Whether you want to become a pastor, travel the world as a missionary, or become a theologian, a bachelor’s of theology is the first step to reach your goals.
Theology is the study of the nature of God through religious practices and beliefs. Sure, a degree in theology typically attracts students with strong religious beliefs, but it is not just for those who aim to pursue ministry-based careers. Theology majors can choose from a myriad of career paths both in religious and secular realms.
If theology fascinates you, and you want to learn all you can about this fascinating field, check out our 30 Best bachelor’s in theology.
Related Resource: Scholarships in TN
What is a Bachelor’s in Theology?
A bachelor’s in theology is an undergraduate degree that explores religion, history, languages, and philosophy, preparing students for careers in ministry work, education, and related fields. Theology majors in the United States typically focus on Christianity, but they also explore other religions and cultures.
A strong bachelor’s of theology program includes general education courses, major courses such as Biblical Theology, Biblical Context, Cultural Studies, and ministry-based courses. Many bachelor’s degrees also offer concentration areas such as:
- youth and family ministry
- music ministry
Hands-on learning experiences and travel opportunities are also perks for theology majors. Additionally, some schools feature study abroad trips to the “Holy Land” of Jerusalem.
Electives are also a part of a theology program, and most schools offer an array of courses that students can choose that match their interests and career goals. A typical bachelor’s in theology program is at least 120 credit hours and takes four years to complete if you are a full-time student. However, some of the schools in our ranking have accelerated programs, allowing you to complete the bachelor’s degree in three years.
Careers for Theology Majors
Some people may think that a theology degree is only for those who want to pursue faith-based careers such as pastoral or missionary work, and while a theology degree can certainly lead to ministry careers, it can also lead to an array of job options in both religious and secular settings. Theology majors gain expertise in marketable skills such as critical thinking, research, writing, speaking, and communication, which translates into a handful of career options.
Certainly, a bachelor’s in theology prepares students for careers revolving around faith-based ministry like pastors, youth pastors, missionaries, and counseling. However, many theology graduates also pursue secular careers such as:
- social and community service managers
- social workers
- nonprofit organizations
Some theology degree programs allow students to double major in other fields like business, art, psychology, history, or journalism for example. Double majoring can be a great way to gain the knowledge and skills for all types of careers.
Bachelor’s in Theology Salary Potential
The salary potential for theology majors will depend on the specific career path chosen, level of experience, geographical location, and education, so it can be difficult to predict possible salaries in the theology field. Additionally, most students do not pursue theology “for the money,” but that does not mean you cannot live comfortably with a theology degree!
Payscale reports that the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s of theology is $52,642 per year. However, looking at specific careers helps pinpoint a salary range. The following data is the most updated annual income wages from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Clergy: $56,560
- Historians: $63,100
- Directors, religious activities, and education: $45,470
- Philosophy and religion teachers, postsecondary: $90,160
- Marriage and family therapists: $51,340
- Community and social service occupations: $47,520
Some students use a bachelor’s in theology as a pathway to pursue graduate school or seminary, which increases salary potential. Many of the schools in our ranking feature combined bachelor’s/master’s programs where you can earn both degrees in an accelerated time format (usually five years).
What are the Best Bachelor’s in Theology?
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One of the largest Christian academic institutions in the nation, Liberty University offers more than 700 academic programs (including 450+ online programs and serves over 100,000 students from all 50 states and over 70 countries. Whether you are interested in researching, writing, teaching, or traveling, Liberty’s Bachelors of Arts in theology and apologetics is worth checking out.
Liberty lets you choose a degree focused on Biblical Scholarship, Global Studies, or Writing and Literature. Regardless of your concentration, expect to take foundational courses like Apologetics and Cultural Engagement, Foundational Issues in Apologetics, and Christianity and the Cults. You have opportunities to get involved through the Apologetics Club, study abroad trips, and Holy Land tours.
Liberty’s BA in theology and apologetics will prepare you for an array of careers in:
- Christian education and leadership
- Biblical translation
- Historical tours
- Research and writing roles
Liberty bases its admission decisions on cumulative GPAs, SAT/ACT scores, reference letters, and essay submissions. For more information, check out this link.
Lancaster Bible College
Located in the gorgeous Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Lancaster Bible College is a private Bible college with a small, cozy campus feel. However, with more than 2,000 students, LBC is thriving with nine academic departments, 50+ majors, and both varsity and intramural sports teams. LBC’s Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies (BABS) is a 124-credit program with flexible options.
You can earn this interdisciplinary degree either on campus or online and either in the traditional four-year track or the two-year track if you have already earned an associate’s degree. Additionally, you are required to select a minor in human services, children/family ministry, or pastoral ministry, to name a few.
Notable courses include Interpreting the Bible, Biblical Archeology, and Old Testament in Cultural Context. You will also complete a ministry internship in a local church, non-profit, or youth center during your last year. LBC’s BABS program leads graduates into careers like:
- ministry directors
- youth pastors
Columbia International University
If your ultimate goal is to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, this one is for you. South Carolina’s Columbia International University offers a Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity in pastoral theology that can be completed in just five years rather than the traditional seven. You can also choose concentrations in areas like:
- Bible exposition
- missionary studies
Through a tight-knit cohort and with a faculty mentor guiding you along the way, you will work through a “rigorous academic study with practical ministry experience to prepare you for a lifetime of effective ministry service.” CIU BA/MDiv graduates gain the theological and practical experience to serve as pastors, church planters, missionaries, or church staff.
CIU offers scholarships and grants to its students as well as paid internships. To apply, you need at least a 3.5 high school GPA and to meet the minimum SAT/ACT/CLT scores listed on the admission’s website, although if you’re over 24 years old, you don’t need to submit test scores.
Founded in 1936 with just 49 students and six faculty members, Multnomah School of Bible evolved into Multnomah University, a Christian “educational institution where all students flourish and have equal opportunity for success.” MU’s Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology teaches you how to analyze scripture from Genesis to Revelation, and apply its message to current-day life. Within this program, you can choose among three concentrations:
- Biblical studies
- Theological studies
- Theology of cultural engagement
You can also choose to earn this degree either on-campus or online and through a four-year bachelor’s program or a five-year Summit program which includes a Master’s of Divinity.
Expect to take featured courses like Genesis-Song of Solomon, Gospels, Hebrew-Revelation, Bible Study Methods, and Text and Canon. MU Bible and Theology graduates are well equipped for careers in churches, nonprofits, and various businesses. You could become:
- pastor/church leader
- Bible translator
- nonprofit employee
Johnson University is a private, Christian school focused on “strong leadership, a clear mission, and affordability.” You can choose among JU campuses in Kimberlin Heights, Tennessee, Kissimmee, Florida, or online. JU’s Bachelor’s in religious studies is an interdisciplinary degree that emphasizes religion in global human cultures in the past and present.
Core religious studies classes include:
- Cultural Anthropology
- World Civilizations
- World Religions
- Christian Apologetics
- Biblical Interpretation Across Cultures
You will gain skills in theology, historical research, analysis, and communication. JU states that “students strengthen their own Christian perspective and define their own beliefs more clearly by exploring the beliefs and practices of numerous other religious traditions.”
Many careers are available for JU religious studies graduates. Most go into the ministry of children, families, students, or other outreaches. Some go into nonprofit administration/research careers. Others become social workers or teachers. You can also use this degree as a pathway for further education like JU’s Master of Arts in Counseling or Master of Strategic Ministry.
Ozark Christian College
Ozark Christian College began in 1942 with only 16 students. Today, OCC is a transformational institution with over 15,000 students, Biblically-based academic programs, athletics, and affordability. OCC’s bachelor of theology is the most Bible-intensive degree at the college and will prepare you for pastoral, preaching, or discipleship ministries.
An Ozark professor quotes on the program webpage: “The BTh delivers the best of what Ozark has to offer: solid, broad, and thorough biblical training from Genesis to Revelation in the context of a transformational campus community.” This program is 155 credit hours and takes a full-time student five years to complete.
Not only will you learn Biblical Greek and Hebrew, but you will also take approximately 50 credit hours in courses like:
- Minor Prophets
- Wisdom Literature
- Greek 2A
- Hebrew Exegesis
Nazarene Bible College
Nazarene Bible College holds a clear purpose to prepare its students to evangelize, discipline, and minister to the world. Its accessibility and affordability are perks that draw people to its campus in the beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. At NBC, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts in ministry and choose a specific major of one of the following:
- Bible and theology
- Christian educational ministries
- Counseling for Christian ministries
- Hispanic pastoral ministries
- Leadership and ethics
- Pastoral leadership
- Pastoral ministries
NBC’s BA requires three components: the general education core, the Bible and Theology core, and the selected major. You can also choose a minor in Christian educational ministries, leadership and ethics, or pastoral ministries.
Depending on the major you choose, you will complete between 120-128 credit hours and maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Sample core courses include Introduction to the Old Testament, Biblical Interpretation, New Testament Gospels, and Systematic Theology. NBC also offers an AdVantage Accelerated Degree Structure, where you can complete this program online.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Franciscan University is described as “no ordinary university.” Rather its rigorous academics “challenges you intellectually, forms you professionally, and feeds you spiritually.” Ranked #15 among the Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, Franciscan is worth checking out if you’re looking for a Bachelor of Arts in theology.
Franciscan’s BA in theology is internationally known for excellence. Through this program, you will learn about the Catholic Church’s history, its role in society and discover how to be a part of its mission. Through courses like Principles of Biblical Study, Theology of Christ, and The Sacraments, you see why this program is described as a combination of “learning and love.”
Additionally, you will have opportunities for outreach through internships and other experiential learning. Theology graduates may become:
- youth ministers
- high school teachers
- campus ministers
Some graduates continue their education through a graduate degree like the Master of Arts in theology and Christian ministry.
LeTourneau University is a Christian school known for its hands-on learning and global impact. While it may be small, it is diverse, with students from 44 states, 41 foreign countries, and 60 denominations/religions. LETU offers over 140 undergraduate and graduate programs in various fields, including the Bachelor of Arts in scripture and theology.
LETU’s BA in scripture and theology provides students with a solid foundation of Biblical knowledge and spiritual leadership paired with a strong liberal arts background. The program entails 122 credit hours divided into:
- general education
- major courses
- Biblical studies sequence
- Christian ministry sequence
- Theology sequence
Additionally, LETU understands students need flexibility, which is why you can complete this program either on-campus or online, with courses running from five to 15 weeks. This program prepares students to become leaders in churches, missions, and other ministry settings. If you’re interested in all LETU has to offer, check out admission details here and apply for free!
College of the Ozarks
Founded in 1906, College of the Ozarks (C of O) is a private, liberal arts school, currently ranked #4 in Regional Colleges Midwest, #1 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #2 in Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World Report. Among a handful of Biblical and Theology studies programs at C of O is a Bachelor of Arts with a Biblical studies emphasis.
The program includes academic, vocational, Christian, Patriotic, and cultural goals culminating in a well-rounded curriculum based on Biblical studies. As a C of O Biblical studies major, you will dive into scripture through areas that focus on:
- Old and New Testament
- Greek and Hebrew
- Systematic theology,
- Life of Jesus
- Church history
Additionally, you can also choose a minor in Christian apologetics, Christian studies, or Christian missions. C of O graduates become pastors, youth ministers, teachers/professors in a Christian school, or work in Christian camps, inner-city, or cross-cultural ministries. C of O accepts students who want a Christian education but have financial needs holding them back. Check out the details here.
Dallas Baptist University
Dallas Baptist University is a nationally ranked, global Christ-centered institution. Here, you will find more than 4,700 students from over 60 countries across the world, 85 undergraduate programs, 32 master’s programs, and two doctoral programs. If you’re looking for a church-related career or planning to pursue graduate school, the BA/BS in Christian studies is worth checking out.
DBU’s Christian studies degree can either be completed as a Bachelor of Arts or Science and includes a well-balanced curriculum with concentrations in educational ministry, Christian leadership, or music ministry. Likewise, you can also pursue a minor in Biblical studies, Christian studies, intercultural studies, or philosophy.
As a DBU student, you will take core courses like:
- Survey of Christian Education
- Principles of Biblical Interpretation
- Spiritual Formation for Christian Ministry
Note that this program will not lead to traditional pastoral ministry careers; however, it is perfect for those wanting to work as ministers of education, youth and children ministers, music ministers, or other related church-related settings.
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
What began over 100 years ago with a vision is today Indiana Wesleyan University, an energizing, spiritually-rich academic institution with more than 13,000 students between its Marion campus, regional education programs, and online. IWU’s School of Theology and Ministry is a diverse, yet Christ-centered community that offers dozens of academic programs, such as our #12 ranking, an A.B. in Biblical and theological studies.
Within this program, you will choose a track like ancient languages, Biblical studies, Bible teaching, or theological studies. Along with courses in your specific track, you will complete core classes like:
- Inductive Bible Study
- Scripture in Context
- Religions of the World
- History of the Christian College
During your final year, you will complete a philosophy and religious studies capstone.
In addition to coursework, you will be involved in local ministries in prisons, nursing homes, public schools, homeless shelters, and more. Also, most students complete the A.B. in Biblical and theological studies in three years! Applying to IWU has its perks, too—no application fees, no required SAT/ACT test scores, no required essays, and you can apply any time of the year.
Founded in 1846 as Fort Wayne Female College, Taylor University boasts a rich history as the “oldest non-denominational school in Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).” You can choose among 60 majors at Taylor, including a Bachelor of Arts in Christian ministries that focuses on both spiritual foundation and service.
You can pair this BA in Christian ministries with another major or minor or complete it as is. The program entails 128 credit hours, which includes major requirement courses like:
- Inductive Study of the Bible
- Biblical Theology
- Personal Foundations for Ministry
- Leadership Development
Additionally, two years of one foreign language is also required.
Because a large part of this degree emphasizes service, you will have opportunities to serve both local and global communities through various ministries, including a required capstone trip. Check out this video of one of Taylor’s professors explaining the BA in Christian ministries and how it is set apart from others. This link will give you information on Taylor’s admission details.
Pepperdine University is a notable private research university ranked not only for its strong academics and value but for its beautiful campus (Princeton Review). Additionally, Seaver College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences is Pepperdine’s liberal arts school, with eight academic divisions, 44 majors, 41 minors, and seven graduate degrees.
Through Seaver, you will find a Bachelor of Arts in religion as both a major and minor that equips students with the foundation to understand the Christian faith. You can choose to specialize in scripture, Church history, Christian thought, or practical thought. Expect to take core courses like Old (and New) Testament in Context, Christianity in Context, and The Nature and Mission of the Church.
You will also have opportunities to contribute to the Leaven Journal, a non-profit journal published through the Pepperdine Religion and Philosophy Division, and participate in ministry internships. Religion majors can choose from an array of careers in:
- campus ministers
- community outreach workers
- event managers
- recruiting coordinators
Oral Roberts University
A liberal arts institution with over 150 majors, minors, and specializations, Oral Roberts University has a mission of “developing whole leaders for the whole world.” ORU offers an exciting degree for students who aim to understand the Bible’s history and philosophy from the beginning to today—the Bachelor of Arts in theological historical studies.
You can choose between two concentrations: Theology and Church history or Christian apologetics. If your goal is a comprehensive understanding of the history and influence of Christianity through the ages, then go for the Theology and Church history emphasis. However, if your goal is to learn about other worldviews, religions, and philosophies and how they compare to Christianity, then the Christian apologetics concentration is for you.
You will complete core courses like:
- Systematic Theology
- History of Christianity in America
- Christian Ethics
- Theology and Philosophy of Modern Culture
ORU’s Theological-Historical studies degree leads to an array of careers in churches, ministries, mission work, apologetics, education, and more. If you’re interested in ORU, check out admission details here.
William Jessup University
Founded in 1939, William Jessup University is a private institution ranked #2 Regional Colleges West by U.S. News & World Report. Jessup offers more than 70 academic programs, both on-campus and online and is committed to a quality liberal arts education and spiritual growth. Jessup’s Bachelor of Arts in theology provides a strong Biblical background while emphasizing the Church’s historical unity and global diversity.
Within Jessup’s theology program, you can choose an emphasis on either pastoral ministry or youth ministry. You will complete 42 units in major courses such as:
- Historical Theology
- Comparative Theology
- Contemporary Theology
- Theology and Spiritual Formation
Additionally, you will complete 12 units in your chosen concentration.
Jessup theology graduates become theologians and thought-leaders, which is a given, but some also become pastors, youth ministers, and/or Christian writers. Jessup seeks potential students who are committed to a Christ-centered environment, who value a “traditional undergraduate experience” through campus community living, and who are academically ready to begin their journey.
Established in 1887, Cedarville University is a private school, certified by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. With more than 4,000 students and 150 programs of study, Cedarville is full of vibrant energy and may be the school you’re looking for after you check out the Bachelor of Arts in Biblical studies.
Cedarville’s BA in Biblical studies is the most customizable program on our ranking. While you will gain a deep understanding of the Bible, you will pair your degree with a concentration that fits your personal interests and career goals:
- Biblical counseling
- Biblical languages
- Biblical literature
- Historical theology
- Philosophy and theology
- Teaching ministry
- Women’s ministry
- Youth and family ministry
In addition to Biblical studies coursework, you will get involved through student organizations, internships, local ministries, and global outreach. Cedarville reports that 95.4% of Biblical and Theological studies graduates are employed or are in graduate school within six months of graduation. Graduates may become:
- education directors
Bethel University is one of the oldest academic institutions in Tennessee, with rich history and traditions dating back to 1842. Bethel’s campus population is diverse; currently, 3,119 students are enrolled, representing 45 states and 24 countries. Among the 75 degree programs at Bethel is a Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies offered from the Division of Music and Religion department.
Bethel’s BA in Christian studies entails:
- 33 credit hours of liberal arts core classes
- 31 credit hours of program core classes
- 35 credit hours of Christian studies major classes
- elective courses that match your interests
You can also add a minor to this program—art, music, psychology, religion, or Spanish, to name a few.
While Bethel’s main campus is McKenzie, Tennessee, there are also campuses across the state as well as online. If you’re interested in Bethel University’s Christian studies program, fill out this form to request more information. If you’re ready to apply to Bethel, you can apply online here.
George Fox University
Ranked among America’s Best Colleges by Forbes and Best Undergraduate Teaching by U.S. News, George Fox University is a vibrant private institution with over 4,000 students at four Oregon campuses. GFU offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, and seminary programs and boasts a 92% undergraduate employment rate within 12 months of graduation.
GFU’s BA in theology offers concentrations in Biblical studies, Christian ministries, and philosophy. This program gives you the background of Scripture, church history, Christian theology and its relationship with culture, and local and global service. You will complete:
- 12 credits in theology core requirements
- 26-28 credits in concentration courses
- 12 credits of electives
As a GFU theology student, you will not only study the Bible but you will also be immersed in a community of worship and spiritual discipline. GFU theology graduates find careers all over the realm—ministry, business, social work, law, marketing, nonprofit leadership, and more. Many go onto graduate schools, such as:
- Princeton Theological Seminary
- Yale Divinity School
- University of Edinburgh
Whitworth University is a private Christian university with a long, rich history of success. What began in 1890 is now among the top regional universities in the West, with more than 3,000 students and 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Whitworth’s Bachelor of Arts in theology is described as rigorous, but “spiritually encouraging and life-giving.”
Whitworths’s BA in theology is more than just coursework. You will learn from caring, devoted professors who seek to know you as a person while you develop a sense of community with your classmates. You have an array of opportunities outside of the classroom through volunteer work, campus ministries, and even overseas through travel abroad trips to Great Britain and Greece.
Because Whitworth theology majors are equipped with critical thinking, research, and writing skills, they can work in a variety of career paths in:
Here you can read responses from current Whitworth theology students when asked the question, “What’s it like to study theology?”
Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt University is a private school associated with the Christian Reformed Church and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Dordt offers more than 40 majors and 11 pre-professional academic programs, all designed with “a complete comprehensive education from a solid Reformed, Christian perspective.”
If you feel called to go into full-time ministry or Christian studies, Dordt’s Bachelor’s in theology program gives you the opportunity to pursue one of the following emphasis areas:
- Biblical studies
- theological studies
- youth ministry
You can also minor in theological studies. Each emphasis area is built on Biblical foundations and reformed theology.
Check out this video designed by Dordt’s Theology Department to get an idea of whether this bachelor’s in theology is for you. If you want more information about this program, click on this link and fill out the “Request Information” form. If you know Dordt is in your future, and you are ready to apply, click here to apply for free!
“Live with Courage” is the motto at Eastern University, a Christian university near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that offers more than 160 nationally recognized bachelor’s and master’s degrees. EU’s core values—faith, reason, and justice—are interlaced throughout all its programs, including our #22 ranking, a Bachelor of Arts in theological studies.
Aside from general education courses and electives, EU’s BA in theological studies entails 30 credits of major courses, ones like:
- Biblical Interpretation
- Research Methods
- Theology in Historical Context
- The Son and Salvation
You will learn from devoted faculty in small classes and have opportunities for internships and study abroad trips.
EU also offers an exciting program called FastPass, where traditional undergraduate students can receive two tuition-free online summer classes for each year at EU. This program can allow you to graduate in just three years, to take fewer classes each semester if you also work or have other extracurricular activities, or to double major without paying for two degrees.
Azusa Pacific University
Established in 1899, Azusa Pacific University is a Christian academic institution with its main campus just 26 miles from Los Angeles, California and seven other locations throughout Southern California. APU consistently ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges and offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees both on-campus and online.
APU’s Bachelor of Arts in theology’s aim is to “equip students to think critically, engage in meaningful discussion, and articulate what they believe and why in order to live a vital faith in a postmodern, pluralistic society.” You can choose a concentration in church history or systematic theology, depending on your interests and career goals.
You will complete 36 units of major requirements through courses like Church History, Contemporary Christian Theology, Writing for Christian Practice, and Systematic Theology. APU’s theology degree leads to careers in:
- pastoral ministry
- community organization
- nonprofit administration
- missionary work
Houston Baptist University
Houston Baptist University is a Christian institution of higher learning in one of the most lively and diverse locations in America: Houston, Texas. The beautiful 100-acre campus is within minutes from downtown Houston, offering opportunities for internships, jobs, and of course, fun! HBU’s School of Christian Thought features a Bachelor of Arts in practical theology.
HBU’s BA in practical theology equips students with a solid foundation of the Bible in preparation for Christian ministries. This program includes 38 credits, divided into 17 hours of core courses, 12 hours of practical theology, six hours of electives, and six hours of languages. Expect to take courses like New Testament Theology, Old Testament Theology, Hermeneutics, and Systematic Theology.
You can choose from a variety of practical theology classes which match your interests, like:
- Spiritual Formation
- Christian Ethics
- Christian Vocation
Whether you intend to jump into a ministry-based career or pursue graduate studies such as HBU’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) or a Master of Divinity (MDiv) this degree will get you there.
Oklahoma Christian University
In 1950, Central Christian College opened with just 97 students; today, that little college transformed into Oklahoma Christian University, a vibrant institution ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. OC’s Bachelor of Arts in Bible and ministry provides the knowledge and skills needed for rewarding careers in the mission field.
OC’s Bible and ministry program is perfect for those who want to become ministers or want a graduate school foundation. You will gain expertise in:
- critical thinking
- understanding Biblical context and content
- communicating with others
Among the 126 required credit hours, you will complete 21 in Biblical training through courses like Biblical Exegesis, Counseling for Ministers, and Hermeneutics.
You will also complete 12 hours in the Biblical languages Greek and Hebrew. OC reports that 1/3 of its Bible major alumni “equally divide among grad school, ministry, and humanitarian support.” Additionally, 97% of graduates highly rate their education from OC. If you believe OC is your future university, check out application details and deadlines here.
Oklahoma Baptist University
Founded in 1910, Oklahoma Baptist University, a Christian liberal arts institution in Shawnee, Oklahoma, is committed to “intellectual, social, and spiritual growth” for all students. Among 80 areas of study, you will find a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and theological studies, a flexible, customizable academic program with seven concentrations to choose from.
OBU’s Biblical and theological studies program allows you to choose from seven concentrations:
- Biblical studies
- Biblical languages
- Bible and theology
- History and theology
- Practical theology
- Philosophy and theology
- Biblical apologetics
Regardless of your concentration, you will complete core courses like Introduction to Biblical Studies, Biblical Hermetics, History and Doctrine, and Baptist History and Theology.
You also have the option to double major by pairing this degree with another major at OBU. OBU graduates serve in various facets of the ministry or go to graduate school/seminary. If you’re interested in OBU’s Biblical and theological studies program, check out this link that details admission policies.
Founded in 1887, Bethel College, a nationally ranked institution, is known as the first Mennonite college in North America. Bethel College, committed to diversity and lifelong learning, offers a progressive Christian liberal arts education through 43+ areas of study. Through Bethel, you can earn a bachelor’s in Bible and religion that can lead to careers in human rights work, pastoral ministry, education, and more.
Bethel’s Bible and religion degree is versatile. You can minor in peace, justice, and conflict studies and also earn a youth ministry certificate. Many students combine this degree with one from another field, like business, social work, music, communications, or history. Major requirements include 30 credit hours from courses like:
- World Religions
- General Philosophy
- Old Testament Studies
- Christian Social Ethics
A perk from studying at Bethel is the Jerusalem Seminar trip, a three-week travel course to Israel/Palestine. You will visit archeological sites that hold great meaning to Christianity’s history. Bethel Bible and religion seniors are required to complete a year-long research project on a topic of their choice. Click here for more information on Bethel College and all it has to offer.
A Baptist university in Abilene, Texas, Hardin-Simmons University boasts 127 years of strong history and holds by its vision of “an innovative community of servant scholars engaging the minds and nurturing the spirits of future Christian leaders.” HSU’s Logsdon School of Theology features a Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies for students interested in ministry-based careers.
HSU’s Christian studies program not only emphasizes theology, church history, Biblical studies, and ministries, but teaches research, writing, and critical thinking. Notable courses include:
- Communication in Ministry
- Methods in Biblical Interpretation
- Introduction to Christian History
In addition to coursework, you will gain valuable expertise through experiential learning opportunities.
HSU graduates are ready to jump into careers in churches or ministries revolving around children, youth, education, music, and more. Some graduates serve as global missionaries through ministry-related organizations. Additionally, this program prepares you for graduate school in ministry or religion or seminaries for pastoral work. If you want to learn more about Hardin-Simmons University or are ready to apply, check out this link.
Houghton College, a private liberal arts and science school, is known as the most affordable Christian college in the country. U.S. News & World Report ranks Houghton among the Top 15 “Best National” liberal arts colleges in New York, as well as the #1 Top Performer on Social Mobility in the state.
Houghton’s Bachelor of Arts or Science in theology prepares students for careers in the ministry or graduate/seminary school. You can choose from the following six areas of study:
- Missions and intercultural studies
- Music and worship ministries
- Pastoral ministries
- Sports ministry
- Youth ministry
The 124 credit hours are divided into 33 required courses and 91 general education and elective courses. Core theology courses include History of Christianity, Systematic Theology, Spiritual Formation, and Church, Mission and Culture.
There are many advantages to choosing Houghton, but perhaps one of the biggest ones is what the school describes as a “community of Christians in the ‘courageous middle’ where there is generosity toward Christian traditions other than your own—with a faith seeking understanding and acceptance that all truth belongs to God.”
Point Loma Nazarene University
Point Loma Nazarene University, located in San Diego, California (which, according to Forbes, is among the top 10 coolest cities in America!) is a top-ranking Christian school with lots to offer. PLNU offers more than 60 undergraduate programs, as well as graduate and doctoral degrees to more than 4,600 students.
PLNU’s Bachelor of Arts in Christian studies provides a background in Biblical history, theology, and history while allowing you to pursue one of six concentrations:
- Biblical studies
- Youth and family
The general concentration is for students who want to customize their programs, blending courses that match their interests and future vocation.
As a PLNU Christian studies student, you will complete 34 required units in background courses, at least 24 units in your concentration, and fill in the gaps with interesting electives such as Special Studies in Bible, New Testament Books and Early Churches, and Justice, Politics, and the Social World. PLNU graduates pursue ministry careers such as youth ministers, missionary work, and teaching.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a bachelor’s of theology worth it?
You may wonder if a bachelor’s in theology is worth your time and money, and the answer, of course, will depend on your goals. A theology degree includes the benefits of gaining knowledge in religion, history, and philosophy with the goals of teaching, pastoring, or going into ministry-based careers.
Studying theology allows you to learn how to think critically, analyze arguments for God’s existence, understand religious issues and cultural differences, and learn more about yourself in the process. While a theology degree isn’t for everyone, it is certainly for some.
Ask yourself these questions to see if studying theology is worth it:
- Are you drawn to religious texts?
- Do you spend time researching religions?
- Do you enjoy studying history and culture?
- Are you continually seeking answers to life’s hard questions?
- Do you enjoy debating?
- Do you want to share what you learn with others?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then theology may be the field for you.
What is the difference between theology and religious studies?
While we included both theology and religious degrees in our ranking, note that there are differences between these two fields. Theology, by definition, is “the study of God and of God’s relation to the world.”
Religious studies deal with different religions, beliefs, and cultures through a cross-cultural view of religion. Theology is often a faith-based study, while religious studies are more analytical and investigative. Many universities offer both theology and religious studies programs, and while they are similar, they focus on different aspects.
Do I have to be religious to major in theology and religious studies?
A common misconception is that you should be religious to study theology. While it is true that most theology degrees are from religious universities, you do not need to consider yourself religious to pursue this degree. You should, however, need curiosity and interest in how religion shapes culture, and naturally, if you want to pursue a theology degree, you would have those qualities.
Some schools do require a statement of faith during the application process, but some do not. Check out the specific school you’re interested in to see if this is a requirement.
What can I do with a bachelor’s in theology?
Theology majors develop practical skills like critical thinking, communication, and research that translate into various job opportunities. With a bachelor’s in theology, you can pursue religious-related careers such as:
- youth ministers
- directors of religious education
You can also pursue careers in human services or with nonprofit organizations. Some examples are charity fundraisers, counselors, community development workers. Theology majors also may pursue researching and writing careers.
You can also pursue graduate school after earning a bachelor’s in theology. Some careers, such as ministers, counselors, and university professors, require additional education.
How long does it take to get a bachelor’s in theology?
A bachelor’s in theology requires at least 120-credit hours that takes an average of four years to complete if you are a full-time student. A part-time student can expect to finish in five to six years. Additionally, if you are eager to finish as quickly as possible, some bachelor’s degree programs offer accelerated formats and allow you to finish in three to three-and-a-half years.
Can I earn a bachelor’s of theology online?
If you need the flexibility of earning a bachelor’s of theology degree online, there are many schools, including our #2 ranking, Lancaster Bible College, and our #4 ranking, Multnomah University, that offer their programs online. Online theology programs mimic on-campus ones, require the same coursework, and are often taught by the same professors. Don’t let an online degree program scare you off. There are so many opportunities to earn theology degrees online without sacrificing quality.
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