In this article, we profile the 30 most affordable online MDiv programs for 2020.

Ministers, clergy, and religious leaders make a mean annual salary of $55,000. Religious leaders offer counsel to church members, lead congregations, and provide pastoral care. Education can help carry out these roles successfully. Through research and data collection, we found accredited and affordable online master of divinity programs designed to guide you into your prospective career.

30 Most Affordable Master of Divinity Online Programs Methodology

We reviewed approximately 85 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered master of divinity online degree programs or closely related degrees, such as religion or theology. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation (regional and/or national) and institution or program rankings with at least one major publication, focusing primarily on U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. We selected schools with a combined graduate tuition and fees of less than $30,000 per year. We then listed our selected programs according to raw affordability.

Below are the resulting selections for our most affordable online master of divinity programs of 2020.

#30 – Andrews University

Online Master of Divinity

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Website

Andrews University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
A top-ranked, hybrid program! Andrews University’s master’s in divinity online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $28,164

Andrews University offers an online master’s in divinity designed for those seeking to enter into Seventh-Day Adventist ministry. The program requires candidates to submit transcripts showing a 2.5 minimum GPA, three recommendations, statement of purpose, personality questionnaire, and spousal statement (if married). The 78-credit program blends online learning and requires at least 50% of total credits to be done on-campus. Andrews MDiv is recommended by both the NAD and the General Conference as the preferred ministerial degree. Andrews University is ranked #293 in national universities and #270 in top performers on social mobility by U.S. News and World Report.

#29 – Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Evanston, Illinois

Website

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
14 concentrations available! Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary offers master’s in divinity online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,975

Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary provides a master’s in divinity online for those seeking to enhance or enter into a career in ministry. The program is rooted in the United Methodist tradition and brings together people from more than 30 denominations. Students are allowed to take up to 50% of the degree online with the rest occurring on campus or within the student’s designated church. The program offers more than 14 concentration areas for those seeking to tailor their degree in areas such as African American church leadership, LGBTQ studies, church history, theology, and more. Every master’s student at Garrett receives a scholarship ranging from 25%-100% of tuition.

#28 – Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

South Hamilton, Massachusetts

Website

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ideal for those seeking ministry! Gordon-Conwell’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,350

Ranked #28 on our list of affordable online divinity programs, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary offers an online master’s in divinity program that prepares students to serve in many Protestant ministerial roles. The vast majority of Gordon Conwell students seek full-time ministry positions. Specialty tracks include Anglican/Episcopal studies, urban ministries, and world missions. Students go on to a variety of careers in pastoral ministry, missions, and chaplaincy. The 96-credit program is designed to be completed in three years and includes courses such as ethics, interpreting the New Testament, the church to the reformation, and the church since the reformation. The program allows up to 50% of the degree to be completed online with plans to increase online learning.

#27 – Fuller Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Pasadena, California

Website

Fuller Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
A fully online divinity program! Fuller Theological Seminary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,640

Fuller Theological Seminary offers a master’s in divinity online for those seeking careers in Christian ministry. The 120-credit program is fully online, making it an excellent option for those seeking maximum flexibility and balance or those who do not live within the service area of a theological seminary. The program typically takes 4-5 years to complete for fully online students. Courses may include biblical studies and exegesis, Christian ethics, and studying cultural contexts. Specialty tracks include biblical studies, leadership in changing times, and pastoral counseling. Candidates should possess an accredited bachelor’s degree, and submit reference forms, essay responses, and transcripts.

#26 – Chicago Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Chicago Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Six concentrations! Chicago Theological Seminary – a top choice for online divinity programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,016

Chicago Theological Seminary’s online divinity school offers a master’s in divinity for those seeking ministerial careers, often in an ordained capacity. The program prepares graduates for church and non-church careers in human service agencies, government, academia, community organizations, and the like. Students can choose from one of six concentrations in chaplaincy studies, LGBTQ studies, interreligious engagement, Islamic chaplaincy, Muslim studies, and the study of Black faith and life. In addition to coursework, students are also required to complete two site placements developing hands-on ministry experience. The program is designed to be completed in three years. GRE scores are not required to apply.

#25 – California Lutheran University

Master of Divinity Online

Thousand Oaks, California

Website

California Lutheran University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! California Lutheran University – offering accredited master’s in divinity online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,556

California Lutheran offers one of the most affordable online divinity programs through its Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. The degree is earned through the seminary’s innovative distributed learning system, which is designed for those who are not able to relocate to the Bay Area to complete the program. Students can choose their timeline to complete, which ranges between 3-5 years. Additionally, students may choose a concentration in criminal justice and faith, or evangelism and justice. It should be noted that a concentration is not required. Well respected in the region, Cal Lutheran ranks #9 in regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report.

#24 – Loyola University

Master of Divinity Online

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Loyola University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
The online master’s in divinity at Loyola University requires an on-campus residency.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,498

Loyola University offers a master’s in divinity online for individuals seeking careers in a variety of ministerial contexts and capacities. Graduates from this program go on to work in parishes and churches, faith-based non-profits, health care organizations, educational institutions, and more using their skills and knowledge to bring hope and healing to those in need. The program is available online with the exception of the liturgical leadership course, which requires an on-campus residency. The program allows flexible enrollment levels, with full-time students finishing in 3-4 years and part-time students graduating in 5-6 years. Loyola Chicago is ranked #104 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#23 – Dallas Theological Seminary

MDiv Online

Dallas, Texas

Website

Dallas Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Online classes and ministry internship! Dallas Theological’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,710

Dallas Theological Seminary offers an online master’s in divinity, including a master of arts in Christian leadership and a master of arts in biblical and theological studies. The program is a combination of online courses, 12-hour ministry internship, and week-long intensives at one of eight locations. For context, 44 of the 66 credits can be earned online. Courses for the master’s in Christian leadership are divided into four main categories: biblical exposition; systematic theology; vision, communication, and leadership; and electives and spiritual formation. Candidates must submit college transcripts and references as part of the application. The admission committee typically responds with a decision within 2-3 weeks.

#22 – Drew University

MDiv Online

Madison, New Jersey

Website

Drew University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ranked with U.S. News! Drew University’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,823

Drew University offers an online divinity school graduate degree in divinity for those seeking careers as ordained pastors/ministers, congregational leaders, community organizers, and chaplains. The program’s theology and curriculum are rooted in the Wesleyan and Methodist traditions. The program is partially online and does require on-campus intensives. The typical completion time is three years but can range anywhere from 2.5-4 years. Courses may include global faith traditions and the earth, gospel living and social transformation, and United Methodist congregational ministries. Respected by its peers, Drew University ranks #117 in national liberal arts colleges and #63 in social mobility by U.S. News and World Report.

#21 – Asbury Theological Seminary

MDiv Online

Wilmore, Kentucky

Website

Asbury Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
The online divinity program at Asbury Theological Seminary serves as preparation for ministerial roles.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,635

Asbury Theological Seminary provides a master’s in divinity online for those seeking a career in a variety of ministerial capacities. The program’s main focus is to prepare its graduates for careers as pastors, missionaries, chaplains, and worship leaders. The degree is mainly online, giving students the option to complete two-thirds of the curriculum online, with the remaining one-third through on-campus requirements. Candidates must submit transcripts, personal essay, and four required references, in addition to possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 2.75 minimum GPA. A personal interview may be requested by the admission committee to further evaluate a candidate.

#20 – Western Theological Seminary

MDiv Online

Holland, Michigan

Website

Western Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Requires on-campus intensives! Western Theological Seminary’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,204

Western Theological Seminary offers an online master’s in divinity, blending together online coursework and on-campus intensives. On-campus intensive experiences allow students to work together and form personal bonds that deepen the experience and enhance learning. The on-campus portions last five days and occur twice per year in October and May. The institution allows students to transfer in credits from other schools and programs upon evaluation and requires students to take a minimum of 30 credits at Western Seminary. Students report spending 15-20 hours per week on coursework and other related duties. The degree is 96 credits and 800 supervised hours of ministry.

#19 – Western Seminary

MDiv Online

Portland, Oregon

Website

Western Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Finish in just 32 months! Western Seminary’s master’s in divinity online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,060

Ranked #19 on our list of most affordable online divinity programs, Western Seminary prepares individuals for leadership roles within a variety of ministerial contexts. The 82-credit curriculum can be reduced if the student’s previous education can provide advanced standing or transfer credit. Even without these time-saving measures, students can graduate from the program in just 32 months with all credits online, with the exception of two on-campus courses. Candidates should possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5, in addition to submitting a completed graduate school application and all supplemental documents.

#18 – Indiana Wesleyan University

MDiv Online

Marion, Indiana

Website

Indiana Wesleyan University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Take as long as you want to finish the online master’s in divinity program at Indiana Wesleyan.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,440

Through its Wesley Seminary, Indiana Wesleyan University offers a master’s in divinity online built for practicing ministers to increase their skill and knowledge to the benefit of their congregations. The program prides itself on offering an online divinity program that includes high level of engagement with faculty, as well as blending praxis and theory to show graduates how to effectively put to use the content they learn throughout the program. Candidates should possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution or an institution accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Degree requirements must be completed within 10 years of enrollment.

#17 – Eastern University

MDiv Online

Saint Davids, Pennsylvania

Website

Eastern University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ranked and affordable online master’s in divinity programs! Eastern University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,264

Eastern University’s Palmer Theological Seminary and College offers an online divinity school graduate degree that can be completed fully online. The program is based upon four principles designed to empower ministers to create a maximum impact within the organizations in which they work and lead. The 78-credit program can be completed in four years. Candidates are required to submit a personal statement and two letters of recommendation. Curriculum may include church renewal and evangelism, foundations of pastoral care and counseling, and theology and practice of worship. Well respected in the northeastern United States, Eastern University ranks #63 in regional universities North by U.S. News and World Report.

#16 – Campbellsville University

MDiv Online

Campbellsville, Kentucky

Website

Campbellsville University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ranked by U.S. News! Campbellsville University’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,690

Campbellsville University offers an online master’s in divinity that prepares graduates for a variety of careers in Christian ministry, such as pastor or staff member of a church, chaplain, or cross-cultural missions. Students can choose a concentration in missions and ministry or biblical studies. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and submit two reference letters and a philosophy of ministry essay. Students with a GPA less than 3.0 are required to submit GRE scores. Campbellsville University is ranked #92 in regional universities South and #114 in top social mobility performers by U.S. News and World Report.

#15 – The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

MDiv Online

Louisville, Kentucky

Website

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
16 concentrations available! Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s online divinity programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,776

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary offers one of the top affordable online divinity programs. The program offers 16 concentration areas with the main goal of spreading the gospel of Christianity throughout the world and to teach the Bible as the one truth. Among the 16 concentrations, Christian Ministry and Great Commission Studies are the only ones available entirely online. Students take a prescribed set of core classes in theology, counseling, history, and ministry practice, and can then choose electives from over 300 different courses based upon their career and personal interests. Southern Baptist teaches in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Abstract of Principles.

#14 – Bethel University

MDiv Online Programs

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Website

Bethel University - 30 Most Affordable Master's in Divinity Online Programs 2020
An affordable master’s in divinity online programs! Bethel University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,700

Bethel University’s master’s in divinity online prepares graduates for leadership positions within several ministerial contexts. Graduates go on to careers as church staff, pastors, chaplains, and teachers. The program is delivered fully online, making it an excellent option for full-time professionals seeking a work-life balance that allows them to pursue graduate education on their own time. The typical timeline for completing for online students is 4-4.5 years. The curriculum focuses on developing Christian theology through scripture analysis and understanding, and on how best to apply Christian principles in everyday situations. Bethel University is ranked #197 in top national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#13 – Biola University

MDiv Online Programs

La Miranda, California

Website

Biola University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ideal for those seeking full-time ministry roles! Biola University’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,394

Biola University offers an online divinity school graduate program through its Talbot School of Theology. The program prepares students for full-time ministry positions, especially those that require ordination. The curriculum is taught by highly trained faculty known to be reputable Christian theologists who can empower students to deeply understand Christian doctrine while increasing their capacity to lead. Students can choose one of six concentrations such as evangelism and discipleship, messianic Jewish studies, missions and intercultural studies, and more. The 79-credit program takes 3-5 years to complete. Biola University ranks #185 in national universities and #88 in best value schools by U.S. News and World Report.

#12 – Denver Seminary

MDiv Online Programs

Littleton, Colorado

Website

Denver Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Accredited and affordable! Denver Seminary’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,320

Denver Seminary offers an online master’s in divinity that requires no campus visits or residencies, which allows students to complete the degree without interrupting their personal responsibilities like work and family. The program provides both depth and breadth in Christian theology and ministerial leadership and welcomes practicing ministry professionals or those seeking to enter full-time ministry through a career change. Entrance requirements include a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree with 2.5 GPA as well as a completed graduate application. The GRE is not required for admission. Courses may include Israel’s early history and poetry, New Testament Greek, and thinking biblically and theologically.

#11 – Grand Canyon University

MDiv Online Programs

Phoenix, Arizona

Website

Grand Canyon University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
GCU is ranked with U.S. News and offers affordable master’s in divinity online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,074

Grand Canyon University offers an affordable master of divinity as preparation for full-time ministry. The fully online program welcomes individuals with bachelor’s degrees to apply whether or not they have experience working in ministry. While many students are current ministry professionals, the program also has several students new to the ministerial profession. The curriculum is grounded in Christian theology and requires a total of 82 credits to complete. Featured classes include biblical leadership and ministry, Christian worldview and ministry, and Christian apologetics. Grand Canyon University is ranked #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#10 – Anderson University

MDiv Online Programs

Anderson, Indiana

Website

Anderson University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Affordability! Anderson University’s online master’s in divinity program costs $10,000 per year.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,108

Anderson University breaks into the top 10 of our list of online divinity programs. The online program is 78 credits and can be completed entirely online, making it an excellent choice for current or aspiring ministry professionals. Featured courses include faith and life through the Hebrew scriptures, hermeneutics and critical reflection in theological education, and orientation to graduate theological studies. Candidates are required to send in official college transcripts and three letters of reference, which include one each from a church leader, professor/employer, and a personal relationship. Anderson University is ranked #87 in regional universities Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

#9 – Columbia International University

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Columbia, South Carolina

Website

Columbia International University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
The master’s in divinity online degree at Columbia International takes just 36 months.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,070

Columbia International University provides current and aspiring ministry professionals with an affordable master of divinity that can be completed online in just 36 months. The program offers eight specialty tracks such as care and counseling, ministry studies, missiological studies, youth ministry, and more. Admission requirements include official transcripts, church leader reference, application essay, and minimum GPA of 2.5. Graduates have gone on to successful and fruitful careers in several different ministerial contexts and organizations around the country and world. With a sound academic reputation in its region, Columbia International University ranks #38 in regional universities South by U.S. News and World Report.

#8 – Crown College

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota

Website

Crown College - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Rigorous, ranked online divinity program! Crown College.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,990

Crown College’s online divinity school master’s degree is designed to be completed entirely online at an affordable price. The combination of academic rigor, flexibility, and affordable tuition make it one of the top-ranked programs of its kind. The 72-credit program offers both depth and breadth through its coursework and gives students the option to choose a concentration from a list of ten specialties, such as church development, community development, pastoral studies, and many more. Students spend the final year of the program applying what they have learned in a real-world context, developing their ministerial skill. Crown ranks #117 in regional universities Midwest by U.S. News and World Report.

#7 – Nazarene Theological Seminary

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Kansas City, Missouri

Website

Nazarene Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
No GRE tests required for admission to the online master’s in divinity at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,850

Nazarene Theological Seminary offers an affordable master of divinity that can be completed almost entirely online. Students are required to come to campus for four, one-week residencies known as Convene that foster deeper learning and engagement with faculty and fellow students. Candidates should possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. In addition, candidates must send in transcripts, three references, and one academic paper. No GRE test scores are required to apply. The Master of Divinity is the central degree at Nazarene Theological Seminary and receives outstanding support from administration, faculty, and staff. Considerable financial and human capital are funneled into the program in an attempt to provide students with an excellent education.

#6 – The King’s University

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Southlake, Texas

Website

The King's University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Ideal for those seeking full-time ministry roles! The King’s University’s online master’s in divinity.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,630

The King’s University offers one of the top ranked online divinity programs based on affordability. The curriculum balances theological rigor with applied learning to develop doctrinally sound ministry professionals with both the skill and knowledge to be effective in their ministerial roles. The program’s prerequisites include the Graduate Bible Assessment upon admission to the university. Students scoring less than 75% are required to take a workshop on Old/New Testaments and Biblical interpretation. Courses may include contemporary approaches to leadership, current issues in biblical interpretation, and life of Jesus in historical context. The program is designed for individuals seeking roles in full-time ministry.

#5 – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Standish, Maine

Website

Saint Joseph's College of Maine - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Saint Joseph’s College offers one of the most affordable online master’s in divinity programs on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,470

Saint Joseph’s College offers an affordable master of divinity for Catholic laity and deacons to increase their effectiveness in ministry as well as preparation for a doctoral degree in ministry. The program follows the teaching of Jesus Christ in accordance with the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. The institution is accredited by the New England Commission on Higher Education but is not currently accredited by the Association of Theological Studies. Candidates must possess a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a letter confirming that they are a Roman Catholic in good standing from their pastor. A 300-600 word essay is also required as part of the application.

#4 – Lexington Theological Seminary

Online Master of Divinity Degrees

Lexington, Kentucky

Website

Lexington Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Accredited and affordable online divinity program! Lexington Theological Seminary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,420

Through its online divinity school, Lexington Theological Seminary offers a master’s degree of divinity that can be completed almost entirely online. Students do not need to move to Lexington, Kentucky to complete the program and can graduate with as few as four trips to campus. The program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and has prepared students for ministry since 1865. Candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 minimum GPA and have access to a local congregation and mentor. LTS can assist with these steps. Additionally, students must submit official transcripts as part of their application.

#3 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Divinity

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
100% online master’s in divinity program! Liberty University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,400

Liberty University offers an online master’s in divinity through its John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, which is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools to confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees to those who successfully complete all coursework. The program is 100% online and can be competed in just six semesters, making it one of the most efficient programs of its kind. Blending sound Christian doctrine with skill-building, graduates emerge from the program as well-rounded Christian ministerial professionals ready for top leadership positions in a variety of contexts. Liberty University is ranked #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#2 – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Online Master’s in Divinity

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Website

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
Affordable online divinity programs – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,112

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary offers individuals an affordable master of divinity with the goal of educating graduates to carry out the Great Commission and to equip people to serve the church. Admitted students may choose a concentration in Christian ministry, missiology, North American church planting, or preaching and pastoral ministry. Graduates from the program have gone on to successful careers in both national and international settings for several types of agencies including churches, non-profits, and more. The program adheres to Baptist theology and doctrine and is committed to rigorous coursework and mentoring of its students. Individuals from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

#1 – Luther Rice College & Seminary

Online Master of Divinity

Lithonia, Georgia

Website

Luther Rice College & Seminary - 30 Most Affordable Master’s in Divinity Online Programs of 2020
#1 most affordable master’s in divinity online program – Luther Rice College Seminary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,820

Luther College and Seminary ranks number one on our list of affordable master of divinity programs. The program can be completed entirely online and is designed for current Christian leaders seeking an in-depth education to increase their effectiveness in ministry both within and outside of the walls of their organizations. The 90-credit program allows students to transfer up to 45 credits from other programs or institutions upon approval. Graduates have gone on to careers as senior pastors, military chaplains, church administration, and missionaries. Students can customize up to 24 elective credits through a wide selection of courses or may choose a lock-step path that includes biblical language courses as their electives.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with a master’s in divinity online degree?

Graduates with a master’s in divinity online degree can work in a variety of occupations and organizations including pastors, clergy, administration, missions, and much more. The vast majority of graduates end up in full-time ministry as pastors and worship leaders in within a religious organization.

Pastors engage in duties including leading worship services by performing sermons and messages throughout the week. In addition, they spend a great deal of time performing group and individual counseling and mentoring with members of their congregations seeking spiritual guidance. They also perform other religious ceremonies such as weddings and baptisms as part of their duties. As with other organizations, religious entities have employees who complete administrative functions such as accounting, marketing, human resources, and the like. As the leader of the organization, the pastor engages in administrative duties concerning the daily operations and planning of the organization.

A career as a full-time pastor or clergy is not the only route for someone with an online master’s in divinity. Many graduates serve their communities and organizations as chaplains in a variety of contexts such as hospitals, correctional facilities, and educational institutions. Chaplains minister to these individuals and also perform religious ceremonies such as last rites. Chaplains may engage in interfaith counseling as well as duties specific to a religion.

How long does it take to earn a master’s in divinity online degree?

Timelines to complete a master’s in divinity online vary by organization and program. The time it takes to graduate is also largely dictated by the student. By their nature, online degrees are designed for working individuals seeking flexibility with their enrollment due to outside factors such as work obligations and family. The average age of an online college student is 34. This demographic typically works full-time and has a family and is unable to take full-time classes or attend traditional on-campus courses.

Most online divinity programs structure their coursework to accommodate the needs of working adults. Most programs take 3-4 years to complete at a part-time pace of 1-2 classes per term. Terms are often structured where students take one class at a time so as to manage their other obligations. While the majority take 3-4 years, some programs, especially those designed for experienced religious workers, can be completed in 1-2 years.

In addition to coursework, many programs require students to complete an internship, engaging in actual ministerial work. This type of requirement is typically done near the end of the program as part of a graduation requirement. Students may also be taking additional coursework during the internship while other programs prefer students focus solely on completing their hours.

Are there professional organizations I can join while earning a master’s in divinity online degree?

In addition to college coursework and networking, online students should consider joining a professional organization specific to their industry and career. As with other occupations, religious workers have access to a wide array of organizations that provide benefits like ongoing education, news, trends, and networking. Many colleges and universities offer membership to these organizations and encourage students to join. These organizations vary in size, scope, and mission, making it critical for the student to find the correct fit. Some organizations are inter-faith, while others are designed for a specific religion or denomination. Students often find these organizations helpful in their career development.

Association for Clinical Pastoral Education

One such organization is the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). This organization is designed for individuals that practice spiritual care and mental health counseling in a variety of contexts and organizations. It integrates psychotherapists and pastoral counselors and provides resources, events, conferences, and leadership development.

Association of Professional Chaplains

The Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), is an interfaith organization for those working in chaplaincy care in a variety of settings including healthcare, corrections, education, government, and more. This non-profit organization advocates for its individual members and the profession through outreach and education.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a master’s in divinity online degree?

The job outlook for those with a master’s in divinity is expected to be approximately 6% from 2018-2028. For context, the overall growth rate for all occupations during this same time period is 5%. The data obtained from the Department of Employment’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the majority of job openings will come from current pastors, clergy, and other religious workers reaching retirement age compared to industry growth, which is what often drives occupational demand. As young people continue a trend toward secular beliefs, the industry is actually experiencing a retraction as demand for traditional religious services decreases.

A closer look at the data shows the demand is higher in certain geographical locations. Currently, New York, California, and Oregon employ the highest numbers of religious leaders. This is not surprising, as New York and California are highly populated states. Much of Oregon is rural, which tends to attract individuals who engage in organized religion.
When looking at salary data, we see that religious leaders such as clergy and pastors earn a mean (average) salary of $55,190 annually; much higher than to the overall occupational average of $38,000. California, Washington State, and Massachusetts pay the highest average wages of $70,800, $64,680, and $63,720 respectively.

What are the admission requirements for most MDiv online programs?

Admission requirements vary across the spectrum when it comes to online divinity master’s programs. Most programs have straightforward requirements for candidates that include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a 2.5 minimum GPA. Candidates are also generally required to submit three letters of recommendation (including at least one from a religious leader), a personal statement, and transcripts from any institution of higher learning they’ve attended. Institutions that are specifically seminaries, generally do not require standardized test scores such as the GRE.

Traditional academic institutions have different requirements than seminaries. Seminaries generally require statements professing a specific faith or doctrine and also require students to respond to specific religious prompts as part of their personal statements. Moreover, seminaries will typically require that all letters of recommendation come from individuals with religious ties. They are instructed to speak to the personal characteristics and fitness of the candidate in terms of commitment to faith.

From these baseline standards, requirements are tightened. Institutions can be more specific or rigorous in their admission standards to include a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as religious studies. Programs designed for experienced religious leaders generally demand candidates to have leadership experience working for a religious organization.

BCO Staff
June 2020

Related:

How Do Online Classes Work?

How Can You Tell If a Liberal Arts College Provides a Quality Education?

What is the Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Classes?

This concludes our list of 30 most affordable online MDiv programs of 2020.