2020 Most Affordable Online Master of Divinity Programs

By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/15/2021
2020 Most Affordable Divinity Masters Degrees Badge
By the OnlineU team | Updated 10/15/2021

A Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree provides advanced education in Christian teachings and congregational leadership. Many schools offer online M.Div. programs, and we've ranked the most affordable schools below. This list includes degree programs from schools affiliated with a variety of Christian denominations. Under the rankings list, we provide information about common M.Div. courses, career options for graduates, and the potential benefits and drawbacks of earning an M.Div.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online master's programs. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 Liberty University $5,500
# 2 #2 Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary $7,280
# 3 #3 Regent University Online $9,000
# 4 #4 Northwest Nazarene University $9,270
# 5 #5 Amridge University $9,600
# 6 #6 Moody Bible Institute $9,790
# 7 #7 North Greenville University $9,875
# 8 #8 Bethel University - MN $10,160
# 9 #9 Anderson University - IN $10,258
# 10 #10 Houston Baptist University $10,350
# 11 #11 Corban University $11,455
# 12 #12 Wayland Baptist University $11,976
# 13 #13 Abilene Christian University $12,168
# 14 #14 Bob Jones University $12,325
# 15 #15 Columbia International University $13,260
# 16 #16 Multnomah University $12,740
# 17 #17 Clarks Summit University $13,795
# 18 #18 Loyola University Chicago $14,184
# 19 #19 Hope International University $14,355
# 20 #20 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary $14,910
# 21 #21 Crown College $15,660
# 22 #22 Denver Seminary $16,335
# 23 #23 Freed-Hardeman University $17,690
# 24 #24 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary $17,775
# 25 #25 Southeastern University $17,820
#1
#1

Liberty University

Lynchburg (VA)
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500
Annual Tuition: $5,500

Liberty University's 100% online Master of Divinity allows students to customize their education to fit their personal objectives and goals. Core courses include Ministry Writing and Research, Biblical Studies, Apologetics, Evangelism, and Discipleship Ministries. Students can choose one of 16 areas of specialization, including Leadership, Youth and Family Ministries, Theology, Biblical Languages, and Christian Ministries. Students must complete a total of 75 credit hours, which typically takes two... years.

Courses span eight weeks and are delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. There are no set log in times, and students can complete coursework at their convenience as long as they meet deadlines. In addition to frozen tuition rates, Liberty offers payment plans, scholarships, credit for prior learning, and tuition discounts to active military, veterans, and first responders. Online students can take advantage of resources, such as the IT Helpdesk, peer tutoring, and online student communities.

To be admitted into the Master of Divinity online degree program, applicants must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Prospective students need to submit an application, official transcripts, and a letter of recommendation from their pastor.

  • Online Degrees: 22
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 47%
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Average SATs: 1040 -1260
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 34,092
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 36,337
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (434) 582-2000

Example Classes: Chaplain Ethics, Community Chaplaincy, Contemporary Evangelism, Global Studies Survey, Pluralism & World Religions, Spiritual Formation

Online Master's Degrees

  • MA in Divinity - Biblical Languages
  • MA: Divinity: General
  • MA: Divnity: Church Ministry in Digital Age
  • Master of Divinity: Biblical Languages (75 hour)
  • Master of Divinity: Biblical Languages (90 hour)
  • MA: Divinity: Biblical Studies
#2
#2
Annual Tuition: $7,280
Annual Tuition: $7,280
Annual Tuition: $7,280

The online Master of Divinity program at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) is known as MDiv Connect. The program combines online courses with some hybrid courses, including two annual, week-long visits to the campus. MDiv Connect students must complete 53 credit hours of online courses and 27 credit hours of hybrid courses. The first of these hybrid courses is called LEAP, which stands for Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective, and it serves as the foundational course for the... entire program. MDiv Connect students are expected to take the LEAP course, held every August, before all others. The purpose of these on-campus visits is to learn and experience practices for spiritual formation, such as community worship, morning prayers, community meals, and other group meetings. Students can pursue one of three concentrations: Pastoral Ministry, Chaplaincy, or Christian Faith Formation. Students are required to write a thesis and take a capstone ministry assessment course.

Online course content is delivered through the Moodle learning management system. Financial aid and scholarships are available, and distance learners can access an online bookstore and library resources.

Prospective students can submit an online form through the school's website. Applicants will need to provide documentation of previous education, a resume, and a personal essay describing motivations for pursuing a Master of Divinity online degree at AMBS.

  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 28
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (574) 295-3726

Example Classes: Christian Leadership in the 21st Century, God’s Shalom and the Church’s Witness, Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective, Old Testament Book Study, Principles of Pastoral Care, Strange New World of the Bible

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy
  • Master of Divinity in Christian Faith Formation
  • Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry
#3
#3

Regent University Online

Virginia Beach (VA)
Annual Tuition: $9,000
Annual Tuition: $9,000
Annual Tuition: $9,000

Regent University offers an online Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree that requires 72 credit hours. The online program includes core courses in Christian history, Biblical writings, scriptural interpretations, leadership, and spiritual formation. Students can then opt for courses in one of the 15 areas of specialization, including Church Planting, Biblical Languages, Cyber Theology, Chaplain Ministry, or Worship & Media. The program is meant to prepare students to lead churches, ministry organizations,... or faith-based nonprofit organizations, and can also lead to ordination or ministry licensure.

The online M.Div. program is delivered through the Blackboard learning management system. Eight start dates are offered per year, and courses span eight weeks. Online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of location, and financial aid and scholarships are available. Distance learners have access to many of the same academic and student resources as they would on campus, such as career guidance, counseling services, and technical support.

To be considered for Regent’s School of Divinity, prospective students need to have earned a four-year bachelor’s degree in any field from a regionally accredited college or university and must have maintained a minimum 2.75 GPA. Applicants should submit their applications, personal statements, transcripts, and admissions questionnaire through the school’s website.

  • Online Degrees: 15
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Acceptance Rate: 78%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1220
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 3,146
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 5,092
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (757) 352-4127

Example Classes: Christian Ethics, Christian Theology, Leadership in Church & Ministry, Preparation of Biblical Messages, Pulpit Ministry, Theology of Global Missions

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Church Planting
  • Master of Divinity - Cyber Theology
  • Master of Divinity - Missiology
  • Master of Divinity - Spiritual Formation
  • Master of Divinity - Worship and Media
#4
#4
Annual Tuition: $9,270
Annual Tuition: $9,270
Annual Tuition: $9,270
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1190
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 287
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 393
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (208) 467-8011

Example Classes: Advanced Biblical Exegesis, Community, Context & Transition, Gospel & Culture, Missional Discipleship, Premodern, Modern & Postmodern Philosophies, Wesleyan Tradition in Context

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity in Missional Leadership
#5
#5

Amridge University

Montgomery (AL)
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600
Annual Tuition: $9,600
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 365
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 468
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (334) 387-3877 x7550

Example Classes: History of the Bible, Homiletics, Leadership Vision and Values, Personal Evangelism, Spiritual Leadership, The Life and Teachings of Christ

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Master of Divinity in Ministerial Leadership
  • Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling
#6
#6

Moody Bible Institute

Chicago (IL)
Annual Tuition: $9,790
Annual Tuition: $9,790
Annual Tuition: $9,790
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Average SATs: 990 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 674
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 389
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (312) 329-4000

Example Classes: Apologetics and World Religions, Essentials for Excellence in Ministry Leadership, Greek Syntax and Exegetical Method, Hebrew Syntax and Exegesis, Narrative Preaching, New Testament Greek I

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies
#7
#7

North Greenville University

Tigerville (SC)
Annual Tuition: $9,875
Annual Tuition: $9,875
Annual Tuition: $9,875
  • Online Degrees: 5
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Acceptance Rate: 61%
  • Average SATs: 870 -1240
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 151
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 137
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (864) 977-7000

Example Classes: Biblical Interpretation, Christian Theology, Church Growth and Renewal, Contemporary Issues in Church Growth, Personal Evangelism, Spiritual Formation

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Church Health and Revitalization
  • Master of Divinity - Discipleship and Spiritual Formation
  • Master of Divinity - Missions and Evangelism
  • Master of Divinity - Pastoral Ministry
#8
#8

Bethel University - MN

Saint Paul (MN)
Annual Tuition: $10,160
Annual Tuition: $10,160
Annual Tuition: $10,160
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Acceptance Rate: 83%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1290
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 283
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 679
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (651) 638-6400

Example Classes: Christian Social Ethics, Church History Survey, Global, Cultural and Contextual Ministry, Hermeneutics, Missional Outreach and Evangelism

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
#9
#9

Anderson University - IN

Anderson (IN)
Annual Tuition: $10,258
Annual Tuition: $10,258
Annual Tuition: $10,258
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 60%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average SATs: 1000 -1160
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 6
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 88
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (765) 649-9071

Example Classes: Faith and Life Through the Hebrew Scriptures, Faith Seeking Understanding, Hermeneutics and Critical Reflection in Theological Education, History of Christianity, Missio Dei: Introduction to Culture Studies, New Testament Seminar: Jesus and the Caesars

#10
#10
Annual Tuition: $10,350
Annual Tuition: $10,350
Annual Tuition: $10,350
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Acceptance Rate: 69%
  • Average SATs: 1020 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 293
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 414
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (281) 649-3000

Example Classes: Hermeneutics, History of Christianity, Old Testament Theology, Spiritual Formation I, Systematic Theology, The Theology of the New Testament

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity - English Language
#11
#11

Corban University

Salem (OR)
Annual Tuition: $11,455
Annual Tuition: $11,455
Annual Tuition: $11,455
  • Online Degrees: 3
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Acceptance Rate: 33%
  • Average SATs: 1010 -1240
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 50
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 65
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (503) 581-8600

Example Classes: Becoming a Servant Leader, Church History, Engaging Worldviews, God and His Word: Theological Foundations, Interpreting Scripture, Preaching Scripture, Servant Leadership, Theology, Understanding Church History

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity: Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity: Church Ministry
#12
#12
Annual Tuition: $11,976
Annual Tuition: $11,976
Annual Tuition: $11,976
  • Online Degrees: 4
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 23%
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Average SATs: 880 -1060
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 670
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 604
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (806) 291-1000

Example Classes: Christian Worship, Church Administration, Evangelism, Historical Theology, Philosophy of Religion, Preaching

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity - Non-Languages
  • Master of Divinity / Master of Business Administration
#13
#13
Annual Tuition: $12,168
Annual Tuition: $12,168
Annual Tuition: $12,168
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Acceptance Rate: 58%
  • Average SATs: 1015 -1230
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 81
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 1,343
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (325) 674-2000

Example Classes: Contexts of Ministry, Critical Interpretation of the New Testament, Healthcare Ministry, Old Testament Theology, The Practice of Ministerial Leadership

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
#14
#14

Bob Jones University

Greenville (SC)
Annual Tuition: $12,325
Annual Tuition: $12,325
Annual Tuition: $12,325
  • Online Degrees: 10
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 91%
  • Graduation Rate: 66%
  • Acceptance Rate: 86%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 150
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 106
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (864) 242-5100

Example Classes: Advanced Systematic Theology, Biblical Hermeneutics, Biblical Sanctification, Christian Apologetics, Methods of Greek Exegesis, Methods of Hebrew Exegesis

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Advanced
  • Master of Divinity - Bible Translation & Linguistics
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Counseling
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity - Church Planting and Urban Ministry
#15
#15
Annual Tuition: $13,260
Annual Tuition: $13,260
Annual Tuition: $13,260
  • Online Degrees: 9
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Acceptance Rate: 28%
  • Average SATs: 930 -1140
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 165
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 684
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (800) 777-2227

Example Classes: Chapel I, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Genesis to Song of Solomon: God's Plan of Creation and Redemption, Gospels: God's Means of Providing Redemption, Hermeneutics: Interpreting and Applying the Bible, Understanding Cultures and Worldviews

Online Master's Degrees

  • MDiv (Master of Divinity)
  • MDiv in Bible Exposition
  • MDiv in Care and Counseling
  • MDiv in Chaplaincy
  • MDiv in Ministry Studies
  • MDiv in Missiological Studies
#16
#16

Multnomah University

Portland (OR)
Annual Tuition: $12,740
Annual Tuition: $12,740
Annual Tuition: $12,740
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 55%
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 69
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 71
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Phone #: (503) 255-0332

Example Classes: Acts, Pauline Epistles, Biblical Interpretation, Christian Theology and World Religions, Contemporary Theology & Ethics, Genesis through Song of Solomon, Preaching Narrative Literature

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity (Chaplaincy Track)
#17
#17

Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit (PA)
Annual Tuition: $13,795
Annual Tuition: $13,795
Annual Tuition: $13,795
  • Online Degrees: 2
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 100%
  • Graduation Rate: 88%
  • Acceptance Rate: 55%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 238
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 235
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Phone #: (570) 586-2400

Example Classes: Church and Baptist Distinctives, Dispensational Premillenialism , Elements of Hebrew, Pastoral Ministry Skills, Pentateuch

Online Master's Degrees

  • Accelerated Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity
#18
#18
Annual Tuition: $14,184
Annual Tuition: $14,184
Annual Tuition: $14,184
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Acceptance Rate: 71%
  • Average SATs: 1130 -1320
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 264
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 911
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (773) 274-3000

Example Classes: Church and Mission, Introduction to Spirituality Praxis, Introduction to Theology and Ministry, Literature of Ancient Israel, Liturgy and Christian Sacraments, Spiritual Paths in World Religions, The Foundations of Christian Spirituality

Online Master's Degrees

  • MDiv (Master of Divinity)
#19
#19
Annual Tuition: $14,355
Annual Tuition: $14,355
Annual Tuition: $14,355
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 54%
  • Acceptance Rate: 28%
  • Average SATs: 910 -1070
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 198
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 364
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Phone #: (714) 879-3901

Example Classes: Bible Study Methods and Tools, Church History: Past, Present, and Future, Dynamics of Servant Leadership, Theology of Mission, Theology of Worship, Theology Survey: Christian Beliefs and Practices

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
#20
#20
Annual Tuition: $14,910
Annual Tuition: $14,910
Annual Tuition: $14,910
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 29%
  • Graduation Rate: 26%
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 157
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 414
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (504) 282-4455

Example Classes: Christian Missions, Church Evangelism, Church Leadership and Administration, Counseling in Ministry, Discipleship Strategies

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
#21
#21

Crown College

Saint Bonifacius (MN)
Annual Tuition: $15,660
Annual Tuition: $15,660
Annual Tuition: $15,660
  • Online Degrees: 16
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Average SATs: 980 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 601
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 362
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (952) 446-4100

Example Classes: Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Hermeneutics & Theological Research, History of the Church, Theology of Missions & Outreach

Online Master's Degrees

  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies/Master of Divinity
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry/Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Church Development
  • Master of Divinity - Community Development
  • Master of Divinity - Disaster and Emergency Management
#22
#22

Denver Seminary

Littleton (CO)
Annual Tuition: $16,335
Annual Tuition: $16,335
Annual Tuition: $16,335
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 201
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (303) 761-2482

Example Classes: Apologetics & Ethics, Hebrew, History of Apologetics, Kingdom of Israel & Prophets, Survey of Christian Doctrine, Thinking Biblically & Theologic, Worship Theory & Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
#23
#23

Freed-Hardeman University

Henderson (TN)
Annual Tuition: $17,690
Annual Tuition: $17,690
Annual Tuition: $17,690
  • Online Degrees: 8
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 58%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1230
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 42
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 270
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (800) 348-3481

Example Classes: Deity of Christ, Greek Readings, Hebrew Exegesis, Life of Paul, Old Testament Wisdom Literature

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity - Apologetics
  • Master of Divinity - Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity - Church History
  • Master of Divinity - Ministry
  • Master of Divinity - Missions
#24
#24
Annual Tuition: $17,775
Annual Tuition: $17,775
Annual Tuition: $17,775
  • Online Degrees: 7
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 79%
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Average SATs: 1030 -1200
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 300
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 803
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Phone #: (816) 414-3700

Example Classes: Baptist History, Christian Ethics, Church Administration, Evangelism & Discipleship, Theology & Philosophy of Missions

Online Master's Degrees

  • Dual Degree Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity Accelerated Program
  • Master of Divinity
  • Master of Divinity in Biblical Languages
  • Master of Divinity in Christian Education
  • Master of Divinity in Church Planting
  • Master of Divinity in Leadership
#25
#25

Southeastern University

Lakeland (FL)
Annual Tuition: $17,820
Annual Tuition: $17,820
Annual Tuition: $17,820
  • Online Degrees: 1
  • Financial Aid Recipients: 99%
  • Graduation Rate: 45%
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Average SATs: 940 -1180
  • Undergrad Online Enrollment: 947
  • Graduate Online Enrollment: 531
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Phone #: (863) 667-5000

Example Classes: Biblical Exposition and Faith Integration, Introduction to New Testament Literature and History, Introduction to the Background and Theological Themes of the Old Testament, Major Prophets, Pastoral Epistles, Pentateuch

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Divinity

Online Master's of Divinity Degree: A Brief Overview

An M.Div is considered a professional degree for Christian clergy, and many denominations require ministers to earn one before they're even ordained. The requirements for ordination differ by denomination, so be sure to ask your church about the necessary qualifications.

To be considered for an M.Div, applicants must fulfill some basic requirements. For example, applicants must have a bachelor's degree. This undergraduate degree can generally be in any subject because most programs don’t require prerequisite courses. However, prospective students should verify their program’s requirements before applying. Applicants should also be prepared to prove their membership in a faith community. Admissions officers will usually only admit students who are members of a particular denomination.

Online learning enables students to attend to personal responsibilities while studying at convenient times. Some colleges offer affordable online programs with recorded lectures and opportunities for students to participate in asynchronous discussions. This curriculum includes an internship or supervised ministry experience under a church leader’s guidance. Even if a program offers fully online coursework, field experience will usually be in person at a site near the student's location. Overall, most online M.Div. programs require 72-90 credit hours and take 2-3 years of full-time study to complete. If a part-time schedule is preferred, students can expect to complete their master’s degree in 3-4 years.

Master's in Divinity Quick Facts
  • Admissions officers will usually only admit students who are members of a particular denomination.

What Is the Difference Between a Master’s of Divinity and a Master’s of Theology?

An M.Div. is designed for those who want to be ministers or priests, whereas a master's in theology is intended for those who want a career outside the ministry. Therefore, an M.Div. program often includes courses in organizational leadership, administration, and public speaking in addition to theological studies. Meanwhile, a master’s in theology — which is often a Master of Arts degree — may help graduates earn jobs in a range of fields including pastoral counseling or even academia.

Both master’s degrees can serve as stepping-stones toward a doctoral program. The terminal degree for M.Div alumni is a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.), while theology graduates may eventually achieve a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.). A D.Min. can help clergy qualify for higher pastoral leadership positions, while a Th.D. may be necessary for a tenure-track professor.


Common Courses in a Master’s of Divinity Program

Graduate divinity programs often differ based on a school’s denomination. However, most master's degrees have several courses in common to ensure that future ministers and priests understand the history and practices of their respective churches. A few of these common courses are listed below.

  • Introduction to Hebrew: Online learners can choose to study a major language of Christian scripture. Professors introduce ancient Hebrew's alphabet, syntax, and vocabulary, along with contested interpretations of key passages. Interested students may choose to specialize in this language and take further sequenced courses.
  • History of Theology: This course covers the development of Christian thought, from early writers to the present. Students learn about the Great Schism and Protestant Reformation, which split Christianity into three major traditions over 500 years. Faculty often conclude the course by discussing contemporary theologians and current debates in the field.
  • Marital Counseling: Students learn to combine practices from marriage and family therapy with their church's doctrine. Depending on the denomination, an approach that avoids divorce may be emphasized. Faculty may also outline a framework for premarital counseling required by many churches.
  • New Testament Interpretation: Students closely examine the Christian Bible’s most recent books, especially their relevance to current theology and doctrine. Students learn the history of hermeneutics, or biblical interpretation, so they can apply this skill to their reading technique. Faculty may discuss questions of authorship alongside books’ historical context.
  • Old Testament Interpretation: This course introduces the Christian Bible’s oldest texts. Professors discuss the historical context of these books, their collection process, and their interpretations throughout the centuries. Students might also learn the latest textual and archaeological research relevant to the Old Testament.
  • Preaching: Future clergy of all denominations take this course to learn how to conceptualize, write, and deliver engaging sermons by drawing on effective rhetorical practices. The faculty illustrate the importance of drawing lessons from weekly scripture readings to illuminate moral and religious dilemmas in the lives of churchgoers. Often, students must deliver several practice sermons to the class.
  • Strategic Planning and Leadership: Drawing on organizational theory and strategic leadership practices, this class is intended to mold future clergy into successful leaders. Students learn to articulate their faith community's mission, so they can develop effective policies. Topics may include budgeting, strategic communications, and efficient organizational structure.

Degree Cost and Funding an Online Master's of Divinity

Tuition rates for the most affordable colleges with online M.Div. degrees range from $5,500-$17,820, with a median rate of $12,168. To reduce the amount students will owe after graduation, they should rely on grants, scholarships, work-study funding, and other gift aid before taking out student loans. When considering a loan, most students prefer to rely on federal loans — rather than private lenders — because they offer fixed interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and loan forgiveness options. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an application to the largest funding pools: federal/state grants, loans, work-study programs, and many university-based scholarships. Our FAFSA guide walks students through the application process.

While online students are generally eligible for the same financial aid as campus-based students, some scholarships or grants may be limited to those who attend in person. To verify whether a student qualifies for aid, students should check all eligibility requirements before applying. For example, financial aid is usually restricted to students who enroll in a regionally or nationally accredited college. Also, some financial aid may only be available to students who enroll full-time or are considered state residents for tuition purposes.

To help reduce tuition and fees, graduate students applying for an online master's degree in divinity should apply for all available financial aid. There are four sources of financial aid: the federal government, state governments, universities, and private sources such as non-profit organizations, churches, or businesses.

Where To Look for Additional Funding

M.Div students have access to many additional funding options through faith-based associations. Some awards are available to all M.Div students, while others target specific groups, such as those preparing for a career in ministry or women preparing for missionary work. Below are some available scholarship opportunities.

  • Unitarian Universalist Association Scholarships: This award is open to students enrolled in a Master of Divinity degree who plan to become Unitarian Universalist ministers. Other eligibility requirements and award amounts vary by scholarship.
  • The Presbyterian Study Grant: This grant awards up to $6,000 to support Master of Divinity students who are active members of the Presbyterian Church. To be considered, students must be enrolled full-time at a seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), and they must also demonstrate financial need. A loan-forgiveness program is also offered for part-time and temporary pastors of small congregations and newer worship communities.
  • The Disciples Home Mission Scholarships: The Disciples Home Mission coordinates a range of scholarships available to members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) enrolled in an ATS-accredited school in preparation for ministry in the Christian Church. Award amounts and eligibility requirements vary, but students must demonstrate financial need and be pursuing a Master of Divinity or equivalent program.
  • Student Ministry Scholarship: The International Order of The King's Daughters and Sons awards $1,000 to Master of Divinity students enrolled in ATS-accredited schools in the U.S. and Canada. Students must be enrolled full-time and have at least a B grade average.
  • The Howard Olds Scholarship: The Brentwood United Methodist Church Foundation awards a $6,000 scholarship to active members of the United Methodist Church in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Students pursuing their M.Div at an accredited university are eligible to apply, but they must demonstrate active church membership for at least five years prior to applying in a Southeastern state.

It's helpful to discuss financial assistance with a school’s financial aid office. They can let students know whether the aid received can be used at that school, and they can also find out if other scholarships are available based on a student’s program and career goals.


For additional information, students can check out our resources about paying for a college degree, which include details about popular college savings plans, the student debt crisis, and more.


Is an Online Master's of Divinity Worth It?

While many master's degrees require only 30-48 credit hours, the average M.Div degree can take up to 90 credit hours, making it more time-consuming and expensive than other degrees. Therefore, it's natural to wonder if this degree is worth the investment. If you feel called to become an ordained clergy member, the satisfaction of pursuing your vocation will likely be worth the effort.

Opting to earn your degree online gives you greater flexibility in your schedule and allows you to choose from a broader range of programs — some more affordable than others — without relocating. However, the opportunity to interact with others of the same faith while pursuing an M.Div. may be an important component of your experience.

If you feel called to become an ordained clergy member, the satisfaction of pursuing your vocation will likely be worth the effort.

There are numerous opportunities to provide pastoral care without this degree. For example, some denominations have never required a master's degree, and over the last decade, additional churches have begun to reconsider their stance on this requirement. In addition, some churches have loosened their educational requirements for clergy, often using alternative titles, such as "lay clergy." Check with the governing body of your denomination to determine your options for church service and the associated educational requirements.

The projected salary and job security related to this occupation may be additional factors that affect your decision to pursue an M.Div. Clergy's wages are nearly $10,000 higher than the average rate for U.S. jobs, which is $41,950 a year. However, the field's projected job growth is about half the U.S. average of 8%. It is worth noting that the need for clergy members differs by denomination — for example, the number of Catholic priests has declined significantly in recent years.