Professionals interested in an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree know the power that a virtual degree can have on their career. These professionals know that reaching the heights of their careers within their church relies on a demonstration on their part of the commitment they have to work in ministry. Additionally, these graduate degrees serve as a great place for professionals who are interested in research and academia as their career path.

But these professionals are already at work in the church before considering graduate school. That means that their degrees have to work on their schedule: online, with little to no residencies; full-time and part-time options; degrees that can be completed in less than two years; and practicums that can take place in their community. All of these features and more have been found in dozens of programs, but only a few have everything that a professional might need in their program.

Methodology

This ranking was made possible by the free and publicly available data sources found on the Internet; primarily the National Center for Education Statistics and its College Navigator database. Over 100 schools were identified just by searching for “accelerated online Master’s in Ministry.” Each school was compared to others based on a variety of factors, including in-state graduate tuition rates and estimated time to completion rates for the degree. The following 15 schools were chosen based on the total estimated cost in in-state graduate tuition for the program.

Ranking Low-Cost Accelerated Master’s in Ministry

15. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Church Planting

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $21,460

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary provides students with a two-year accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that focuses on church planting. This program is dedicated to professionals who are interested in the field and are currently in a deployment relationship with the North American Mission Board or the International Mission Board; at the very least, they must be interviewing with one of these entities. This program is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will complete all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. An internship is also required for this degree; this can be completed in a student’s community. This program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a fieldwork experience, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Baptist History, Introduction to Great Commission Studies, and Developing a Church Planting Methodology.

14. Kentucky Christian University

Grayson, Kentucky

Online Master of Arts in Christian Leadership

https://www.kcu.edu/academics/school-bible-ministry/graduate-degrees/master-of-arts-in-christian-leadership/

Website

Tuition: $21,384

Students at Kentucky Christian University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that will translate into a strong foundation for vocational ministry or academic research work. This is a 100 percent online degree; there are no residency requirements. Students will be able to choose one of five concentrations: Christian Ministry, Family Ministry, Leadership Studies, Missional Studies, or Preaching. All five can be found online through the school’s virtual portal, where courses are delivered as live or on-demand offerings that follow the 16-week academic term format. Students will be able to graduate from this program in two years or less when they choose to study full-time. This degree requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Minister as Pastoral Care Leader, Family Ministry, and Leadership Development in the Local Congregation.

13. Faulkner University

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $19,440

Faulkner University is home to an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that can be completed in two years or less when students choose to study part-time. This program is also available 100 percent online with no residency requirements. Students will participate in all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered asynchronously or synchronously. Sessions last for 16 weeks, making it possible for a student to take a full course load every term and graduate within two years. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a practicum in their community, a thesis or capstone project, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Introduction to the New Testament, Supervised Practice of Ministry, and Introduction to Graduate Biblical Studies.

12. Calvin Theological Seminary

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Online Master of Arts in Ministry Leadership

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $18,876

The accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree available from Calvin Theological Seminary was designed to help advance a student’s understanding of the Christian Reformed Church will lay the groundwork for leadership skills and studies. This degree is offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will be able to choose between five concentrations: Missional Leadership, Pastoral Leadership, Worship, Pastoral Care, and Education, Youth, and Family. All students will be required to complete their courses online through the school’s virtual portal. Courses can be accessed as live or on-demand sessions that run in 16-week sessions. Students who complete three courses every term will be eligible for graduation in two years. More information on this degree, its graduation requirements and more can be found by calling the school’s graduate admissions office.

11. Northwestern Nazarene University

Nampa, Idaho

Online Master of Arts in Youth, Children and Family Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $18,720

Northwestern Nazarene University delivers an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that can be completed in two years or less. Students will be able to take this as a 100 percent online course of study; there are no residency requirements. The entire course of study was designed to be completed online through the school’s learning management system. Courses are either taught asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. This degree can be earned in two years or less by taking a full course load every term. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Leadership in Ministry, Developmental and Spiritual Formation of Youth, Children and Families, and Family Ministry in Practice.

10. Luther Seminary

St. Paul, Minnesota

Online Master of Divinity

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $17,500

The students enrolled at Luther Seminary are offered the chance to complete an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree in two years or less. This program is offered as a low-residency degree; courses during the fall and summer terms are offered online, and the week intensives, which are offered in January and June, must be completed on campus. There are eight concentrations available for this program; some of these include Spanish Language for Ministry, Congregation Mission and Leadership, and Systematic Theology. The majority of courses have been made available online through the school’s virtual portal. They are often offered live and are scheduled in the evenings and on weekends to be accommodating to professionals. This degree requires that students complete 39 credit hours of coursework, an internship, a project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information on this program can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions office.

9. Amridge University

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Christian Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $17,280

Amridge University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that will prepare students for ministry work in a variety of environments. This degree was created to be offered 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will find that they can access all of their work online through the school’s learning management system. Sessions are either offered live or on-demand and are held in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will find that this is one of the few degrees that does not require a practicum for graduation. This program was developed to be completed in two years. Degree requirements include 36 credit hours of coursework, the Contemporary Issues in Christian Ministry, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Pastoral Counseling, Research and Evaluation, and Systematic Theology.

8. Faith International University

Tacoma, Washington

Online Master of Arts in Leadership Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $16,200

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree offered by Faith International University is the longest degree on this list. It will take three years of full-time study year-round in order to graduate as an accelerated candidate from this program. That’s because the school takes this degree very seriously. This program is available 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Students will complete all of their coursework online through the school’s virtual portal. Courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will need to choose between three concentrations: Global Leadership, Christian Counseling, or Life Coaching. This degree requires a minimum of 72 credit hours of coursework, a practicum that is completed in a student’s community, a capstone course, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Missional Marketplace Ministry, Dynamics of Team Leadership, and The Leader’s Inner Journey.

7. Hannibal-LaGrange University

Hannibal, Missouri

Online Master of Arts in Leadership Christian Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $13,050

Hannibal-LaGrange University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that was developed for professionals to think about ministry from a leadership perspective. This degree is founded and based on secular principles but is still a great choice for professionals. The program is delivered 100 percent online with no residency requirements necessary. It was designed to be offered as a one-year Master’s in Ministry. Students will be able to complete all of their courses online through the school’s learning management system; all sessions are asynchronous and students will never have to log in for their courses. Sessions run in ten-week terms, making it possible to complete the degree in one year. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information about this degree can be accessed by contacting the school’s graduate admissions department.

6. Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Redding, California

Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Specialization in Pastoral Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $12,600

The accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree was designed to provide students with a strong advanced understanding of the field prior to moving into ministry work. This is an entirely online course of study; students will never have to attend campus for any reason. Instead, students will participate in live and on-demand courses through the school’s virtual portal. Students will note that having a good understanding of both Greek and Hebrew is required for this degree. Sessions last 16 weeks, making it possible for students to complete the degree in two years when they decide to study full-time. This degree requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a project or practicum, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Biblical Counseling, Pastoral Leadership and Church Management, and Advanced Homiletics.

5. Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Online Master of Christian Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,550

Oral Roberts University provides students with an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that can be completed in two years or less. This is a 100 percent online course of study that has no residency requirements; this program also does not require practicums, making it a great choice for professionals who need access to a fully online degree. Students engage in their coursework online through the school’s learning management system; courses are delivered asynchronously or synchronously in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project and presentation, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Teaching Ministries, Biblical Hermeneutics, and Introduction to Theology.

4. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $11,016

Students enrolled at Liberty University will find that they have access to an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that can be completed in as little as 18 months. This degree was developed to be completed entirely online with no residency requirements. All courses are made available through the school’s online virtual portal and are delivered as asynchronous or synchronous courses. These are held in 16-week terms, making it possible for students to take three courses every term and graduate in two years. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam for graduation. Sample courses include Preparation of the Sermon, Contemporary Evangelism, and Introduction to Pastoral Counseling.

3. Piedmont International University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $10,800

Piedmont International University has developed an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree for church professionals that are interested in earning the chance to move into leadership positions within the field. This degree is offered only online and has no residency requirements. Students will instead complete their courses, view lectures and converse with classmates and professors through the school’s online learning management system. Courses here are delivered primarily live and during the evening or on weekends for the convenience of all students. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a research paper, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Teaching the Bible, Survey of Theology, and Introduction to Hermeneutics.

2. Heritage Christian University

Florence, Alabama

Online Master of Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $10,224

The accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree from Heritage Christian University is a program that was designed for professionals who need specialized education in the field. This program has four concentrations: Biblical Studies, History of Biblical Interpretation and Theology, Ministerial Counseling, or Homiletics and Ministerial Care. Students will complete this degree as a wholly online course of study. This degree’s virtual portal serves as the hub for a student’s education and delivers asynchronous or synchronous courses to all students. This degree can be completed in two years or less when students take three or four courses every term. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information about this program, its graduation requirements, and sample course offerings can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admissions board.

1. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

New Orleans, Louisiana

Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry

Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Ministry Online for 2018

Website

Tuition: $9,972

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary confers an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree that is designed to prepare students to become leaders in a variety of church settings. This is a 100 percent online degree, although students can opt to complete one or more courses online on campus or through extension centers. All courses are available through the school’s online learning management system and consist of asynchronous or synchronous courses that are held in 16-week sessions. It is possible for students to complete this degree in two years or less when they take a full course load every term. This program requires that students complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. More information on this degree can be found by contacting the school’s graduate admission office.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Affordable Accelerated Online Master’s in Ministry?

  • Military Chaplain
  • Church Manager
  • Church Planter
  • Family Life Center Management
  • Missions Director
  • Faith-Based Counselor
  • Ordained Minister
  • University Professor
  • Biblical Scholar
  • Travel Abroad Teacher
  • Nonprofit Program Director
  • Family Advocate
  • Christian Education Leader
  • Freelance Writer
  • Inspirational Speaker

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

The median salary for professionals in the ministry field is $52,619. The range for the field is usually between $48,411 to $115,000; however, some commercial ministers and televangelists may make upwards of one million dollars. Salaries tend to stay the same between public and private sector employers; there are no bonus forms of compensation for most ministry positions.

The majority of in-demand positions comes from the education sector. Professionals who work as school teachers in private religious high schools or as professors at universities generally make between $75,000 to $95,000, depending on the institution and the nature of the position. They may also benefit from their employers paying for their graduate or doctoral education.

The research world can also be quite lucrative for ministry professionals. Working as linguists, Bible scholars, as part of an archaeology expedition, or as a religious researcher may make up to $87,000 a year for their work. This position also offers them the chance to travel for work, providing them with field experience that can be of great help to them in their career.

What are the Various Disciplines of Ministry?

Ministry is the calling given to every Christian to minister their religious ideas to others. It is also the calling to serve others in God’s way. While this can be difficult to translate into disciplines, there are some that should be discussed.

For instance, a crucial part of the field of ministry is the ability to effectively communicate with others. Whether a professional is preaching to their congregation, talking on television about their work, writing a blog article for their website or a publication, or even just conversing with nonprofit charities and people at the office, these professionals are always communicating. It should come as no surprise, then, that communication is one of the primary disciplines of ministry.

Another important discipline is theology and religion. This, no doubt, sounds quite obvious, but it’s the aspects of these disciplines that are explored that should be taken into account. Theology and religion don’t stand on their own; they are supported by history, politics, art, archaeology, anthropology, culture, language, and even creative fiction. It is through these disciplines that we see a reflection of what ministry was in the past, how it currently exists, and what it may look like in the future.

Ministry is also about business. Some leaders will find themselves working in the disciplines of finance, accounting, economics, human resources, budgeting, management, administration, leadership, marketing, and more. This is generally taken on a by a senior-level professional or pastor in the church but is possible to earn as a career with a master’s in ministry online.

The field also has its own sub-disciplines. This includes counseling, church planting, family ministry, counseling, pastoral ministries, youth ministries, and women’s leadership studies. These specializations are taken on by professionals who feel a special calling to one of these areas of expertise. It is the sub-discipline in which most professionals will stay their entire lives.

Ministry is a very special type of career and is not for everyone. It is both a challenging and very rewarding career that demands a lot from the professionals who heed the call. However, those who hear and heed the call will find that they are uniquely suited for the role in a way that gives them all the passion they need in order to continue with their work. While many begin their role in the church far before they ever enroll in college, an accelerated online Master’s in Ministry degree will help them cement their commitment to their church as well as their careers.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 15 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Ministry
Online.