Many accredited institutions offer undergraduate and/or graduate degree programs in religious studies, but prospective students may wish to consider factors such as how the program is delivered or what kind of degree they want to pursue. Here, we will explore these options and learn about a few of the available schools.
How to Select an Online Accredited Religious Studies School
Distance learning programs in religious studies are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. These types of programs prepare students for careers as catechetical instructors, pastoral leaders, teachers and other parish-related positions. Students should consider their desired award level and career goals with the program delivery when choosing an online school.
Online bachelor's degree programs in religious studies are commonly offered at a number of accredited universities. Those interested in continuing their education in the field also have the option to earn an online master's degree, usually offered as a Master of Theology or Master of Arts in Religious Education. Completing a graduate level degree can afford students the opportunity to work as religious studies professors, ministers, pastors and other religious congregational leaders.
Before enrolling, students should find out if their chosen program is fully online or hybrid, which allows them to complete some courses online and in-person. While students can typically complete all coursework for religious studies bachelor's degree programs online, graduate programs will likely demand some seminars, courses and research projects on-campus. These programs may also require in-person fieldwork and internships.
List of Online Religious Studies Programs
Online Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies
Distance learning bachelor's degree programs in religious studies are designed to give students an extensive look at theology, biblical studies and other aspects of religion. Through this program, students will also learn about different religious practices and beliefs, issues relating to religion and religion history. Some online programs require students to complete field research or certain seminars on campus. Specific courses might include:
- Biblical languages
- Christian ministry
- Biblical archeology
- Old and New Testament
- World religions and civilizations
Online Master's Degree in Religious Education
Online master's degrees in religious education cover different aspects of religion that can prepare them for scholarly research and teaching opportunities. These types of programs also provide in-depth instruction on how to integrate theological and Biblical studies in education and how to inspect Church history, principals and methods. Like all master's degree programs, students will have to complete a research project based on theological research. Certain schools allow this portion of the program to be completed online as well. Required coursework may include:
- Religious education in multicultural settings
- Contemporary evangelism
- Religion and technology
- Discipleship ministries
Online Master of Theology (Th.M.)
The online master's degree in theology is designed to prepare individuals for careers in the church such as pastors, ministers and missionaries. Through these types of programs, students will receive instruction on how to verbalize teachings of the Bible and the church's worldwide mission. An internship may be required. Curricula may include courses in:
- Theology and global engagement
- Modern and contemporary Christian thought
- Christian apologetics
Schools With Online Programs in Religious Studies
Arizona State University offers students an online Bachelor of Arts program in religious studies. Their bachelor's degree allows students to customize their classes to focus on particular religions and explore their various historical and cultural aspects. This program is unique with a low student to faculty ratio that allows for more interaction with faculty members.
Colorado Christian University provides a bachelor's and master's degree in biblical studies, but also a Master of Arts degree in theological studies. This MA program allows students to transfer up to 9 credits at the graduate level. It can also be paired with CCU's 3+1 Dual Degree program to earn a B.A. in theology and a M.A. in theology in only four years.
Florida International University offers a fully online Bachelor of Arts in religious studies that explores eastern and western religions. FIU pairs up each online student with their own success coach to help them with the transition of becoming a student and working online.
Students interested in pursuing a religious studies degree can earn a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts or Master of Theology from several institutions across the country. When choosing a school, potential students may want to look for fully online programs, as well as determine if graduate school is something they wish to pursue after earning a bachelor's degree.