Why This Matters

  • THE WORLD HAS OVER 2 BILLION CHRISTIANS

    Christianity is truly a worldwide religion. The Pew Research Center counts 2.3 billion Christians worldwide, and many of these people are members of churches or congregations that need leaders.

  • CLERGY JOB GROWTH EXCEEDS 7.5%

    Religious groups need more leaders, with clergy job growth estimated to exceed 7.5% through 2026. In addition to these new positions, many current positions will become available as clergy members retire.

  • WORK IN MORE THAN A HALF-DOZEN INDUSTRIES

    A Master’s in Ministry can lead to careers in or outside religious organizations. Trained religious leaders also work for hospitals, home healthcare services, nonprofits, elementary and secondary schools, and other organizations.

Our Research

We looked at many Master’s in Ministry degree programs, including both Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) degrees. Our list contains online, traditional, and hybrid program options to provide flexibility.

Every program listed has regional or national accreditation, if not both. The two main national accrediting bodies are the Association of Theological Schools’ Commission on Accrediting (ATS) and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 68 hours to write this article
  • 160 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 397 education programs we compared

The Top 36 Master’s in Ministry Degree Programs

Best Master's in Ministry Degree Programs
01
Holy Apostles College and Seminary

intelligent score 98.46

Award Intelligent Pick

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Intelligent Pick

Delivery Format On-campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Youth & Young Adult Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $360 per credit

accreditation New England Commission of Higher Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 860-632-3066

Learn More

Delivery Format On-campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies - Youth & Young Adult Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Judson University

intelligent score 97.8

Award Best for Study Abroad

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Study Abroad

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Leadership in Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 37 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $716.21 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 847-628-1124

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Leadership in Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 37 credits

01
Cedarville University

intelligent score 96.1

Award Best for Real-World Experience

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Real-World Experience

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 38 credits

Department School of Biblical and Theological Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit $399 per credit

accreditation Higher Learning Commission

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 937-766-8000

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 38 credits

01
University of Dallas

intelligent score 93.63

Award Best for Health Care Ministry

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Health Care Ministry

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Pastoral Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 37 credits

Department Ann & Joe O. Neuhoff School of Ministry

Estimated Cost per Credit $685 per credit

accreditation Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 972-265-5814

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Pastoral Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 37 credits

01
The King's University

intelligent score 93.13

Award Best for Practical Theology

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Practical Theology

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Practical Theology

Required Credits to Graduate 48 credits

Department Jack W. Hayford School of Graduate Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit $515 per credit

accreditation Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 817-722-1710

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Practical Theology

Required Credits to Graduate 48 credits

01
Calvary University

intelligent score 93.12

Award Best Online Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Online Program

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

Required Credits to Graduate 90 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $427 per credit

accreditation Association of Biblical Higher Education.

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 816-322-3960

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

Required Credits to Graduate 90 credits

01
Heritage Christian University

intelligent score 93.07

Award Best for History of Biblical Interpretation

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for History of Biblical Interpretation

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department

Estimated Cost per Credit $423 per credit

accreditation Association for Biblical Higher Education

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-367-3565

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus

Programs Master of Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
North Greenville University

intelligent score 92.74

Award Best Faculty

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Faculty

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master Of Arts In Christian Ministries

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department College Of Christian Studies

Estimated Cost per Credit $400 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 864-735-6309

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master Of Arts In Christian Ministries

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Liberty University

intelligent score 91.24

Award Best Residential Program

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best Residential Program

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department John W. Rawlings School of Divinity

Estimated Cost per Credit $410 per credit

accreditation Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 877-298-9617

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Dallas Baptist University

intelligent score 90.31

Award Best for Nonprofit Leadership

Rankings


School Information

Graduation Rate:

Admission Rate:

Urbanicity:

School Size:

No

Award Best for Nonprofit Leadership

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

Department Graduate School of Ministry

Estimated Cost per Credit $1,004 per credit

accreditation Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

more program informationEmail: [email protected]
Phone: 214-333-5242

Learn More

Delivery Format On-Campus, Online

Programs Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

Required Credits to Graduate 36 credits

01
Best Career Counseling
Southwestern Assemblies Of God University
01
Best for Evening Classes
Grand Canyon University
01
Best for Church Planting
Indiana Wesleyan University
01
Best in the Southeast
Luther Rice College & Seminary
01
Best for Biblical Languages
Regent University
01
Best for Pastoral Care and Counseling
Biola University
01
Most Flexible Admissions
Franciscan University Of Steubenville
01
Best for Intercultural Studies
Hope International University
01
Best for Veterans
Huntington University
01
Best for Sports Ministry
Johnson University
01
Best for Preaching
Lincoln Christian University
01
Best Disability Accomodations
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
01
Best Alumni Network
Wayland Baptist University
01
Best for Spiritual Formation
Abilene Christian University
01
Best Scholarships
Amridge University
01
Best for Campus Chaplaincy
Andrews University
01
Best in the Northeast
Clarks Summit University
01
Best Facilities
Clear Creek Baptist Bible College
01
Best for Marketplace Ministry
Columbia International University
01
Best Hybrid Program
Creighton University
01
Most Innovative Curriculum
General Theological Seminary
01
Best Electives
Harding University
01
Best for Student Employment
Mercer University
01
Best for Student Activities
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
01
Best Advisors
Milligan University
01
Best for Urban Ministries
Missouri Baptist University

What You Should Know About This Degree

To become part of the clergy in most denominations, you must be ordained. Ordination requirements vary by denomination, but the standard ministry degree for ordination is generally an MDiv. An MA degree may not include enough practical coursework to qualify you for ordination. Check your denomination’s ordination requirements before enrolling, and choose a degree program accordingly.

Both MA and MDiv ministry degrees are offered by multiple institutions. You may choose to study at a secular school, a broadly religious school, or a school that has a specific denominational affiliation. Whatever school you choose, confirm that its perspective is compatible with your personal religious beliefs.

Many MDiv programs have an in-person experiential component, and MA programs sometimes do too. You should be prepared to complete an in-person requirement even if you enroll in an online program, and you’ll want to make sure your schedule allows for the hours needed to do this part of a program.

No matter where you ultimately find a job, working in ministry generally requires maintaining a high moral standard and working closely with others. Before pursuing this type of career, consider your own aptitudes and interests to ensure that they’ll meld well with the demands of being a religious leader.

What’s Next?

Consider these questions as you evaluate different Master’s in Ministry degree options further:

  • Am I eligible for this program? Most Master’s in Ministry degrees require applicants to first complete a bachelor’s degree, but the bachelor’s can usually be in any subject. You’ll likely also have to furnish a statement that details your religious path and beliefs.
  • How long does it take to complete this degree? MA degrees generally take two years to complete, and MDiv degrees usually require three years. These estimates are based on full-time study, and attending part-time will extend the length of a program.

When you have a short list of potential programs, find out what application materials are required and the deadline for submission. You can get this information from a program’s website or by contacting the program directly.

Also consider how you’ll cover tuition costs for a degree. Ask programs about financial aid and scholarships. You might also get tuition reimbursement from an employer or a grant from your religious community.