Distance Learning Christian Degrees at the Undergraduate Level

Dec 04, 2019

Essential Information

Many Christian colleges and universities offer online degree programs in Christian studies, or religion, which give graduates a solid foundation for careers in the ministry or other church work. Programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Most of these programs can be completed entirely online, with students accessing video lectures and course materials as their schedules permit, within set time limits. Some programs require students to log on to the school website for live presentations and discussions.

Students in associate's degree programs must complete general education requirements through courses such as chemistry, history, mathematics, and English composition. Students read and study the Bible and learn to apply its principles to today's world. They also explore skills that are useful in the ministry such as counseling, public speaking and written communications.

Bachelor's degree programs expand on these topics. Some bachelor's degree programs allow students to choose a concentration in which to specialize such as pastoral studies, women's ministry or intercultural studies. Students may take courses in church and organizational administration and look at the role of a worship leader. Some programs require several research papers and a final project.

Associate Degree in Christian Studies

Distance learners can choose from a variety of Christian studies degree programs. An Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Religion program or A.A. in Christian Studies program prepares graduates for multiple ministry careers. An Associate of Science (A.S.) in Biblical Studies focuses on developing comprehensive knowledge of the Old and New Testaments. All programs teach the counseling and communication skills for effective ministries.

Program Information and Requirements

An associate degree can be completed entirely online in less than two years. Courses may be asynchronous or require specified times to log on to interactive web discussion boards. Some programs grant credits for demonstrated life experience.

List of Online Courses

Core math and English requirements supplement coursework in Christian history and Bible studies. Students develop the skills to practice ministry in diverse communities.

Old Testament

Distance learners study the Bible in a historical context. Students note the key players and significant chronological events recorded in the Old Testament.

New Testament

The life and death of Jesus Christ is studied as recorded in the New Testament. Students develop the skills to interpret and apply the teachings of the Bible.

Youth Ministry

Effective strategies for reaching out to adolescents, historically and in current practice, are reviewed. Students consider their own personal objectives for youth ministry.

Bachelor's Degree in Christian Studies

Many religiously-affiliated colleges offer online bachelor's degrees in religious studies. Programs offer majors and minors in Christian counseling, biblical studies and Christian ministries. Students develop leadership and teaching skills while enhancing their own spiritual growth through Bible study.

Program Information and Requirements

Coursework for a bachelor's degree can be completed entirely online in four years. With credits transferred from a related associate degree program, a bachelor's degree may be obtained in two years. A high-speed Internet connection is necessary to participate in discussion boards and download course materials.

List of Online Courses

English, speech, psychology and computer courses train students to become successful communicators. Required coursework in Bible studies and Christian history provides a foundation for advanced specialization in counseling, ministering or teaching.

Biblical Archaeology

Archaeologists have discovered material evidence supporting the historical accuracy of events recorded in the Bible. Students learn about the scientific excavation of archaeological sites and methods of interpreting historical and cultural artifacts.

Christian Ministries

Students learn about youth ministry, international ministry and other types of ministries. Methods for applying biblical teachings to missionary work are explored.

Christian Counseling

Distance learners are introduced to issues in providing guidance to children and women. Marriage counseling and family counseling are also discussed in the context of Christian values.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates may pursue careers as part of the lay ministry, or non-ordained clergy members, such as church administrators or Sunday school teachers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, average salaries for clergy were $53,290, and $35,860 for other religious workers in 2018.

Continuing Education

Students may be able to apply credits from an associate degree in Christian studies to a related bachelor's degree through transfer or articulation agreements. Universities may not transfer theology coursework from schools associated with denominations adhering to different doctrines.

Online master's degree programs are available for those interested in becoming pastors, seminary teachers, or other Christian leaders. While not required of all faiths, most clergy become ordained in a denomination and hold graduate degrees.

There are associate's and bachelor's degree programs in Christian studies that can be completed fully through distance learning for aspiring clergy and religious workers. Coursework varies based on degree level, but common topics include Christian counseling, biblical studies and Christian ministries.

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