• Find a bachelor's degree

    Bachelors Degree Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Dal­las Bap­tist Uni­ver­si­ty is the #1 top school for a fast online degree in the­ol­o­gy.
  • Options include degrees in Bib­li­cal Stud­ies, Chris­t­ian Min­istries, and more, focus­ing on dif­fer­ent aspects of the­ol­o­gy and ministry.
  • These pro­grams pre­pare stu­dents for var­i­ous roles in min­istry, enhanc­ing both the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge and prac­ti­cal skills.

Because so many pas­tors and min­is­ters begin their careers with­out a degree, edu­ca­tion for pas­tors can some­times be a messy hodge­podge. Many pas­tors may have tak­en cours­es for ordi­na­tion in their denom­i­na­tion, for instance. They may have earned cer­ti­fi­ca­tions from bible col­leges or com­mu­ni­ty col­leges, or tak­en exten­sion cours­es through their church’s larg­er mis­sion orga­ni­za­tion. They may have even earned some col­lege cred­its along the way. One thing all work­ing min­is­ters have, of course, is the expe­ri­ence — some of it very hard-earned and well worth any col­lege course.

The best Chris­t­ian sem­i­nar­ies, col­leges, and uni­ver­si­ties know this about pas­tors, and have devel­oped plans to meet min­is­ters and prospec­tive min­is­ters where they are. Not only have schools built ful­ly online and hybrid pro­grams to help pas­tors com­plete their degrees; they’ve also adopt­ed gen­er­ous trans­fer poli­cies that allow stu­dents to make the most of their work expe­ri­ence, pre­vi­ous cours­es, and even self-taught exper­tise. Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter has ranked the min­istry and bib­li­cal stud­ies degree online pro­grams that make the process work for busy min­is­ters and pastors.

Methodology: How We Ranked the Best Accelerated Online Degree in Ministry Programs

The fastest online min­istry degree bachelor’s pro­grams find many ways to stream­line edu­ca­tion for pas­tors, with accel­er­at­ed cours­es, trans­fer agree­ments for pre­vi­ous cred­its and work expe­ri­ence, and oth­er ways. BDC edi­tors searched for accred­it­ed online pro­grams that use a vari­ety of meth­ods to help work­ing adults com­plete their bachelor’s degree conveniently.

From our ini­tial list, we ranked pro­grams accord­ing to five fac­tors: Alum­ni Salary, Employ­ment Rate, Grad­u­a­tion Rate, Stu­dent Reviews, and Tuition Rate. Data came from Col­lege Score­card, IPEDS, and Niche. Prospec­tive stu­dents know, with these cri­te­ria, that the pro­gram they choose will not only be fast, but rep­utable, with a real career impact and return on investment.

1. Dallas Baptist University

For a fast bachelor’s degree com­ple­tion, the many spe­cial­ized online degree in min­istry pro­grams at Dal­las Bap­tist Uni­ver­si­ty allows you to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its for your degree and pro­vide dif­fer­ent options to help with your goals. You can obtain a BA in Bib­li­cal Stud­ies, a BS in Chris­t­ian Stud­ies, or a BAS in Chris­t­ian Min­istries through the online pro­gram. The pro­grams offer dif­fer­ent areas of Bib­li­cal study and lead­er­ship devel­op­ment based on a stu­den­t’s long-term goals for their career.

Dal­las Bap­tist Uni­ver­si­ty stands out as a fast pro­gram because it allows stu­dents to trans­fer 90 cred­its to the degree, offers three pro­grams for Bib­li­cal study, and is ful­ly online. As an online pro­gram, stu­dents work at their own pace and have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to work around per­son­al or career oblig­a­tions. The degree pro­grams also pre­pare stu­dents for the work they will engage in when they start in a career as a pas­tor or to sup­port a pas­tor in a church setting.

Degree: BA in Bib­li­cal Stud­ies, BS in Chris­t­ian Stud­ies, BAS in Chris­t­ian Min­istries
For­mat: Online — trans­fer up to 90 credits

Dal­las Bap­tist University

2. Clarks Summit University

Obtain­ing a Bib­li­cal Stud­ies degree online from Clarks Sum­mit Uni­ver­si­ty offers stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to pur­sue a lead­er­ship role in their min­istry or to focus on the chal­lenges of study­ing more com­plex top­ics with­in the­ol­o­gy. The school offers two pro­grams for stu­dents who want to study a Bib­li­cal top­ic: Bible and The­ol­o­gy or Chris­t­ian Min­istries. The Bible and The­ol­o­gy pro­gram focus­es on under­stand­ing the Bible by eval­u­at­ing the ori­gin of the work. Stu­dents learn the orig­i­nal Greek and Hebrew that shaped the Bible and eval­u­ate the texts from a his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive. The Chris­t­ian Min­istries degree focus­es on lead­er­ship skills as it applies to the church and work­ing in a pas­toral position.

Clarks Sum­mit Uni­ver­si­ty dif­fers from oth­er pro­grams by tak­ing a lin­guis­tic and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive on the Bible. The online class­es teach stu­dents the orig­i­nal lan­guages to ensure they are pre­pared for the chal­lenges of Bib­li­cal research and writ­ing. It also helps stu­dents learn the lead­er­ship skills they need to guide mem­bers of their church for their spir­i­tu­al goals.

Degree: BA in Bible and The­ol­o­gy or Chris­t­ian Min­istries (online)
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Clarks Sum­mit University

3. American Public University

Obtain­ing a Bib­li­cal Stud­ies degree online from Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty pre­pares stu­dents for the com­plex­i­ties of reli­gion as it applies to pol­i­tics, soci­ety, cul­ture, and spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. The degree pro­gram takes a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach to the study of reli­gion to ensure stu­dents have a well-round­ed under­stand­ing of reli­gion and its influ­ence on the world. Stu­dents pre­pare for a career sup­port­ing the lead­ers of a church or work­ing in human services.

Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty has a fast-paced online pro­gram that allows you to trans­fer as many as 90 cred­its to your degree. The flex­i­ble sched­ul­ing of the online pro­gram com­bined with the unique per­spec­tive of the degree pro­gram allows stu­dents to focus on their career goals. The pro­gram focus­es on pro­vid­ing stu­dents with the prac­ti­cal skills they need to han­dle chal­lenges in a human ser­vices or min­istry career.

Degree: BA in Reli­gion
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Amer­i­can Pub­lic University

4. Liberty University

When you plan to obtain an online degree in min­istry to take on a lead­er­ship role, the BS in Chris­t­ian Lead­er­ship and Man­age­ment from Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty is a good choice for your goals. The online degree pro­gram allows you to trans­fer as much as 75 per­cent of your cred­its to the online pro­gram for your degree. Since it is an online pro­gram, you can work at your own pace and work around per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al oblig­a­tions. The pro­gram focus­es on the lead­er­ship and man­age­ment skills asso­ci­at­ed with tak­ing on a lead­er­ship role in a church.

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty offers a pro­gram that com­bines lead­er­ship and man­age­ment skills with Bib­li­cal truth. It uses the prin­ci­ples of the Bible to teach real-world skills that you can apply to your career and long-term plans. It also teach­es stu­dents to apply skills like account­ing, busi­ness law, and human resources to min­istry admin­is­tra­tion. That knowl­edge allows stu­dents to work as a leader in their church or to sup­port a reli­gious leader with the tech­ni­cal aspects of run­ning and man­ag­ing a church.

Degree: BS in Chris­t­ian Lead­er­ship and Man­age­ment
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Lib­er­ty University

5. University of the Cumberlands

The Bach­e­lor’s in Min­istry and Mis­sions from the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Cum­ber­lands is an online degree pro­gram that allows you to focus on devel­op­ing the skills to nav­i­gate mod­ern soci­ety while main­tain­ing Bib­li­cal ethics and morals. The degree pro­gram teach­es stu­dents the­ol­o­gy, his­to­ry, and lit­er­a­ture as it applies to the Bible and mod­ern life. It also focus­es on ethics to pre­pare stu­dents for the chal­lenges of tak­ing on a lead­er­ship role.

The online degree pro­gram from the Uni­ver­si­ty of the Cum­ber­lands stands apart by focus­ing on the chal­lenges of apply­ing Bib­li­cal stan­dards to a mod­ern lifestyle. It rec­og­nizes the role of the Bible and ethics on mod­ern life and teach­es stu­dents to fol­low through with their prin­ci­ples, beliefs, and goals. It also allows stu­dents to take the degree pro­gram online and trans­fer cred­its from oth­er schools to com­plete the degree at a fast pace.

Degree: Bach­e­lor’s in Min­istry and Mis­sions
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Uni­ver­si­ty of the Cumberlands

6. Lancaster Bible College

Lan­cast­er Bible Col­lege offers an online BA in Bib­li­cal Stud­ies pro­gram that works around a stu­den­t’s sched­ule and allows him or her to focus on accom­plish­ing long-term goals. The degree is an accel­er­at­ed online pro­gram that offers six-week cours­es. Stu­dents take one course at a time to com­plete a degree at an accel­er­at­ed pace. It also focus­es on teach­ing stu­dents about the Bible from expe­ri­enced min­is­ters and pro­fes­sion­als who have worked in min­istry for sev­er­al years.

Lan­cast­er Bible Col­lege stands apart by offer­ing cred­it for life expe­ri­ences. Stu­dents are able to show­case their expe­ri­ence and cut back on the time spent in class­es through the life expe­ri­ences eval­u­a­tion. The school also offers flex­i­ble class­es to stu­dents, so you can study online or in a tra­di­tion­al class set­ting. You have the option to set up your sched­ule as it fits your situation.

Degree: BA in Bib­li­cal Stud­ies
For­mat: Online accelerated

Lan­cast­er Bible College

7. Southeastern University

The BS in Min­is­te­r­i­al Lead­er­ship from South­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty is a Christ-cen­tered pro­gram that allows stu­dents to study online. Since they can also trans­fer ample cred­its to the pro­gram, stu­dents are able to obtain their degrees at a fast pace. The pro­gram cen­ters around set­ting up a strong foun­da­tion in the­ol­o­gy and reli­gious stud­ies while also teach­ing stu­dents to take on lead­er­ship posi­tions. The com­bi­na­tion of skills pre­pares stu­dents for a role in min­istry that fits their goals and call­ing with­in a church.

South­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty stands apart by offer­ing stu­dents an accred­it­ed edu­ca­tion through their online pro­gram. The school is accred­it­ed by the South­ern Asso­ci­a­tion of Col­leges and Schools Com­mis­sion on Col­leges or SACSCOC. The pro­gram also stands out by focus­ing on devel­op­ing lead­er­ship skills with a strong foun­da­tion in the­ol­o­gy. That allows lead­ers with­in a min­istry to focus on pro­vid­ing the guid­ance oth­ers need when vis­it­ing a church.

Degree: BS in Min­is­te­r­i­al Lead­er­ship
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

South­east­ern University

8. Regent University

When you’re look­ing for a degree in min­istry, you will find options that fit your goals in Regent Uni­ver­si­ty’s online min­istry pro­grams. The school offers a vari­ety of pro­grams asso­ci­at­ed with min­istry work and the­ol­o­gy, so stu­dents can focus on a spe­cif­ic area of divin­i­ty to focus on their long-term goals. The Christ-cen­tered pro­grams are eight weeks or 15 weeks long, so stu­dents can work at their own pace. The school offers sev­er­al pro­grams online as well as hybrid pro­grams to fit a stu­den­t’s schedule.

Regent Uni­ver­si­ty stands out by offer­ing a vari­ety of class­es focused on min­istry. The school has sev­er­al online and on-cam­pus pro­grams that focus on Chris­t­ian stud­ies, Bib­li­cal study, the­ol­o­gy, divin­i­ty, and lead­er­ship. Due to the wide array of options, stu­dents are able to focus on a spe­cif­ic aspect of Chris­t­ian lead­er­ship and take on spe­cial­ized careers with­in a ministry.

Degree: Many min­istry bach­e­lors
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Regent Uni­ver­si­ty

9. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty offers a BA in Chris­t­ian Stud­ies online that allows stu­dents to devel­op the skills they need to work as a min­is­ter. The degree pro­gram focus­es on con­tem­po­rary the­o­ries of Bib­li­cal study to pre­pare stu­dents for the chal­lenges of work­ing in a mod­ern envi­ron­ment. The pro­gram rec­og­nizes that mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy and pol­i­tics impact the spir­i­tu­al­i­ty of a church and the pro­gram helps stu­dents under­stand effec­tive ways to com­mu­ni­cate with others.

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty stands apart from oth­er pro­grams by teach­ing reli­gion and the­ol­o­gy from the per­spec­tive of a Chris­t­ian. It rec­og­nizes that reli­gions shape and impact cul­ture and pol­i­tics. By eval­u­at­ing the way reli­gion impacts oth­er areas of life, stu­dents under­stand the chal­lenges Chris­tians face in a mod­ern envi­ron­ment. As stu­dents work on their degree, they learn use­ful skills to nav­i­gate the dif­fi­cul­ties asso­ci­at­ed with their career goals.

Degree: BA in Chris­t­ian Stud­ies
For­mat: Online — trans­fer 90 credits

Grand Canyon University 

10. Gardner-Webb University

When you are look­ing for a fast-paced degree in min­istry, the BS in Chris­t­ian Min­istry online from Gard­ner-Webb Uni­ver­si­ty is a good choice for your goals. The degree pro­gram focus­es on build­ing the foun­da­tion­al skills a stu­dent needs to work in a lead­er­ship role. It devel­ops com­mu­ni­ca­tion and crit­i­cal think­ing skills, as well as Bib­li­cal inter­pre­ta­tion. By learn­ing to com­mu­ni­cate with oth­ers, you are able to teach them and take on a lead­er­ship posi­tion with­in your church. The degree pro­gram rec­og­nizes that your phys­i­cal and men­tal state impact your beliefs and teach­es the psy­cho­log­i­cal aspects that apply to mod­ern Chris­tian­i­ty. It takes a whole-per­son approach to Chris­t­ian min­istry and pro­vides a strong foun­da­tion in Bib­li­cal study.

Gard­ner-Webb Uni­ver­si­ty stands out for the fast-paced envi­ron­ment. Stu­dents can com­plete their under­grad­u­ate degree online in one year, which is an accel­er­at­ed pace for the bach­e­lor’s degree. The abil­i­ty to com­plete a degree at a fast pace means you can start work­ing in your field and assist a min­is­ter. It also allows you to work with oth­ers and help them with their sit­u­a­tion. The degree pro­gram gives stu­dents the skills to han­dle the chal­lenges of work­ing in a mod­ern envi­ron­ment while main­tain­ing their faith and spirituality.

Degree: BS in Chris­t­ian Min­istry
For­mat: Online — fin­ish in as lit­tle as 1 year

Gard­ner-Webb University

Will a Bachelor’s Degree Help Me Get a Job in Ministry?

Many peo­ple who feel called to careers in min­istry find them­selves a lit­tle con­fused over the job require­ments. This is because the require­ments for jobs in the min­istry are dif­fer­ent from church to church. Also, there is not one uni­ver­sal­ly rec­og­nized degree that is required for careers in min­istry like there is for attor­neys, for exam­ple. The min­istry does not have one gov­ern­ing body like attor­neys have the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion. How­ev­er, a bach­e­lor’s degree will inevitably lead to more min­istry career oppor­tu­ni­ties and a bet­ter shot at pres­ti­gious lead pas­tor jobs. In fact, many lead pas­tor posi­tions will actu­al­ly require mas­ter’s degrees.

Min­is­te­r­i­al jobs can be hard to come by, with rel­a­tive­ly few job open­ings and fierce com­pe­ti­tion for those seek­ing careers in min­istry. If you’re apply­ing to assis­tant-lev­el min­is­te­r­i­al jobs, chances are the church won’t require a bach­e­lor’s degree. How­ev­er, if you want to even­tu­al­ly be con­sid­ered for lead pas­tor jobs, most church­es will require at least a bach­e­lor’s degree. Many work­ing min­is­ters will choose a 2‑year bach­e­lor’s degree pro­gram to get there.

It is also impor­tant to keep in mind that the entry require­ments for min­is­te­r­i­al jobs are becom­ing more and more strin­gent, and many assis­tant-lev­el jobs in the min­istry do pre­fer can­di­dates with bach­e­lor’s degrees. This trend looks to con­tin­ue for min­istry career opportunities.

Because of these chang­ing expec­ta­tions, many min­is­ters begin their careers with­out a degree and com­plete their bachelor’s degrees on the job. An online degree in min­istry pro­grams is becom­ing more com­mon to help these work­ing pro­fes­sion­als get their degrees con­ve­nient­ly. Accel­er­at­ed degree pro­grams help them do it even faster.

What If I Don’t Want a Full Bachelor’s Degree?

While it is becom­ing more and more com­mon for pas­tors to have bach­e­lor’s degrees and even mas­ter’s degrees, many church­es do not require a bach­e­lor’s degree. Stu­dents that don’t want a bach­e­lor’s degree can instead pur­sue a cer­tifi­cate in min­istry. As long as you com­plete a cer­tifi­cate in Chris­t­ian min­istry at an accred­it­ed bible col­lege, many church­es will be hap­py to hire you as an assis­tant or asso­ciate pas­tor. There are even many online min­istry cer­tifi­cate pro­grams offered by rec­og­nized bible colleges.

Those who are look­ing to get a cer­tifi­cate in min­istry through an online school should dou­ble-check to ensure that the school is accred­it­ed, as an online min­istry cer­tifi­cate would­n’t be worth much otherwise.

Keep in mind that a cer­tifi­cate in Chris­t­ian min­istry will like­ly just meet the min­i­mum require­ments for your appli­ca­tion to be con­sid­ered. A bach­e­lor’s degree in min­istry or the­ol­o­gy would be more ben­e­fi­cial for prospec­tive min­is­ters. It will like­ly help your appli­ca­tion to be con­sid­ered more seri­ous­ly than a cer­tifi­cate in min­istry. How­ev­er, a cer­tifi­cate in min­istry from a rec­og­nized Bible school will cer­tain­ly ele­vate your can­di­da­cy above those who do not have any divin­i­ty school cre­den­tials at all.

Keep in mind, finan­cial aid may be a chal­lenge with some schools. Many the­ol­o­gy pro­grams come from schools that do not get fed­er­al assis­tance, so stu­dents inter­est­ed in loans should be careful. 

What Can I Do With a Biblical Studies Degree Besides Being a Pastor?

There are many types of careers in min­istry that are per­fect for peo­ple with bib­li­cal stud­ies degrees. For exam­ple, mis­sion­ar­ies often have bib­li­cal stud­ies degrees. Also, many peo­ple with bib­li­cal stud­ies degrees work for Chris­t­ian non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions. Many oth­er careers that involve serv­ing God, includ­ing those that are out­side of tra­di­tion­al types of min­istry call­ings, are more acces­si­ble to job seek­ers with a bib­li­cal stud­ies degree.

Anoth­er pop­u­lar career for peo­ple with a bib­li­cal stud­ies degree is teach­ing the Bible at a Chris­t­ian school. The vast major­i­ty of accred­it­ed Chris­t­ian schools will require a bach­e­lor’s degree in Bib­li­cal stud­ies for their Bible teach­ers. Of course, you will also have to get a teach­ing cer­tifi­cate from a sec­u­lar school before you will be autho­rized to teach at an accred­it­ed Chris­t­ian school.

There are even many careers that involve serv­ing God in the non-prof­it sec­tor. Many Chris­t­ian char­i­ties will be hap­py to hire some­one with a Bib­li­cal stud­ies degree, espe­cial­ly for posi­tions that involve com­mu­ni­ty outreach.

Relat­ed Rank­ings:
25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Min­istry Degree Pro­grams
15 Best Online Min­istry Degree Bach­e­lor’s Pro­grams
10 Most Afford­able Online Min­istry Degree Bach­e­lor Programs