Distance Learning Degrees in Christian Theology: Program Info

Nov 29, 2017

Research online Christian theology courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

Online bachelor's and master's degree programs in Christian theology can be completed totally through distance education, although some programs offer a mix of online and on-campus courses. Other programs require campus visits to make presentations or attend seminars and conferences. Students can take the online classes as their schedules allow, and communicate with classmates and instructors through chat functions. Certain undergraduate level courses may be offered only on-campus, depending on the school.

These programs can prepare students for a variety of careers including teaching, religious service and as a starting point to becoming ordained as a member of the clergy. Many undergraduate theology courses are only available on-campus, but most of the general education classes are offered online. Online master's programs are more common. Some master's programs offer a general option and a research option, allowing students to choose the academic path that best meets their needs.

Bachelor of Arts in Theology

Through the online Bachelor of Arts in Theology program, students are trained in Biblical history, theology and Scriptural interpretation. Topics such as the relationship between God and man, the meaning of the Trinity and the teachings of the Gospels are explored. Some bachelor's degree programs in theology - as well as related programs like Christian studies or church ministry - are available entirely online.

Program Information and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program in Christian theology typically takes about four years to complete. Some programs are available online in a continuing education format, with students earning general education and liberal arts credits through a different college or university. However, many theology courses have a group-learning or community-based focus, and are only available on-campus.

Core online courses are asynchronous, so students can complete them at their own pace. A computer with Internet capability is necessary to view weekly lectures or assignments.

Common Courses

The curriculum of an online bachelor's program in theology is rooted in historical and contextual interpretation of the Bible. General education courses are usually a requirement.

Dynamics of World Religion

In this course, students examine different world religions from a Christian point-of-view. They discuss the significance of underlying beliefs specific to each religious practice.

History of Christianity

Where, when and how did Christianity originate? Students study the historical, political and societal changes that were occurring when the New Testament was written, and how Christianity has spread since its founding.

Archaeology of the Bible

Students explore major events in the Bible and compare them to the archaeological sites where those events are believed to have taken place.

Master of Arts in Theology

Through the online Master of Arts in Theology program, students learn how to read the Bible in Greek and Hebrew. They explore concepts like spiritual formation, the historical background of the Gospels and moral obligations of the Church. Students must have at least a bachelor's degree to be eligible for this master's degree program; some schools may also require a master's in divinity. Though campus-based programs may be more common, online programs are available at the master's level.

Program Information and Requirements

The online master's degree program in Christian theology can often be completed in 1-2 years. Although programs are available entirely online at some schools, others require the fulfillment of residency requirements, including language studies exams or community interaction.

For online courses, students log onto a school's Web-based application, where they can access classes, find and complete assignments, read teacher's notes, watch lectures and interact with their peers. Some programs require students to turn in assignments by certain due dates, while others allow scheduling flexibility. A thesis paper or final project may be necessary in order to graduate.

Common Courses

Students completing this degree program have already completed general education courses, so they're only responsible for major theology courses.

Christian Leadership Foundations

Students create Bible-based messages designed to motivate and inspire church participants. They discuss the moral and spiritual responsibilities of individuals who become pastors.

Theology of Missions

What does it take to reach people from other cultures and places? Students taking this course explore how Biblical lessons can be applied to people's lives around the world.

Ancient Greek Language

Students taking this course learn to read and write in ancient Greek, the original language of the New Testament.

Career Information for Graduates

Bachelor of Arts in Theology

Upon completion of a bachelor's degree program in theology, students can find careers working as religious directors, associate pastors or youth ministers. According to O*Net, religious activities leaders made a median salary of $38,780 in 2015. The number of employed church leaders is expected to grow at a slower than average rate of 2% to 4% between 2014 and 2024.

Master of Arts in Theology

With a graduate degree in theology, students may find work as youth pastors or religious education directors. In 2015, directors of religious activities earned an average hourly wage of $18.65, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Continuing Education Information

After completing a master's degree in theology, individuals who want to continue their education have several options. Students may enter a seminary or university to earn a doctorate in theology, ministry, divinity or church studies. Some of these programs include classes that can be taken online. Many programs require completion of comprehensive exams and a dissertation project.

Fully online programs in Christian theology are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Graduates may be qualified for a wide variety of employment opportunities within religious organizations, including activities directors, youth pastors, or possibly clergy if the program is directed toward eligibility for ordination.

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