Accredited Online Christian Colleges: How to Choose a School

There are several accredited Christian schools offering online programs to interested students, but they vary in the areas of study they offer, the personal requirements they impose and their religious beliefs. Explore some of these considerations and available degree programs.

How to Select an Online Accredited Christian School

Students considering online accredited Christian schools must make their decision based on several key factors. There are almost as many choices in accredited degree programs from online Christian colleges as there are from traditional on-campus programs. Finding the right college often isn't so much a matter of finding the best or most reputable Christian college as it is finding an institution and degree program that are the best fit for an individual student's interests and beliefs.

Area of Study

The first step for prospective students is to determine what sort of degree best fits with their career plans, and to decide what kind of institution best fits their personal temperament. Because Christian colleges are often much smaller than public universities, many of them have a very limited number of choices in degree programs and focuses. Some are seminaries that offer courses of study specifically in the Bible. Others offer traditional degree programs. The program a student chooses often limits their choices in what college they attend.

Personal Compatibility

Some Christian colleges are relatively strict and require their students to promise that they will not drink alcohol or participate in activities such as dancing while in college. Others are more liberal in their requirements, requiring only that they behave in a responsible manner while in college.

Religious Beliefs

Some colleges, though they are Christian colleges, invite students of all faiths to attend. Others require students to agree with a set of beliefs and doctrines in order to attend. Which university a student attends is often purely a matter of personal preference and of the institutional style they are comfortable with.

Available Programs and Formats

Degree Availability and Types

Degrees from Christian colleges are often as varied as those from public universities, though often an online Christian college will not offer as wide a range of degree options as public colleges, and comparatively few Christian colleges offer associate's degrees via distance learning. Degrees are offered at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Examples include:

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Divinity
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Religious Studies

Christian Schools with Online Programs

Colorado Christian University offers a wide range of online associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates. An example of one of their bachelor's degree programs is the online Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. This program requires 120 credits, and major coursework can be completed over four semesters. Classes are typically five weeks long.

Ohio Christian University also offers online associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs. Their Master of Arts in Ministry program offers a concentration in pastoral care and counseling or practical theology. The program is 36 credits and includes a ministry capstone. Curricula can also be paired with a Master of Business Administration through the school's dual degree option.

Bethel University also offers a variety of online associate's and bachelor's degree programs in addition to master's degrees, educational doctorates and graduate certificates. One such program includes an online Doctor of Ministry. Students in this program can choose a specialization in biblical and theological engagement, church leadership, congregation and family care, missional effectiveness, servant leadership or transformational leadership. All the programs except the one in transformational leadership require online courses and in-person intensives that are usually 1-2 weeks a year.

Students researching online Christian schools to attend need to examine the available areas of study, their personal compatibility with the program and the school's religious beliefs. There are plenty of online Christian schools available and many offer online certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs.

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