By Gabrielle Kratsas
If you are undecided in your search for the best online colleges to earn a bachelor’s degree, consider some of the schools on this list of top universities for religious studies and theology degrees. With a bachelor’s degree in religion, students can enter careers in hospitality, the service industry, marketing and management, publishing, government, non-profit organizations and more.
Students can earn a religious education through various bachelor’s degree majors like biblical studies, ministry and leadership, missions, religious studies, theology, Christian studies and more. Whether the degree is from an online seminary, Bible college, Christian college or public university, an online religious studies degree will provide students with a fundamental cultural literacy as well as observational, research, presentation, interpretation, problem solving and analytical skills.
It’s important for us to find an affordable college degree at the best colleges and universities; therefore, placement in this ranking is focused solely on the “net cost” of each school, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Database. Additionally, almost all of the schools on this list have earned awards for their excellence and/or affordability by multiple sources like Theology Degrees, OnlineU, Best Value Schools and U.S. News & World Report.
50. Holy Apostles College & Seminary in Cromwell, CT
Online BA in Theology
Net Cost: $320 per credit hour
Holy Apostles College & Seminary is the second highest ranked school for an online religion degree on Best Value School’s list. Holy Apostles was founded in 1956 and is dedicated to cultivating Catholic leaders for the New Evangelization. This online seminary school is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.
This 120-credit hour online theology degree can be pursued on-campus, completely online or in a hybrid format. Students in this online degree program who complete at least 10 courses in any of the four major areas (philosophy, theology, English in the humanities or history in the social sciences) may double major. Example courses in this curriculum include Philosophical Anthropology, Fundamental Bioethics and Marriage and Theology of the Body.
49. Belmont University in Nashville, TN
Online BA or BS in Ministry
Net Cost: $32,672
Belmont University is a private, student-centered Christian college that offers more than 90 areas of undergraduate study, 19 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees. Belmont was ranked No. 6 in the Regional Universities South category and named as a “Most Innovative” university by U.S. News & World Report. This school consists of more than 7,700 students who come from every state and more than 25 countries. It’s accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Belmont’s ministry program is designed to allow working adults currently involved in ministry work to improve their education while balancing work, as well as career changers looking to begin a new career in ministry. This online degree program combines traditional courses in religion like theology and church history with innovative classes in practical ministry.
48. Southern California Seminary in El Cajon, CA
Online BA in Biblical Studies
Net Cost: $31,678
Southern California Seminary offers faith-based degree programs grounded in the inerrant Word of God, both Online & On-Campus in San Diego. As a ministry of Shadow Mountain Community Church, under the leadership of Dr. David Jeremiah, SCS offers a high-quality biblical education with an affordable tuition. SCS is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
The bachelor of arts in biblical studies at SoCal Seminary is a 120-unit course designed to develop Christian character, a sound knowledge of the English Bible, as well as the skills appropriate for ministry in a local church, mission field or other Christian ministry. Biblical studies core curriculum classes include Biblical Discipleship, Elementary Hebrew and Inductive Bible Study.
47. Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC
Online BA in Christian Studies
Net Cost: $27,309
Campbell University is a private institution of higher education that enrolls more than 6200 students. About 83 percent of the 224 full-time faculty members hold the highest degree in their discipline. Campbell is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).
Example courses within Campbell’s online BA in Christian studies include Basic Christian Beliefs, New Testament Survey and World Religions. Campbell has been associated with the military since 1976 and involved in online offerings since 1999.
46. University of Northwestern – St. Paul in Saint Paul, MN
Online BA in Biblical Studies
Net Cost: $24,621
The University of Northwestern – St. Paul is a private evangelical Christian college that was founded in 1902. UNWSP is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
UNWSP’s BA in biblical studies is intended for students who wish to pursue graduate studies in preparation for teaching, who desire a solid pre-seminary program or anyone who seeks to gain a high proficiency in biblical studies. Within the required 125 credit hours, students of this online degree program will cover subjects like Studies in Biblical Theology, Elementary Greek and Progress of Redemption.
45. Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO
Online BA in Biblical Studies or BS in Organizational Management in Christian Leadership
Net Cost: $24,438
Colorado Christian University is the premier interdenominational Christian college in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, as well as a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. While learning online at CCU, students are able to focus on just one class at a time, and the classes are flexible to fit adult student schedules. CCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
CCU’s BA in biblical studies degree program guides students through the major theological themes in the Bible including: Creation, Sin, Reconciliation and Hope. The goal of this online degree program, according to the school’s website, is for graduates to be mastered by the Bible and to be servants of God to those with whom they come in contact. The organizational management in Christian leadership degree is specifically designed to prepare students for leadership in church or parachurch ministries, community-based initiatives, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and for profit or non-profit organizations.
44. Dallas Baptist University in Dallas, TX
Online BA in Biblical Studies or BAS in Christian Ministries
Net Cost: $23,796
Dallas Baptist University has been ranked among the top online Christian colleges by multiple sources, like Christian Universities Online and Niche. DBU offers 58 fully-online degree programs without required campus visits and with small class sizes, excellent course materials and expert instructors. DBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
The BAS in Christian ministries at DBU requires of minimum of 120 credit hours and a minimum GPA of 2.0. Courses within this curriculum include Survey of Christian Education, Teaching Ministry of the Church and Servant Leadership. The BA in biblical studies is designed to prepare students for further seminary or university studies, or for a lifetime of study and service without further formal training.
43. Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI
Online BA in Religion
Net Cost: $23,491
Founded in 1874, Andrews University is the flagship Christian college of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, including the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, with the motto, “Seek Knowledge. Affirm Faith. Change the World.” This university encourages strong moral principles, a close relationship with God and the diversity of faiths represented at Andrews while respecting the differences of persuasion that are present. Andrews is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges and Universities.
At Andrews, the online bachelor degree in religion is designed for adults choosing to contribute to Adventist ministry in addition to or after a career in another field. Graduates of this program have achieved careers as Bible workers, chaplains and teachers or continued postgraduate studies in theology, ministry or religious education. Example courses in this curriculum include God and Human Life, Hermeneutics and Doctrines of the Adventist Faith.
42. Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA
Online BS in Biblical and Educational Studies, Christian Leadership and Management or Religion
Net Cost: $23,468
Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university, classified as a doctoral research institution. Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty is now the nation’s largest private, nonprofit online university. More than 95,000 students around the world enjoy quality education with the flexibility of distance. Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The online BS in religion degree program at Liberty offers students a strong biblical foundation. It engages students through instruction on fundamental principles of the Bible, Christianity, theology and the church. This online college’s curriculum includes specializations on subjects like Christian ministries, Christian counseling and evangelism, which will equip students to apply the Bible and its principles to many contemporary issues facing society today.
41. Hampton University in Hampton, VA
Online BA in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $23,404
Hampton University is a private historically black university with sights set squarely on the horizons of the global community of the 21st century. Hampton provides a broad range of technical, liberal arts and graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The online religious studies degree program will provide a solid foundation in religious education and an opportunity to obtain an accredited Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies through distance learning. The program curriculum includes a strong core of biblical, theological and pastoral courses reinforced by a strong liberal arts foundation. Specific courses include Contemporary Moral Problems, World Civilizations and The Prophetic Books.
40. Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, TX
Eight different online Bible & Church Ministries degree programs
Net Cost: $23,257
Southwestern Assemblies of God University is a Christian university and Bible college seminary in Texas. Three Bible schools — Southwestern Bible School, Shield of Faith Bible School and Southern Bible Institute — merged during the founding of SAGU. SAGU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees.
The online Bible and theology degree program offers courses like The Church in Mission, Authentic Christianity, Systematic Theology and more. With these online degree programs at SAGU, students can save up to $25,000 toward their bachelor’s degree through Experiential Learning Credit by enrolling in a single three-hour course. They can earn up to 45 hours of credit by demonstrating knowledge and work experience.
39. LeTourneau University in Longview, TX
Online Bachelor of Biblical Studies and Ministry
Net Cost: $23,024
LeTourneau University is a private, interdenominational Christian university with programs in engineering, aeronautical science, education and business. According to the website, the university’s founder, R.G. LeTourneau, believed in the importance of college education while not giving up a full-time job, and LETU was founded specifically to train the employees working in Mr. LeTourneau’s factory. LETU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The bachelor of biblical studies and ministry’s curriculum provides comprehensive biblical instruction and ministerial training through courses like Life & Teachings of Christ, Contemporary World Missions and Worship Leadership. All faculty members in this online theology degree program have diverse denominational backgrounds and proven theological credentials.
38. Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK
Online BS in Church Ministries, BS in Christian Caregiving and Counseling or BA in Biblical Literature
Net Cost: $22,509
Oral Roberts University is an interdenominational, Christian, liberal arts university with an enrollment of about 3,660 students. ORU offers more than 65 undergraduate majors, as well as 14 master’s level programs and two doctoral degrees. This university is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
Students majoring in Biblical Literature or Christian Caregiving and Counseling are required to choose a minor. The online Christian caregiving and counseling degree program prepares students for lay counseling roles and related ministries within the context of the local church and related agencies. The church ministries degree program is a general theology degree, which may be sufficient background for pastoral ministry in some settings. Finally, the biblical literature major exposes students to a broad spectrum of hermeneutical and exegetical perspectives, tools and methods so they may interpret the Bible responsibly and perceptively within a theological-historical framework.
37. Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, OK
Online BS in Ministry & Leadership
Net Cost: $21,742
Oklahoma Wesleyan University is a nationally ranked private Christian university of the Wesleyan Church. Students enrolling in online degree programs at OKWU can complete classwork anywhere they have internet access in classes run by professors who have been ranked as the best in the nation four times in the last five years by CBS MoneyWatch. OKWU is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
The online BS in ministry & leadership degree program at OKWU is designed to teach students the knowledge and skills necessary for effective church ministry, parachurch ministry and the administration of both. Students must complete a total of 126 credit hours of general education, electives and core ministry curriculum.
36. Saint Leo University in Saint Leo, FL
Online BA in Religion
Net Cost: $21,377
Saint Leo University is a private, non-profit, Roman Catholic liberal arts university that enrolls more than 16,000 students across its traditional campus. It serves students from 49 states and 86 countries—ranking Saint Leo among the five largest Catholic higher education institutions in the nation. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The School of Arts and Sciences at Saint Leo offers a fully online BA in religion degree program. The curriculum is designed to help prepare students for parish ministry or for graduate school in theology or religion. The coursework explores topics such as The Old and New Testament, religions of the world and history of Christianity.
35. Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL
Online BS in Ministerial Leadership
Net Cost: $21,342
Southeastern University is a Christian liberal arts university offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in professional careers and ministry-related fields. Founded in 1935, SEU was named one of the fastest-growing liberal arts universities in the nation by The Chronicle of Higher Education. This Christian college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Southeastern’s ministerial leadership degree program is “created for students who have a passion for children’s ministry, missions or another part of the body of Christ,” according to the program’s webpage. Graduates of this program will be prepared to serve in leadership and support roles at churches and other faith-based organizations. Courses include Family Ministry, Christian Spirituality and Holistic Disciplemaking.
34. Welch College in Nashville, TN
Online BS in Theological Studies, General Christian Ministry
Net Cost: $20,463
Founded in 1942, Welch College is a private four-year Christian college associated with the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Welch is governed by a board of trustees elected by that association and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate and master degrees.
The BS in theological studies, general Christian ministries track is designed to be earned online, and it prepares students to become Christian leaders in the local church context. Graduates of this program will be able to articulate a practical biblical theology and philosophy of life and ministry; demonstrate skills in a variety of local church ministries; and provide leadership in a local church through teaching/preaching, planning, organizing, and overseeing programs.
33. Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC
Online BS in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $20,417
Gardner-Webb University is a private, four-year university that unites Christian ideals with liberal arts academics in a welcoming environment. Founded in 1905 as Boiling Springs High School, Gardner-Webb has grown its academic programs, student body and physical campus to become a nationally-recognized leader in Christian education. GWU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The BS in religious studies degree program at GWU provides students with an understanding of the spiritual, physical, mental, psychological and social dimensions of life and prepares them for church-related or social agency careers, as well as the pursuit of advanced education. The curriculum in this degree covers topics like spiritual formation, philosophy, Christian theology and history and ministry.
32. Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ
Online BA in Christian Studies or Worship Arts
Net Cost: $19,761
Grand Canyon University is Arizona’s premier private Christian university where tens of thousands of online students attend online classes from around the globe. GCU was founded in 1949 by the Southern Baptist Church, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The online BA in Christian studies degree program at GCU provides a strong basis for Christian leadership and ministry, and teaches students how to utilize biblical studies, theology, philosophy and Christian history as the foundation and framework for communicating Christ to various audiences. Within this curriculum, students explore gospels and acts, Christian theology, survey of historical theology and more.
31. Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, TX
Online BA in Religion or Theology
Net Cost: $19,558
Southwestern Adventist University is one of 13 colleges and universities in the US affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This Christian college has a traditional focus on healthful living, the Sabbath and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Founded in 1892, SAU is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and Adventist Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities.
SAU’s online BA in religion provides a Christ-centered and Bible-based religious education that is in line with the global mission and message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The online theology degree program integrates theological knowledge with pastoral training for excellence in ministry.
30. Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL
Online BS in Biblical Studies, Theology and Cultural Engagement, Ministry Leadership or Theological Studies
Net Cost: $19,417
Founded in 1886, The Moody Bible Institute combines biblical knowledge with practical training to equip students with the truth of God’s Word using new technology in an agile and innovative community. Moody Distance Learning offers a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels in subjects like theology, bible, ministry and education. MBI is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
MBI offers four different online bachelor degree options within religious education: Biblical studies; theology and cultural engagement; ministry leadership, and theological studies. The BS in ministry leadership is a 120-credit hour program in which students develop expertise in biblical leadership, congregational dynamics and ministry operations. The BS in biblical studies prepares students to serve effectively in ministry or in the marketplace by developing biblical thinking, interpretation and application. In the theological studies program, students will complete 80 hours of biblical and theological coursework and choose a concentration in Christian thought or spiritual formation. Finally, the BS in theology and cultural engagement is designed to train students to minister in multicultural churches, both overseas and in the United States.
29. Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, GA
Online BS in Biblical Studies, Ministry Leadership or Youth Ministries
Net Cost: $18,604
Toccoa Falls College is a liberal arts Christian college offering over 40 undergraduate major/tracks, each including 30 hours of Bible. TFC is incorporated under the laws of the State of Georgia as a four-year college, authorized by the Georgia State Legislature to grant the baccalaureate degree and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
TFC is ranked as the No. 3 best online college in Georgia by Best Colleges. The BS in biblical studies is a fully-online religion degree program that includes courses like Introduction to Theology, Advanced Hermeneutics and Genesis. The BS in ministry leadership includes courses in Western Thought & Culture, Foundations of Spiritual Formation and Strategic Nonprofit Management. The BS in youth ministries consists of curriculum like Communicating to Youth, Youth Culture and Emotionally Healthy Youth Minister.
28. Lee University in Cleveland, TN
Online BA or BS in Bible & Theology, Christian Studies or Ministry Leadership
Net Cost: $18,139
Lee University is a private, liberal arts Christian college historically affiliated with the Church of God, an evangelical Christian denomination. Lee’s Division of Adult Learning offers a wide array of degrees, including fully-online bachelor’s and master’s degrees, online courses, or classes onsite weekly at the Charlotte Center. Lee is consistently ranked in the “Top Tier” in the South by U.S. News & World Report and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The Bible and theology degree program at Lee is designed to deliver general, biblical, and theological fundamentals to those persons desiring to continue on in further theological study. The Christian studies degree program teaches students a broad foundation of biblical understanding and training for personal development and/or specific ministries. Finally, the online ministry leadership degree program focus is to explore and develop leadership potential based on biblical principles in a variety of Christian ministry settings.
27. Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA
Online BS in Christian Leadership & Management, BA in Christian Ministry or BA in Biblical and Theology Studies
Net Cost: $17,986
Regent University is a private Christian research university offering quality degrees for undergraduate, working adult, graduate and military students. Regent has a list of over 60 different online degree programs within the College of Arts & Sciences and Regent’s seven graduate schools. Regent is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The online bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry prepares students for the practice of ministry within a challenging and diverse global community. Coursework includes studies in teaching the Bible, ministry communication, systematic theology, church history, biblical studies and Christian discipleship. The online degree program in biblical and theological studies teaches students an appreciation of the history, context and message of the Bible as well as historical and theological developments within the history of Christianity. Course requirements include Acts of the Apostles, Psalms and Biblical Languages.
26. Truett-McConnell University in Cleveland, GA
Online BA in Christian Studies
Net Cost: $17,725
Truett-McConnell University is a private, coeducational, Christian college that offers numerous undergraduate degrees and a Master of Theology program, both available in campus classes or the school’s user-friendly online classroom portals. Truett is operated under the auspices of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia, controlled by a Board of Trustees elected by the Convention and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
The BA in Christian studies degree program at Truett is designed for students who wish to prepare themselves for full-time or part-time vocational Christian ministry in any form. Graduates of this program can go on to become pastors, ministers of education, ministers of youth, Christian counselors, missionaries and more. Students can choose between a concentration in biblical and theological studies or student ministry.
25. Barclay College in Haviland, KS
Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry Leadership
Net Cost: $17,392
Barclay College is a four-year private Christian college that is affiliated with the Religious Society of Friends. This online college provides Christian education to prepare students in a Bible-centered environment for effective Christian life, service and leadership. Founded by Quaker settlers in 1917, Barclay welcomes students from all evangelical faith traditions who seek a rigorous academic setting with a solid biblical foundation. The college is listed in the current edition of the Higher Education Directory and is approved for the training of veterans. It is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation, of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
The online biblical studies degree program at Barclay consists of 128 credit hours of courses like World Christian Perspectives, Friends Theology and Synoptic Gospels. The Christian ministry leadership degree program curriculum includes courses like Basic Beliefs, Spiritual Formation and Old Testament Models of Leadership.
24. Global University in Springfield, MO
Online BA in Bible and Theology, Intercultural Studies or Christian Education
Net Cost: $135 per credit hour
Global University is a Christian college that offers online and distance learning to prepare students for a life of ministry. This online college operates in the Pentecostal tradition as a worldwide distance learning pioneer, educating students in 150 different countries. Four schools comprise Global University: The School for Evangelism and Discipleship, Berean School of the Bible, Undergraduate School of Bible and Theology and Graduate School of Theology. Global has been approved by the State of Missouri to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
At Global, students of all levels can choose a bachelor’s degree that best fits their life. The online BA in Bible and theology degree can be earned within a 128, 96 or 50 credit-hour program. In the Bible and theology degree program, students will take courses like A Study of the Book of Hebrews, Apologetics and The Book of Acts. Courses in the Christian education degree program include The New Testament as Literature, The Church’s Educational Task and Genesis,
23. Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN
Online BA in Christian Ministry
Net Cost: $17,156
Trevecca Nazarene University is a private Christian liberal arts college founded in 1901 with the mission, “a Christian community providing education for leadership and service.” As the official university for the Church of the Nazarene in the southeastern United States, the university welcomes students of any religious affiliation who subscribe to its ideals and standards. TNU is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Trevecca created its online BA in Christian ministry program to provide students with the tools they need to be an effective steward of their time, talents and resources. Professors of this program are richly educated in Christian theology, and the curriculum focuses on four keys areas: Holistic mindset; missional vision; servant leadership skills, and ministry competence.
22. Shorter University in Rome, GA
Online BS in Christian Studies
Net Cost: $17,029
Shorter University is a private, liberal arts Christian college founded in 1873 and historically affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention. This school’s motto is “Transforming Lives through Christ,” and the Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its lists of best value and best Southeastern colleges. Shorter is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
Shorter’s BS in Christian studies is offered in a flexible online format. It equips students with the fundamentals of Christian theology, evangelism and service. This online religion degree program utilizes a biblical approach and scholarly study to prepare its students who seek to enter ministry and related vocational fields. Students who plan to further their religious education will be well equipped to pursue additional degrees, such as candidacy in a master level seminary program.
21. King University in Bristol, TN
Online BS in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $16,845
Founded in 1867, King University is a Presbyterian, doctoral-level comprehensive university. King is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
The online bachelor’s in religious studies at King University is a 48-semester hour degree program that prepares students to further their careers including opportunities such as entering theological seminaries or graduate schools of religion and philosophy. The curriculum includes courses on topics like biblical studies, theology, Greek language, interpretation, faith at work in the community and more. It also combines an understanding of Christianity in the 21st century with the study of religion.
20. University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY
Online BS in Missions and Ministries
Net Cost: $16,515
University of the Cumberlands is a private, liberal arts college with an enrollment of about 6,000, and it is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church. UCumberlands offers 44 majors and 34 minors at the bachelor degree level. UCumberlands is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
The BS in missions and ministry is 100 percent online, and it aims to provide students with an understanding of biblical literature, history, theology and ethics. Students in this program have the opportunity to earn a minor from the Department of Missions and Ministry that is available online for School of Lifelong Learning students. Courses in the curriculum include Developing Our Spiritual Life, Interpreting the Bible and Introducing Christian Theology.
19. Ohio Christian University in Circleville, OH
Online BA in Leadership & Ministry
Net Cost: $16,414
Ohio Christian University was founded in 1948 as Circleville Bible College to educate clergy for the Churches of Christ in Christian Union. OCU has since expanded its outreach by becoming accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Association for Biblical Higher Education and adding associate, bachelor and master’s degree programs in disciplines such as business and government, emergency management and business, psychology and human services.
The BA in leadership & ministry at OCU is offered both on campus and as an online degree program. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to become an effective minister. Within the required 120 credit hours, students can tailor their academics by choosing one of the following concentrations: Biblical Studies, Church Planting, Organizational Leadership and Pastoral Ministry. Course examples include Transformed Worldview, General Epistles and Christian Excellence.
18. University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL
Online BA in Religion and Cultural Studies
Net Cost: $14,366
Best Degree Programs named the University of Central Florida its No. 2 university for earning a bachelor’s degree online in religion. UCF, according to Wikipedia, is the largest university in the United States by undergraduate enrollment and the second largest by total enrollment, with 63,000 students enrolled. In 2015 UCF enrolled more National Merit Scholars and awarded more degrees than any other Florida university. UCF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
The College of Arts and Humanities at UCF offers a web-based degree program in religion and cultural studies. This online program is designed to familiarize students with religious traditions around the world. It introduces them to critical theories and methods through which they view and analyze the category of religion and its associated concepts, practices and meanings. This program does not privilege any particular tradition or belief, and example courses include Buddhism, Native American Religions and Queer Theory in the Humanities.
17. Beulah Heights University in Atlanta, GA
Online BA in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $14,360
Beulah Heights University is a premier Christian university in Atlanta and one of the oldest Christian colleges in the Southeast. This university’s core principles are Biblical inerrancy, Integrity, Global Missions, Dedicated Servant hood and Diversity. Beulah is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and a member of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
The BA in religious studies at Beulah is offered completely online and provides students with skills in biblical education, leadership development, strategic planning, non-profit organization, community economic development or communicating across cultural lines. The Department of Religious Studies prepares men and women for the church related ministries of biblical teaching and pastoral care in diverse geographic and international settings.
16. Virginia University of Lynchburg in Lynchburg, VA
Online BA in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $13,949
Founded in 1886, Virginia University of Lynchburg is a private, historically black university that currently offers instruction and degrees, primarily in religious studies, including a Doctorate of Ministry program. Since its inception, VUL has been coeducational and committed to Biblical principles and the philosophy of self-help. VUL is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) and certified by SCHEV (State Counsel for Higher Education of Virginia).
VUL offers an online religious studies degree. Its curriculum includes courses like Basic Worship, The Epistles of Paul and Black Theology. At VUL, students also have the opportunity to continue their education online with the online college’s master of divinity.
15. Judson College in Marion, AL
Online Bachelor in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $13,901
Judson College, founded by members of Siloam Baptist Church in 1838, is a private, four-year women’s college. This Christian college has a student/faculty ratio of 9:1, and it offers 20 majors, 22 minors, 10 pre-professional degree programs, and the Associate Degree in Nursing. Judson is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Distance learning students at Judson have the choice of 12 majors and 11 minors offered online, including the online bachelor of religious studies and religion-related minors like Church Music, Religious Studies and Ministry Skills. Online courses at Judson are delivered via Moodle Online Course Management System, video, email, mail, phone and fax. Accredited Schools Online and Christian Universities Online ranked Judson among their Best Online Colleges lists for 2016.
14. Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ
Online BA in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $12,893
Arizona State University is a top-ranked research university in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with an enrollment of nearly 100,000 students across 16 colleges. Both The Best Schools and U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU among their top online colleges with bachelor’s programs. ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
The religious studies BA at ASU offers a customizable curriculum that explores the diversity of the world religions within their particular historical, social and cultural contexts. This online degree program focuses on religion’s societal, global and personal significance, as well as its impact on human history. Courses in the program include Ritual, Symbol, and Myth, Global Awareness and American Religious Traditions.
13. Grace Bible College in Wyoming, MI
Online BS in Leadership & Ministry
Net Cost: $12,889
Grace Bible College is an evangelical Christian college that offers a wide variety of on-campus, online, adult and graduate degree programs at an affordable price. Founded in 1939, GBC has earned recognition from various sources for its affordable tuition, enrollment growth, online programs and as a top Christian college. GBC is dually accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
The BS in leadership & ministry at GBC is fully online and for adults involved in or preparing for ministry as a vocation. In this degree program, students are challenged to think biblically, develop spiritually and enhance their ministry skills. Students work in cohort groups of 10-16 to provide maximum interaction and support from instructors. Example courses in this curriculum include Letters of Paul, Pastoral Care and Knowing God.
12. Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, TX
Online Bachelor of Christian Ministry (BCM)
Net Cost: $12,756
Wayland Baptist University is a private, coeducational Baptist university with a total of 14 campuses in five Texas cities, six states and Kenya. Wayland is home to one of the fastest growing online Christian colleges in the nation, with several online degree programs in which students get the same education as those on campus. WBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
WBU’s online bachelor of Christian ministry is a minimum of 124 credit hours. It’s designed for those who come into the program with real world ministry-related work experience. This program is offered through the School of Religion and Philosophy. Its purposes are to provide education in religion and philosophy for all students; to provide theological education and training for students interested in ministry; and to provide services to persons, churches, and denominational entities.
11. Catholic Distance University in Charles Town, WV
Online BA in Theology
Net Cost:$305 per credit hour
Catholic Distance University is a private Roman Catholic university that offers adult education in a format accessible when and where it’s most convenient for the student. CDU offers theology courses and online interactive seminars in subjects like Catholic doctrine, moral theology, sacraments, scripture, spirituality, bioethics, mariology, liturgy, catechetics, laity and more. CDU is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
This online religion major is a degree completion program with which students expand their knowledge of the Catholic faith and develop the skills needed to competently explain the essential teachings of the Catholic Church using scripture, tradition, documents and textbooks. To graduate, students must complete 81 general education credits in addition to 39 theology credits.
10. Florida International University in Miami, FL
Online BA in Religious Studies
Net Cost: $11,326
Florida International University is Miami’s only public research university, and is among the 10 largest universities in America. FIU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
Best Degree Programs ranked FIU No. 3 on their list of top online colleges for a religious education. Through this program, students will earn an interdisciplinary degree that provides a thorough study of the history, beliefs and practices of the world’s religions. The curriculum is comparative and cross-cultural. It focuses on peace and conflict, offering a deeper understanding of communities of multiple religious faiths. This fully online program includes courses like Abrahamic Religions, Studies in World Religions and Methods in the Study of Religion.
9. Brescia University in Owensboro, KY
Online BA in Theology with Emphasis in Pastoral Studies
Net Cost: $11,165
Brescia University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution founded in the Ursuline tradition of personal and social transformation through education. Brescia University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
The online theology degree program at Brescia provides an avenue for church volunteers and ministers to complete their degrees in theology. This online college has designed and delivered diocesan education and formation programs, which adhere to the competency expectations of the National Association of Lay Ministry (NALM). It also aligns with the “Basic Standards of Readiness” as articulated in the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the US. Career opportunities for graduates of this program include youth minister, faith formation, deacon, pastoral minister, catechetical leader and more.
8. Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM
Online BA, BS or BAAS in Religion
Net Cost: $10,562
Eastern New Mexico University’s mission is to emphasize liberal learning, freedom of inquiry, cultural diversity and whole student life. ENMU is New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive university and is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution and member of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). ENMU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
ENMU earned the No. 1 spot on Best Degree Programs’ best online colleges for religion degrees ranking. This program’s curriculum focuses on the exegesis and practical application of foundational religious texts. Courses include the philosophy of religion, the interface of science and religion and the many questions raised by world religions. Biblical Greek and Hebrew are available as classes or minors that students can pair with their degree.
7. American Public University in Charles Town, WV
Online BA in Religion
Net Cost: $10,265
American Public University has been ranked as a top online university by U.S. News & World Report for four consecutive years (2013-2016). The fully online classes begin monthly and run eight to 16 weeks, making it easy for busy students to plan their schedules. APU is a member school of American Public University System (APUS), which is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The online bachelor of religion at APU allows students to study the cultural, political and spiritual aspects of religion while exposing them to the theological tenets of religious thought and expression. In this curriculum, students will examine the origin, history, beliefs and practices of the major religions of the world. This online degree program requires 121 credits, and up to 91 of those credits can be transferred. Courses include Celtic Christianity, African-American Religious Movements and Religious Cults.
6. Apex School of Theology in Durham, NC
Online Bachelor of Theology Degree (BTH)
Net Cost: $9,290
Apex School of Theology is Best Value School’s No. 1 college to earn an online religion degree. This online seminary is dedicated to serving area clergy who want formal theological training and meeting the educational needs of lay leaders in the faith community who can’t afford tuition of other seminaries. Apex is approved to offer its degree programs on campus and online by Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, (TRACS), which is accredited by the US Department of Education.
The bachelor of theology degree program consists of 128 credit hours, and the online college follows and open admission policy. All applicants for admission to ASOT are required to show evidence of Christian character by providing a spiritual autobiography. Example courses in this curriculum include Homiletics, Systematic Theology and Church History.
5. Athens State University in Athens, AL
Online BA in Religion
Net Cost: $274 per credit hour, according to the school’s website
Athens State University is the oldest two-year Upper Division university in Alabama that offers over 50 different degree programs to its students. With a semester enrollment of over 3,000, Athens State offers a flexible course schedule to meet its busy students’ needs with day, night, weekend and distance courses. Athens is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Athens has a number of degree program options, minors and certificate programs that can be completed entirely online, including the online religious studies and ethics degree program. This online religion major was initiated in 1938, and it offers courses in theology, world religions, religious ethics, religious history, religion and culture, biblical studies and religious education. The Curtis Coleman Center for Religious Studies and Ethics at Athens provides a lecture series, public forums, seminars/workshops, continuing education opportunities, training events and more.
4. Luther Rice University & Seminary in Lithonia, GA
Online BA in Religion, major in Biblical Studies
Net Cost: $7,399
Luther Rice University & Seminary was founded in 1962 and is a private online Christian college and online seminary with an enrollment under 1,500 students. This online college is designed for adult students who are juggling life, work, ministry and family. Luther Rice is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
Luther Rice’s online biblical studies major can be completed 100 percent online or in a hybrid format. This online bachelor’s degree program offers the following three minors: Biblical Counseling; Christian Worldview, and Ministry. The biblical counseling minor is designed to introduce students to the essentials of biblical counseling, but it does not lead to state licensure; the Christian worldview minor prepares students to serve in various forms of Christian ministry with a focus on interpreting culture and advancing the Christian faith. The ministry minor prepares students to serve in most forms of Christian work and ministry.
3. City Vision University in Kansas City, MO
Online BA in Missions with an urban ministry emphasis
Net Cost: $6,810
City Vision University is an online university that strives to provide affordable Christian education to underserved communities. This online college offers accredited degrees in addiction studies, urban missions, nonprofit management and business. City Vision is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
CVU scored the No. 3 spot on this list, as well as OnlineU’s ranking of the top affordable religious studies degree programs. Graduates of this program are prepared to be a rescue mission chaplain or other urban ministry worker. They are also prepare for further study at an online seminary or graduate school. Students can begin their eight-week online courses at five different points throughout the year. Courses in this curriculum include Emerging Media Ministry, Recovery Dynamics and Life Skills Training.
2. Kansas Christian College in Overland Park, KS
Online BA in Religion
Net Cost: $6,660
Formerly known as Kansas City College and Bible School, Kansas Christian College’s history of religious education goes back to 1938. This online college offers a variety of ministry-related degrees in religion, education, music and general studies. Upon graduation, students at this online college will be able to articulate a biblical worldview and the values of the Church of God. They will also have the practical tools necessary for ministry and further study. KCC holds candidate status with the Association for Biblical Higher Education, which is a pre-accreditation status granted to institutions that meet the ABHE Conditions of Eligibility.
Students in the online bachelor in religion will learn to demonstrate a compassion for people and exercise effective leadership in the local church, competently interpret and proclaim the Word of God, counsel from a Christian perspective and more. KCC offers additional concentrations in biblical studies, missions, pastoral ministry and youth ministry.
1. Carolina College of Biblical Studies in Fayetteville, NC
Online BA in Biblical Studies or BA in Leadership & Ministry
Net Cost: $3,257
Carolina College of Biblical Studies is a nondenominational Bible college and a post-secondary institution offering associate and bachelor’s degree programs in biblical studies. Established in 1973, CCBS programs provide a foundational biblical education for those called to vocational ministry. The school’s affordable and accredited online program is in a five-week accelerated format. Carolina CCBS is nationally accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
CCBS online offers a BA in biblical studies and a BA in Leadership & Ministry, which students earn one course at a time with a cohort of fellow students. Other than the weekly due dates, these online degree programs are flexible. This online college is military friendly and qualifies for Federal Financial Aid via FAFSA. To apply to the online bachelor degree programs, students are required to have a minimum of 36 credit hours from an accredited institution, a minimum GPA of 2.0 and a ministry reference.