An online masters degree theology program is an excellent way for students to prepare for professional religious careers. Through a deeper understanding of scripture and interpretation gained in an online master’s degree theology program, students gain the knowledge they need to effectively lead congregations. Attaining an online master in theology provides business, counseling and leadership education that is necessary for building healthy church communities. In addition, many high-paying ministry, religious education and pastoral management positions require a master’s degree. This degree may also provide the framework for students to obtain a PhD in ministry, religious studies or church leadership.
What are the admission requirements for an online master’s in theology?
Top online masters degree programs in theology commonly require students to submit the following for admissions purposes:
- Application form
- Undergraduate transcripts
- Personal statement or Essay
- Letters of recommendation
These programs generally prefer candidates that have either a bachelors degree in theology from an accredited school or a bachelors degree in a related field such as:
- Comparative Religion
- Religious Counseling
What types of online master’s degrees in theology can students pursue?
Students can pursue one of several different online masters degrees in theology at accredited online schools.
And, because theology is a broad field, in order to become a specialist in a specific field, students often pursue specialties or concentrations.
Common areas of focus for online degree students include:
- Theology and Culture: This field encourages cultural and religious exchange between the student and people from other religions. Participating students learn about and experience religious ceremonies, beliefs and icons from various religious backgrounds.
- Research in Theology: Students who emphasize the research track focus on theological studies as they relate to scientific methods and data collection. The best online master’s degree programs in theology encourage students to research areas such as bible history, cultural influences and comparative religions.
- Christian Leadership: The focus in this education track is on employing leadership and business skills in the Christian community. It is designed for students pursuing non-ministerial leadership in Christian churches, such as administrative managers and business consultants.
- Biblical Studies: Individuals in this emphasis learn common interpretations of the Bible from different religious perspectives. Most accredited online master’s degrees in theology also teach Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic to encourage personal biblical translations.
- Master of Divinity: This specialized online theology masters degree combines bible studies, theology and ministry to prepare professional church leaders for ministry. It is also a good research degree for those interested in pursuing a traditional or online PhD in theology.
What can students expect to learn in an online theology master’s degree program?A student gaining an online master degree in theology will develop listening, counseling and decision making skills in addition to gaining advanced scriptural knowledge and an understanding of various religious philosophies.
Some classes which are popular among students enrolled in top online masters programs in theology include:
- Pastoral Ministry: This theology masters degree online class analyzes current pastoral practices and their theological foundations. Specific emphasis is placed on personal discipleship, biblical counseling and interpersonal relationships for a healthy congregation.
- Bible Studies: Focused on the Bible as both a historical and religious text, this course gives students in-depth information about its written context and popular interpretations. Outside primary sources are emphasized as well as individual translation, common misconceptions and personal applications.
- Apologetics and Ethics: Participants in this course learn contemporary means of defending religious beliefs as well as ways of using religious principles to establish notions of right and wrong. Students in this online master’s degree theology class learn faith-based ethics, critical thinking and debate skills.
What careers can students pursue after graduating from theology masters programs online?
There is a variety of different job options that online theology masters programs graduates may choose from.
Some popular career choices for graduates are:
- Adjunct Professor: These individuals teach religion and theology to students pursuing a traditional or online bachelor’s degree in theology. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average wage for this profession was $71,620 in 2010. Post-secondary teaching jobs are expected to increase 17% by 2020.
- Minister: Ministers plan and direct the religious and community congregations of a denominational church. In 2010, the average wage for this position was $44,140. Approximately 231,000 people are employed as ministers, and this number is expected to increase at a rate of 18% by 2020.
- Chaplain: A chaplain provides religious support for families and patients in hospitals and military service. On average, this position earns a yearly salary of approximately $40,000. Jobs in this area are expected to grow slightly slower than the national average, at about 10%.