Students can find remote Master of Sacred Theology and Master of Theology programs at a number of mostly for-profit schools. Fully online programs are rare; many programs include a mix of online classes and on-campus visits. Students who are looking for a more readily available online program in a related field might consider a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies, which includes similar coursework and can qualify graduates for pastoral positions within churches.
Sacred theology master's degree programs include courses on leadership, evangelism, Biblical analysis, church history and theology. These programs can lead to clergy positions or jobs in religious education, although further training is usually needed beyond a graduate degree.
The minimum admissions requirement for one of these programs is a bachelor's degree. Students may also be required to demonstrate fluency in Latin, Hebrew French, Italian or Spanish. In addition, before enrolling in an online program, students should make sure that their computers are equipped with word processing software, a DVD/CD player and a webcam.
Master's Degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.M)
Master's degree programs in sacred theology provide individuals with enhanced pastoral skills and prepare them to lead a congregation. Students leverage research and theological doctrines to address contemporary issues in the Christian faith. Theories in conducting public worship and administering the sacraments from the Book of Common Prayer are also examined.
Information and Requirements
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Program length varies by institution, but most curriculum requirements can be completed within two years. Students may be required to demonstrate fluency in Latin or Hebrew or a modern foreign language, such as French, Italian or Spanish.
In addition to a personal computer and Internet, students need to have a word processing program, DVD/CD player and webcam. Instruction takes place through audio and video streaming and online tutorials.
Master's degree students examine current issues in both theology and practical theology. They gain advanced knowledge of the philosophies and theories that guide ministerial practice in the Christian church.
Old Testament Bible
In this online course, students analyze the 39 books of the Old Testament. They learn the major events, personalities and contents of each individual book.
New Testament Bible
The 27 books of the New Testament are examined in this course. Students learn about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as the teachings of his disciples.
History of the Christian Church
This course provides students with an overview of the history of the Christian Church and examines key events and contributions by important persons in the faith. Major emphasis is placed on the English Reformation and the growth of Anglicanism.
Students examine specific topics in Gospel studies that comprise historical and theological concepts. A focus is placed on passion narratives, which are a historical study of Jesus Christ and canonization.
Students who have completed an S.T.M. program are eligible to continue their studies at the doctoral level, enter a seminary or pursue faith-based career options. Careers are available as a minister, university professor and denominational leader. In November 2016, Salary.com reported that the median annual salary for a pastor was $90,643.
In online master's degree programs in sacred theology, students learn about the theological and historical aspects of the Bible, as well as their relationship to the modern world. Graduates have the education they need to take on leadership positions within Christian churches.