Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

A master’s in theology equips graduates with the necessary competencies for work in nonprofit administration, church leadership, education, religious counseling, doctoral programs, and mission work. Program attendees engage in coursework covering various religious topics; common subjects include biblical interpretation, the history of Christianity, and how faith and science intersect. While most interested candidates already possess a solid spiritual foundation, students of all faith-related backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Students can expect to pay between $6,000 to $25,000 in total tuition to earn this degree, and coursework takes about two years to complete if attending full-time. Your length of study largely depends on the program’s credit requirements, ranging from 30 to 50 credit hours. Students who complete the program qualify for clergy positions, where you can earn an average salary of $63,720.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Theology Program

Choose your area of study

Interested attendees may select a Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Theology (ThM). Institutions may have slightly different naming conventions, but the content and career preparation are consistent. A Master of Arts in theology is best for those interested in theological practice and application. A Master of Theology aligns more with those pursuing a doctoral track.

Online master’s in theology degrees feature a combination of core coursework and an area of concentration. Common concentration options include biblical studies, moral theology, and world religions. If you already know what you would like to do after you graduate, look for programs that closely match your career goals.

Research schools and programs

You should only consider schools that are approved by a DOE-recognized accrediting agency. Ideally, your school will be accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). ATS accreditation ensures the program is committed to accepted standards for high-quality theological education.

There are other specific program factors to consider as well:

  • Will online students have access to student support services? Your selected master’s in theology degree program should feature additional benefits for online students. Seek programs with options for free online tutoring, career coaching, 24/7 tech support, and disability accommodations.
  • How close is the campus? Some online graduate programs offer in-person opportunities like open houses or hands-on practice. Moreover, smaller programs may only provide specific specialty courses in person. The ability to commute to campus will provide you with more academic options.

To learn more about any schools that you’re interested in, you can visit the school’s website, contact an admissions counselor, follow the school on social media, or attend an in-person or virtual open house.

Prepare for tests and applications

Application requirements vary by school and program.

Successful applicants for graduate degrees in theology are excellent academic writers and communicators. Some programs require candidates to submit GRE scores to ascertain their verbal and written skills. However, most online master’s in theology programs do not mandate standardized test scores as part of the application process.

Prepare your subsequent application materials well in advance of the submission deadline. Programs often require recommendation letters, undergraduate transcripts, and a personal statement, which can take weeks to compile. Don’t wait until the last minute, or you may have to wait until the following semester.

Before submitting an application, always contact an admissions counselor to ensure you have the most accurate information regarding requirements and deadlines.

Select your program

Before making your final decision, review your needs and goals again. Do you plan to attend school full-time or part-time? Do you want your program to be as online as possible, or are you fine with a hybrid program that has a fair amount of in-person requirements? Some programs offer asynchronous courses, which can be completed at your own pace, while others only offer synchronous courses, which involve remotely attending lectures and completing assignments at the same time as other students — which of these two online learning formats do you prefer? Your school should accommodate your scheduling needs and learning preferences.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Graduate-level scholarships and funding opportunities are limited, but some schools offer needs-based assistance. All interested attendees should complete the FAFSA, which will outline what federal grants and loans they qualify for.

From there, speak with the school’s academic and financial aid offices to determine your best options. You may be eligible for aid programs (such as those for veterans) or qualify for credit through previous educational or career experiences. Those who already work in the field should see if their employer offers tuition assistance benefits as well.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Theology Programs

Best Online Master's in Theology Degree Programs

Columbia International University

Lincoln Christian University

Biola University

Fordham University

University of Dallas

World Mission University

Creighton University

Concordia University Irvine

Covenant Theological Seminary

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary

Franciscan University of Steubenville

Bethel University

Dallas Theological Seminary

Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Belhaven University

Moody Bible Institute

Campbellsville University

Luther Rice College and Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Southwestern Assemblies of God University

Saint Joseph's College of Maine

United Theological Seminary

Regent University

Saint Leo University

Ohio Christian University

Gonzaga University

Harding School of Theology

Multnomah University

Wesley Biblical Seminary

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Newman University

Payne Theological Seminary

Western Seminary

Northwest University

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Dallas Baptist University

Nazarene Theological Seminary

University of the Cumberlands

Luther Seminary

Calvin Theological Seminary

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

ILIFF School of Theology

Hope International University

University of Notre Dame

Discover More Options

How We Rank Schools

We focused this list on master’s programs in theology and related areas. The most common degrees for this major are Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Theological Studies (ThM). All of the schools on this list are approved by a DOE-recognized accrediting organization, such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education or the Association of Theological Schools.

The programs in this guide are delivered entirely or primarily online. For programs offered both online and on-campus, students may have the option to complete their degree through a combination of in-person classes and distance learning.

We evaluated these programs based on their faculty, cost, flexibility, outcomes, and reputation. Then, we calculated an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100 for each program. For a more extensive explanation, check out our ranking methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Theology Program?

Individuals enrolled in an online master’s in theology excel in research and religious studies — coursework centers around Christian scholarship and real-world application of biblical teachings. Assignments emphasize academic writing, research, and philosophical discussion. Students may also prepare to serve their communities in religious institutions, schools, medical facilities, and nonprofit organizations.

Typical programs mandate between 30 and 50 credit hours, corresponding to about two years of study (if attending full-time). Online master’s in theology programs are often entirely remote but feature a final evaluation, often as a comprehensive exam, independent research paper, or capstone project.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s in theology program

  • History of Christianity I. Participants study the foundations of Christianity, including the early development of doctrine and the church as an institution.
  • Biblical Exegesis. Using faith-based critical analysis, students interpret the Old and New Testaments. Coursework emphasizes the practical application of Christian teaching.
  • Faith and Science. Students investigate the relationship between Christianity and modern science. From the perspective of their faith, participants discuss cosmology and evolutionary biology.
  • Christian Prayer. This course focuses on the philosophy and application of prayer as a concept. Students review the history and evolution of prayer, noting its development from the Middle Ages to modern-day practice.

What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Theology?

Career outlook

From pastoral roles and academic pursuits to advocacy and community engagement, there are a range of opportunities available to those who earn an online master’s in theology. As cultural and interfaith dialogues increase in importance, the need for theologians who can engage in meaningful discussions across belief systems is on the rise. An online master’s in theology provides a platform for individuals to contribute meaningfully to these dialogues and address complex societal issues.

An online master’s degree in theology offers a versatile foundation for a variety of impactful careers. Here are some potential career paths to consider:

  • Social or community service manager — Oversee operations and secure funding for programs that support public well-being.
    • Median annual salary: $77,030
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 9%
    • New job openings projected: 16,000 annually
  • Marriage or family therapist — Help clients work through issues in their family or relationship dynamics.
    • Median annual salary: $58,510
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 15%
    • New job openings projected: 5,900 annually
  • Social worker — Help individuals and families deal with problems in their everyday lives, such as health, behavioral, and financial issues.
    • Median annual salary: $58,380
    • Projected employment growth (through 2032): 7%
    • New job openings projected: 63,800 annually

Online Master’s in Theology Degree Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master's in theology degree program?

You can find the specific application instructions on each program’s website. Graduate applications require a processing fee, and most schools mandate a minimum undergraduate GPA to qualify. For questions or concerns, contact an admissions counselor. They may be able to waive the application fee. A typical application for an online master’s in theology degree requests the following materials:

  • A completed application form
  • Official transcripts indicating an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay (often related to your relationship with Christianity)
  • An academic writing assessment

International students will have additional steps, including proof of English language competency and visa requirements.

How much does an online master's in theology degree cost?

The average annual tuition for graduate school is $20,513. Private schools tend to charge more than public schools, though public schools usually charge out-of-state students a much higher tuition rate than in-state students. Moreover, the length of the program dictates price; 30-credit-hour curricula cost less than a 48-credit degree.

Students will also need to factor in the cost of books and technology. To successfully participate in an online master’s program, students need reliable computer hardware and internet access.

How long does it take to earn an online master's in theology degree?

Most online master’s in theology programs can be completed in two years if students attend full-time. However, some graduate degree programs are just 30 credit hours, which can be completed in one year. Part-time attendees may need up to three years or more to earn their degree.

Is an online master's in theology worth it?

An online master’s in theology equips individuals with a deep understanding of religious and ethical principles, promoting critical thinking, empathy, and interfaith dialogue. Positions are available in a variety of nonprofit organizations, from senior living facilities to megachurches.

The key benefits of earning a master’s in theology include the potential for personal and spiritual growth as well as the opportunity to contribute to the spiritual well-being and moral development of individuals and communities. Graduates of theology programs often find their work to be deeply fulfilling and aligned with their values.

An online master’s in theology also prepares individuals to engage in meaningful conversations on matters of faith, ethics, and social justice and apply theological principles to real-world challenges. Through coursework and discussions, graduates develop skills in critical analysis, compassionate communication, and community engagement.

Compare School Options

Related Degrees