Online Theology Degree Programs

Religious Studies Programs by Distance Learning

Taking an online theology degree program prepares students for jobs as ordained clergy, as well as other non-ordained career paths, including ones outside of religious organizations.

In many ways, online religious studies degree programs resemble liberal arts degrees. Online theology degree programs and courses teach students to read and think carefully, develop convincing arguments, and communicate through writing and speaking.

Theology degrees focus on the history and context of religious traditions, as well as provide practical applications of that religion to current problems and issues. Many theology degrees are rooted in the Christian faith, although degrees based in other religions -- such as Buddhism and Judaism -- are becoming more common. In addition, some online theology courses prepare students to provide religious counseling to people as a chaplain or member of the clergy.

Specializations in theology degrees online programs

Requirements for a theology degree vary with the denomination. Many programs offer courses similar to those found in a liberal arts degree. Some theology programs may also allow you to specialize in areas such as church history, bioethics, moral theology, or scripture. You can earn a bachelors of theology, a bachelors in religious studies, masters degree in religion or religious studies and a PhD degree in religion by distance learning.

Featured Online Theology Schools and Colleges

Liberty University founded in 1971, is the world's largest evangelical Christian university and is located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty offers a broad range of online theology degrees, religion and divinity programs:

  • Associate of Arts in Religion
  • Bachelor of Science in Religion
  • Master of Arts in Religion - Chaplaincy
  • Master of Arts in Religion - Pastoral Counseling
  • Master of Arts in Religion - Pastoral Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Religion - Worship Studies
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts in Worship - Ethnomusicology
  • Master of Arts in Worship Studies - Church Planting
  • Master of Arts in Worship Studies - Leadership
  • Master of Divinity - Chaplaincy - 72 hour
  • Master of Divinity - Chaplaincy - 93 Hour
  • Master of Divinity - Pastoral Ministries
  • Master of Divinity - Professional Ministries
  • Master of Divinity in Missional Studies
  • Master of Divinity in Theological Studies
  • Master of Religious Education
  • Master of Theology (non - thesis)

Grand Canyon University is a regionally accredited, private, non-denominational Christian university based in Phoenix, Arizona. Grand Canyon currently offers the following Christian studies online degrees:

  • B.A. in Christian Studies
  • B.A. in Christian Studies with a concentration in Youth Ministry
  • B.A. in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Biblical Studies
  • MA in Christian Studies - Christian Leadership
  • MA in Christian Studies - Pastoral Ministry
  • MA in Christian Studies - Urban Ministry
  • MA in Christian Studies - Youth Ministry

Religious courses from distance learning to the Internet

Long before the Internet, religious schools offered religious courses through distance-learning programs. Many of these courses allowed students to work at their own pace, studying religious texts and participating in written discussions with their instructors through the mail. The self-paced format worked well with texts such as the Bible, which could be studied over a lifetime. Online theology schools have built upon this, and augmented it with Internet-based learning. Online theology degree and courses provide a mix of learning environments, from the self-paced format to the more traditional online classroom structure. Both styles are well-suited to theology degrees online, which teach both religious texts and practical skills, such as communication and technology.

Using an online Theology degree to join the clergy

Not all students entering an online religious studies degree program plans on becoming a member of the clergy. When your pathway leads toward the clergy, however, keep these tips in mind:

  • Degree requirements differ among the religious traditions. Many clergy have master's degrees, although some groups may not require any formal training. Either way, an online theology degree provides a solid religious foundation, often in a self-paced format. Studying theology online can also prepare students for graduate or seminary programs.
  • A theology education provides a convenient way to learn real-world applications of religious knowledge. Joining the clergy, however, often requires personal connections, such as being active in a particular faith or networking with religious professionals.
  • In addition to having strong religious convictions, members of the clergy also need to demonstrate practical skills, such as communication, counseling, and business sense. Some online theology programs may offer these types of courses, but you can also combine your degree with another program to enhance your credentials.
  • You will not learn an entire religious text overnight, even with online theology courses. Consider courses that are self-paced, allowing you more time to study the material and apply it in the real world.
  • Skills learned in an online theology degree program can be applied to the church or other group that you currently attend. This will provide you with practical experience.

Career options with a degree in Theology or Religious studies

The clergy is one of the top 50 careers in 2011, according to U.S. News & World Report, with steady growth expected in the next ten years. In addition to these ordained positions, a theology degree also prepares students for non-ordained or lay positions, such as administrator or director of a church, lay leaders, or youth ministers.

Because of the critical thinking skills taught by many theology degree online programs, graduates can also find careers outside of religious organizations. This includes human rights organizations, media and communications, and corporations. These jobs may or may not directly involve religion.

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Grand Canyon University

Liberty University