Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Biblical Languages

Oct 25, 2019

Graduate certificates are available online for students wishing to study biblical languages. These courses are meant to provide students with a solid educational background in order to study the Bible more thoroughly.

There are several graduate certificate programs in biblical languages that students can apply to that are in an online format. Most programs offer Ancient Greek, Hebrew, or both; however, the coursework goes beyond basic foreign language grammar and delves into the nuances of translation and the understanding of ancient texts.

Typical Program Requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Biblical Languages

A typical graduate certificate in biblical languages ranges from 9 to 18 credit hours. A few of the courses students normally see in these programs are described below. Of note, these courses highlight Hebrew and Ancient Greek; however, there are many Semitic biblical languages (e.g. Aramaic, Ugaritic, Syriac, Edomite, etc.). Some of the universities also offer courses in these languages, should a student wish to expand his or her knowledge past the usual Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek.


One of the main languages taught in the biblical languages field is Hebrew. Old Testament studies, in particular, are concerned with a high level of knowledge of Hebrew. Students may take several levels in the language, moving forward as their linguistic skills and knowledge advance.


Hellenistic or Ancient Greek, sometimes called Koine Greek, is another main language for biblical language scholars. In graduate certificate programs at least two levels are usually offered, a basic and an advanced. Some schools offer more, or offer the language in a context, such as Greek in the New Testament or syntax studies.


Exegesis courses are highly focused on the nuances of translation. Hermeneutics, or how we interpret texts, is one of the main theories in exegesis courses. Students may examine particular passages or phraseology in these courses. Themes may be drawn out during translation to discover meaning from the texts.

New Testament

Language studies can focus particularly on the New Testament. Courses may focus on criticism, translation, or theory. Koine Greek is usually the primary language used for interpreting the texts in these classes. Books studied in these courses range from the Gospels to Revelations.

Old Testament

Old Testament courses are also offered in some of the biblical languages programs. Ancient Hebrew is generally the preferred language for studies in these courses. Examples of areas of interest are Genesis studies, psalms and oral tradition, or the history of King David.

Program Admittance Requirements for a Graduate Certificate in Biblical Languages

Graduate certificate programs usually require a bachelor's degree, and some programs may require a minimum GPA be met in order to apply for the graduate certificate program. Many of the programs require a personal statement as part of the application process, since university admissions boards may want to know why a student in interested in pursuing a graduate certificate in biblical languages. If a student wishes to pursue classes at a level past the entry stage, he or she may need to provide proof of proficiency in the specific languages.

Online graduate certificates are available in biblical languages, including Ancient Greek and Biblical Hebrew. Programs range from 9-18 credit hours and involve multiple aspects of translation and literary understanding.

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