This article ranks the 30 top value online master of divinity degrees for 2017. The concern of affordability is heightened for students seeking a master of divinity degree. This is because this degree is most often sought as a step to further one’s education so one might better serve as clergy, professor, chaplain, or other spiritual calling. Increased earning potential is not a particular consideration for students of a degree program whose graduates most often serve in non-profit organizations. Another thing that sets master of divinity programs apart from typical graduate degrees is the number of credits required to graduate. Most M.Div degrees fall between 75 and 90 credits. This has the ironic effect of increasing the cost to double or triple that of similar graduate level degrees. This ranking features 30 affordable master of divinity degrees from a wide range of Christian denominations. Here you will find schools affiliated with denominations like Lutherans, Roman Catholic, Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Mennonites, as well as many multi-denominational evangelical schools. The ranking was decided primarily by the cost of tuition, with points added for standout features deemed to add value to the program.

More information on the methodology and sources of this article can be found at the end.

Top Offerings for an Online M.Div.

#30. Denver Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 4

Denver Seminary

Denver Seminary offers its online master of divinity in a multi-denominational context.

Website

The only difference between the fully online M.Div and its on-campus counterpart is the lack of concentrations in the online option. Other than that the online program is an identical 78 credits to the campus version. The courses available in this program include history of the Christian movement, thinking biblically and theologically, ethics and apologetics, and kingdom of Israel and prophets.

Tuition: $16,200

#29. Chicago Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 4

Chicago Theological Seminary is affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

Chicago Theological Seminary is offering an M.Div online with multiple concentration options.

Website

Chicago Theological Seminary’s online master of divinity degree offers concentrations in interreligious engagement, LGBTQ studies, and the study of black faith and life. Classes available in this program include interpreting the Hebrew Bible, living into our commitments, Christian ethics, constructive theology, interpreting the gospels, and global sensitivity in ministry.

Tuition: $16,032

#28. Luther Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 4

Luther Seminary recently redesigned their curriculum to offer students even more flexibility.

Luther Seminary recently redesigned their master of divinity online curriculum to offer students even more flexibility.

Website

The four years of study in this online M.Div include a one year internship typically taken during the student’s third year. Students are offered the option to learn either entirely online or can opt into two-week intensive courses to supplement the online work. Courses offered in this program include scripture and its witnesses, reform and expansion of Christianity, and Lutheran confessional writings.

Tuition: $16,000

#27. Iliff School of Theology

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 5

Students in the online M.Div program at Iliff earn a graduate certificate in their area of concentration.

Students in the online M.Div program at Iliff earn a graduate certificate in their area of concentration.

Website

Students in the online M.Div program can choose to earn graduate certificates in African American church studies, general theological studies, justice and peace studies, military chaplaincy ministry, United Methodist studies, and gender, sexuality and religion. Students will take courses on comparative religious traditions, sacred texts, constructive theology, and theology and religious practices.

Tuition: $19,824
Standout Features: 11 graduate certificates available as concentrations.

#26. Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

This online Master of Divinity program requires three one-week on-campus intensive sessions.

This online master of divinity program requires three one-week on-campus intensive sessions.

Website

The AMBS online master of divinity degree offers specializations in pastoral ministry, pastoral care and counseling, faith formation, christian leadership, biblical studies, history, theology and ethics, and peace studies. Students will also complete internships in ministries, placed according to their learning goals.

Tuition: $14,100

#25. United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

United Theological Seminary is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

United Theological Seminary offers an online M.Div in connection with the United Methodist Church tradition.

Website

Nearly all of United’s master of divinity courses are offered online. However, there are a small number of on-campus intensives required to complete the degree. This program offers concentrations in church renewal, caregiving, and Wesleyan and Methodist studies. Courses offered by this program include United Methodist history, doctrine, and polity, foundations for evangelism, and systematic theology.

Tuition: $13,200

#24. Houston Baptist University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

The online M.Div program at Houston Baptist is focused on spiritual formation and practical experience in ministry settings.

The online M.Div program at Houston Baptist is focused on spiritual formation and practical experience in ministry settings.

Website

While Houston Baptist University values its Baptist heritage, the faculty and student body represents a wide range of evangelical Christian belief and practice. Some of the courses in this program are systematic theology, spiritual formation, theology of the New Testament, theology of the Old Testament, theological inquiry, and history of Christianity.

Tuition: $12,160

#23. University of Dubuque

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

The University of Dubuque is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.

Check out the courses offered through the online M.Div at University of Dubuque, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.

Website

This online master of divinity program requires two residential intensives early in the program, each two weeks long. Students will take classes like renewal, expansion, fragmentation: reformation and modern church history, the growth of the church: early and medieval, what Christians believe: Christian doctrine, nurturing wholeness in Christ, and Christian leadership in context.

Tuition: $11,880

#22. Phillips Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

Phillips Theological Seminary is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination.

Phillips Theological Seminary offers a very affordable master of divinity online.

Website

Students in the online M.Div program at Phillips can also earn an additional graduate diploma in biblical languages. Some of the courses in this online master’s in divinity program are Hebrew Bible, New Testament, preaching, worship, leadership, constructive ethics, denominational history, and interreligious understanding.

Tuition: $11,040

#21. Oral Roberts University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

Oral Roberts is a charismatic evangelical university.

Oral Roberts is a charismatic evangelical university offering an affordable online master of divinity.

Website

The Oral Roberts University online master of divinity program prepares students to pursue their calling as senior pastor, associate pastor, chaplain (hospital, campus, or military) pastoral counselor or teacher. The program offers a concentration in pastoral care and chaplaincy. Students will take classes like systematic theology, ministering cross-culturally, and introduction to pastoral care.

Tuition: $10,926

#20. Oblate School of Theology

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

Oblate School of Theology is a Roman Catholic graduate school.

Oblate School of Theology will appeal to online master of divinity students looking for a Roman Catholic graduate school.

Website

The online M.Div offered by the Oblate School of Theology is an 80 credit-hour program, unless the student is a candidate for the priesthood, in which case the program is 106 credit-hours. Students meeting certain requirements in their undergraduate studies can challenge up to ten of the required foundational courses. Students will take courses like liturgy and theology of Christian initiation, foundations of moral theology, and theology of church and ministry.

Tuition: $10,260

#19. Freed-Hardeman University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 6

Freed-Hardeman University is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, a protestant congregationalist denomination.

Freed-Hardeman University is offering an online M.Div in the tradition of the Churches of Christ, a protestant congregationalist denomination.

Website

Freed-Hardeman University’s online Master of Divinity program features concentrations in Old Testament, New Testament, biblical languages, apologetics, ministry, missions, and church history. Students will take courses like contemporary ethics, suffering and the human condition, communication in ministry, missionary anthropology, hermeneutics, and advanced homiletics.

Tuition: $10,080

#18. Asbury Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 7

ATS is an evangelical, multi-denominational graduate school.

ATS offers its online master of divinity from an evangelical, multi-denominational perspective.

Website

The master of divinity online degree program at ATS does require some on campus intensives throughout the program. Concentrations are offered in aging and spirituality, Christian discipleship, intercultural studies, pastoral counseling, theological studies, and youth ministry. Students will take classes like theology of John Wesley, pastoral crisis intervention, elementary Hebrew, and contemporary theology.

Tuition: $14,520
Standout Features: 10 specializations

#17. Amridge University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 7

Amridge University is affiliated with the protestant Churches of Christ denomination.

Amridge University is affiliated with the protestant Churches of Christ denomination, for those seeking an affordable online M.Div in that tradition.

Website

Students who value live classmate and professor interaction can choose the live remote learning option in this master of divinity online. This allows students to take classes online live as they are taught. Students will take courses like synthesis of biblical studies, contemporary issues in Christian ministry, critical introduction to the New Testament, research and evaluation, and life and teachings of Christ.

Tuition: $12,870
Standout Features: Live Remote Option

#16. Pentecostal Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 7

Pentecostal Theological Seminary is affiliated with the protestant Church of God denomination.

Pentecostal Theological Seminary is offering an M.Div online in keeping with the protestant Church of God denomination.

Website

Students in the online Master of Divinity program at Pentecostal Theological Seminary can choose between concentrations in biblical studies, historical studies, theological studies, chaplaincy, children’s ministry, and community development and urban care. Students will take courses like biblical hermeneutics, historical theology, and history of theology of Wesleyan Holiness pentecostal movements.

Tuition: $11,472

#15. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Online Master of Divinity classes are offered in 8-week terms by SBTS.

Online master of divinity classes are offered in 8-week terms by SBTS.

Website

Online students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary have access to the library’s extensive online offerings and the ability to request library books be sent straight to their door. Among the 22 concentrations offered by the online master of divinity program are concentrations in applied apologetics, biblical counseling, international missions, itinerant evangelism, and worship leadership.

Tuition: $12,816
Standout Features: 22 concentrations. Library access online and delivered books.

#14. Indiana Wesleyan University–Marion

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

The online M.Div program at Indiana Wesleyan is offered through Wesley Seminary.

The online M.Div program at Indiana Wesleyan is offered through Wesley Seminary.

Website

The 75 credit-hour online master of divinity program at Wesley Seminary offers specializations in children, youth, and family ministry, church planting and multiplication, church revitalization, leadership, pastoral care, and worship arts. Some of the courses offered in this program are global Christian history, congregational spiritual formation, and the missional church.

Tuition: $9,265

#13. Lexington Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Lexington Theological Seminary is affiliated with the protestant Disciples of Christ denomination.

Lexington Theological Seminary offers an online master of divinity for under $10,000 annually.

Website

The online M.Div program at Lexington Theological Seminary requires a total of 76 credit hours of study. Students in the program will take courses like ethical forms, social ethics, theology and theological language, the origin, inspiration, and authority of the church’s scripture, reading the deuteronomic histories in the church today, and pastoral leadership practices.

Tuition: $9,120

#12. Northwest Nazarene University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Northwest Nazarene University offers a 100% online M.Div program with no residential requirements.

Northwest Nazarene University offers a 100% online M.Div program with no residential requirements.

Website

The online master of divinity program at Northwest Nazarene University offers concentrations in missional leadership, spiritual formation, and youth, children & family ministry. Northwest Nazarene is an evangelical Christian university affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. Students will take courses like advanced biblical exegesis, Wesleyan tradition in context, introduction to ministry and culture, and theology of leadership.

Tuition: $8,694

#11. St. Joseph’s College of Maine

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

St. Joseph’s College of Maine is a Roman Catholic liberal arts university.

St. Joseph’s College of Maine offers its M.Div online in the Roman Catholic liberal arts tradition.

Website

This 90-credit online master of divinity program is designed to serve as a bridge between a master of theology program and a doctor of ministry degree. Students will take courses like wisdom literature: bridging the testaments, the synoptic gospels, theology of ecumenism, theology of the sacraments, foundations of moral theology, and Catholic social teaching.

Tuition: $8,576

#10. Southeastern University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Southeastern University is affiliated with the protestant Assemblies of God denomination.

Southeastern University offers a highly affordable master of divinity online.

Website

Southeastern University’s online M.Div program requires 72 credit-hours and takes between 24 and 36 months to complete. Some of the courses students will take are introduction to the background and theological themes of the Old Testament, Pentecostal theology, philosophy and the Christian faith, homiletics: methods of biblical preaching and teaching, and foundations for cross-cultural ministry.

Tuition: $8,381

#9. Moody Bible Institute

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Moody Bible Institute is a non-denominational evangelical Christian school.

Moody Bible Institute is a non-denominational evangelical Christian school offering an inexpensive online master of divinity.

Website

This online master of divinity program is heavily focused on practical experience and has two internships built into the program. Students in this program will take courses like Old Testament history, literature, and theology, New Testament history and theology, church history, theology and practice of intercultural ministry, and Greek syntax and exegetical method.

Tuition: $7,110

#8. Southwestern College (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 9

The online M.Div from Southwestern College offers concentrations in any area you might want to apply the degree.

The online M.Div from Southwestern College offers concentrations in any area you might want to apply the degree.

Website

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers an astonishing 28 concentrations in areas like biblical archeology, administration, biblical theology, chaplaincy, children’s ministry, Christian school education, collegiate apologetics, and worship. Students will take classes in Greek, Hebrew, church history, Baptist heritage, philosophy of religion, and expository communication of biblical truth.

Tuition: $9,495
Standout Features: 28 Concentrations

#7. Liberty University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 9

Liberty University is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.

Liberty University offers a highly-accessible master of divinity online in affiliation with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia.

Website

Among the 12 specializations offered in this online M.Div program are biblical studies, global studies, homiletics, pastoral counseling, pastoral ministries, theology, worship, Christian apologetics, and church history. There is also a chaplaincy concentration that allows for emphasis in community chaplaincy, healthcare chaplaincy, or military chaplaincy.

Tuition: $7,781
Standout Features: 12 specializations.

#6. Anderson University–South Carolina

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Anderson University is affiliated with the protestant Church of God denomination.

Anderson University may be perfect for students seeking a part-time online master of divinity.

Website

The online master’s in divinity program offered by Anderson University is only offered part-time and takes three or more years to complete. Students will take courses like introduction to the Old Testament, biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, Christian theology, Christian philosophy, evangelism and church health, and spiritual formation in ministry.

Tuition: $7,426

#5. Central Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 8

Central Baptist Theological Seminary just received approval from their accrediting body to offer their Master of Divinity online.

Central Baptist Theological Seminary just received approval from their accrediting body to offer their master of divinity online.

Website

Central Baptist Theological Seminary recently revamped their 75-credit M.Div curriculum as they received approval to begin offering it online. Some of the courses available in the program are media for ministry development, foundations for seminary studies, biblical interpretation, creativity in public ministries, theological foundations, and ministry in a pluralistic world.

Tuition: $6,480

#4. Clark’s Summit University

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 9

Clark’s Summit University is a Baptist university.

Clark’s Summit University’s low-tuition online master of divinity is worth a look.

Website

The online master of divinity program at Clark’s Summit University is offered 100% online with the exception of a required 1-year paid internship. Because of the internship, the program’s credit-hour requirement is just 48 credits, about half that of traditional M.Div programs. Clark’s Summit University offers concentrations in church education, church planting, military chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and pastoral leadership.

Tuition: $6,210
Standout Features: One-year paid internship

#3. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 10

The standard M.Div program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary requires 81 credit hours to complete.

The standard online M.Div program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary requires 81 credit hours to complete.

Website

The online master of divinity program at Midwest Baptist Theological Seminary offers concentrations in Christian education, church planting, counseling, international church planting, leadership, and worship ministries. Students will take classes on Hebrew, Greek, theology, history of Christianity, Baptist history, and biblical communications & preaching.

Tuition: $4,950

#2. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 11

NOBTS offers nine online graduate programs in various areas of Christian study.

NOBTS offers nine online graduate programs in various areas of Christian study.

Website

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s 84-credit online master of divinity program offers fifteen specialized degree programs, each of which features between two and thirteen areas of emphasis. Students can choose between pastor/associate pastor, minister of education, Christian counselor, teacher/writer, chaplain, evangelist, and social work ministry tracks. Sub-specializations include Christian apologetics, Christian theology, philosophy, and expository preaching, among others.

Tuition: $4,770
Standout Features: 15 Concentrations

#1. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Master of Divinity Online

Rating: 11

The Master of Divinity degree is one of seven online programs offered by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The master of divinity degree is one of seven online programs offered by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Website

The online master of divinity program at Southeastern Baptist Seminary is an 81-credit program with a 69-credit core curriculum. Students in the BA program at the school can participate in the five-year BA/M.Div track. Students will take courses like introduction to Christian ethics, Baptist history: identity, heritage, and polity, historical theology, and Christian philosophy: worldview, western thought, and apologetics.

Tuition: $4,500
Standout Features: 5 Year BA/M.Div Track

Sources

Tuition information was retrieved from College Navigator.

Methodology

The methodology for awarding points for schools’ ratings is as follows. Points were awarded based on the category (in-state or out-of-state) in which the school had the highest score, according to the grid below. Bonus points were then awarded for standout features at a rate of one point per standout feature.

Ranking System
In-State Tuition
Under $25k=1
Under $20=2
Under $15=3
Under $10=4
Under $5=5

Out-of-State Tuition
Under $25k=2
Under $20k=4
Under $15k=6
Under $10k=8
Under $5k=10

This concludes our ranking of the 30 top value online master of divinity degrees for 2017.

CVO Staff
February 2017