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2023 Most Affordable Online Master's Degrees in Religious Studies

By the OnlineU team | Updated 12/2/2022
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An online master's in religious studies is a graduate-level degree covering the various cultural, societal, and historical impacts of religion. Students study spiritual texts, institutions, and practices in order to gain a better understanding of different belief systems and religious theories. These programs also involve a great deal of writing and research; therefore, coursework is often based on learning effective communication tactics. 

There are other religious degrees at the master's level that may produce similar outcomes, including a master's in theology and a master's of divinity. There are several affordable Christian universities that offer degrees of all levels for students who may not want to study religion directly but still want to learn in a faith-based institution. 

View our methodology for details about rankings or learn more about us. For inspiration, you can also check out our overall list of the most affordable online degrees.

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All tuition numbers were manually collected and verified
Rank School Locations Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Kairos University Myerstown (PA) $3,600
# 2 #2 Belhaven University Jackson (MS) $4,086
# 3 #3 Campbellsville University Campbellsville (KY) $4,485
# 4 #4 Athens State University Athens (AL) $4,875
# 5 #5 Liberty University Lynchburg (VA) $5,500
# 6 #6 Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary Jacksonville (TX) $5,730
# 7 #7 Veritas Baptist College Lawrenceburg (IN) $5,922
# 8 #8 Union University Jackson (TN) $6,930
# 9 #9 Graceland University Lamoni (IA) $6,948
# 10 #10 Clarks Summit University Clarks Summit (PA) $7,275
#1
#1

Kairos University

Myerstown (PA)
Annual Tuition: $3,600
Annual Tuition: $3,600
Annual Tuition: $3,600

Kairos University is a theological education institution offering a Master of Divinity which requires 72 credits. They also have several Master of Arts options focused on religious studies, including Christian Spirituality, Bible Literacy, and Christian Theology.

Students at Kairos use Pathwright for their digital learning platform, where programs are offered entirely online. The curriculum for the Master of Divinity degree aims to build leadership skills in a faith-based environment through ministry practice, theology, and the study of the Bible. A few core classes include Collaboration and Care, Christian Spirituality, and Christian Ethics. Graduates may pursue employment in a wide range of worship leadership positions.

  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 65
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
#2
#2

Belhaven University

Jackson (MS)
Annual Tuition: $4,086
Annual Tuition: $4,086
Annual Tuition: $4,086

Belhaven University is a private Christian university with a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. This degree requires students to complete 36 credit hours, which most finish in around two years on a full-time study schedule. The acceptance rate at Belhaven is 50%, and the school has a 45% graduation rate.

Canvas is the LMS used by Belhaven students for their 100% online coursework. Their master's program is designed for both religious undergraduate students and those who have yet to enter theological programs. Required classes for this degree include Systematic Theology: Jesus Christ, Old Testament: Pentateuch, and Biblical Theology. Graduates may take several career paths, such as pastoral ministry, youth ministry, Christian education missionary, and children's ministry.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 95%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 426
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,405
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#3
#3

Campbellsville University

Campbellsville (KY)
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485
Annual Tuition: $4,485

Campbellsville University (CU) is a private Christian university offering a Master of Divinity that requires 75 credit hours. They estimate most full-time students complete this program in two years. CU also offers an online Master of Theology focused on advanced biblical and theological studies. CU has a 78% acceptance rate and a 39% graduation rate.

Students at CU Online use Moodle, which is an LMS for distributing online coursework. The curriculum for the master's of divinity degree seeks to provide students with a foundational understanding of the Bible, theology, and ministry. They offer three tracks to choose from: (1) Missions and Ministry Leadership, (2) Biblical Studies, or (3) Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy. Core classes include Pastoral Care and Counseling, Old Testament History and Interpretation, and Philosophy of Christian Faith. Graduates are eligible for careers as pastors or church staff, missionaries, and leadership roles in various faith-based organizations.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 913
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 944
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875
Annual Tuition: $4,875

Athens State University is a public university with a Master of Arts in Religious Studies requiring at least 30 credits. Students can also choose the thesis track, which requires a total of 36 credits. Athens State has a 59% graduation rate overall.

At Athens State, students use the Blackboard LMS to access their online classes, which students can work through at their own pace. The curriculum for this program focuses on developing critical thinking and leadership skills while exploring the relationship between human beings and the nature of religion. Some core classes are Advanced Study of Hebrew Prophets, History of Islam, and Christian Thought in Early Centuries. The thesis track requires a six-credit thesis research course. Possible career outcomes include social work, pastoral leadership, and counseling.

  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 1,833
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 163
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#5
#5

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500

Liberty University (LU) is a private Christian university offering a Master of Arts in Religion. This degree requires students to complete 60 credit hours, which can take students two years on a full-time schedule, and there are 15 concentration options students may also choose. LU Online also offers additional programs, such as the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, and the Master of Arts in Theological Studies. LU only accepts 50% of applicants; among the school's enrolled students, 34% graduate with a degree.

LU Online uses Canvas as its LMS, allowing students to study 100% online. Students can take some courses asynchronously, while others may require a stricter schedule. The curriculum for the master's degree in religion prepares students for ministry work by studying the Bible, theology, and ministry practice. Core classes for this online master's degree include Church History, Biblical Studies, and Homiletics. Graduates may go on to become pastors, missionaries, and ministry leaders.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#6
#6
Annual Tuition: $5,730
Annual Tuition: $5,730
Annual Tuition: $5,730

Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary (BMATS) is a private, Christ-centered institution with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology. This degree requires 36 credits, which most full-time students complete in two years. BMATS has an acceptance rate of 44%, with 34% of students graduating.

Remote learning students at BMATS use Moodle for online classes. Students can finish their coursework completely online and on a flexible schedule. The curriculum covers theological and biblical studies along with pastoral theology. Students must complete several core classes, including various levels of Systematic Theology, New Testament Introduction and Survey, and Old Testament Introduction and Survey. Alumni are qualified for roles as associate pastors, Bible teachers, or youth pastors.

  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 49
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 42
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
#7
#7

Veritas Baptist College

Lawrenceburg (IN)
Annual Tuition: $5,922
Annual Tuition: $5,922
Annual Tuition: $5,922

Veritas Baptist College (VBC) is a private, Christian college with a Master of Biblical Studies requiring 60 credit hours. Typically, students complete this online graduate degree in two years if they are available for full-time study. VBC has a 68% acceptance rate for new students, and 38% of those who enroll end up graduating.

All remote VBC students use the Canvas LMS for 100% online courses. The core curriculum engages students in theological and biblical studies with discussions of the church's history and the ethics of post-modern Christians. In addition, there are two tracks to choose from: (1) a language track requiring the study of Greek or Hebrew and (2) a non-language track. Core classes include Biblical Leadership in the 21st Century, Church History, and Advanced Hermeneutics. Students who complete all program requirements and receive their degree may advance to pastoral or ministry positions in the church.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 59%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 191
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 34
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: TRACS
#8
#8

Union University

Jackson (TN)
Annual Tuition: $6,930
Annual Tuition: $6,930
Annual Tuition: $6,930

Union University (UU) is a private Christ-centered university with a Master of Christian Studies requiring 36 credit hours. Students may complete all requirements in less than two years if they maintain a full-time schedule. The acceptance rate for new students at UU is 58%, while 67% graduate with degrees.

At UU, students utilize the Canvas platform for their online coursework, which is fully online. Students can participate with flexible schedules. This degree is designed for educated ministry practitioners who are seeking a more advanced theological understanding. Some of the core course requirements include Communicating Biblical Truth, Survey of Church History, and Spiritual Formation. Career opportunities may become available as missionaries, parachurch leaders, and bi-vocational pastors.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Average SATs: 1060 -1280
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 234
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 171
  • School Type: Nonprofit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC

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