Online Theology Degree: Overview of Distance Learning Options

Find out about online theology courses and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course topics, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Distance learning degree programs in theology are available at undergraduate and graduate levels, and students participating in online theology programs often complete the same curriculum as students enrolled in on-campus classes. Programs can be completed fully online or in hybrid format. Hybrid programs may require campus visits and a practicum. These programs provide students with a theological and biblical education required for preaching or pastoral ministry. In addition, students are instructed on diverse cultures and religions and develop an understanding of a variety of ministries.

Theology Degree Programs

An online theology degree program provides an academic foundation for students interested in a career based on the principles of faith and religion. Bachelor's degree holders who desire to work in a church often go on to earn advanced graduate or seminary degrees. Those who complete a master's degree program may further study to earn a professional Doctor of Ministry or the more research-focused Doctor of Theology.

Information & Requirements

Depending on the school, distance learning theology programs are available entirely online or in a hybrid format, requiring some on-site attendance. In hybrid programs it is common for students to visit the campus for summer sessions or several week-long sessions throughout the course of the distance program. A practicum may also be integrated into an online program.

Course Topics

In preparation for a degree in theology, students should focus on classes involving history, sociology and civics. Once students are admitted into a program, coursework emphasizes the development and history of the world's religions. The curriculum could include classes like:

  • Basics of Religion
  • Practicing Faith
  • Feasts of Jehovah
  • Getting to Know God
  • Wisdom Through Interpretation
  • Leadership in the Church
  • Bible Speaks to Contemporary Issues
  • Discovering the Blood Covenant
  • The Names and Attributes of God
  • Foundational Experiences

Career Information

The successful completion of a theology program gives students the ability and knowledge to interpret the Bible and administer programs and ministry within a church or other religious setting. Graduates could perform duties such as last rites, baptisms, sermons and weddings. Possible career opportunities include:

  • Ministry
  • Counseling
  • Hospice Work
  • Pastoral Care in Medical Facilities
  • Youth Ministry
  • Campus Ministry
  • Religious Teachers
  • Choral Directors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clergy members earned a median salary of $44,250 as of May 2015 ('www.bls.gov'). Projected job opportunities for clergy members was expected to grow at an average rate of 6% for the decade spanning 2014-2024, according to the BLS.

Theology degree programs are available fully online for students to learn at their own pace, but a practicum or other on-campus visits may be required. Theology programs are for students seeking a career in faith and religion.


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