Top 30 Best Religious Studies Degree Online Programs (Bachelor’s) 2018

In this article, we highlight the 30 best online religious studies programs, including programs in biblical studies, ministry, and related disciplines.

Religious studies degrees are useful for careers in church administration, ministry, and theology. Students who major in religious studies may choose to enter into a church-affiliated profession or pursue a graduate degree in law, religion, or even sociology. The degree is versatile and can be useful in many fields.

Methodology

We examined over 100 institutions that offered accredited online bachelor’s degrees in religious studies or related discipline. While the majority of schools offered exclusively online religion degrees, a select few offered the program as a hybrid option with few required on-campus courses.

We selected schools with rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report. From our list of accredited schools, we selected the 30 most affordable and added them below. The undergraduate tuition price was found at NCES College Navigator, and is the most recent published tuition rate.

Below is our list of the top 30 best online religious studies degree programs in order of affordability.

#30 – Mary Baldwin College

Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Staunton, Virginia

Website
Mary Baldwin College - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $30,331

Mary Baldwin College is a liberal arts institution that offers a bachelor’s degree that combines philosophy and religion, available through the school’s adult degree program in Staunton. Successful completion of the degree program earns a bachelor’s in philosophy and religious studies. Course requirements include community and service learning, introduction to ethics, modern philosophy, modern political thought, and science and religion – the search for meaning. Mary Baldwin is regionally ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 41st best regional universities in the South.

#29 – Belmont University

Online Bachelor’s in Ministry

Nashville, Tennessee

Website
Belmont University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $30,000

Belmont University offers a bachelor’s in ministry degree program designed for adult learners. Class format includes 8-week evening semesters mixed with online courses. This hybrid format gives students the flexibility to work and attend school while balancing life obligations and demands. Required classes include dynamics of the local church, education in the church, missions and church development, servant leadership, and worship and preaching. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees. Belmont is regionally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 5th best regional university in the South, the 5th best college for veterans, and the 2nd most innovative school.

#28 – Campbell University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Buies Creek, North Carolina

Website
Campbell University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $28,820

Campbell University offers a bachelor’s in religion that can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to prepare students for careers in ministry or religious-related fields. Required courses include basic Christian beliefs, Christian ethics, introduction to philosophy, introduction to theological education, and world religions. Students enrolled in the program often pursue employment roles as associate ministers, biblical counselors, chaplains, church administrators, and missionaries.

#27 – Gardner-Webb University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website
Gardner Webb University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $28,280

Gardner-Webb University offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies designed to prepare students for graduate religion programs or careers in ministry and divinity. Degree completion requires 36 hours in the major, 18 of which must be completed at Gardner-Webb. Courses include biblical study and analysis, church ministry and evangelism, and theology. Gardner-Webb is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the institution as the 41st best regional university in the South and the 32nd best college for veterans. In recent years, the online bachelor’s programs have ranked among similar top tier institutions.

#26 – Andrews University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Website
Andrews University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $27,000

Andrews University offers an accredited online bachelor’s in religion degree program that is designed for adult learners desiring to contribute to the Seventh-day Adventist ministry while employed in a career field. The program is offered entirely online to accommodate students who work and balance family obligations. Required courses include doctrines of the Adventist faith, hermeneutics, introduction to old and new testaments, personal spirituality and faith, and religion and ethics in modern society. Transfer credits are accepted from accredited Adventist colleges and universities, according to the program guidelines. Andrews is nationally ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, the school ranks #175 for best national universities.

#25 – King University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Bristol, Tennessee

Website
King University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $26,480

King University offers a 48-semester hour bachelor’s in religious studies that can be completed entirely online. The program is designed to prepare students with knowledge and application of the bible and Christianity to work in private and professional religious settings. Curriculum focuses on studies in biblical Greek and Hebrew, the study of religion, social scientific approaches to religion, and theology. King University is ranked by major publications like The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, King ranks 71st among the best regional universities in the South and the 51st best college for veterans. U.S. News has ranked the university’s online bachelor’s programs among the top 1,200 for several consecutive years.

#24 – Dallas Baptist University

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Dallas, Texas

Website
Dallas Baptist University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $24,890

The College of Christian Faith at Dallas Baptist University offers an online bachelor’s in biblical studies that is designed to equip students for ministry or further university studies. As part of the program, the school encourages on-the-job training for all biblical studies majors at churches, hospitals, mission fields, and religious institutions. Core courses include Christian doctrine, history of Christianity, introduction to philosophy, philosophy of religion, and spiritual formation for Christian ministry. Dallas Baptist University is a regionally ranked institution with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 35th best regional university in the West and the 29th best college for veterans. The school’s online bachelor’s programs rank #114 out of 1,200 similar programs.

#23 – Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Online Bachelor’s in Ministry and Leadership

Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Website
Oklahoma Wesleyan University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $24,108

Oklahoma Wesleyan University offers an online BS in ministry and leadership that is designed to prepare students to work in church leadership and administration. With the adult learner in mind, the online bachelor’s program offers convenient class scheduling so that students may juggle work, family, and education. The school reports an 84% yearly retention rate for all adult learners, which is approximately 30% above the national average. Oklahoma Wesleyan has earned rankings from major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, U.S. News ranks the institution as the 12th best regional college in the West, the 8th best value school, and the 9th best college for veterans.

#22 – Trevecca Nazarene University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry

Nashville, Tennessee

Website
Trevecca Nazarene - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $23,748

Trevecca Nazarene University offers several online degree options for busy students looking for flexibility with their education. The online bachelor’s in Christian ministry program provides a biblical faith foundation that is designed to prepare students for careers in religious and Christian ministries. According to the program website, four key areas are covered: holistic mindset, ministry competence, mission vision, and servant leadership skills. Required courses include Christian education, compassionate ministry, introduction to Christian ministry, and introduction to Christian theology. Trevecca is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a tier 2 best national university.

#21 – Hampton University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Hampton, Virginia

Website
Hampton University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $23,112

Hampton University offers an accredited bachelor’s in religious studies designed for students who seek a strong foundation in religion from a distance-learning program. Core curriculum focuses on providing a strong biblical and theological structure, so students graduate with the knowledge needed to move into pastoral programs or ministerial positions. Religious studies courses include ethics, fundamentals of public speaking (homiletics), life and teachings of Jesus, logic and the scientific method, world civilizations, and world religions. According to U.S. News and World Report, Hampton University is the 18th best regional university in the South and the 3rd best historically black college in the nation.

#20 – University of the Cumberlands

Online Bachelor’s in Missions and Ministry

Williamsburg, Kentucky

Website
University of the Cumberlands - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $21,000

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online bachelor’s in missions and ministry designed to prepare students for leadership roles in religion and Christian missions. The program focuses on the knowledge of biblical literature, history, ethics, and theology as used in 21st century ministry. Courses include exploring world religions, interpreting the bible, introduction to church history, and understanding cultures. The university is ranked by major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 87th best regional universities in the South. The online bachelor’s programs are ranked by U.S. News as #164 out of 1,200.

#19 – Shorter University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Rome, Georgia

Website
Shorter University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $20,846

Shorter University is a Christ-centered, private liberal arts institution that is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. The school offers an online bachelor’s in Christian studies program that is designed to provide students with convenient and flexible courses. The program is for students who plan to enter ministry or related career fields. Courses include Christian theology, fundamentals in evangelisms, and religious and biblical studies. Shorter University is ranked by major publications like The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report. The Princeton Review has listed the university as among the best colleges in the Southeast and U.S. News has named Shorter among the best national liberal arts colleges in the nation.

#18 – Saint Leo University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Saint Leo, Florida

Website
Saint Leo University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $20,830

Saint Leo University offers an online bachelor’s in religion that is designed to equip students with a solid Christian faith foundation and well-rounded biblical education. The program is set up to prepare students for ministry or to enter graduate theology programs. Required courses may include Christian morality, Christian social justice, history of philosophy, religions of the world, and the old and new testaments. Saint Leo University is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the publication lists Saint Leo as the 71st best regional university in the South. U.S. News has also ranked the school’s online bachelor’s programs as #43 in the country.

#17 – Toccoa Falls College

Online Bachelor’s in Ministry Leadership

Toccoa Falls, Georgia

Website
Toccoa Falls College - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $20,710

Toccoa Falls College offers an online bachelor’s in ministry leadership that is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to lead in faith-based organizations. The program includes a Christian-education core of 12 credit hours followed by electives in related areas of study. Required classes include foundations of spiritual formation, hermeneutics, introduction to the old testament, and theology. Several leadership specialization courses are available, which include communication for ministry leadership and small group leadership. Toccoa Falls is regionally ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 33rd best regional college in the South. The online bachelor’s programs are ranked #164 out of 1,200.

#16 – Brescia University

Online Bachelor’s in Theology

Owensboro, Kentucky

Website
Brescia University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $20,440

Brescia University offers an online bachelor’s in theology with emphasis in pastoral studies for students who desire to enter careers in ministry or church-related professions. Online theology courses include catholic moral tradition and contemporary issues, introduction to ministry, spirituality and vocation, women in Christian tradition, and world religions. Brescia is an accredited institution that is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks Brescia as the 50th best regional college in the South. The school’s online bachelor’s degree programs have also earned recognition in previous years.

#15 – Liberty University

Online BS in Religion

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website
Liberty University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $20,109

Liberty University is a private Christian institution that offers an online bachelor’s in religion designed to equip students with a biblical foundation needed to serve in ministry-related positions. Curriculum focuses on fundamental Christian philosophies, theology, and biblical principles. Four areas of specialization are offered, including biblical and theological studies, Christian counseling, Christian ministries, and evangelism. Courses may include introduction to global studies, practical teaching of scripture, and theological interpretation of scripture. Liberty University is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 80th best regional university in the South and the 58th best college for veterans. The school’s online bachelor’s programs are ranked #100 out of 1,200.

#14 – Southwestern Adventist University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Keene, Texas

Website
Southwestern Adventist University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $19,916

Southwestern Adventist University offers two bachelor’s degrees in religious studies – the BA in Religion and the BA in Theology. Both degrees are offered through the distance-learning program that enables students to complete their studies entirely online. Students take classes that explore topics in biblical studies, Christian beliefs, history of Christianity, the new testament, and research in religion. An online certificate in church ministry is also available. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a best regional college. The 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists Southwestern Adventist as the 22nd best regional college in the West.

#13 – Ohio Christian University

Online Bachelor’s in Leadership and Ministry

Circleville, Ohio

Website
Ohio Christian University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $18,840

Ohio Christian University offers an online BA in leadership and ministry that is designed for working or busy adults who want to equip themselves with skills necessary to work in positions of leadership in various religious settings. The major offers four concentration areas: biblical studies, church planting, organizational leadership, and pastoral ministry. Required core courses include Christian excellence, evangelism and discipleship, foundations of teaching and preaching, sacraments and rituals in the evangelical church, and theology. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 62nd best regional college in the Midwest. The school is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#12 – Truett-McConnell College

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Cleveland, Georiga

Website
Truett McConnell - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $18,000

Truett-McConnell College offers an online bachelor’s degree in Christian studies with a biblical and theological concentration. The program is designed for busy students wanting the flexibility of online degree completion in order to balance work and life obligations. The program requires foundational and biblical language courses, old and new testament sequences, and three concentration classes – Christian ethics, pastoral ministry, and world religion. Truett-McConnell is regionally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News lists the school as a tier-2 institution among the best regional colleges in the South.

#11 – Judson College

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Marion, Alabama

Website
Judson College - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $16,868

The Distance Learning program at Judson College offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies designed for busy students who want to complete their undergraduate degree in a non-traditional manner. Students have the choice of minoring in a career-related discipline or a second option that must be faculty approved. An emphasis in missiology is also available for students interested in pursuing missionary careers. Requirements for the online bachelor’s in religious studies include Christian theology, history of Christianity, introduction to philosophy, and theological ethics. Judson College is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a Tier 2 best national liberal arts college, according to the 2016 edition of Best Colleges.

#10 – Lee University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Cleveland, Tennessee

Website
Lee University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $15,000

Lee University’s Division of Adult Learning offers online bachelor’s degrees in bible and theology, Christian studies, and ministry leadership. The Christian studies program provides students with the knowledge needed to work as trained professionals in specific ministries. Students have the option of earning a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, depending on their interests. The religion core classes consist of 18 credit hours of biblical and theological foundation curriculum. Required courses include introduction to Christian ethics, methods of bible study, and systematic theology. The institution is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists the schools as the 46th best regional university in the South.

#9 – Barclay College

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Haviland, Kansas

Website
Barclay College - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $14,390

Barclay College offers an online degree in biblical studies designed for students who desire to complete their college education through a distance-learning format. Required core courses for the major include bible study methods, Christian church history, systematic theology, wisdom literature, and world Christian perspectives. Two online certificates are also available in biblical studies and Christian ministry. The college is a member of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

#8 – Wayland Baptist University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Ministry

Plainview, Texas

Website
Wayland Baptist University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $13,680

Wayland Baptist University offers an online Christian ministry degree (BCM) designed for students with aspirations of graduate school or working as leaders in church organizations. Ministry and religion-related courses include old and new testament history, philosophy and ethics, and theology. The school offers small online class sizes that, according to the program description, do not exceed a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The average class size is sixteen students. Wayland Baptist has earned regional rankings from U.S. News and World Report in recent years as a best regional university in the west. The school’s online bachelor’s degree programs and online graduate criminal justice programs have also earned national rankings.

#7 – Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Tempe, Arizona

Website
Arizona State University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $10,158

Arizona State University offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies program that is customizable to fit student career paths and interests. The program covers topics in diversity of religions, social and cultural contexts, and religion’s impact on human history. Course requirements include approaches to religion, cultural diversity in the U.S., and ritual, symbol, and myth. ASU is a nationally ranked institution. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 129th best national university in the country. Additional rankings include #1 for most innovative schools, #62 for top public schools, and #11 out of 1,200 for best online bachelor’s programs.

#6 – Beulah Heights University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Atlanta, Georgia

Website
Beulah Heights University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $9,390

Beulah Heights University’s department of Religious Studies offers a bachelor’s degree that is available online for students interested in pursuing careers in church-related ministries. The affordable online religious studies program is designed for busy and working students who require a balance between life obligations and education. Required courses include apocalyptic literature, apologetics, historical theology, systematic theology, and world religions. The university and its religious studies programs are accredited and recognized by the State of Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission for the granting of bachelor’s degrees. The school is also a member of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.

#5 – Virginia University of Lynchburg

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website
Virginia University Lynchburg - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $7,880

For 125 years, Virginia University of Lynchburg has been training students for leadership roles in Christian environments. The school is Lynchburg’s oldest institution of higher education, and today is one of the few accredited schools in the area to offer online degree programs.  Distance-learning options are available for both traditional and non-traditional students. The school offers three bachelor’s degrees and two master’s programs online. The online bachelor’s in religious studies is designed to prepare students for graduate ministry or divinity programs or to enter roles of leadership in church-related settings. The university is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 32nd best regional university in the South and 27th best college for veterans.

#4 – American Public University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Charles Town, West Virginia

Website
American Public University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $6,880

APU, a member of the American Public University System, offers an online bachelor’s in religion degree program designed to expose students to the theological tenets of religious interpretation, thought, and expression. Students focus on various religious viewpoints while gaining a deeper understanding of the history and origin of major religions. Courses explore topics in Celtic Christianity, religious cults, and religious history and influences of myths and rituals. The program is one of the most affordable online bachelor’s degree on our list and is also ranked as a best college by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists the school’s online bachelor’s degree programs as #58 out of 1,200.

#3 – Florida International University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Miami, Florida

Website
Florida International University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $6,556

Florida International University’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies program designed for busy students in need of balancing school with life obligations. Curriculum is cross-comparative, with no bias toward religions and a mission to provide students with deep understanding of multiple religious faiths. Required courses include methods in the study of religion and studies in world religions. U.S. News and World Report ranks Florida International as a Tier 2 best national university. The school’s online undergraduate and graduate programs have ranked in the top 100 for several consecutive years. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News ranks the university’s online bachelor’s programs #100 out of 1,200.

#2 – University of Central Florida

Online Bachelor’s in Religion and Cultural Studies

Orlando, Florida

Website
University of Central Florida - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $6,368

The University of Central Florida’s College of Arts and Humanities offers an online major in religion and cultural studies. Successful completion of the program earns a bachelor of arts degree. The program emphasizes the study of religion and culture, while eliminating biases. Core classes include contemporary philosophy, humanistic traditions, key concepts in religion and cultural studies, religion in America, and world religions. The University of Central Florida is ranked with major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News lists the school as the 168th best national university and the 13th most innovative school. The institution’s online bachelor’s programs are ranked #20 out of 1,200.

#1 – Eastern New Mexico University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Portales, New Mexico

Website
Eastern New Mexico University - Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies
Undergraduate tuition: $4,858

Eastern New Mexico University offers an affordable online bachelor’s degree in religion that is designed for busy adult learners. Online classes explore topics in ethics, philosophy of religions, and world religions. Students take classes instructed by the same professors who teach on campus. Minors in biblical languages, such as Greek and Hebrew, are available to religion majors. Course requirements include history of the Christian church, history of religion in America, principles of textual interpretation, and world’s living religions. The school is accredited and ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a Tier 2 best regional university in the west.