What You Should Know About This Degree
Secular schools, Bible colleges, and seminaries all offer master’s degrees in theology. Secular schools have no religious affiliation, while Bible colleges and seminaries do. Bible colleges may offer undergraduate and graduate degrees, while seminaries award graduate degrees. Some Bible colleges and seminaries have denominational affiliations, while others are more broadly Christian or religious. Before selecting a master’s in theology program, make sure the school aligns with your personal religious beliefs.
Master of Theological Studies and Master of Arts degree programs are shorter than Master of Divinity (MDiv) programs. MDiv degrees are considered the professional degree for clergy, and an MA or MTS might not qualify for ordination in some denominations. Enroll in an MA or MTS program only if your denomination accepts it for ordination or you intend to pursue a non-ordained career path.
The coursework for many online programs can be completed remotely, but these programs might have an in-person component. For example, you might have to attend an orientation or seminar on campus. Most MA and MTS programs don’t have an in-person internship requirement, which is common among MDiv programs.
Here are a couple of questions to consider as you evaluate master’s in theology programs:
- Am I eligible for this program? Most master’s of theology degrees require students to have a bachelor’s degree, but the undergraduate degree can usually be in any major. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you might be able to enroll based on substantial life experience and earn a diploma (as opposed to a degree).
- What tests are required for this online degree? The majority of these programs don’t require a GRE score or other entrance exam, although a few programs might. You will likely have to provide a statement explaining your religious story.
Once you identify a potential program, research the application process. Check which application materials are required and verify the deadline to submit them. You can find this information on the program’s website or by contacting the program directly.
Also give thought to how you’ll pay tuition. Ask admissions officers about available scholarships or financial aid. You might also get tuition assistance from a religious community or employer.