Online Master of Divinity degree programs often take 4-5 years to complete, though some schools allow up to seven years. Additionally, programs may be offered in cohort format, allowing students to maintain the same group of peers throughout their learning experience.
Courses typically combine online instruction with intensive on-campus sessions that may last for a couple of weeks each. The cost of travel and lodging for onsite attendance is additional to tuition rates. Students will need to own a web camera, headset, and microphone to complete the online portion of these programs.
Those who wish to pursue a fully online course of study, there are Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies degrees available. These programs prepare students for graduate study in theology or pastoral ministry.
A typical course load includes studies in the following topics:
- Bible studies - Old and New Testament
- Preacher skills development
- Church history
Online Master of Divinity programs are often asynchronous, so students are free to work at their convenience as long as they meet weekly assignment deadlines. Distance learning students use online message boards to foster a sense of community. They may also participate in regular virtual chats, which may be live, or conference calls as well as group projects. Students may need access to a Web camera, head set and microphone for biblical language assignments that may require audio recordings.
Schools for Distance Education
Western Theological Seminary
Western Theological Seminary offers a Master of Divinity degree that starts annually in November. The school offers opportunities for on-campus retreats and seminars where students can build professional skills and network with peers. Western Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America but accepts applications from students of all faiths.
University of Dubuque
Students enrolled in online programs through the University of Dubuque have access to dedicated technology, academic and library support services. This Protestant school accepts students of other religious denominations and is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools.
Online programs that provide a Master of Divinity degree are available. These classes are typically a blended format and cover topics such as bible studies, Hebrew, Greek and discipleship. For those seeking a fully online experience, there are Bachelor of Arts in Theological Studies degrees available.