Here we explore several different school and degree options for students interested in earning an online master's degree from a Bible college. We also discuss various considerations, including accreditation and school doctrine, for helping students make this important decision.
How to Select an Online Master's Degree Bible School
Master's degrees are available in a variety of areas from Christian and Bible colleges. Many of these are in counseling, education and ministry. Several Christian and Bible colleges offer master's degree programs with distance learning options. Schedules are usually flexible since most online graduate degrees are designed for working adults. Students must consider factors such as accreditation, doctrine and school philosophy when choosing a Bible college.
Students enrolling in an online master's program from a Bible college should first investigate whether the school is accredited. Some institutions consider accreditation unnecessary or even contrary to a Bible college's mission. However, if a student wishes to transfer credits to another institution, accreditation may be extremely important. Applicants should be aware of the policy of any institution they consider, and be sure that it is compatible with their future needs.
School Doctrine and Philosophy
Because there are many different denominations within Christianity, no two Bible colleges will teach precisely the same doctrines. For many, doctrine plays an important role, and prospective students should research the belief system of particular school espouses before enrolling. It may even be helpful to contact the school and speak with a member of the faculty regarding doctrines and philosophies predominant at the school.
Distance Learning Master's Degree Options
Master of Arts in Management and Leadership
Many Bible colleges offer online master's programs in some form of leadership, whether business or ministerial. Some programs incorporate Christian teaching into a business management program, while others provide a strictly secular training with an underlying Christian value system. In a Christian-based leadership program, a Master of Divinity may be awarded to graduates. Church leadership programs include courses in:
- Church and ministry accounting
- Leading in active learning environments
- Dynamic team development
- Strategic thinking
Master of Arts in Christian Education
Master's programs in Christian education are designed to give students the tools they need to teach, administrate and counsel children in a school setting. Some teaching programs allow students to choose concentrated studies in such areas as technology, music or English. Curricula for these programs emphasize Christian school values and practices, and some may require participation in on-site supervised teaching. Course topics include:
- Educational process of the Church
- History and philosophy
- Media presentations
- Teaching process
Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
Distance learning theological programs provide in-depth study on interpreting and analyzing Scripture. Programs may provide a broad overview or concentrate on specific books of the Bible. Students may be required to complete a research thesis to graduate. Coursework covers:
- The history of Christianity
- Doctrines and worldviews
- Christ in the Old Testament
Master of Arts in Counseling
Graduates of a counseling program that find work within a Christian school, organization or church may not be required to adhere to state licensure regulations. Coursework within these programs addresses:
- Methods of biblical change
- Theories and techniques
- Marriage and family counseling
- Spiritual counseling
- Abnormal behavior
Bible Schools With Online Master's Programs
Dallas Theological Seminary offers a hybrid Master of Arts in Christian Education program that allows 43 of the required 66 hours to be completed online. The program offers multiple tracks of specialization, including children's ministry, college teaching and educational administration. Students do not complete a thesis, but must participate in an internship experience. Students must also participate in Spiritual Formation groups of five to seven students to promote spiritual growth.
Cornerstone University has a fully online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies program that consists of 36 credits and can be completed in two years. Students have the option to travel to Israel as they deepen their Biblical knowledge. The program is cohort-based, so students advance through coursework with groups of about 15 to 20 other students.
Colorado Christian University offers a Master of Arts in Counseling program that is offered online or on-campus. It can be completed in about two and a half years and requires 60 credits. The program does require hands-on field experiences, and follows a cohort model. Graduates are prepared for the national exam and have learned to integrate their Christian faith into counseling practices.
There is a wide variety of online master's degree programs available from different Biblical colleges throughout the country. Students considering these programs need to research a school's philosophy and accreditation, as well as consider any outside requirements of the programs, such as internships.