Students enrolled in an associate's or bachelor's degree theology studies program will gain a thorough understanding of the Bible, Christian doctrine and Holy Scriptures. In the associate's degree programs, students gain a foundational knowledge in such areas as church music, Bible studies and evangelism. Graduates will be prepared for further study or for some positions with a church.
A bachelor's degree program offers more in-depth study through courses including world religions, Christian ethics and youth ministry. Graduates often go on to master's-level studies or pursue some careers in church work such as an assistant pastor or youth minister.
Associate of Arts in Theology Studies
The Associate of Arts in Theology Studies can be completed in two years of full-time study and is comprised of courses in the areas of theology, the Bible and general education. The goal of the associate's degree program in theology is to introduce core Christian concepts, the books of the New Testament and major issues within the field of theology. The program prepares graduates to work as laymen at their local church or Christian ministry.
Community colleges and Bible colleges require that prospective students include a high school transcript with their application. In addition to completing high school or obtaining a GED certificate, applicants may have to take the ACT or SAT exam. In some instances, a Bible college may request character references and an interview.
The courses in an associate's degree program cover introductory topics within the field of theology studies. Common course topics may include:
- Bible overview
- The gospels
- Biblical hermeneutics
- Discipleship and evangelism
- Principles of church music
Bachelor of Arts in Theology Studies
The Bachelor of Arts in Theology Studies takes four years to complete and is designed for students who wish to enter into vocational careers within the ministry. Students who have completed this degree program will have mastered the important concepts of the Bible and can clearly express these concepts through writing, teaching and preaching. Some B.A. in Theology Studies programs may allow students to choose to minor in Bible music, Bible mission or Bible family counseling.
Before submitting an application, some Bible colleges and universities suggest applicants schedule a visit with the theology studies department to learn more about the program. Students interested in enrolling in a B.A. in Theology Studies program must include a copy of their high school transcript with their application. In addition to the high school transcript, ACT or SAT test scores are required. International students must include their Test of English as a Foreign Language score.
The courses in a bachelor's degree program build upon those offered in an associate's degree or certificate program in theology studies and prepare students for careers in a church or Christian ministry. Common course topics may include:
- World religions and Christianity
- Theology of the Bible
- The history of the Bible
- Youth and family ministry
- Christian ethics
- The Old Testament
Popular Career Options
Many of the career options available to graduates of a bachelor's program in theology studies emphasize the teaching and guiding of others in the principles of the Christian religion.
- Youth minister
- Associate pastor
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2014-2024 jobs among clergy are expected to grow at a rate of 6%, which is at pace with the national average. As of May 2015, the median annual wage for clergy was $44,250.
Continuing Education Information
A Master of Theological Studies is an option for students who want to pursue careers in theological instruction. The M.T.S. degree also prepares students for doctoral study. A Ph.D. will be qualified to teach and conduct research at a major university or college.
A theology studies program educates students about the Bible and other aspects of Christian culture and concepts. Some programs are designed specifically so that graduates can find careers within the ministry, while others may choose to pursue further study in the form of a graduate degree.