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Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Theology 2021

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Most Affordable Online Bachelor's in Theology badge

Theology programs involve the formal study of religion and God. Learners examine core topics such as ministry and theological history. Many bachelor’s in theology programs in the United States focus on the Christian religious tradition and appear at Christian and Bible colleges. Students may also choose online theology programs focused on rabbinical studies or Islamic studies.

Affordable theology bachelor’s online programs typically offer specializations such as youth ministry, pastoral counseling, and diversity and inclusion in faith communities. Theology bachelor’s students generally need strong faith, leadership skills, and a passion for service. Enrollees can also benefit from skills in academic research, writing, and presenting.

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While completing the most affordable theology bachelor’s programs, online students typically complete about 120 credits. Most full-time learners graduate in four years. However, degree-seekers who enroll in accelerated programs or transfer previous credits often graduate sooner.

FAQ

Question Answer
What is theology? Theology involves the systematic study of the nature of God. Learners also explore related religious experiences, beliefs, and practices.
Can I study theology online? Yes. Many schools offer online theology programs. Schools often deliver online programs asynchronously, which is ideal for working professionals.
How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s in theology online? Accelerated online bachelor’s in theology programs usually take 1-2 years to complete, depending on enrollees’ previous coursework. Traditional programs generally take about four years.
What is the difference between theology and religious studies? Theology programs emphasize faith-based analyses and perspectives. Religious studies programs approach the subject more objectively, as a sociological and cultural phenomenon.
Does theology as a major cover one religion or all religions? Theology programs usually focus on one religious tradition, such as Christianity. Learners prepare for careers within that faith tradition.

Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Theology Programs 2021



The following ranking highlights the most affordable theology bachelor’s online programs for 2021. Prospective students can use the list to compare programs and choose the options that best fit their academic and career goals.

  1. Huntsville Bible College
    Location

    Huntsville, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A nondenominational college based in Huntsville, Alabama, HBC hosts one of the state's most affordable theology bachelor's online programs. The bachelor of arts in Christian education explores the intersection of theology and education, preparing graduates to teach and develop education programs in churches and other Christian education environments.

    The 124-credit program typically takes four years to complete. Candidates complete 37 credits of general education courses, 48 credits of biblical/theological studies courses, and 39 credits of Christian education courses.

    The theological studies section covers topics such as spiritual formation, church history, Christian ethics, and world religions. The Christian education section includes courses in educational ministries of the church, multicultural Christian education, church leadership, and administration of Christian education.

  2. Lincoln Christian University
    Location

    Lincoln, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of Illinois' top Christian colleges, LCU serves around 1,000 students annually from its campus in Lincoln. The school's bachelor of arts in Christian ministry offers a broad overview of Christian education, pastoral ministry, and mission work. Graduates often pursue careers such as associate pastor, small groups leader, discipleship pastor, and administrative pastor.

    The program explores areas including Christian ministry, intercultural studies, and spiritual formation. Common courses include church administration, Christian leadership, pastoral care, Christian spirituality, and biblical theology of worship.

    The online bachelor's in theology uses a 100% online format, enabling students to complete their degree without visiting campus. LCU also offers hybrid enrollment options that combine online and on-campus courses. Candidates can complete in-person courses on the LCU main campus in Lincoln or at the school's satellite campus in Bloomington-Normal.

  3. The Baptist College of Florida
    Location

    Graceville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Located in Graceville, BCF hosts one of Florida's most affordable theology bachelor's online programs. The bachelor of arts in biblical studies emphasizes the practical and academic applications of hermeneutics and biblical interpretation, preparing students for ministry roles.

    The 120-credit degree includes 33 credits of general education courses, 12 credits of biblical/theological foundation courses, and 66 credits of biblical studies major courses. The major covers topics such as personal evangelism, principles of teaching, Old Testament prophecy, and New Testament theology.

    BCF offers all of its degrees fully online, with no campus visits required. Most course content occurs asynchronously, enabling online learners to complete assignments at their convenience.

  4. Palm Beach Atlantic University
    Location

    West Palm Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private Florida college based in West Palm Beach, PBA offers an online bachelor's in theology that focuses on the intersection of Christian studies and professional services. The bachelor of arts in Christian studies offers fully online and on-campus formats. Candidates can also choose from traditional and accelerated enrollment options, with start dates in January and August.

    The program includes 45 general education credits, 18 required Christian studies credits, and 27 elective Christian studies credits. The major features courses such as spiritual formation, principles of Christian leadership, and exploring the Old Testament. Electives encompass topics as diverse as evangelism and apologetics, world religions, social media management, systematic theology, and urban justice issues.

  5. Montreat College
    Location

    Montreat, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Affiliated with the Presbytarian Church, Montreat College operates a main campus in Montreat, North Carolina, along with four satellite locations in Asheville, Charlotte, Black Mountain, and Morganton. The college also offers one of the state's most affordable theology bachelor's online programs. The bachelor of science in Bible and religion offers a liberal arts approach to biblical study, preparing candidates for faith-based community work or graduate study.

    Candidates complete a total of 120 credits, with 40 credits dedicated to Bible and religion major courses. The curriculum includes courses such as Old Testament theology, Christian doctrine, biblical preaching and communication, and administrative ministry and organization.

    Students can choose from six annual start dates. The program uses a condensed format, with students taking one course at a time and typically graduating in four years of full-time study.

  6. Warner University
    Location

    Lake Wales, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A private Florida college affiliated with the Church of God, WU serves more than 1,000 students annually. The school's bachelor of science in Christian ministry teaches students how to interpret Scripture and engage in spiritual formation practices. The program uses a flexible online format, making it convenient for students who already serve in ministry positions.

    The program includes 36 credits of church ministry major courses, covering key topics such as pastoral care, servant leadership, principles of Christian theology, and perspectives in Christian missions. Candidates also complete an integrative seminar in ministry leadership, which ties together major program concepts in application to real-world ministry practice.

    WU's online bachelor's in theology uses an accelerated format that enables candidates to complete two courses every eight weeks. All courses occur entirely online, with no campus visits required.

  7. Moody Bible Institute
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A fundementalist college based in Chicago, Moody offers one of Illinois' most affordable theology bachelor's online programs. The bachelor of science in theological studies explores academic and practical approaches to theology. The program offers concentrations in Christian thought and spiritual formation.

    The 120-credit program includes courses such as the church and its doctrines, self and social identity in Christianity, and Christian anthropology and hamartiology. During the program's fifth year, candidates complete concentration courses, building specialized knowledge in one area of study. The Christian thought concentration features courses such as philosophy and theology and doing theology in the church. The spiritual formation concentration includes courses such as Christ and the spirit and reflection and practice in spiritual formation.

  8. The King's University
    Location

    Southlake, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    An evangelical college located just outside of Dallas, Texas, TKU is home to one of the state's top online theology bachelor's programs. The bachelor of biblical and theological studies covers topics like hermeneutics, biblical authorship, and the history and practices of the Church.

    Candidates complete 124 credits divided into five sections: Christian foundations, general education, theology major, experiential learning, and electives. The major section covers topics such as systematic theology, acts of the apostles, advanced hermeneutics, and church history. Electives explore topics including the Torah, prophets, Romans, Galicians, and Hebrews.

    In addition to coursework, all candidates complete a three-credit internship and a five-credit junior ministry practicum. The practicum includes a one-credit preparatory course and two practicum semesters worth two credits each.

  9. St. Thomas University
    Location

    Miami Gardens, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Based in Miami Gardens, Florida, STU hosts a bachelor of arts in religious studies that prepares students for Christian leadership and religious education roles. The program also prepares students for graduate study. STU offers the program in fully online and on-campus formats.

    The online bachelor's in theology program comprises 120 credits, including general education, major, major elective, and general elective credits. The general education section includes courses in Catholic identity and diversity, along with other Catholic education foundation courses.

    Major courses cover five key areas: biblical, historical, systematic, moral, and contextual. Candidates complete at least one course from each area, with several options available. For example, the contextual section offers courses including world religions, religions in America, and faith and doubt. All candidates also complete a senior seminar in religious studies.

  10. Calvary University
    Location

    Kansas City, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    A small private college based in Kansas City, Missouri, Calvary hosts one of the state's most affordable theology bachelor's online programs. The bachelor of science in Bible and theology offers broad perspectives on biblical interpretation, ministry, and contemporary approaches to theology.

    The 125-credit program includes biblical education, general education, and professional education courses. Biblical education courses include Old Testament survey, systematic theology, and evangelism/spiritual life.

    The 60-credit professional education section includes missions and ministry courses, Bible and theology major courses, and elective courses. The major section includes courses such as teaching the Bible, advanced hermeneutics, and apologetics. All candidates also complete three one-credit courses focused on major Christian intellectual figures.

Career and Salary Outlook for Theology



Graduates of online theology bachelor’s programs can work in churches, faith-based schools, and community organizations. Graduates often pursue careers as clergy, directors of religious education or activities, and church leaders. Theology majors can also serve as mental health counselors or social and community service managers in faith-based or secular organizations. Popular niche fields for theology majors include hospital and army chaplaincy, youth pastorship, pastoral counseling, and travel ministry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy earn a median annual salary of $50,400. The BLS projects clergy positions to increase 4% from 2019 to 2020. The BLS projects an employment growth of nearly 25% for substance abuse, behavioral, and mental health counselors during the same period. Pursuing a bachelor’s in theology with a counseling concentration can lead to job opportunities in the field.

Earning a bachelor’s degree can help clergy qualify for supervisory and church administration roles. Advanced degrees and work experience can lead to higher-paying jobs. The following table highlights the earning potential for clergy.

Clergy
Bottom 10% Median Annual Salary Top 10%
Less than $26,810 $50,400 More than $86,970

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Theology Programs



The best theology bachelor’s online programs undergo a voluntary evaluation and credentialing process known as accreditation. Bible-school theology programs may hold programmatic accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education or the Association of Theological Schools.

Many schools also hold institution-level accreditation. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognizes several regional and national accreditation agencies, which evaluate institution-wide academic quality and performance. Regionally accredited schools meet higher academic standards than nationally accredited schools, which accredit some professional and religious schools. Regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits and degrees from similarly accredited schools.

Attendance at either regionally or nationally accredited schools can qualify students for federal financial aid. To verify accreditation status, search your prospective schools and programs through the Department of Education’s searchable database.

Courses in Online Theology Programs



While pursuing the most affordable theology bachelor’s, online learners complete about 60 major credits. Most bachelor’s programs also require about 60 general education credits. Major coursework covers topics such as theological history, ministry principles, and sacred texts. Some programs require a capstone project, which may involve research, writing, and an internship.

Learners often specialize in an area related to their individual interests and career plans. While pursuing the best theology bachelor’s, online students often choose from concentrations in youth ministry, pastoral counseling, religious education, and ministry administration. Many theology programs feature the courses below. However, curricula vary by school, religious tradition, and program.

Pastoral Counseling
This popular elective focuses on care and counseling methods that integrate psychological and theological principles. Coursework covers areas including marriage and family counseling, grief counseling, and youth ministry. This course prepares students for careers in pastoral ministry and counseling.
Introduction to the Qu’ran
Learners in bachelor of theology in Islamic studies programs usually take this introductory class. The course surveys the arrangement, language, and ideas expressed in the Qur’an. Enrollees examine both original language and translated versions of the book. They discuss key themes, arguments, stylistic elements, and interpretations. This course typically serves as a prerequisite for further Qur’anic studies.
Jewish Ethics and Values in Modernity
This popular elective is sometimes a core course in rabbinical studies programs. Learners examine complex modern ethical and moral issues in light of Jewish ethics. Students discuss issues such as financial scandals, political corruption, and biomedical science. As a tradition that emphasizes using multiple perspectives, Judaism can offer modern ethical guidance. Enrollees develop skills and knowledge they can use to navigate and facilitate community conversations on contemporary issues.
Systematic Theology
Common in Christian theology programs, this class explores key vocabulary and doctrines related to sin, theological prolegomena, the Trinity, and Scripture. Learners develop skills in theological research, analysis, and practical applications. This course is essential for aspiring ministers who deliver sermons involving Christian theology.
Theology Internships
Many bachelor’s in theology programs include an experiential learning requirement. Learners typically complete the internship near the end of their program. Degree-seekers usually serve at an approved site, such as a church, school, community organization, or healthcare facility. Interns receive supervision and guidance while applying knowledge and skills gained during coursework. An internship’s focus and setting vary by program and concentration.

Scholarships for Theology Students

Students in online theology programs can qualify for various scholarships based on identity group, academic achievement, financial difficulty, and career plans. The five theology-related scholarships below can help learners minimize debt.

Rev. Virginia Kreyer Endowed Scholarship for Theological Education

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports aspiring United Church of Christ authorized ministers with disabilities. Applicants submit recommendation letters describing their leadership potential. Recipients can apply the funds toward tuition and specialized services or technologies.
Amount: Varies

Hub Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship is available to students at accredited schools. Applicants must be studying an approved field, such as Islamic, religious, Asian, or African studies. Candidates need a minimum 3.5 GPA and must demonstrate a history of engagement in community service projects. Applicants submit two recommendation letters, a CV, a writing sample, and a description of their academic plans.
Amount: $2,500-$20,000

Harold H. Wilke Scholarship Fund

Who Can Apply: Honoring Rev. Dr. Harold Wilke, this scholarship supports learners who have a disability or those who minister to people with disabilities. Eligible applicants need at least a B average, United Church of Christ congregation membership, demonstrated leadership, and ministry career plans.
Amount: Varies

Mary E. Bivins Foundation Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports aspiring Christian pulpit preachers. Applicants must be junior or senior undergraduate students and must take at least 24 credits per year at an accredited theology school. Candidates need U.S. citizenship, permanent residency on the northern Texas Panhandle, and a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA.
Amount: $5,000

Bethesda Auxiliary Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Upper-level undergraduate students with a minimum 3.0 GPA can apply. Applicants must attend an accredited school, be a communicant and active member of a Lutheran church, and plan to serve communities with disabilities.
Amount: $3,000

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