For students of faith, earning an accelerated online Master’s in Theology can be a great way for them to combine their love of their religion with their profession. From working as ministers and missionaries to doing research on religious texts, these professionals are integral to helping society understand the purpose of humanity on Earth and how religion influences the decisions made by civilizations over the millennia. It is an incredibly challenging but rewarding career for any professional and may provide them with a career that helps them uncover other people’s faith through their work.

While theology is a field that does not mandate a graduate degree for many positions, most denominations require a graduate degree in order to become a minister or for further religious study. These professionals are probably already working in the field and need to have access to an online program that is both flexible and affordable. Students will also need degrees that can be completed in a short amount of time, enabling them to advance in their career without needing to take three or four years to do so. This ranking provides answers to all of these concerns and is laid out to be beneficial to professionals who are considering graduate education.

Methodology

The research that was done to compile this ranking came from the National Center for Education Statistics and its College Navigator database, both of which are free and publicly available. An initial group of 75 schools was collected based on search results for online graduate degrees in theology. The programs were then all compared with each other on factors such as tuition rates and graduation timeline plans of study. The final 20 schools were chosen based on their total in-state graduate tuition rate; they are listed in descending order.

20. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

New Orleans, Louisiana

Online Master of Theological Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online Master of Theological Studies from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is one of 10 online degrees in theology offered by the school.

Website

Tuition: $16,905

The accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is available from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary comes with three different ways to engage the material, all of which will enable students to complete the degree within two years. The seminary offers 10 different online degrees in theology, including a Spanish-language option; there are also 24 graduate stand-alone certificates that are available online. All courses are available online and come in a variety of formats, including asynchronous and synchronous sessions, hybrid classes for those close to campus, academic-length terms, weeklong intensives, and more. Students will find that the combination of different course lengths will make it easier for them to complete their degree within two years. This program requires 49 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Students are encouraged to speak to an admissions advisor to learn more about program requirements and to review sample course offerings.

19. Bethesda University

Anaheim, California

MA in Biblical Studies Online

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Biblical Studies from Bethesda University requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,900

Bethesda University is home to a professional accelerated online Master’s in Theology that was designed for working professionals who wish to advance their knowledge of the bible but do not wish to become pastors or ministers. This degree is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements; students will complete the required field education within their community under the supervision of an approved preceptor. This program will provide students who have a bachelor’s degree in theology to enter into the Advanced Standing program; this means they will have nine credit hours waived from their coursework requirements. This degree can be found through the school’s learning management system, where courses are held asynchronously or synchronously and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students who complete four courses every term and take on a summer session will be able to graduate within two years. This degree requires 60 credit hours of coursework, three field education experiences, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Educational Ministry in the Church, Pentecostal History and Theology, and Pastoral Servant Leadership.

18. Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln, Illinois

Master of Arts in Bible and Theology Online

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Bible and Theology from Lincoln Christian University requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,840

The two-year affordable accelerated online Master’s in Theology offered by Lincoln Christian University is the perfect alternative to a seminary degree. This is a 100 percent online program that has no residency requirements and can be completed part-time, providing working professionals with a degree that can fit around their schedule. Students will complete all of their coursework requirements through the school’s virtual portal; courses are delivered asynchronously and synchronously as well as in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students who take two courses every term will be eligible to graduate within two years. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project, and an oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Christian Theology, Introduction to the Old Testament, and Introduction to the New Testament.

16. Tie — Bryan College

Dayton, Tennessee

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Specialization in Bible Education

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Ministry in Bible Education from Bryan College requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,300

Bryan College confers an accelerated online Master’s in Theology that can be earned in two years when students study part-time. This degree is approved by the Association of Christian Schools International and can be used to earn initial teaching certification to teach at a Christian school. The curriculum is offered 100 percent online and there are no residency requirements. Students will complete their asynchronous and synchronous courses in the accelerated nine-week term format. The program was developed to be of particular use to Christian teachers and so this online degree requires students to complete the specialization courses; the general degree is not available as an online offering. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Old Testament Literature and Interpretation, Teaching the Bible, and New Testament Literature and Interpretation.

16. Tie — South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary

Deerfield Beach, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Biblical Studies from South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $15,300

The accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is offered at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary was designed to be completed by professionals who are interested in becoming academic scholars and researchers in the field. The program requires that students have six credit hours of Biblical Languages completed prior to applying for admittance; they are also expected to be involved in the ministry of their local church on a consistent basis. This degree is conferred entirely online and utilizes asynchronous and synchronous coursework to this end; students will complete their coursework requirements through the school’s learning management system. This program follows the traditional 16-week academic term format and students who take three courses every term will graduate in two years. Students will be expected to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, the master’s seminar, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Writing Research Papers Across the Curriculum, Wealth and Poverty in the Bible, and New Testament Theology.

15. Virginia Baptist College

Fredericksburg, Virginia

Master of Biblical Studies Online

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online Master of Biblical Studies from Virginia Baptist College offers to degree tracks.

Website

Tuition: $15,000

Virginia Baptist College confers a comprehensive affordable accelerated online Master’s in Theology that was designed for professionals established in the field who wish to advance their knowledge of the Bible and theology in general. This degree is offered entirely online with no residency requirements and can be completed in two years when students study full-time. There are two tracks available with this program: Language and Non-Language. Students who take the Language track will learn Greek and Hebrew while those in the Non-Language track will complete other directed electives. All courses are held online through the school’s virtual portal in asynchronous and synchronous sessions; terms are either eight weeks or 16 weeks long, with most graduate courses offered in the eight-week session format. Students who complete two courses every term will complete this degree in two years. This program requires that students finish 60 credit hours of coursework, an independent research project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Biblical Leadership in the 21st Century, Introduction to Biblical Ethics, and Research and Writing.

14. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

MA in Theological Studies Online

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Theological Studies from Liberty University requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $14,220

Students who complete the 12-month accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is available from Liberty University will find a degree program that will provide students with a pathway towards postgraduate and doctoral study. This course of study is offered 100 percent online and has no residency requirements. Students will earn their credit hours by attending their asynchronous courses online through the school’s learning management system. Courses focus on the history of the bible and the various methods that professionals take when researching the bible and theology. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Intercultural Communication and Engagement, Survey of the History of Christianity, and Research, Writing, and Ministry Preparation.

13. Anderson University

Anderson, South Carolina

Online Master of Ministry

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online Master of Ministry from Anderson University requires 42 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $14,070

Anderson University offers an affordable accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is housed within the Master of Ministry, a practical degree for professionals who are interested in becoming leaders in ministry. This university is consistently nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and has a reputation for providing excellent online theology degrees. The curriculum is offered 100 percent online and has no residency requirements. Students will attend courses online through the school’s virtual portal; courses are held asynchronously or synchronously in the eight-week accelerated format. Working professionals who take just two courses every term will graduate within two years. This degree does require an internship for professionals who do not have work experience in ministry. Other graduation requirements include 42 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Hermeneutics and Exegesis, and Topics and Issues in Youth Ministry.

12. Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Ministry from Grand Canyon University require 38 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $12,920

The affordable accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is offered by Grand Canyon University can be completed in two years and will provide students with a degree that will prepare them for service in ministry and the church. This degree is offered 100 percent online and has no residency requirements, making it a great choice for working professionals who do not have the time to attend immersive weekends. Students will instead complete all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system; courses are offered both asynchronously and synchronously in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will find that they will be eligible for graduation just by taking two courses every term, including one summer term. This degree requires 38 quarter credit units of coursework, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Pastoral Care in a Ministry Context, Communicating in a 21st Century Ministry Context, and Leading and Organizing Ministries in the Church.

11. Shasta Bible College

Redding, California

Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministries: Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Ministries in Biblical Studies from Shasta Bible College is available 100 percent online.

Website

Tuition: $12,600

Shasta Bible College is home to an accelerated online Master’s in Theology that was designed for professionals who are interested in working in academia or in the church. This is a 100 percent online course of study that is designed to be earned within two years. The Biblical Studies concentration is perfect for professionals who are interested in entering seminary or doing a doctoral study in theology. This program has no residency requirements and students will instead take all of their asynchronous and synchronous courses online through the school’s virtual portal. Courses are held in the traditional 16-week academic term format, meaning that students who take three courses every term will be eligible to graduate within two years. Students can expect to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a master’s thesis or project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Advanced Hermeneutics, Contemporary Issues in Theology, Pneumatology and Soteriology, and Contemporary Issues in Eschatology and Ecclesiology.

10. Clarks Summit University

South Abington Township, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Arts, Concentration in Bible

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Bible from Clarks Summit University requires 30 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $12,450

Students at Clarks Summit University can complete an accelerated online Master’s in Theology in two years, all while continuing to work full-time. This program was designed to be a wholly online course of study; there are no residence requirements and students will never have to attend a live class session. Instead, all courses are delivered through the school’s online learning management system in either the asynchronous or synchronous delivery format. Students who take three courses every term, including at least one summer term, will graduate within two years. This degree requires 30 credit hours of coursework, a capstone seminar, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses and more information about program requirements can be discussed with a graduate admissions advisor.

9. Baptist College of Florida

Graceville, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Christian Studies, Concentration in Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Studies in Biblical Studies from the Baptist College of Florida offers two degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $12,240

The Baptist College of Florida is a great place for students who are interested in completing an accelerated online Master’s in Theology in two years. There are two concentrations associated with this degree: Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry. This program was designed by experts in the field to be completed in two years. It is a research-focused program that will provide professionals with the necessary tools and skills in order to become academics and researchers in the field. This course of study is delivered wholly online; there are absolutely no residency requirements. Students will attend their asynchronous or synchronous classes through the school’s online learning management system, where sessions last for 16 weeks. Those who take just two courses every term and complete one summer term will graduate as a part-time student within two years. Students will be expected to complete 30 credit hours of coursework, a thesis, and a comprehensive written or oral exit exam. Sample courses include Introduction to Graduate Research, Introduction to Theological Studies, and Educational Ministry in the Church.

8. Holy Apostle College

Cromwell, Connecticut

Online Master of Arts in Theology

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Theology from Holy Apostle College offers seven degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $12,240

Students at Holy Apostle College will be offered the chance to earn a two-year accelerated online Master’s in Theology. This program was designed for professionals with a general understanding of theological principles and is perfect for anyone interested in entering the ministry. This degree comes with seven concentrations, including Dogmatic Theology, Sacred Scripture, and Apologetics, the latter of which is available online. Students will find that this degree is offered 100 percent online with no residency requirements attached to this program. Students will be required to complete all of their coursework online through the school’s learning management system; courses follow the 16-week academic term format and are completed as either as asynchronous or synchronous courses. Students who take just two courses every term and complete one summer term will graduate within two years. This degree requires 30 credit hours, a capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Fundamental Moral Theology, Synoptic Gospels, and God: One and Triune.

7. Ohio Christian University

Circleville, Ohio

Online Master of Arts in Ministry

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Ministry from Ohio Christian University has no campus residency requirements.

Website

Tuition: $11,220

Ohio Christian University confers an accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is meant to be completed in two years. Designed to prepare students for service to the church through ministry, the program comes with two concentrations: Practical Theology or Pastoral Care and Counseling. The program is offered 100 percent online and there are no residency requirements. Students will find that their courses are delivered through the school’s virtual portal and can be completed in asynchronous or synchronous sessions. Each session lasts for six weeks, making it possible for students who take just one course every term to complete this degree in less than two years. Students will be expected to complete 34 credit hours of coursework, the Ministry capstone project, and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Theology of John Wesley, Old Testament History and Interpretation, and History of Christian Thought.

6. Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, Wisconsin

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Biblical Studies from Maranatha Baptist University requires 33. credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $10,626

The accelerated online Master’s in Theology provided by Maranatha Baptist University was designed for passionate individuals who are interested in completing a degree so they can practice ministry. This program was created to be taken as a 100 percent online course of study; students have no residency requirements. The courses necessary for this degree can be found online through the school’s learning management system and come in either an asynchronous or synchronous format. Courses run in eight-week sessions and students who study-part time will graduate within two years. This degree requires 33 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Biblical Studies, Pastoral Theology, and Systematic Theology.

5. Trinity Baptist College

Jacksonville, Florida

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Biblical Studies from Trinity Baptist College require 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $10,235

Trinity Baptist College is home to an exceptional Master’s in Theology that can be completed in just two years. This degree was developed to prepare students for advanced work in biblical studies. The program is formatted to be completed mostly online; students will have to take one one-week residency on campus for a required course. Students will complete coursework through the school’s online learning management system in asynchronous or synchronous sessions that run in 16-week academic term blocks. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral Bible exam. Sample courses include Graduate Research and Writing, Principles of Biblical Leadership, and Advanced Biblical Counseling.

4. The University of the Cumberlands

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Online Master of Arts in Christian Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Studies from the University of the Cumberlands offers six degree concentrations.

Website

Tuition: $9,700

Students enrolled at the University of the Cumberlands can complete a 12-month online Master’s in Theology that has a stated focus on practical applications. There are six concentration tracks for this degree: Biblical Studies, Missions, Church Planing, Youth Ministry, Christian Education, and Pastoral Ministry. This program was designed to ensure that all Christians will have a strong foundation to go on to doctoral study or enter the ministry. Students will find that this degree was built to be completed 100 percent online; there are no residency requirements. Courses are offered through the school’s learning management system and can be completed in either an asynchronous or synchronous format. Students can expect to complete 30 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Christian Theology, Old Testament Survey, and New Testament Survey.

3. Luther Rice College and Seminary

Lithonia, Georgia

Online Master of Arts in Christian Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Christian Studies from Luther Rice College and Seminary requires 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $9,612

Luther Rice College and Seminary has designed an accelerated online Master’s in Theology that can be completed in as little as 18 months. This degree was built to be taken by working professionals who are interested in working in ministry or be of service to the church. As a 100 percent online course of study with no residency requirements, students will complete all of their coursework online through asynchronous and synchronous courses that follow an accelerated eight-week term format. Students will also complete a practicum for real-world experience; this takes place in a students’ community and under the supervision of a preceptor. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework and a comprehensive written and oral exit exam. Sample courses include Systematic Theology, Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, and Acts of the Apostles.

2. Heritage Christian University

Florence, Alabama

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Biblical Studies from Heritage Christian University require 36 credit hours of coursework.

Website

Tuition: $8,964

The accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is offered by Heritage Christian University is a research-based degree that can be completed in two years when students study full-time. This degree was designed to prepare working professionals to go into the doctoral study or enter the seminary. The curriculum can be found as a 100 percent online course of study; all coursework requirements are fulfilled using the school’s virtual portal. Courses are delivered in asynchronous or synchronous sessions and in the traditional 16-week academic term format. Students will be required to complete 36 credit hours of coursework, a master’s thesis, and an oral defense of the thesis. Sample courses include History of Theology, The Writings of C.S. Lewis, and Theology of the Hebrew Bible.

1. Texas Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary

Jacksonville, Texas

Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology

Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master's in Theology Online for 2018
The online MA in Pastoral Theology from Texas Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary offers all classes asynchronously.

Website

Tuition: $7,920

The Texas Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary is a two-year accelerated online Master’s in Theology that is perfect for professionals who wish to move into ministerial leadership. The degree, which is found 100 percent online with no residency requirements, is offered in a flexible format that makes it easier for professionals to take. All courses are delivered asynchronously, eliminating the need to participate in live classes, and can be found on the school’s learning management system. The school follows the traditional 16-week academic term format, making it simple for students to complete this degree as a part-time plan of study. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, a capstone project or thesis, and a comprehensive oral exit exam. More information can be found by speaking to a graduate admissions advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Career Options for an Accelerated Online Master’s in Theology Degree?

  • College or University Professor
  • Religious School Teacher
  • Missionary
  • Minister
  • Executive Director of a Nonprofit Organization
  • Social Worker
  • Volunteer Recruiter
  • Fundraising Specialist
  • Bible Scholar
  • Bible Translator
  • Freelance Lecturer and Speaker
  • Religious Research Associate
  • Hospital Chaplain
  • Military Chaplain
  • Community Outreach Coordinator

How Much Can You Earn in this Field?

A graduate degree in theology can lead to many career paths making it nearly impossible to pin down a salary range. However, for the purposes of this ranking, it has been determined that professionals in this field can expect to make between $25,000 to over $150,000.

To put this salary range into perspective, students should note that higher-paying jobs will often require a doctorate degree. This includes professions such as teaching at the university level, becoming a Bible scholar or translator, and more. Salaries can also skyrocket for televangelists, like the ones seen on television, but requires business acumen and a meteoric rise within the professional’s denomination.

Lower-paying positions are generally entry-level jobs that are reserved for pre-service professionals. While low-paying, these jobs can provide employees with several benefits, such as healthcare, and the opportunity to work overseas for the church.

What are the Various Disciplines of Theology?

Theology, by nature, is an academic discipline that is focused on the study of the divine. It is a field in which several disciplines come into play, including religion, bible studies, philosophy of religion, the psychology of religion, and more. Professionals spend a lot of time doing research, so they must also be fluent in dead languages, anthropology, archaeology, statistics, analysis, and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. If they choose a ministry path, they will need to be fluent in interpersonal skills, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.

Religion plays a large role in American society. Whether it’s influence is subtle or direct, it continues to inform how many people lead their lives. Theology helps society understand the power that religion has on everyday life and the professionals in the field are the experts that are expected to ensure that people continue to understand their religion. An accelerated online Master’s in Theology can help with this task, providing ministers, theologians, and scholars with a strong advanced foundation in a field that still has more questions than answers.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 20 Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Theology Online.