What are the Different Types of Theology Degrees?
Theology is a rewarding and demanding academic pursuit. There are many different degrees that fall under the “theology” category, and there are certainly some undergraduate theology degrees offered in broad categories such as Bible or Christian leadership; however most of them are advanced degrees, specializing in one part of theological training or another. Through various online seminary schools, you can even attain this. This is a great way for finding a job as a senior pastor or other kind of church leadership where advanced training is required. They are all, also, usually challenging and thought provoking degree tracks where students are not only mentally and intellectually stimulated, but also engage in a lot of soul searching.
Because the field of theology has grown substantially over the past few decades, it can be overwhelming for students to decide which degree is ultimately best for them to begin. One of the best ways to find the theology degree program that fits you is to think about your personality and think about the type of career you want to have in the future. Do you like working with kids? Do you want to lead a team of ministers? Are you looking to work in music ministry or teach missionaries how to engage with different cultures? There are theology degrees that cover every spiritual concentration to fill every ministry, service, or teaching role.
Masters in Theology
A masters degree in theology is a fairly broad theological degree for someone looking for a solid foundation in theological principles. It’s a degree that can be useful in going on to teach humanities or religion classes at a two or four year college. A degree like this might also be helpful working for a Christian social organization focused on the environment or social justice.
Masters in Theological Studies
This advanced, scholarly degree is for students who already have a religion or theology related undergraduate related degree, and for those looking to go on to get their doctorate. It is a degree that prepares students to research and publish in the field of religious studies more than it helps teach them to engage in active ministry, and is therefore very useful for anyone looking to teach, write, or continue in their training.
Masters in Divinity
The M.Div. degree is the degree that is typically pursued when someone is actively looking to become ordained and lead within a church. They are often denomination specific, and try to prepare students for service and leadership in a specific denomination. They are also appropriate degrees for students looking to work in youth and children’s ministry, counseling, and other positions on a church stuff.
There are, of course, also degrees available for those who belong to other religious groups and wish to study theology. People belonging to the Islamic or Jewish religion can study to become rabbis or imams, or simply study the history of their religion, to go on and teach. There are also a number of non-religious colleges that offers students the option of earning a theology degree by learning about a number of major religions, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. This kind of degree is also useful for teaching world religions, sociology, or humanities courses.
Once a student has gone through the work of choosing a track and earning a degree, it’s reasonable to wonder about the next step: getting a job and earning a salary. As noted, many of the degrees are flexible between leadership, ministry, and teaching, to name a few. According to the Bureau of Labor, the teaching of religion at the post-secondary level, including a combination of classroom time and research, is a currently stable job field with a median income of over $60,000. Showing an enthusiasm for theology and divinity work is the easiest way to increase your job prospects. It’s one of the most recognizable features you can present to employers and often conveys over to your skills on the job as well.
Online Seminary Schools and Related Programs
Finding an online seminary school or even an online program from a seminary school can be challenging if you don't know where to look. If your end-goal is to enter some form of ministry though, several online schools do offer programs in religion and ministry. The colleges below are accredited schools that are also Christian universities offering such programs. By enrolling in an accredited degree program, you'll learn the skills necessary to work for a religious organization, lead a congregation, teach others about a specific faith, and much more.
Pastoral Ministry (AA)
Leadership & Ministry (BA)
|Ohio Christian University is an undergraduate school that offers both online and on campus programs. Students can pursue an AA in Christian Ministry or a BA in Leadership & Ministry. Both of these degrees can help you start your career and prepare you to assist in leadership responsibilities. OCU was established in 1948 in Circleville, Ohio.|
Religion: Pastoral Counseling (MA)
Master of Divinity
Doctor of Ministry
|Liberty University is not only one of the largest Christian schools, with over 70,000 students currently enrolled, it is among the biggest schools in the US overall. Liberty offers a diverse range of theological programs including the Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry programs. These programs prepare you for Christian ministry in church and organization settings.|
Biblical Studies (BA)
Youth Ministry (BA)
Pastoral Ministry (MA)
Urban Ministry (MA)
|If you are interested in Christian ministry, Grand Canyon University has several paths you can choose from to get there. If you are starting your education, the school offers a BA in Christian Studies in Biblical Studies or Youth Ministry while those seeking graduate programs have many choices in specialization such as Pastoral Ministry or Urban Ministry.|
Biblical Studies (BA)
|While Colorado Christian University is a smaller school with just over 3,500 students currently enrolled, its programs are ideal for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge of theological issues. The BA in Biblical Studies immerses students in scripture and helps ready them to study in seminary school.|
Biblical Leadership (BS)
|Southwestern Christian University provides distance learning options for several theological degrees including the BS in Biblical Leadership. This program can act as a foundation for pastoral ministries with curriculum centered on skills like mission development, budget management, and spiritual growth.|
Christian Ministries (BA)
|San Diego Christian College was founded in 1970 in El Cajon, California, just northeast of its namesake city. SDCC is a good fit for students who want smaller classrooms and more one-to-one interaction with their teachers. SDCC has a BA in Christian Ministries that can be completed in four years and is entirely online, with no campus visitation required.|
Organizational Leadership: Consulting (BA)
|Benedictine University is a well-established school, rich with tradition, student engagement, and academic integrity. BU was founded in 1887 as a private Catholic university in Lisle, Illinois. While Benedictine does not offer degrees in ministry or religion online, it does has two programs that can help prepare you for leadership positions: BA of Organization Leadership and MS in Leadership.|
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