United States Graduate Online Theology Degrees & Programs
Graduate online theology degrees use philosophy, critical thinking, and religious scholarship to understand concepts like god, the divine, and the soul. In most cases, graduate online theology degrees might be offered by programs affiliated with an online seminary, school of divinity, or religious-affiliated university. Sometimes, the programs may even be unique to a certain faith tradition. That said, a few secular theology programs may also be available. Graduate online theology degrees and certificates may be earned at the masters and doctorate level.
Why Earn Your Theology Degree Online?
Earning your graduate theology degree online could bring your education to you, on your terms. This format could support students who already have flourishing careers in religious education or in the church or ministry, as well as students who just like to maintain a little more independence.
In many cases, online theology graduate programs take place 100% online. So if you’re already working in a religious career, you could hone your theological expertise and take what you learn right out into your faith community. Online programs also tend to have flexible schedules, enabling students to access their courses around the clock—meaning that with online theology classes, you might not have to worry about still being there for the people who need you. And best of all, if you’re attending an online program associated with a physical graduate school, you might even learn from the same experienced faculty as you’d find on campus!
Types of Online Theology Degree Programs
Graduate Online Theology Degree Programs incorporate a range of unique options, each one designed to meet a specific need. In addition to being offered at the master and doctoral level, with degree and certificate options, students might pursue a range of degree types within each category. For example,
some students might pursue scholarly programs. These would involve writing, analyzing, and discussing theological research and scholarship. Others more focused on things like education, church leadership, and ministry might prefer applied theology programs. These would typically focus on using one’s theological expertise to guide or teach others in a professional capacity. In addition to being called “applied theology,” these practice-based alternatives might sometimes be referred to as online divinity graduate programs.
Below, you’ll find a brief guide to different types of graduate online theology degrees you might pursue.
Masters in Theology Online Programs
Several different types of online masters in theology programs may be available. In addition to academic and applied theology programs, different programs might have a range of prerequisites, or even be unique to a certain faith tradition. For example, some programs might be open to anyone holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Others might require a bachelors in a related field like religious studies, theology, catechetics, or apologetics. They might also ask for professional or volunteer experience working in religious education, ministry, or church leadership. Some may even ask for affirmation or documentation that you’re an active practitioner of a certain faith.
A range of specific degree types may be offered at different universities, including the ones listed below.
- Master of Arts in Theological Studies (or Master of Arts in Theology): This type of online masters in theology may either be practice-based or scholarly. Some of these programs might be designed for clergy and those with experience in religious professions. Others might be designed for students without a religious bachelor's degree and little or no experience in a religious profession.
- Master of Divinity Online (MDiv): Online Master of Divinity programs are typically professional degrees, often offered by online seminaries or schools of divinity. They may be designed to help people in clergy and religious ministry roles educate others about theology.
- Master of Theological Studies (MTS): Online MTS Programs tend to focus on scholarship. They’re often designed to prepare students to pursue further study, such as in a PhD program. As such, they may emphasize skills related to writing and explicating theology-related research.
- Master of Theology (Th.M): Often offered as a post-masters degree, Online Master of Theology degrees may be seen as a degree level between an MDiv and a PhD in Theology. That said, in some cases, these may be designed or viewed as terminal.
- Master of Sacred Theology (STM): Online STM Programs are also technically post-masters degrees, and students in these programs usually need to have earned a masters in or related to theology in order to apply. They’re often offered by Catholic-affiliated programs, and may aim to help students build their theology research credentials to prepare for potential doctoral study.
Remember, these and other online theology masters degrees may vary on a case-by-case basis. This could hinge on factors like the school in question and its religious affiliation (if any), the types of students the program is designed to serve, its orientation, the faculty teaching there, and other details. For more information, contact the school in question.
Online Theology Doctorate Programs
Online Theology Doctorate Programs, as with masters programs, include a spectrum of degree options, areas of focus, and approaches. Both professional and academic degrees may be offered, as well as degree options unique to one faith tradition. While the requirements to apply to these programs may vary, students are likely to need a master’s degree in theology or a similar subject, research experience, and potentially professional experience and/or active adherence to a certain faith.
- Online PhD in Theology Programs: One of the most recognizable degree options outside theology, PhDs may be a versatile degree option. Online Theology PhD Programs tend to be scholarly, though practice-based PhDs may also be offered at some schools.
- Online Doctor of Pastoral Theology Programs: One of several professional theology doctorate options, these programs are generally designed to support students in pastoral and ministry-related careers. For example, they may look toward theology education roles, or applying theology expertise in church leadership positions.
- Online Doctor of Sacred Theology Programs: Somewhat less common, the Doctor of Sacred Theology is typically offered by Catholic universities, specifically within the pontifical university system, though you might find it at some other types of schools. It’s a research-focused doctoral program that often looks toward teaching about theology and canon law in university settings.
- Online Doctor of Canon Law Programs: As with Online Doctor of Sacred Theology Programs, these are generally only offered by Catholic institutions within the pontifical university system. Within the church, it could be seen as an equivalent to a Juris Doctor (JD) degree, though it does not prepare someone for legal practice in a civil setting.
Online Theology Graduate Certificate Programs
Online theology graduate certificate programs are typically concise, in that they require relatively few courses to complete compared to a theology graduate degree program. This category includes masters certificates and post-masters certificates. They tend to focus narrowly on a single topic within theology, such as theology education, topics within Christian philosophy, biblical and theological studies, and more. They may serve to enhance the expertise one has already earned with a master's degree or higher, or act as an opportunity to take your first steps into graduate education.
Find Your Graduate Online Theology Degrees & Programs
Search for graduate online theology degree programs with GradSchools.com. You could browse the sponsored program listings here, or filter by degree type using the menu. Click on the name of a program you think you might be interested in to read more. Then use the info on that page to get in touch, and start your application!
Grand Canyon University
The Master of Divinity is the standard degree for professional ministry preparation and is designed for students who intend to serve in local churches, Christian organizations, and other ministerial roles. The Master of Divinity program offers compre...
Reformation International Theological Seminary
Reformation International Theological Seminary (RITS) offer degrees by distance learning. This means you may take courses while staying in the comfort...
The Master of Arts degrees are all 37-hour programs designed to provide a basic grounding in the theological disciplines along with a concentration in...
Nazarene Theological Seminary
Nazarene Theological Seminary offers the Master of Divinity degree in a non-traditional format by utilizing a combination of intensive two-week modula...
Luther Rice Bible College And Seminary
Luther Rice offers graduate and doctoral programs 100% online or through in-class studies in Metro Atlanta.
Louisiana Baptist University
The graduate programs in professional education were established to provide opportunities for advanced study and scholarship and are specifically desi...
Reformed Theological Seminary
Reformed Theological Seminary's Virtual Campus offers fully accredited courses through Distance Education.
The master of theology degree program provides for continuing study through the discipline of academicexcellence.
Hope International University
All over the world there are individuals who want to take graduate courses but are unable to do so because of family or work responsibilities.
University of Northwestern-St. Paul
This program prepares students to increase their biblical knowledge and to bring a Christian worldview to their profession.
Catholic Distance University
This program is designed for adults with an undergraduate degree who wish to deepen their knowledge of Sacred Scripture.
University of Dubuque
The Master of Divinity is the first professional degree for those seeking ordination to Ministry of Word and Sacrament.
Summit Theological Seminary
Summit Theological Seminary is an unaccredited school. By that we mean that there is not any accrediting association to which we have applied for accr...
Southwestern College - Kansas
The Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) degree is a nondenominational program designed for the individual interested...
University of Dallas
Masters Degrees in Theological Studies, Pastoral Ministry, Religious Education, Catholic School Leadership, Catholic School teaching. Entire Masters d...
Winebrenner Theological Seminary
Amridge University (formerly Southern Christian University)
The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies with degree majors in the Old Testament or the New Testament is to equip students f...
Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, The
The Institute for Worship Studies forms servant leaders in Christian worship renewal and education through graduate academic praxis, grounded in bibli...
Moody Bible Institute
Sage University is a Christ centered, biblically based educational and research institution providing undergraduate and graduate degrees in: Religious...
Chapel of the Holy Spirit School Of Theology
The Holy Spirit Online Seminary has only one purpose for being established - to train the Clergy and Laity of the Church.