Students must also complete five credit hours of experiential learning through a junior ministry practicum. Online students can take courses in accelerated seven-week sessions or traditional 15-week sessions. Students who are working full time are advised to take two courses every seven-week session, and they should expect to devote 12 to 15 hours of time per course. Completion time varies based on transfer credits and course load.

The courses in this program are delivered completely online through the Schoology learning management system. Students can transfer in up to 90 credits to this major, and they can also earn credits for life experiences.

Interested students can submit an application at any time. Typically, the school's deadlines are about six weeks before the beginning of the fall, spring, or summer term. Once accepted, students attend an online orientation. They can also access tutoring, academic advising, and a touchstone course through the Student Success department.

Cost per Credit: $470
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 128
Graduation Rate: 16%
Acceptance Rate: 52%
Financial Aid Recipients: 89%
Average SAT Scores: 949 - 1144
Accreditation: ABHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 99


Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit (PA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $276,400
  • Median Salary: $28,960
  • Annual Tuition: $12,555
  • Median Debt: $17,477

Clarks Summit University (CSU) offers an online Bachelor of Science in Bible and Theology. The 121-credit hour program prepares students for positions as youth leaders and assistant pastors in the Baptist church, and students must be of the Baptist faith. It is also a step toward later pursuing a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry or Philosophy. The degree program focuses... on study of the Bible, world religions, Hebrew, Greek, theological survey, and theological distinctives.

Online students are able to complete their courses asynchronously, interact with peers and professors, and access all course materials through the Schoology platform. Approximately 95% of applicants are able to receive scholarships, and other forms of financial aid and assistance are available. Graduates may be able to receive dual credits toward the completion of a master’s degree.

Applicants are able to submit their applications online. Those who enroll prior to November 15 for spring classes may receive a scholarship. Online students can connect with career coaches, access an online library, and receive technical support whenever it is needed.

Cost per Credit: $405
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 88%
Acceptance Rate: 55%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: MSCHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 238


Multnomah University

Portland (OR)
  • 10-Year ROI: $270,300
  • Median Salary: $29,064
  • Annual Tuition: $17,980
  • Median Debt: $23,200

Multnomah University (MU) offers an online, 39-credit hour Bachelor of Bible and Theology. Students can complete their degrees in as little as four years. Graduates are prepared for positions as church leaders, teachers, counselors, evangelists, translators, social workers, and instructors. Courses focus on bible study methods, theology, hermeneutics, text and canon, and Christian... history. The online program is available for Christians of multiple faiths.

Distance learners are able to work asynchronously through the Canvas online system, which can be used to access course materials and to communicate with peers and faculty. Online students looking for financial assistance are eligible for the university’s Multnomah Aid program, as well as available scholarships, grants, and student loans. Applications for Multnomah Aid are due before August for the fall semester and before December for the spring semester.

The online program offers students access to course materials, coaches, tutors, an online library, and technical support. Applicants can complete their applications online and should apply before December for the spring semester and before August for fall classes.

Cost per Credit: $580
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 124
Graduation Rate: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 65%
Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
Accreditation: NWCCU
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 69


Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $264,200
  • Median Salary: $28,598
  • Annual Tuition: $13,650
  • Median Debt: $24,250

Liberty University offers three online Bachelor of Science in Religion programs. Students may pursue concentrations in biblical and theological studies, apologetics, or NextGen for those interested in youth ministry. All three 120-credit hour programs are offered to Christian Evangelicals, and focus on Bible study, apologetics, Christian history, interpretation of scripture, and... ministry. Full-time students are able to earn a degree in under four years, but students have the option to study part-time. Graduates are prepared to take positions in the church with the ability to pursue graduate degrees on the path to becoming youth ministers or pastors.

Online students can complete their courses asynchronously through Canvas, and have access to the Jerry Falwell Library search portal, their coursework, and exams over the internet. Military members and veterans may apply for special scholarships as part of the Heroes Fund, and Liberty offers discounted tuition to service members and their families. Enrollees may be eligible to receive scholarships, grants, and financial aid.

Applicants are able to submit their applications online, and undergraduates can receive digital textbooks at no cost. Courses are eight weeks long, and Liberty offers eight start dates throughout the year. Online students have access to support staff, counselors, tutoring, and coaches throughout the duration of their courses.

Cost per Credit: $390
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 140
Graduation Rate: 47%
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 1040 - 1260
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092


Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Waxahachie (TX)
  • 10-Year ROI: $258,000
  • Median Salary: $28,598
  • Annual Tuition: $14,970
  • Median Debt: $29,250

Southwestern Assemblies of God University provides two online degree options: The Bachelor's in Theological Studies focuses on theological research in Scripture, philosophy, and theology. The Bachelor's in Bible and Theology provides resources and instruction in learning to interpret the Bible. Students in the theological studies major will also learn Hebrew and Greek. Students... in both programs also study general education courses. Southwestern Assemblies of God University is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

Students learn asynchronously through the Blackboard learning management system. Qualified high school students can earn early college credit on general education courses and Bible core courses. Students also may earn up to 45 credit hours from life experiences. Online students receive a 20% tuition grant and are eligible for several university grants and scholarships, as well as outside scholarships and federal financial aid.

Students may apply online. The university requires that students be born-again Christians striving to live a Christian lifestyle for admission to any university program. Online students have access to academic resources, student development presentations, and most library resources.

Cost per Credit: $499
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 45%
Acceptance Rate: 28%
Financial Aid Recipients: 98%
Average SAT Scores: 918 - 1103
Accreditation: SACS COC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 739


Northpoint Bible College

Haverhill (MA)
  • 10-Year ROI: $252,500
  • Median Salary: $27,497
  • Annual Tuition: $14,124
  • Median Debt: $24,550

The online Bachelor of Arts in Theology at Northpoint Bible College is a 41-class, double major program that prepares students for Christian ministry. It may be taken in a dual enrollment format, which means that students can finish their high school degrees and start to take college courses at the same time. Program courses include ministry leadership, children and family ministry,... student ministry, intercultural ministry, pastoral ministry, and worship arts ministry. The purpose of the college is to prepare men and women for Pentecostal ministry, and thousands of its alumni serve in such positions.

All online, synchronous courses are available through the Canvas learning management system. Northpoint Bible College and Assemblies of God offer various scholarships and discounts. Deadlines for applying for scholarships are September 15 for the fall semester and January 15 for the spring semester.

The application process may be completed online. The library is available to online students, as is the Writing Process, a comprehensive digital resource for writing papers.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 55%
Financial Aid Recipients: 85%
Accreditation: ABHE
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 30


Oral Roberts University

Tulsa (OK)
  • 10-Year ROI: $219,500
  • Median Salary: $24,615
  • Annual Tuition: $15,330
  • Median Debt: $27,250

At Oral Roberts University, the online Bachelor of Arts in Historical and Philosophical Theology program requires 124-credit hours and can be completed in as little as three and a half years with full-time study. Students pursuing this degree at the College of Theology & Ministry at Oral Roberts will develop a historically and philosophically minded approach to understanding today's... events with historical depth. As a university rooted in Christianity, Oral Roberts aims to set students apart as a minister and leader. Students will graduate with an understanding of Christian theology, a focus on the historical development of its traditions, and knowledge of how philosophy and theology interact. Students of the online bachelor's program can pursue careers such as church staff, ministry, missions, pastoral studies, education, and more.

Oral Roberts University uses Brightspace, a mobile-friendly online platform that allows students to connect with professors, peers, and coursework. Transfer students are welcome. The program offers federal aid, special financial aid for online students, and an interest-free payment plan. Students can also apply for the Quest Whole Leader Scholarship or utilize military assistance.

Interested students can apply by going online or calling for more information. Online students will gain access to a team of success coaches and may begin their studies with an introductory three-credit Online Strategies course.

School Type: Non-Profit
Graduation Rate: 55%
Acceptance Rate: 93%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Average SAT Scores: 988 - 1240
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 501


Manhattan Christian College

Manhattan (KS)
  • 10-Year ROI: $194,000
  • Median Salary: $21,508
  • Annual Tuition: $14,850
  • Median Debt: $22,000

Manhattan Christian College (MCC) offers a 120-credit hour Bachelor of Science in Biblical Leadership. Students are prepared to take on leadership roles in the Christian church as youth ministers, associate pastors, and faith leaders. The program focuses on Christian history, leadership theories, ethics, social sciences, political science, the history of American Christianity, church... growth strategy, and leadership administration. MCC is affiliated with numerous nondenominational churches as well as Churches of Christ of the Restoration Movement. Its programs are available to members of all Christian faiths.

Online students receive assignments and materials through MCC’s asynchronous Thunder online platform, which provides assignments and access to faculty, counselors, tutors, and coaches. Each course can be completed in eight weeks, and students can choose to take classes full-time or part-time. Scholarships and financial aid may be available. Many students are able to receive grants or scholarships from the churches they attend, as well as federal and private aid.

Online students are able to use MCC’s online library. Technical support and assistance is provided as needed. Applicants are able to apply throughout the year and can submit their applications online.

Cost per Credit: $495
School Type: Non-Profit
Credits Required: 120
Graduation Rate: 59%
Acceptance Rate: 64%
Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
Accreditation: HLC
Undergrad Online Enrollment: 17

Online Theology Degree Overview & Career Information

Public and private colleges and universities, as well as seminaries, typically offer higher education degrees and certificates in theology. An online bachelor's degree in theology takes approximately four years to complete. Undergraduate students must complete their college’s core education requirements and required theology courses to earn their degrees.

Universities, seminaries, and some colleges offer online master’s degrees in theology. A master’s degree in theology may take two years to complete. Students typically undertake in-depth study on various aspects of Christianity and learn to produce scholarly writings and research. To learn more about online master's programs in theology, see our master's overview which includes a list of the best programs.

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Theology

Students will need to complete approximately 120 academic credits to earn a bachelor’s degree in theology, depending on whether the college or university uses a semester or quarter system. In addition to general studies courses, theology students will take a wide range of religious studies courses such as Themes in the Hebrew Bible Faith, Reason and the Religious Sense, and Jesus Christ in History and Faith. Some undergraduate theology programs give online students the option to earn credit from an internship completed in their community.

Prospective undergraduate students wishing to earn an online bachelor’s degree in theology typically must have a high school diploma or GED. Some colleges and universities require undergraduate applicants to submit standardized test scores, such as SAT or ACT scores, as well as academic transcripts. Online theology degree programs designed for working adults may require applicants to include resumes along with their applications. Letters of recommendation and personal essays also may be required to gain admission. Private Christian colleges and universities typically offer a bachelor's theology degree, as do theological seminaries.

Earning an online bachelor’s degree in theology may prepare students for careers as Christian school teachers or administrators. Graduates may also become ministers, pastors, writers, journalists, or nonprofit administrators. Graduates of undergraduate theology programs who have knowledge of world languages may find work as Bible translators.

The Importance of an Accredited Online Theology Degree

There are a few types of accreditation individuals should keep in mind when choosing an online theology degree. The first is regional accreditation, which means that an outside, independent agency has evaluated a school as a whole and determined that it meets certain quality standards. Regional accreditation is necessary for student to receive federal financial aid and graduate schools may not accept students with an undergraduate degree from a non-accredited school.

Another type of accreditation is programmatic accreditation. This means that an organization specializing in a certain subject area has assessed a school's program and determined that it meets quality standards. The Association of Theological Schools Commission on Accrediting (ATS) is the main accrediting body for theology programs. Students should be aware that some schools that offer online theology certificates and degrees purposely choose not to seek accreditation because they offer rigorous coursework but use non-traditional curriculum delivery methods. Ultimately, students should carefully consider their future plans and financial needs when choosing online theology schools.

Colleges and universities that have accredited online theology programs typically adjust their programs to meet ATS’s rigorous accreditation standards. In general, this means that accredited theology programs may offer higher-quality coursework. Some employers may consider graduates of accredited online theology programs to be better prepared to handle the challenges of their jobs. As such, in some cases, having a theology degree from such a program may give students an advantage over other job candidates.

Careers in Theology

While many theology certificate and degree holders pursue careers as clergy members, the versatile degree qualifies graduates for a wide range of jobs. Education, social work, public service, and media are a few of the fields in which theology degree and certificate holders can find job opportunities. Those with higher education in theology may also find jobs as non-profit organization leaders.

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.