Candidates enroll in seminary degree programs to become ministers or improve their abilities to perform in current ministries. Distance-learning seminary programs offer a wide variety of degrees, including Associate of Ministry, Bachelor of Ministry, Associate of Biblical Studies and Bachelor of Biblical Studies.
Graduate options include master's degrees in all of the aforementioned areas, as well as the Master of Divinity and Master of Theology in Christian Counseling. Diploma, doctoral and post-doctoral distance-learning seminary degree programs are also selectively available.
These programs might be offered fully online, though some might feature a blended format that includes on-campus classes and short residencies.
Important prerequisites include a high school diploma or GED for undergraduate degrees. Aspiring graduate students will need a bachelor's degree; recommendation letters could also be required.
Students interested in online programs in this area of study will mostly find options at private Christian colleges and seminaries. Admissions requirements vary, but those seeking an undergraduate degree must have a high school diploma or GED. Applicants to master's degree programs must have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for admission. Seminaries may also request that prospective students submit recommendation letters from ministers or others who work in the church.
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Courses in distance-learning seminary degree programs generally take less time to complete than on-campus classes, although the curriculum in both is generally similar. The following list highlights some of the most common seminary classes offered online.
Students review fundamental biblical doctrines of various denominations as preparation for advanced study of bible theology. Doctrines covered include worship and praise, baptism and repentance.
The New Testament
This course offers a basic overview of each book in the New Testament. Instructors emphasize key philosophies in each book.
The Old Testament
Studies focus on basic reviews of each book in the Old Testament. This course lays the groundwork for more specialized classes on the Old Testament.
A staple of distance-learning seminary programs, this course explores the origin and development of the Holy Scriptures. Aspiring ministers learn biblical law and philosophy.
Candidates examine different types of church government utilized by various denominations. The administrative roles of pastors, deacon elders and other church officers are discussed.
Prospective ministers learn the definition and purpose of missions. Students discuss biblical doctrine regarding missions.
This course covers the art of preparing and presenting sermons. Candidates focus on writing and organizing sermons, selecting themes and effective preaching.
This course explains methods, approaches and philosophies for interpreting the Bible. Courses in this area generally approach hermeneutics as a combination of biblical doctrine and art.
Many distance-learning seminary programs are conducted entirely online, but others may have some on-campus classes or short residencies. Online discussions facilitated by instructors are typically part of distance-learning seminary degree programs. These programs may limit enrollment to maintain a certain student-teacher ratio and ensure quality, personalized interactions. Students have access to an online theological library to complete reading, writing and research assignments. Candidates typically take courses asynchronously, although some distance-learning seminary degree programs also offer synchronous classes.
Online and blended seminary degree programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels to individuals interested in becoming ministers. Program coursework is similar to that of traditional programs but is often completed more quickly.