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The 15 Best Online Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Programs in 2022

master of ministry

Also called magister divinitatis (Latin), the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) is viewed as the first post-baccalaureate degree for individuals interested in pursuing the pastoral profession in the United States and Canada.

It’s the most popular professional degree in divinity schools, seminaries, and other similar institutions according to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), perhaps more popular than other programs, such as Ministerial Leadership and General Theological Studies.

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Quick Summarization
In case you want to gain more understanding of the Bible, Christian doctrine, church history, and church leadership, you may want to pursue a Master of Divinity. Master of Divinity programs differ in their designs and concentrations, but in general, they give students a foundation in biblical scholarship and Christian doctrine. Masters in Divinity degrees offer students the chance to interact with other Christians and faith leaders through the discussion of theology. 

The program may also help you develop practical leadership and practical ministry skills. Master’s degrees are always preferred, but not always required, for jobs in divinity. Graduating with a graduate degree will give you a huge advantage over your competitors when applying for jobs. It is well worth the time and effort to become a master of divinity because of the job security and higher salary that comes with it. Take your master’s degree in divinity online by choosing among the best programs offered by different schools as listed in this article. 

Quick Links – Jump straight to your school of choice or scroll down to see each one’s key reasons for making our list!


This isn’t surprising considering that many Christian denominations require an M.Div. degree for licensing in the professional ministry, administering the sacraments, and for ordination, among other purposes. These denominations include the United Methodist Church, American Baptist Church, and Disciples of Christ, where an M.Div. is one of the prerequisites for ordination. 

The number of credits required for earning an M.Div. degree differs depending on the program itself. In general, students should earn between 72 and 106 credit hours which translates to between two and three years of full-time study.

The difference in credits lies in the minimum number required by accrediting agencies and the desire for certain schools to provide their students with a more comprehensive education.

Nonetheless, all accredited programs provide their graduates with the appropriate knowledge, skills, and spirituality to pursue lives characterized by Christian values. 

divinity Methodology

Our researchers at Premiumschools.org chose these M.Div. programs in much the same way we choose other graduate and post-graduate degrees. We asked ourselves the following questions to determine whether a school has the desirable qualities students are looking for. 

  • Are the school and the program accredited? Accreditation is the first thing that interested individuals must look for because it’s an assurance of the program’s faithful compliance with the accrediting agency’s strict standards. In theological education, the ATS is the longstanding and the most reliable and reliable accrediting agency. (Here’s a list of ATS member schools for your reference.)
  • Is the coursework focused on enhancing the student’s skills and enriching their knowledge toward their calling?
  • Are the school’s faculty members well-regarded in their profession? The more important thing is who you study with followed by what you study! The professors must possess appropriate academic credentials and research experience and live a Christian life imbued with listening ears, open minds, and caring hearts. 
  • What are the school’s mission and vision? The best M.Div. programs are guided by Christ-centric mission, vision, and values that encourage students to become role models of Christian living regardless of their career path.
  • Are there financial aid options offered to eligible students?
  • Does the online Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program maintain a good reputation in the sector and the community?

To learn more, see our Methodology page!

BEST ONLINE MASTER OF DIVINITY (M.Div.) PROGRAMS

Liberty University

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Online Master of Divinity Degree

School Standouts: 

Liberty University is a well-regarded university that offers a wide range of exceptional degree programs, and its M.Div. program is no exception to the rule. Graduates agree that it’s the most comprehensive and intensive graduate-level seminary program that caters to aspiring ministry professionals, including ministers and missionaries.

The program itself is 100% online and with flexible eight-week courses with an asynchronous format. 

Applicants can request for transfer of credits of up to 50% of the total required credits for graduation. The credits can come from extensive personal study, previous ministry experience, and an unaccredited seminary degree; the actual credit will be determined based on a transfer evaluation and Institutional Challenge exams.

Both men and women are also accepted into the program in keeping with contemporary practice. Students are provided with a well-rounded curriculum that prepares them for careers in Christian Ministry, such as minister or chaplain. The coursework includes:

  • theology,
  • church history,
  • biblical studies,
  • and classes on practical ministry skills. 

Students can get a headstart on their careers through Liberty’s annual ministry fair, where more than 70 organizations, many of which are among the world’s largest Christian ministries, participate. 

Campus Location: Lynchburg, Virginia 

Religious Affiliation: Evangelical Christian 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete 75 credit hours, which means the program can be finished in two years at full-time status. 

Tuition and Scholarship:

  • Tuition for the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity Master’s program of Liberty University online is $2,750 (block rate), for full-time students. This figure is for those enrolled between 9 and 15 credit hours.
  • Those enrolled between 1 and 8.99 credit hours are charged the part-time tuition rate of $395 per credit hour.
  • Credit hours above 15 are charged at the $395 part-time rate as well.
  • For the Military Master School of Divinity, the rate is $2,475 (block rate).
  • Other fees for the online program include:
    • a 1-time, $50 application/re-application fee (non-refundable, technology fee of $249 per semester, $125 for the late financial check-in fee,
    • payment plan participation at $50 per semester,
    • and $100 as a portfolio assessment fee.

There are plenty of scholarship opportunities for online college students at Liberty University. Canadian Student Initiative, Heroes Fund Scholarship, First Responders Discount, just to name a few, are some of the scholarships waiting for online students.

Did You Know?

Liberty University is a nonprofit institution that doesn’t charge expensive tuition just to make a profit. In fact, even if the tuition is below the usual, they still offer scholarships opportunities both for undergraduate and graduate students.

Would you like some additional information about Liberty’s M.Div. degree program? If so, check it out!

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Denver Seminary

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M.Div. Degree Online Program

School Standouts: 

Denver Seminary’s M.Div. degree program allows students to earn their graduate degree fully online which, in turn, enables them to maintain full and active engagement with their communities, families, and ministries. This is a convenient set-up for students who like to balance their graduate studies with their budding or existing ministry and benefit from the challenging curriculum. 

The seminary also makes it easy for online students to become fully engaged with their fellow students and instructors through its Next Generation Online Learning classes platform. Both parties can conduct virtual meet-ups and synchronized discussions that enhance the learning process, sense of community, and learning outcomes. Indeed, it’s a conducive environment characterized by flexibility, interactivity, and community! 

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of a cumulative 2.5 GPA and complete the application documents to be considered for admission into the highly selective program. Request for transfer of credits can be made, too – up to 19 credits for undergraduate-level work and a maximum of 39 credits for graduate-level work. 

Students may start in the fall, spring, or summer semester and complete the program in four years from their chosen start date. Take note that the duration of study may not be shortened even with an approved credit transfer. The coursework includes:

  • Apologetics and Ethics,
  • Biblical Preaching,
  • and Chaplaincy. 

Campus Location: Washington, D.C. 

Religious Affiliation: Evangelical Christian 

Accreditation:

  • ATS
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 
  • Association for Clinical Pastoral Education
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs or CACREP

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete the requirements for 79 credit hours.

Tuition and Scholarship:

  • For the master’s degree program, the tuition is $645 per semester hour credit or $215 per semester hour audit.
  • The technology fee is $195, and another $30 as an activity fee is charged to those enrolled in two or more credit hours.

There are several scholarships, grants, and discounts given to qualified students. You can send a direct email to the school’s Financial Aid Office to know more about your options.

Did You Know?

The beautiful University of Denver campus has been around for 149 years. Denver University has an on-campus, online, and hybrid degree option for flexibility and better access to education. Their mentoring and training curriculum is also built into their programs. 

Need more information? Check out Denver Seminary’s Master of Divinity degree program. 

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Loyola University Chicago

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Master of Divinity Hybrid Degree 

School Standouts: 

Individuals with a strong calling for ministerial leadership find that the Loyola University Chicago’s M.Div. program is among the best, thanks to its emphasis on preparing students for a life of ministry in contemporary society and an ever-evolving church.

Students are well-versed in Christian heritage, traditions, and history and equipped with a critical and practical understanding of their ministry. To ensure this, the coursework combines theoretical and contextual education. 

Students must undergo a Midpoint Review halfway through their studies, and it involves writing a brief statement about their identity, vocation, and practice. While the written word sounds easy for graduate students, it requires deep self-awareness. But it’s a vital aspect of the program since it is proof that the students have a deep appreciation for Loyola’s educational thrusts – faith formation, ministerial practice, and reflective critical understanding. 

Many of its students are non-ordained individuals preparing for ministerial leadership. But there are also students from the clergy and religious communities who seek meaningful contributions to the church’s collaborative and diverse nature. 

Online students must take Liturgical Leadership as an on-campus course, but the rest of the coursework is fully online. Part-time and full-time enrolment is possible, with part-time students completing the degree in 5-6 years while full-time students complete it in 3-4 years. Applicants are admitted on a rolling basis, which means students can start during the fall, spring, or summer term. 

Campus Location: Chicago, Illinois 

Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic  

Accreditation:

  • HLC
  • ATS

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete the 72 credit hour requirements composed of academic coursework, ministerial skills, and pastoral formation.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • For the academic year 2022-2023, the institute of pastoral studies at Loyola University Chicago online collects $805 per credit hour.
  • There is also a student development fee per semester at:
    • $172 for students registered for 6 or more hours,
    • $85 for those registered 5 hours and below,
    • and a technology fee of $125.

To apply for a scholarship, start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA to be considered for all financial aid options.

Did You Know?

Loyola University partnered with Inceptia to smoothly expedite the federal verification process of students. Applicants can simply forward their verification documents to the verification gateway of Inceptia, and they will take it from there.

For an exceptional M.Div. degree program, check out LUC’s website today!

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Eastern University 

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Online M.Div. with Two Tracks: Pastoral Leadership & Adaptive Leadership

School Standouts: 

Eastern University offers two tracks designed for the different needs of its students.

  • First, the Pastoral Leadership track is for students who want to pursue ordination in their respective churches or whose calling is in pastoral ministry.
  • Second, the Adaptive Leadership track attracts students whose interests lie in non-pastoral careers.

Both tracks, nonetheless, prepare students for a life filled with Christian values and morals.  

The program is built on a foundation of six church practices, but it isn’t your run-of-the-mill program with too much emphasis on the past. Students say that its fresh and innovative approach toward theology, contemporary issues, and biblical issues allows them the freedom to gain a critical appreciation of their church and ministry. Indeed, the coursework is designed to allow both professors and students to dive deeper into the six church practices. 

The start terms are in March and August every year. Regardless of their chosen start date, students learn from experience through interactions with contextual thinkers, theologians, and pastors; learn the ways of theology, identify questions to implement appropriate responses; and learn on-demand, thanks to the wonders of online learning. 

Campus Location: St. Davids, Pennsylvania

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Graduation Requirements:

The program requires the completion of 78 credits earned in three years of full-time study.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • For full-time master’s programs (9 or more credits per semester), the tuition is $541 per credit hour.
  • Part-time students (fewer than 9 credits per semester) pay $574 per credit hour, while the OpenSeminary programs are $493 per credit hour.
  • Other charges include $104 per semester as the student service fee, a one-time orientation fee of $387, and a one-time Mentor and Reader Fee (DMin) of $1,708.

You can find all the needed scholarship information at the Financial Aid Office at Eastern University. You can find student loans, grants, scholarships, and financial aid options in the program you’re enrolled in.

Did You Know?

Qualified veterans can attend Eastern University for free. Military veterans or any of their family members who meet the requirements can use their Veteran Affairs education benefits like the Vocational Rehabilitation education benefits, or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in conjunction with the Yellow Ribbon program to fund their EU Education.

Learn more about Eastern University’s Master of Divinity degree program with two concentrations

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Grace School of Theology

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Master of Divinity Online Degree 

School Standouts: 

The M.Div. program at Grace School of Theology prepares its students with a sound theological and practical foundation for their future work as ministerial leaders. The coursework has a unique structure that provides a well-rounded balance between theological and biblical studies on the one hand and practical ministry skills courses on the other hand.

  • The result: Students are not only prepared mentally and spiritually for the rigorous challenges ahead but are also prepared for their everyday challenges. 

Graduates can apply their graduate degree in a wide range of work, too. These include professional ministries, such as in the classroom, community, church, chaplains, educators, and motivational speakers. Many graduates also apply for their M.Div. degree into post-graduate work, such as the Doctor of Ministry degree. 

The selective admissions process means that not all applicants can be accepted into the program. The application requirements include a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, transcripts from the previous educational experience, and letters of recommendation from an acquaintance and pastor. Applicants must also pass the iTEP exam

When attending full-time, students complete this program in about three years, and a request for a transfer of up to 47 credits can be made. They may pursue a minor in Chaplaincy. 

Campus Location: College Park Drive, The Woodlands, Texas 

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

Students typically complete the 95 credit hours required for graduation within three years or so.

Tuition and Scholarship:

The graduate and undergraduate programs of Grace School of Theology offer similar costs of attendance.

  • Non-credit tuition is $60 per credit hour for a 15-week course and $30 for an 8-week course.
  • Credit tuition is $250 per credit hour.
  • An application fee of $55 and an admin fee of $40 per course are collected as well.
  • For non-credit students taking one or more online classes, there’s an $80 technology fee as well.

There are several financial aids open for qualified enrollees. Visit their dedicated site to know more about your options. Military tuition assistance is also available for eligible service members.

Did You Know?

Grace School of Theology’s MDiv degree is structured in a way that both theological and biblical studies, coupled with ministry skills concentration, will increase one’s knowledge of God’s word and prepare them for the usual demands of everyday ministry.

Grant School Of Theology’s M.Div. degree program is an excellent choice. Check out their website today!

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Regent University

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M.Div. Degree Online

School Standouts: 

Regent’s M.Div. program is unique because it includes elements found in theological studies and practical theology master’s degree programs! Think of it as getting three graduate degrees in one while studying for just one degree. As such, students are well-equipped to become leaders of whatever organization they choose after graduation, whether in a church or a non-profit organization serving the underserved and unserved. 

Students also become more knowledgeable about Christian history, interpretations of the scripture and biblical writings, and theology. More intensive education can be enjoyed by choosing a concentration, such as Biblical Languages, Interdisciplinary Studies, Marketplace Ministry, or Missiology. (Regent has the highest number of concentrations of schools in this list.) 

A total of 72 credits are offered for this program, which emphasizes discipleship training and Christian community principles. Earn your Master of Divinity online, at your own pace, while balancing work, family, and ministry demands. Virginia Beach is home to a respected faculty that supports their Master of Divinity program. Renewal theology, Christian history, and biblical studies have been pioneered by them and their faculty.

Applicants of the master of divinity program must have a 4-year bachelor’s degree in any field and submit college transcripts and a writing sample. They must also demonstrate high intellectual achievement, the integrity of character and spiritual maturity, and personal goals aligned with their mission. 

Campus Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia 

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

The program consists of 72 credits that students must earn before they can be considered for graduation.

Tuition and Scholarship:

  • For the Master of Divinity, tuition is $500 per credit hour, or $3,000 for 6 credit hours per semester.
  • There is also a university services fee of $650 for online students and $800 for on-campus students.
  • University Services Fee for online students give you access to:
    • student technology resources,
    • library resources,
    • IT helpdesk support,
    • academic support center,
    • student success coaching career services,
    • student ministries,
    • center for student happiness,
    • and disability services.

Scholarship and financial aid options are plenty. They have federal aid, state aids, institutional aids, military benefits, and even private aid. They also have military benefits for qualified students.

Did You Know?

Regent University is ranked among the Top 5 Military Times’ Best Colleges: Online and Nontraditional Schools in 2018, and also the fifth military-friendly school among private schools (with more than 10,000 students) that offer a doctorate program, by Military Friendly.

Are you ready to learn more about Regent’s M.Div. degree program? If so, we’ve got you covered! 

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Houston Baptist University

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Master of Divinity Distance Learning Degree with Two Tracks: Biblical Languages and English Language

School Standouts: 

The diverse student body at HBU’s Master of Divinity program consists of Baptists and other evangelical denominations, a testament to its commitment to spreading the Word of God and working through differences in beliefs.

Students enjoy the program’s integrated and integrative approach toward Christian education and, thus, are well-prepared for their future life in the ministry. The program emphasizes a combination of personal formation, professional preparedness, and practical experience. 

Students are taught the core knowledge and skills that will allow them to implement practical applications of the Bible in their specific cultural context. Indeed, the relevance of the Christian life in the contemporary world is a central principle in HBU’s M.Div. curriculum such that ministerial leaders become relevant in the faithful’s daily life, too. 

HBU offers two tracks – Biblical Languages and English Language. Both tracks require applicants to submit official transcripts, a personal statement indicating faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, as well as the general agreement with HBU’s preamble and resumé.

Campus Location: Houston, Texas 

Religious Affiliation: Christian Baptist 

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Graduation Requirements:

Students must earn 72 credit hours to qualify for graduation.

Tuition and Scholarships:

For the graduate programs, tuition is $585 per credit hour and $250 per semester Online Student Fee. There is also a financial aid webinar you can check to know your scholarship and aid options.

Did You Know?

Houston Baptist University supports the Pampell Online Division that offers 100% online graduate and undergraduate programs to help adults enroll despite the demanding work and family schedules. The online classes are highly interactive, and the faculty mentors are very dedicated to their craft to ensure students get the best academic experience and have better opportunities to succeed.  

The Houston Baptist University’s Master of Divinity degree program is perfect for you! Check it out today!

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Mercer University

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Online Master of Divinity with Professional Degree Options

School Standouts: 

Mercer’s Master of Divinity program is 100% online. McAfee School of Theology is the newest program on the list, with the application period for Fall being open. Students complete the coursework over four years with 6-7 credit hours every semester during the fall, spring, and summer terms every year. While it has the longest duration, its structure allows students a well-rounded balance between their studies, work, and ministry.  

The program, which covers theory and practice, is all taught in a rigorous curriculum and practical experience. The program has several concentrations, such as:

  • Global and Cultural Studies,
  • Biblical Studies,
  • and Ministerial and Public Leadership, to name a few.

Regardless of their chosen concentration, students benefit from a small faculty-to-student ratio (1:8), peer learning, and intensive student formation, including spiritual formation, vocational formation, and ministerial integration.  

Students also can pursue a combined degree, which combines a theological education with a professional degree. This means better and more job opportunities for graduates! The options are an M.Div. degree with a:

  • Master of Business Administration,
  • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling,
  • or Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Leadership – with a non-profit focus. 

Students in the online program are well-advised to take 6-7 hours every semester. 

Campus Location: Atlanta, Georgia (Campus where the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology is located) 

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

Mercer requires students to complete 78 credit hours for graduation purposes.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • For the Master of Divinity, the tuition per credit hour is $495. This equates to:
    • $1,485 per 3 credit hours,
    • $2,970 per 6 credit hours,
    • and $4,455 per 9 credit hours.
  • There is also a $17 per credit hour Facility and Technology fee, with a maximum of $150 per semester.

Mercer University is proud of its numerous university scholarships and grants. From merit-based grants and scholarships to institutional aid and endowments and even the ministerial aid in case one has a plan to enter a full-time Christian vocation right after graduation, the school has plenty of options.

Did You Know?

Mercer University online is a nationally-ranked university, thanks to its commitment to academic excellence and innovation. All its online programs and courses leverage modern technology so that Mercer degrees become accessible to more enrollees regardless of their location.

Would you like to combine your Master of Divinity degree with a Professional Degree option? This program is perfect for those interested in a wide array of employment opportunities. Check it out here!

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George Fox University

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M.Div. Distance Learning Degree Program with Various Specializations 

School Standouts: 

The great things about George Fox University’s Master of Divinity degree program are its robust and rigorous curriculum, its community of students, pastors, ministerial leaders from around the United States, and its flexible online format. These aspects translate to a meaningful educational experience for students planning to pursue a successful ministry career. 

Students learn scripture and express their beliefs faithfully and practically. Their coursework encourages them to experience God’s words, build a community of faithful people, and support their transformation as well as those of others. Indeed, graduates are expected to become leaders of the Church through teaching, preaching, and exercising pastoral care. 

GCU offers several specializations:

  • Biblical Studies,
  • Chaplaincy,
  • Christian History and Theology,
  • Spiritual Direction,
  • and Spiritual Formation and Discipleship.
  • The coursework is divided into:
    • Biblical studies,
    • Christian history and theology,
    • leadership,
    • pastoral studies,
    • spiritual formation,
    • and discipleship.

Campus Location: Newberg, Oregon 

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation: 

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • ATS

Graduation Requirements:

The program consists of 78 credit hours that students must complete for graduation purposes. The average completion time is four years, consisting of eight credit hours each in the fall and spring semesters and four credit hours in 1 to 2 summer terms.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • Tuition for a Master’s Degree is $590 per credit hour.
  • There is also a $50 student services fee per semester for part-time students (those with 4-7.5 credit hours), and $90 for full-time students.
  • The health insurance per year is $4,000 for full-time students (8 or more hours, without waiver and proof of insurance).

There are also several financial assistance options like grants, scholarships, and loans. Institutional and federal aid available that you can check includes Portland Seminary Scholarships and Grants, Financial Aid for Graduate Students, and the Federal Financial Aid (US Department of Education).

Did You Know?

Forbes Media’s ranking of “The Best Religiously Affiliated Colleges” ranked George Fox among the top 10 of all Christian colleges in the country. The school is formed actively engaged in church ministry as children’s pastor, lead pastors, worship pastors, and youth pastors.

Take a look at Geoge Fox University’s M.Div. degree program featuring several concentrations to choose from. 

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Fuller Theological Seminary

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Master of Divinity Online Degree with Concentrations in Biblical Studies, Leadership in Times of Change, and Pastoral Counseling

School Standouts: 

Fuller’s M.Div. program is characterized by a comprehensive curriculum that will challenge the students’ understanding of their Christian faith while also deepening their appreciation of its traditions and aspirations.

Graduates become leaders with a deep spiritual foundation based on their intensive theological education and practical experiences. Many proceed to a church ministry, but many also become chaplains and educators and pursue doctoral studies

Students not only learn about theology but also gain the confidence to become effective speakers and pastors! Their online education is complemented by an extensive supervised apprenticeship that gives them exposure to real-world challenges. The coursework includes:

  • Biblical studies and exegesis,
  • ministry,
  • Christian ethics,
  • cultural context,
  • theological studies,
  • and general electives.

The apprenticeship period is for nine months, part-time only. 

Online students can finish the program in 4-5 years, but it can be completed in as little as 2½ years. Students choose from three concentrations:

  • Biblical Studies,
  • Leadership in Times of Change,
  • and Pastoral Counseling. 

Campus Location: Pasadena, California 

Religious Affiliation: Multi-denominational Christian

Accreditation:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • ATS

Graduation Requirements:

The program consists of 120 quarter units, which is the equivalent of 80-semester units.

Tuition and Scholarships:

The total estimated program tuition for a Master’s of Divinity (MA in Theology) is $36,000, or $450 per unit (80 units). The tuition rate is the same for both online and on-campus study.

There are several financial aid and scholarships for eligible students as well. The MAT scholarship is for students admitted to the MAT degree program who has at least 8 units per quarter. Students with 8 units per quarter can receive $540 per quarter (roughly 15% tuition), while those with 12 units per quarter will have $1,620 per quarter (or 30% tuition). Federal loans, federal work-study, and other private scholarships are also available.

Did You Know?

The Fuller MDiv program is available fully online, and is handled by some of the world’s leading biblical scholar-practitioners. The best part of the program is that you get to have a community of classmates from across the love, without having to leave your ministry or home.

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Master of Divinity degree program will allow you to gain the skills you need. Check it out today!

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Columbia International University 

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Master of Divinity Distance Learning Degree Program

School Standouts: 

Columbia International University’s Master of Divinity degree serves many purposes for its students and graduates! Due to their theological background and practical ministerial skills, they have the enviable opportunity to enter a wide range of careers. Aside from the degree being a qualification for ordination, it’s also a valuable degree in professional ministry, non-profit work, and post-graduate education. 

Graduates are known to provide pastoral care for the underserved and unserved, biblical instruction to people of all ages, races, statuses, and scholarly leadership, all of which are based on their application and passion for the Christian life. Of course, such passion was enhanced in their time as CIU students. 

The program offers several concentrations, including:

  • Bible Exposition,
  • Care and Counseling,
  • Chaplaincy,
  • Ministry Studies,
  • Muslim-Christian Relations,
  • and Missiological Studies.

Students benefit from the chaplaincy-focused courses and integrated internships that expose them to real-world ministerial leadership situations. 

Applicants must submit an application form and application fee, official transcripts, an 800-word typed application essay, and a letter of recommendation from the church leader. 

Campus Location: Columbia, South Carolina

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • ATS

Graduation Requirements:

All concentrations require the completion of 72 credit hours for graduation.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • The Master of Divinity is $515 per credit hour.
  • Application for Admission is $25,
  • Technology fee is $200 per semester.

As for the scholarship, you can apply for federal loans and grants by filling out the FAFSA. These aids will assist you in covering the costs associated with the online graduate programs.

Did You Know?

Classes began in the fall of 1922 in rented rooms in downtown Columbia near the Colonia Hotel and at the YMCA, and became Columbia Bible School the following year. Currently, CIU has been globally known as one of the premiere schools with a Christian education since 1923.

Here, you can learn more about Columbia International University’s online M.Div. program! 

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Moody Bible Institute

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Distance Learning Degree Program in Master of Divinity: Pastoral Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies

School Standouts: 

The Moody Bible Institute’s M.Div. program is among the best programs because its students develop their knowledge of Christian scripture and become invigorated to pursue a life in the ministry. Students also learn Greek and Hebrew and pastoral practices, biblical and systematic theology, and Bible analysis, which are the foundation for pastoral leadership. 

While MBI offers five concentrations, only two are offered fully online:

  • Pastoral Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Studies

although these are also offered in its Chicago and Michigan campuses. The university allows the transfer of credits from previous academic work. 

Unlike most schools offering M.Div. programs, MBI requires its applicants to prove that they have been Christians for at least one year and demonstrate active participation in a Protestant church. Other application requirements include a completed online application, autographical essays, two letters of reference or recommendation, official transcripts, and an application fee. 

Campus Location: Chicago, Illinois 

Religious Affiliation: Fundamentalist Christian 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

Students must earn 87 credits and complete two internships to be considered for degree conferment.

Tuition and Scholarships:

The estimated cost per semester is $4,515 for an online student with 9 credit hours. However, this figure does not include supplies, books, personal expenses, and medical insurance.

They also collect $50 non-refundable application fee and other student fees per semester.

The cost of getting a master’s degree from Moody can be offset by different types of financial aid. This makes it possible for you to graduate with very minimal debt. You can fill out the FAFSA form to determine what financial aids are suitable for you.

Did You Know?

After you develop critical biblical skills and move your preaching techniques to a whole new level, you need to complete two internships (built into the curriculum) to further help and guide you to apply what you have learned in real-life settings.

Are you ready to begin your journey in the ministry? If so, check out Moody Bible Institute’s Master of Divinity degree program. They offer several concentrations, too! 

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Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

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Online Master of Divinity Degree

School Standouts: 

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s M.Div. program is considered a stepping stone for ministerial work in the Roman Catholic Church, particularly for its laity and permanent deacons. Most students plan to pursue a Ph.D. degree, such as a Doctor of Ministry, although many also plan to pursue other career paths. Students with a master’s degree in ministry or theology have the option to take the accelerated track through the transfer of credits. 

The program can be completed in 7½ years for part-time students and less than four years for full-time students. There are four terms every year, with courses spanning 12 weeks. The start dates are on September 1, December 1, March 1, and June 1 every year, which means students can enter the program at their convenient term. 

Take note that the program is Christ-centered in its teachings and influenced by the Sisters of Mercy’s heritage. The admission requirements make it among the more selective – a minimum of 3.0 GPA, an essay explaining your career path and reasons for applying, and a letter attesting to your good standing as a Roman Catholic. 

Campus Location: Standish, Maine 

Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic 

Accreditation: New England Commission on Higher Education (Note that it isn’t ATS-accredited, and its completion will not result in ordination in the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches.) 

Graduation Requirements:

Students must complete 90 credits for graduation purposes. These include core courses, such as moral theology, ministry, and biblical studies, as well as electives and a capstone practicum.

Tuition and Scholarships:

The online program is $398 per credit hour, and there is no application fee. Tuition discounts are given to active-duty military members, as well as for employees of the school’s corporate partners. Federal financial aids are also offered for qualified students enrolled at least half-time in the online degree program. These aids cover for the cost of tuition and books.

Did You Know?

Many students at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine pursue a Master’s in Divinity and work towards their goal of becoming an ordained minister. However, there are also those who apply their theological education as pastoral counselors, educators, or chaplains.

Are you prepared for your pastoral duties? Receive the correct training through Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s online Master of Divinity program.

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Abilene Christian University 

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Master of Divinity (M.Div.) Online with a Missions Concentration Option

School Standouts: 

The M.Div. program at ABU provides its students with a robust foundation in theology, scripture, church history, and practical training vital for their future in ministry. The practical skills are notable because students learn the art of persuasive preaching, the subtleties of cultural context, and the skills to deal with pastoral challenges. Students may choose to follow the doctoral path after graduation and excel in it, thanks to their intensive graduate background. 

The program also offers a Missions concentration, which covers all the areas of an M.Div. degree but with the addition of a gospel-related focus on contemporary culture and its issues. Individuals without a theological degree are welcome to apply, too.  

Affordable tuition costs facilitate confident learning at ACU through flexible payment plans, grants, loans, and scholarships. ACU acknowledges that graduate studies can be prohibitively expensive. To assist students in our online theology programs, they offer several scholarships and the master of Divinity is one of the programs that you can apply for a scholarship. They need to check your qualifications through your academic performance and financial needs. 

Campus Location: Abilene, Texas 

Religious Affiliation: Christian 

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • ATS

Graduation Requirements:

With a 72-credit course load, a student can complete the program in four years. 

Tuition and Scholarships:

The online Master’s Degree tuition at ACU has individualized tuition per credit hour rates.

  • For the Master of Divinity program, tuition per credit hour is $731.
  • This equates to a total cost of $52,632, not including the $120 orientation fee.

Online students at ACU have full access to ACU’s financial aid and may potentially become eligible for scholarships. There are also programmatic ACU scholarships, along with private outside scholarships.

Did You Know?

ACU has a Lock-in Tuition program. After enrolling in your program at ACU online, the Locked-In Tuition plan guarantees you will pay the same price for your whole program.

Are you interested in mission work? Abilene Christian University offers a concentration in Missions that can be included in your M.Div. degree program. 

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St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry

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Master of Divinity Online Degree

School Standouts: 

The M.Div. program at St. Bernard’s provides its students with the tools to become effective ministry professionals through a dynamic combination of theoretical knowledge of theology and practical ministerial formation.

Graduates are expected to become God’s witnesses to the world and demonstrate critical thinking, persuasive communication, and meaningful connections. Such traits are nurtured in the program, where students are imbued with the basic knowledge of pastoral, theological, and biblical disciplines. 

Foundational courses include:

  • Spiritual Formation,
  • Orientation to Theological Studies,
  • Prophets and Writings,
  • Historical Theology,
  • and Introduction to Hebrew Scriptures.

Electives include Systematic Theology and Moral and Social Teachings. 

Campus Location: Rochester, New York 

Religious Affiliation: Roman Catholic 

Accreditation: ATS

Graduation Requirements:

The program consists of 75 credits, which translates to 25 courses.

Tuition and Scholarships:

  • For graduate school, tuition is $705 per credit hour.
  • There is also a technology fee of $10 per credit taken,
  • a registration fee of $40 per semester,
  • and a first-time applications fee of $75.

St. Bernard’s understands how the pandemic has severely affected many families. Thus, they have several scholarships, grants, and loans available for qualified students that can meet certain federal requirements.

Did You Know?

96% of graduates and certificate students from St. Bernard’s receive scholarships and financial aid. Just last year, over $75,000 in scholarships were awarded.

For more information, check out St. Bernard’s M.Div. program! 

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What is the ATS standard?

The ATS standard for its accredited member schools include coursework in four content areas: 

  • Religious Heritage where students are provided with structured opportunities to understand their religious traditions and customs; 
  • Cultural Context where the program provides opportunities for students to enhance their critical understanding of and inspired engagement with the cultural history and realities of the Christian churches; 
  • Personal and Spiritual Formation where students are inspired to grow in emotional maturity, personal faith, and public witness, which are desired traits in pastoral leadership; and 
  • Capacity for Ministerial and Public Leadership where the program provides its students with the theological and practical aspects of their ministry.  

What are my career options?

What are your career options with a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree? Many undergo the challenging coursework because of their calling to the ordained ministry, but many also apply their advanced theological education in other ways. 

For students on the ordained ministry path, their degree is a step toward ordination in their respective Christian denomination. Students may also pursue a chaplaincy career in various institutions, including the U.S. military, correctional facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes. 

What kind of salary can I expect?

Aside from the opportunity to spread the Gospel, they can also look forward to a mean annual wage of $57,230 (BLS, 2021).

What specializations should I consider?

Just like in any master’s degree program, students can also choose their specializations. These include:

  • pastoral ministries,
  • biblical counseling,
  • Christian education,
  • and missiology and intercultural studies.

Your choice in the specialization will influence your career path, but you can apply it in other ways, too. 

What prerequisites do I need for a divinity degree?

Since an M.Div. degree is a post-baccalaureate degree. You must have a bachelor’s degree before you can be considered for admission. Fortunately, there’s no specific bachelor’s degree required, but a strong biblical background is advantageous. You are asked to comply with other application requirements, including personal essays, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. 

What is the difference between an M.Div. and a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree?

The M.Div. degree typically requires three years of full-time studies, while the MTS degree has a shorter duration at two years. The former prepares students for future engagements in the ministry across a wide range of settings. The latter enables students to understand the literature and languages, practices and structures behind religious traditions, and the fields of theology. 

Are applicants required to have majored in theology or religion? 

No! Many students have backgrounds in theology, religious studies, and scripture, and it’s a definite advantage when in an M.Div. degree program. But applicants without these backgrounds are welcome to apply, especially when they have a strong English background, history, and liberal arts. All applicants must possess strong verbal and written communication skills, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills. 

Are non-Christians allowed to get an M.Div. degree?

Yes, of course! Non-Christian students, such as Unitarian Universalist students, pursue an M.Div. degree to become community ministers and use the education to excel in their chosen professions. These may include the fields of law, medicine, and social work, which benefit from strong theological training. 

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Key Points to Ponder

  • Masters in Divinity are more practical degrees that train students for positions as pastors, priests, or ministers. In this way, it offers pastoral studies classes, which are not available in other theological degrees.
  • The Master of Divinity is more focused on Christian practices, as opposed to a Master of Theology or Theology degree, which focuses more on theories of religions and not necessarily on the Christian religion. 
  • This educational program allows you to choose from different specializations such as pastoral care, counselling, homiletics, Christian communication, and biblical languages.
  • Whatever is your cup of tea, you can pursue an online degree in master of divinity to elevate your academic achievements.
  • After all, the demand for ministries and other jobs related to this industry will continue to grow in the coming years. Acquiring a graduate degree will help you achieve your spiritual and professional goals in time. 

Are you interested in a Humanities-related degree? Check this out: The 50 Best Humanities Graduate Degrees Online

Do you need some extra cash? The 10 Best Online Jobs for College Students

Malcolm Peralty
Chief Editor