Online Theology degree programs make it possible for many people to get advanced degrees without having to leave their local ministries. Better yet, the online degree programs allow people to join some rather elite Theology and Ministry training programs, without having to leave their local ministries.
The decision regarding which degree is best for an individual interested in theology and/or ministry rates comparatively more difficult than the decision before those interested many other academic disciplines. Aiming to helping train people for their exact ministerial or academic needs, Theology and Ministry graduate degrees have been packaged in many different ways. Due to this, however, it can cause some confusion on determining which program one should enter.
Using “ministry” loosely, some know that their ministerial calling includes (or requires) a strong emphasis on academics, and could indeed hinge on academic success, and even lead to a ministry in an academic setting. For those in this boat, a practical degree such as a Master of Divinity (MDiv), averaging 90 credit hours, simply is not necessary. En route to a PhD, a more cost efficient and career specific path would require an academic degree, like a Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS), Master of Theological Studies (MTS), or a Master of Theology degree (ThM).
Subtle but potentially important differences demarcate the MATS, MTS, and ThM, so it is important to talk to academic advisors regarding which program is best for you. Nevertheless, these three popular academic Theology degrees will prepare students for doctoral level work, or simply scratch an intellectual itch without spending a lot of time and money on practical ministerial-focused courses that may not be of interest to you.
In the list of the Top 20 Online Theology Master Degree Programs, we held the top ten spots for academic degrees – namely, the MATS, MTS, and ThM. While the mash-up of degrees is not exactly apples-to-apples, we believe these degrees meet similar academic and career goals, and thus a ranking of programs is justifiable. Without bias to a particular denomination or creed, we have compared Protestant and Catholic programs, here.
The latter ten degrees are related to Theology Master’s degrees. We included these programs to illustrate what a few other options are, and to highlight a notable institution that provides the given degree online. If you are new to searching through your degree options, we hope you appreciate this portion of the list. The schools included, we believe, would rank highly in lists comparing programs equivalent to what they offer. Some of the degrees, such as Marquette University’s M.A. in Christian Doctrine, qualify as academic degrees, while others are practical degrees, and still others are balanced academic and practical degrees. Given the differences in degrees, schools 11.–20. are arranged alphabetically.
We hope you enjoy the list: The Top 20 Theology Master’s Degree Programs