Become a minister or learn to more effectively teach the Bible with the 10 best online master’s in Biblical studies programs.
Many students who pursue biblical or theological educational options in their undergraduate years end up wanting more, particularly if they are pursuing a position in a church or school. Bachelor’s degrees don’t normally have the depth and history necessary to adequately teach secondary educators or ministers.
That’s where master’s degrees in Biblical studies come in. These degrees dive even deeper into theological and Christian understandings, along with providing plenty of education about how to teach others about the Bible and perform research to further understanding of the text for all, often in a historical context.
Yet, finding affordable and flexible program options can be tricky without the right research. Luckily, we’ve already found the 10 best online master’s in Bible studies programs. Let’s discuss this degree in more depth before we head to the reviews.
What is an Online Master’s in Biblical Studies?
A master’s degree in Bible studies extends the education of students in close textual study of the Bible, using historical, theological, and literary tools. It’s usually only offered by universities that follow a variation of the Christian faith and specialize in Bible interpretation, understanding, and theology.
It generally follows a deep dive into the Bible as a historical and religious text, usually through the lens of faith. As a result, such programs usually incorporate classes across a broad series of subjects like history, language, and sociology.
Students normally pursue master’s degrees in Bible studies because they want to become professional biblical writers or historians, become biblical teachers, or enter the clergy. Missionary candidates can also benefit from such an education, as can anyone who is a member of a church or a parachurch organization.
But because of its master’s status, the degree options are often particularly helpful if you want to attain an instructional position in Christian educational institutions. Many of the courses or subject matter specifically deal with teaching the Bible to others through guided or individual interpretation.
Because the Christian faith is one of many across the world, students of this type of program will also learn how to defend and articulate their ethical and theological system, as well as solve interpretive problems presented within the biblical text. As a master’s degree, these programs typically rely on heavy research courses or projects and generally culminate in a thesis. All students will learn how to produce independent scholarly research papers related to the Bible and Christian theology and history.
A master’s in Bible studies can also be used to progress to a Ph.D. program in a theological subject. If you want to specifically focus on theology, here’s OSR’s Master’s in Theology ranking.
How Much Can You Earn With This Degree?
The expected earnings for those with a master’s in Bible studies are difficult to nail down, as it largely depends on profession rather than position within a Church. As an example, many holders of this degree become postsecondary teachers, who earn a median annual salary of about $78,470. These individuals become professors at religious higher education traditions.
However, a separate chart places the median annual wage of philosophy and religion teachers, who combine research and education, at $78,790. Both postsecondary philosophy and religion teachers in general can expect to see employment rises over the next 10 years.
But degree holders can also proceed into a clergy position within their church. Such individuals can expect a mean annual wage of $50,800, although this exact amount can vary dramatically from church to church.
Ultimately, employment and payment prospects for those with master’s in Bible studies degrees are variable and dependent on many factors outside education. But it’s no stretch to say that people with these degrees have lucrative careers, even if they don’t usually earn as much as STEM program graduates.
What is Required for a Master’s in Bible Studies Degree?
Master’s in Bible studies programs usually have an interdisciplinary but focused curriculum. Students can expect to find courses covering:
- Biblical history
- Biblical theory
- General history
- Writing and communication
Most programs also heavily incorporate a research element, so students will learn how to come up with research paper topics and complete those assignments on their own. Many programs heavily emphasize a schedule with regular worship or church-related activities, which may or may not count as extracurricular.
What Are the Best Online Master’s in Biblical Studies Degrees?
OSR uses six data points: three school-wide and three program specific. For school-wide, OSR uses Student Satisfaction, Admission Rates, and the number of programs the school offers online. For program-specific, OSR checks the Median Debt of graduates from that program, how many degrees are offered within that program’s umbrella department, and what percentage of students at that school graduated from that department. These numbers are self-reported by colleges to the US Department of Education.
The six statistics are displayed by each school. The sliding bar under each statistic represents how that school compares to other US institutions. “Not reported” means a school did not release that information to the Department of Education. A more detailed description of the OSR process can be found on the methodology page.
Luther Rice College & Seminary
- Tuition: $4,806(in state) / $4,806(out of state)
- 36 credit hours
- Multiple degree options available
- Combined on-campus variant available as well
School WideStudent Satisfaction81.00%Admission Rate55%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department5Popularity at School100.00%100%OSR Score
This program can be completed in an accelerated format entirely online between 18 or 24 months depending on your workload. Every class uses up-to-date tech, and the school provides a full library of electronic resources for 24/7 access. The student-focused education is taught by real-world ministers and dedicated faculty.
Charlotte Christian College and Theological Seminary
- Tuition: $7,440(in state) / $7,440(out of state)
- 66 semester credits
- Leads to pastor or teacher in church
- 3 concentrations available
School WideStudent Satisfaction78.00%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online3
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School100.00%93%OSR Score
This program provides each student with an in-depth course of study including classes, research, practicum experiences, and an internship. The result will be a well-rounded graduate who has extensive expertise in real-world scenarios and is ready for educator or leadership positions.
Grace School of Theology
- Tuition: $3,600(in state) / $3,600(out of state)
- 60 credit hours
- Needs pastor recommendation for acceptance
- Can be completed in less than 2 years
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered onlineNot Reported
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department4Popularity at School100.00%89%OSR Score
This online program has an extremely flexible curriculum to let working professionals or dedicated students complete their higher education. It has a particular focus on broad Christian views and service skills, making it great for those interested in practical education. The curriculum follows every book of the Bible and major categories of systematic theology.
Moody Bible Institute
- Tuition: $7,560(in state) / $7,560(out of state)
- 36 credit hours
- Modular schedule for flexibility
- Several start dates
School WideStudent Satisfaction80.20%Admission Rate66%Programs offered online3
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School92.62%89%OSR Score
Moody’s offers an online Master of the Arts that dives deep into the Bible and allows students to teach Scripture more confidently. It offers entirely online or blended curriculum options to work for any type of student or schedule. The faculty all have real-world pastor experience.
- Tuition: $11,700(in state) / $11,700(out of state)
- 36 semester hours
- Multiple financial aid opportunities
- Several start dates
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online11
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School40.00%88%OSR Score
This online option is split into two degrees, each offering a master’s degree in either Old or New Testament Scripture. You’ll be able to specialize your education and focus as a result, enabling you to either work as a pastor or teach for that part of the Bible. Each curriculum has an emphasis on scholarly biblical research and writing.
Columbia International University
- Tuition: $9,180(in state) / $9,180(out of state)
- 48 credits
- $25 application fee
- Must have reference from church leader
School WideStudent Satisfaction75.20%Admission Rate28%Programs offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department4Popularity at School48.51%88%OSR Score
The program offered by CIU is in Bible Exposition, so it’s perfect for those who want to teach lessons about Scripture. It can be completed in less than two years if you have real-world experience and can test out of certain courses. The curriculum also includes internships and research opportunities built into various classes.
Virginia Baptist College
- Tuition: $4,410(in state) / $4,410(out of state)
- 60 credit hours
- 8-week classes
- Several scholarships available
School WideStudent Satisfaction100.00%Admission Rate100%Programs offered online2
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department2Popularity at School100.00%84%OSR Score
This online program is a perfect choice for anyone wanting advanced training for general biblical knowledge. There are two tracks available for students: one dealing with the Bible in other languages and the other with greater practical emphasis. Regardless, all classes incorporate a heavy research component.
- Tuition: $8,550(in state) / $8,550(out of state)
- 24 credits
- Mostly online
- 2 start dates per year
School WideStudent Satisfaction82.80%Admission Rate98%Programs offered online7
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School50.00%83%OSR Score
Johnson University offers an online program that focuses on the New Testament, diving deep into an advanced analysis of the books in that part of the Bible. There are four concentrations available, including one in leadership that requires a one-week Tennessee residency.
Southern California Seminary
- Tuition: $14,400(in state) / $14,400(out of state)
- 60 units
- Totally asynchronous learning
- Classes start every 7 weeks
School WideStudent Satisfaction60.00%Admission RateNot ReportedPrograms offered online1
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department2Popularity at School100.00%83%OSR Score
This online program in biblical studies offers a graduate-level curriculum for those already experienced in theological subjects. It allows students to focus on a particular area of interest within the Bible for further specialization or for personal preference. It can be completed in two years or less depending on how many units you take.
- Tuition: $7,056(in state) / $7,056(out of state)
- 36 credit hours
- Can lead to accelerated PhD
- Multiple start dates per year
School WideStudent SatisfactionNot ReportedAdmission Rate74%Programs offered online15
Program LevelMedian DebtNot ReportedPrograms in Department3Popularity at School58.97%81%OSR Score
This program offers students a totally online or blended educational program depending on your schedule needs. In addition to a five-year track for bachelor’s and master’s education, this school provides an accelerated one-year track for the Master of Arts in Bible and Theology. It includes a heavy research component and practical real-world experiences.