Online Masters in Theology

If you feel called to enrich your skills in the ministry, then you just might be the ideal candidate for earning a Masters in Theology Online. These masters programs often focus on helping pastors and laypersons in churches become more effective leaders and members of society. Online and distance learning programs may offer flexibility that you might prefer to a traditional classroom experience. Whatever your preferences, a degree in theology could be a soul-satisfying way to form deeper connections with yourself and the world as a whole.

Common Coursework for a Masters in Theology Online

While specific coursework changes from school to school, there are a few common fundamentals of a theology Masters. They are grounded in the exploration of the mystery of God, the origin of humans, humans’ purpose, the role of humility, and ideal skills for folks in the ministry and liturgical service. [i]

Examples of common classes in this type of degree program include: [ii]

  • Philosophical Foundations for Theology
  • Hebrew Scriptures
  • Christian Scriptures
  • Christian Ethics
  • History of Christianity
  • Ecclesiology
  • Christology
  • Christian Spirituality

Depending on the school you choose for a Masters in Theology online program, both the philosophy and theology departments might combine to offer your courses. You might have to take some theology electives and/or choose an area of specialization. Potential areas of specialization may include:[ii]

  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Apologetics
  • Church History
  • Global Studies

Some schools offer theology as a Masters degree concentration instead of as a full-fledged program. For example, a degree concentration in theology might be attractive to a student who is majoring in a subject such as the ministry [iv]. Along these lines, some schools may offer a certification Masters program in theology[v]. Such a program might appeal to someone who wishes to learn more about the area of focus, for example, Biblical languages.

What Skills and Qualities May Be Ideal to Develop? [vi]

Before exploring your options in studying for a Masters in Theology Online, you may be wondering if you have the know-how to pursue a career with a potential employer. Future employers may be seeking theology graduates who have the following skills:

  • High-quality oral expression: Clear speech and the ability to speak so another person can understand
  • Written comprehension: The ability to read and comprehend written concepts is often critical
  • English language fluency: Knowledge of English, including grammar, spelling, and composition rules
  • Active listening: Capability to devote full attention to what other folks are communicating, asking appropriate questions, and interrupting strategically and at appropriate times
  • An orientation toward service: A desire to actively help those in need
  • Social perceptiveness: Highly perceptive skills that help folks be aware of people’s reactions and what causes them
  • Conflict resolution: Ability to handle/negotiate complaints, conflicts, disputes and grievances
  • Organization: Refined ability to effectively develop and prioritize goals and plans

Salary Potential and Projected Job Growth Information

Once you’ve earned your Masters degree in theology, you might be interested in pursuing a wide variety of career paths. People who have received a Masters in Theology Online might pursue one of the following career paths: [vii]

  • Clergy Member
  • Diaconal Minister
  • Lay Pastoral Ministers
  • Conflict Resolution Specialist
  • Chaplain
  • Youth Outreach Counselor

Salary potential and job growth varies on the specific job and the type of employer. For example, here’s a look at a potential career path for someone who has earned a Masters in Theology Online.

  • Clergy member: $43,950 annual median wages in 2015, with average job growth of 5 percent to 8 percent expected from 2014 through 2014, and about 66,300 job openings.[viii]

If you want to pursue a career as a university professor teaching theology, some postsecondary schools accept a Masters degree, while most prefer a doctoral degree. Here is a look at the career potential for this career: [ix]

  • Philosophy and religion teacher, postsecondary: $66,380 annual median salary in 2015, with faster than average job growth of 9 to 13 percent, and 9,000 projected job openings openings (from 2014-2024). 

Regardless of where you live or what your career aspirations are, you may be able to match your interests to an online or distance learning theology program available at the Masters level. If you already work as a pastor, a Masters degree could help you discover ways to better reach the people you serve and to expand your outreach and that of the church, community employer, or organizer you work for. To find out more about the schools you are interested in, research them online and contact them directly.

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii] [viii] [ix]