Top 20 Online Theological Seminaries and Schools for 2016

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This curated list is brought to you by: Sharefaith Church Websites

Online seminary education is more and more popular because it allows you to remain in your day job while you pursue a possible vocational shift. If you’re already in ministry, online programs provide you with more education as you serve your congregation full time. We found that several seminaries also offer free courses and entire programs for non-credit, in an effort to provide complete accessibility for anyone in your congregation. In selecting the follow seminaries we looked at several criteria that included accessibility, organization of delivery 2016TopSeminariesBadge-onlineplatform, legacy of seminary in the marketplace prior to online classes, convenience of scheduling classes, and cost, though less a factor. No one of these took precedence over another, but in addressing these areas in combination we feel this list reflects many, if not most, of the best programs currently available online (based in the United States). We’ve included several schools that offer extension and hybrid models (and there are many more of this kind) since that structure seems to work for many students who desire to learn with at least one foot in a more traditional environment. 

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Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

www.gordonconwell.edu/online/index.cfm

Gordon

Summary
Gordon Conwell offers several programs online including a unique track called the Dimensions of Faith program which provides theological education for free (non-credit)*. It is part of their Ockenga Institute which exists, “to equip the church for renewal, global outreach, and cultural transformation.” Because of this program coming from an exceptional seminary, Gordon Conwell makes the top of our list. Besides their main campus in Hamilton, MA, they have sites in Boston, Jacksonville, and Charlotte.

Affiliation 

Evangelical

Degrees

  • Dimensions of the Faith program
  • Certificate in Christian Studies
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Christian Leadership

Tuition Costs

  • Free – $625 per credit hour

 

George Fox Evangelical Seminary

http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/mdiv/online.html

George-Fox

Summary

George Fox has both a traditional college and seminary, similar to several of the schools listed. There is a pioneering spirit about George Fox, given that it was the first Christian school in the far place of Portland, Oregon, at least as the West was perceived in 1885. They’ve taken that same spirit to their online master of divinity program. For example they have a cohort approach so you study with the same people online as you work through your credit hours, speaking into that very important point of seminary: community.

Affiliation

Evangelical, though historically Quaker

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $486 per credit hour

 

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Regent University

success.regent.edu/online/

Regent

Summary

With classes starting every eight weeks, Regent makes it very convenient to take classes. They have a tremendous variety of emphases. Their website says, “Regent is vested in versatility. We give you the flexibility to choose how you’d like to incorporate our courses into your schedule, whether it be on campus or online – another element to ensure you obtain your degree in a timely fashion.” The ease of sign-up and course pages seems to live up to this statement.

Affiliation

Though there is no formal denominational tie, Regent is evangelical and its geographical stamp as Virginia Beach and its founder being Pat Robertson, the school has strong leanings into the Southern Baptist denomination.

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Theology
  • Church Formation Certificate
  • Church Leadership Certificate
  • Worship and Media Certificate

Tuition Costs

  • $495 per per credit hour

 

Liberty University

www.liberty.edu/ms/libertyonlinedegrees/seminary.php

liberty

Summary

Liberty is the largest seminary online. It has many programs and specifications. As the forerunner in delivering education remotely (first through tape/CD correspondence and now online), they offer a well-organized format. Along these lines, they offer, “a comprehensive support system available to aid in your success, including an assigned academic advisor, an online writing center, free 24/7 access to online tutors, a private Facebook community to network with your peers, and online ministries.”

Affiliation

Liberty is strongly evangelical. Founded by Southern Baptist Minister Jerry Falwell, it has a strong Baptist heritage though it is not formally affiliated with the convention. Not unlike other evangelical choices, Liberty adheres to a strict pre-tribulation doctrine.

Degrees

  • Graduate Certificates
  • Master of Arts in Religion
  • Master of Theology, Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Worship Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Tuition Costs

  • $590-540 per per credit hour (master)
  • $625-570 per credit hour (doctorate)

 

Dallas Theological

www.dts.edu/online-seminary-education

DTS

Summary

Their motto is, “You don’t have to uproot to attend seminary. DTS has fully online programs designed to immerse you in the Gospel story in all 66 books of the Bible and prepare you to serve wherever God calls you.” Dallas is well established with a history of almost 100 years and a reputation of educating pastors for service throughout the world.

Affiliation

DTS is strongly evangelical but is not aligned with a particular denomination. In terms of a theological particularity, dispensationalism is expressed in Article V of the beliefs they hold

Degrees

  • Certificate of Graduate Studies (30 hours)
  • Master of Biblical and Theological Studies (36 hours)
  • Master of Arts Christian Studies (62 hours)
  • Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (62 hours) (This is a hybrid course.)

Tuition Costs

  • $495-522 per per credit hour,
  • $265 per credit hour, if engaged in particular full-time ministry

 

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

divinity.tiu.edu/extension-sites-online/distance-education

Trinity

Summary

Trinity (or TEDS) has a longstanding reputation of exceptional faculty that represent the gamut of Protestant denominations. Though a certificate is only available completely online, they have eight satellite campus sites beside their main campus in Deerfield, IL,  where you offer can complete other programs in a hybrid model.

Affiliation

TEDS is the flagship university of the Evangelical Free Church of America. They are strongly evangelical with an objective to invite many opinions to the table under a 10-point statement of faith. (http://divinity.tiu.edu/who-we-are/statement-of-faith/)

Degrees

  • Certificate in Christian Studies

Tuition Costs

  • $635 per credit hour

 

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

www.sbts.edu/globalcampus

southern

Summary

Southern, as it’s called for short, offers more than 160 courses online and many more in a hybrid format with intensive weekends on their Louisville campus or nine other satellite sites. It is the flagship seminary of several within the denomination.

Affiliation

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is affiliated with–you guessed it–the Southern Baptist denomination and therefore at the forefront of evangelicalism as it is the largest US denomination. Southern Baptists are known for a staunch autonomy of the local church.

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $267 per credit hour (Baptist)
  • $534 per credit hour (non-Baptist)

 

Reformed Theological Seminary

www.rts.edu/global

Reformed

Summary

Reformed is a seminary designed differently than most. They were shaped by a convenient delivery model for a long time, offering classes on eight campuses from Florida to Texas to New York City. If you desire a seminary education from the Reformed perspective, RTS is a great choice and one that you may be able to engage in a hybrid model, especially if your aim is a master of divinity. So be sure to check out all their locations for more program offerings.

Affiliation

Evangelical

Degrees

  • Master of Arts
  • Certificate Programs

Tuition Costs

  • $475 per credit hour

 

Saint Leo University

online.saintleo.edu/academics/masters-programs/master-of-arts-in-theology.aspx

St.-Leo

Summary

Saint Leo University is a Catholic, liberal arts-based university serving people of all faiths. Founded in 1889, the university has expanded to 16,000 if you count its residential Florida campus and other extension and online students. It’s MAT program provides,  “a solid foundation and broad introduction to the major disciplines of academic theology from the perspective of Roman Catholic Tradition and within the ecumenical setting of contemporary theological research and dialogue.”

Affiliation

Roman Catholic

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Theology

Tuition Costs

  • $450 per credit hour

 

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

swbts.edu/academics/campuses/online

Southwestern

Summary

Like Southern in Louisville, Southwestern offers many programs and has an excellent reputation. Based in Fort Worth and Houston, Texas, the school is one of the largest in the world with more than 42,000 graduates since its founding in 1908.

Affiliation

Southern Baptist

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts in Christian Education
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Maestría en Estudios Teológicos (completely in Spanish)
  • Master of Theological Studies + Missions

Tuition Costs

  • $220 per credit hour (Baptist)
  • $440 per credit hour (non-Baptist)

 

Moody Bible Institute

www.moody.edu/onlinemdiv

Moody

Summary

Moody Bible Institute comes out of Moody Church, both with a strong legacy of ministry in downtown Chicago and carrying the evangelical stamp of D.L. Moody. Moody’s program provides a solid biblical foundation with a strong emphasis on preaching.

Affiliation

Evangelical

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $395 per credit hour

 

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary

www.ggbts.edu/campus/ecampus

Golden-Gate

Summary

Like Southern and Southwestern, Golden Gate is a Southern Baptist institution. It was founded in 1949. It’s hallmark campus is a few miles north of San Francisco and now has four other satellite campuses along the West Coast. They are known as being a multicultural environment and their online courses are kept around 20 students.

Affiliation

Southern Baptist

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
  • Diploma in Theology
  • Bible Teaching Certificate
  • Youth Ministry Certificate
  • Missions Studies Certificate

Tuition Costs

  • $245 per credit hour (Baptist)
  • $460 per credit hour (non-Baptist)

 

St. Joseph’s College

www.sjcme.edu/academics/programs/master-of-arts-theology/online

St.-Joseph's

Summary

St. Joseph’s is located in Standish, Maine, and is Maine’s online Catholic college. The online Master of Arts in Theology program is, “rooted in Roman Catholic doctrine and life, and fully in accord with the magisterium, serves Catholic deacons and lay ecclesial ministers in their families, parishes, diocesan agencies, hospitals, workplaces, retreat/spiritual centers or social service agencies.”

Affiliation

Roman Catholic

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Theology

Tuition Costs

  • $340 per credit hour

 

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

www.sebts.edu/distance/online

Southeastern

Summary

Southeastern is in the family of Southern Baptist schools that include Southern and Southwestern. They are a younger school founded in 1950 and based in Wake Forest, North Carolina. They offer a good amount of helps to get started with your education for the computer novice in the hopes that their education will benefit you no matter where you are in the world. The school also offers a small list of free classes that might motivate you to try out this mode of learning.

Affiliation

Southern Baptist

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts in Church Planting
  • Associate of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $316 per credit hour (Baptist)
  • $630 per credit hour (non-Baptist)

 

Grand Canyon University

www.gcu.edu/online

Grand-Canyon

Summary

Grand Canyon offers flexible start times and a number of emphases including urban, youth and worship. The traditional campus is located in Phoenix. They also have five additional satellite campuses.

Affiliation

Evangelical (Founded by Southern Baptists)

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Christian Studies
  • Master of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $340 per credit hour (master)
  • $660 per credit hour (master of arts)

 

Abilene Christian University

www.acu.edu/graduate/degree-programs/online-programs

Abilene-Christian

Summary

For more than 100 years Abilene Christian University has served students in Texas. Their online programs provide, “ flexibility, convenience, and accessibility. The programs are designed to allow our students to balance their work, school, and family responsibilities without sacrificing one for another.”

Affiliation

Evangelical (Founded by Churches of Christ)

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation
  • Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  • Master of Arts in Global Service
  • Master of Divinity

Tuition Costs

  • $600 per credit hour

 

Ohio Christian University

www.ohiochristian.edu/online-degree-programs

 

Ohio-Christian-

Summary

Ohio Christian has two concentrations in their master’s program, Pastoral Care/Counseling and Practical Theology. Similar to many schools today that have invested in online education, Ohio Christian has many more students online. Their residential campus in in Circleville, Ohio has 500 students while they educate more the 4,000 students online.

Affiliation

Evangelical (Founded for the Churches of Christ)

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Ministry

Tuition Costs

  • $330 per credit hour

 

Knox Theological Seminary

https://www.knoxseminary.edu/knox-online/

knox

Summary

Knox is based in Florida and is a younger school, founded in 1989 by James Kennedy as an outgrowth of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. They seem to offer an online experience that combines more video than other programs though that is also shifting and moving as many seminaries continually revise their delivery methods. Knox is also an very affordable option, and, like, Reformed Seminary, it is a great choice if you are wanting an education in the reformed theological tradition. Unfortunately their Master of Divinity program is only partially online.

Affiliation

Evangelical (Founded by Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church)

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts in Christian and Classical Studies

Tuition Costs

  • $395 per credit hour

 

Multnomah Theological Seminary

www.multnomah.edu/home/online/online-seminary-programs/

multnomah

Summary

Multnomah has a great reputation and dates back to 1936. Based in Portland, Oregon, they offer several fully online programs as well as a master of divinity hybrid program. They have a more time-condensed model for their online courses which last (an intensive) eight weeks. The FAQ is more helpful than others, answering many concerns about online class instruction and the general expectations.

Affiliation

Evangelical

Degrees

  • Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies

Tuition Costs

  • $475 per credit hour

 

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

http://www.nobts.edu/onlineseminary/graduate-degrees.html

New-Orleans

Summary

Known as NOBTS, the seminary is in the work of providing innovative delivery systems, preparing our students for ministry through innovative delivery systems. They are in the family of Southern Baptist seminaries, though our research suggests NOBTS is much more affordable whether you’re Baptist or not. NOBTS have become a leading choice in online programming as they live out that call, “whether God is calling you as a pastor, missionary, counselor, youth minister, educator, worship leader, apologist, or something else entirely.”

Affiliation

Southern Baptist

Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Theological Studies
  • Master of Arts

Tuition Costs

  • $210 per credit hour (Baptist)
  • $360 per credit hour (non-Baptist)

 

Additional notable Seminaries offering online courses that combine with intensive in-class sessions

Tyndale Theological Seminary
tyndale.edu/students/open

Worth noting: “The Tyndale Open Campus (TOC) allows access to select Tyndale courses and course materials without any fees or assignment requirements. While the TOC cannot be used to take courses for credit toward degree programs, the course lectures and materials are identical to the materials in the for-credit Tyndale Cloud Campus.”

Covenant Theological Seminary
www.covenantseminary.edu/resources

Worth noting: “As an extension of our on-campus courses and lecture series, we offer more than 30 master’s-level courses for FREE online and through the Covenant Seminary app for iPhone, iPad, and Android, as well as many special lectures, interviews with ministry practitioners, sermons, and Q+A’s.”

Asbury Seminary
asburyseminary.edu/academics/distance-education/extended-learning-program/

Calvin Theological Seminary
www.calvinseminary.edu/academics/distance-learning/

Fuller Theological Seminary
fuller.edu/online

Talbot School of Theology
www.talbot.edu/distance/

Wesley Biblical Seminary
wbs.edu/academics/online-learning/

Westminster Theological Seminary
www.wts.edu/becoming/distance_programs.html

Denver Seminary
www.denverseminary.edu

*Note: We stated incorrectly in our Press Release that the free courses through Gordon Conwell were a part of the M.Div program.

 

 

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  • Simon

    I love the training I received at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary! Glad to see they are being recognized for their kingdom ministry.