Top 30 Best Online Religious Degrees (Bachelor’s) 2022

online religious studies degreeIn this article, we rank the top 30 best religious studies online degree programs at the bachelor’s level.

The article lists accredited and top-ranked religious studies online degree programs. It also ranks them by cost.

Maybe you’re interested in helping people. Maybe you’re unsure about a job in ministry. And maybe you’d like to know more about different religions.

This list will help you choose which bachelor’s degree in religious studies fits your needs.

Ranking the 30 Best Religious Studies Online Degree Programs

Methodology

First, we used National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator to find 86 colleges and universities. These schools had bachelor’s degrees in religious studies online. We also looked at other programs like:

  • biblical and educational studies
  • Christian ministries
  • theology

Next, we narrowed our pool of schools. We chose schools by things like:

  • accreditation (regional and/or national, such as with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission)
  • low tuition cost
  • rankings with U.S. News & World Report

We also chose schools with undergraduate tuition less than $39,000 per year. We then listed our 30 chosen schools by cost.

Below you’ll find our choices for the top 30 best religious studies online degree programs.

#30 – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Online Bachelor’s in Theology

Standish, Maine

Website

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Online and with no residency requirement! Saint Joseph’s College of Maine’s religious studies degree online program.
Undergraduate Tuition: $38,820

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine is a ranked school for theology students. It offers an online bachelor’s in theology with no campus visits.

The program helps you enter service for the Catholic Church. You can also go to graduate school. For instance, some students go to grad school to earn master’s degrees in religion or theology.

Additionally, students will complete 120 credit hours to earn the online religion degree. Classes cover topics like:

  • Basics of Catholic morals
  • Catholic doctrine
  • Intro to Catholic social teaching

The online degree also takes four years to complete. But transfer credits cut time shorter.

Finally, the school is accredited. It also ranks #136 in top regional schools in the North by U.S. News & World Report.

#29 – California Baptist University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Riverside, California

Website

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CBU offers top online religious studies programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $36,340

California Baptist University (CBU) offers one of the top online religious studies programs on our list. It also helps students get into graduate school or serve in the ministry.

The online religion degree requires 48 major credits. Classes cover things like:

  • History of Baptist thought
  • Later prophets and writings
  • Paul and the early Church

The program also takes transfer credits from other schools. But students must get their credits approved before they enroll.

Additionally, CBU ranks #40 in best regional schools in the West by U.S. News & World Report.

#28 – Colorado Christian University

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Lakewood, Colorado

Website

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Ranked with U.S. News! CCU is a top school for online bachelor’s in religious studies programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $34,750

Colorado Christian University (CCU) is an affordable school for online religious studies programs. It also offers an online bachelor’s in biblical studies.

The program prepares you to serve in churches or Christian spaces. It also prepares you for a master’s degree in religion.

The program also offers courses that run for five weeks. But you only take one class at a time.

Additionally, CCU accepts transfers credits. This also allows you to finish your degree in less than four years.

Lastly, CCU ranks #68 in best regional schools in the West by U.S. News & World Report.

#27 – St. Thomas University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Miami Gardens, Florida

Website

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A career in ministry! St. Thomas University offers online religious degrees.
Undergraduate Tuition: $32,940

St. Thomas University is an affordable school for online religious studies degrees. It also offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies program for students seeking jobs in ministry.

The program helps you learn about Christian teachings. But it also focuses on different religions. It also focuses on Florida’s diverse population.

The programs also covers topics like:

  • Christian moral decision-making
  • Surveys of the New Testament
  • World religions

Additionally, students may transfer credits from other schools. But only general credits are accepted.

Finally, St. Thomas ranks #94 in best Southern schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#26 – King University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Bristol, Tennessee

Website

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Good for working adults! King University’s religious studies degree online programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $31,840

King University is a top-ranked school for online religious degrees. It offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies for working adults.

The program allows you to use your prior college credits toward your religion degree. It also helps you balance a job or family while earning your degree.

But when you apply, your status will depend on the number of credits you have. However, once you’re accepted, you’ll find out if you’re a first-year or transfer student.

Additionally, your classes will cover topics like:

  • Bible study that matters
  • Historical geography
  • Understanding the world’s religions

Finally, King ranks #47 in best Southern schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#25 – Andrews University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Berrien Springs, Michigan

Website

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Earn a bachelor’s in religion online from Andrews University.
Undergraduate Tuition: $31,008

Andrews University offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies program. It focuses on the Seventh Day Adventist faith.

The program prepares you for work in Christian ministry as a chaplain, pastor, or teacher. It also helps you get into graduate school for a related degree.

The program also requires 124 credits. You will take courses like:

  • Adventist history and heritage
  • Jesus in his time and ours
  • Religion and ethics in modern society
  • Theology

Additionally, the program is online. It’s also flexible for working students.

Finally, Andrews ranks #298 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#24 – Franciscan University of Steubenville

Online Bachelor’s in Theology

Steubenville, Ohio

Website

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Follows the Catholic faith. Franciscan University offers a top online religious studies degree in theology.
Undergraduate Tuition: $30,180

Franciscan University is a Catholic college. It offers an online bachelor’s in theology with a liberal arts focus.

The program covers three basic areas of religion:

  • doctrine
  • morals
  • scripture

The program also focuses on how to become a Catholic youth minister or missionary. It also prepares you for graduate theology programs. Furthermore, the program works for you long after graduation.

And since classes are online, there’s no reason to visit campus. However, you can visit on your terms.

Finally, Franciscan is accredited. It also ranks #15 in best regional schools in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report.

#23 – Hampton University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Hampton, Virginia

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Ranked with U.S. News! Hampton University is a top choice for religious studies online degree programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $29,312

Hampton University is a ranked school that offers a religious studies degree online program. The program focuses on liberal arts within a religious studies major.

The program also prepares you for work in different areas. For example, you may find work in business, education, or healthcare after graduation. You may also find work with nonprofits.

The program also takes four years to complete. But transfer students finish sooner. For instance, transfer credits are accepted from two- and four-year colleges.

Online courses cover topics like:

  • African American religion
  • Biblical theology
  • Comparative religion
  • Logic and the scientific method
  • Pastoral limits of authority
  • Religious history

Lastly, U.S. News & World Report ranks Hampton #217 in best national schools. It is also accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22 – Ouachita Baptist University

Online Bachelor in Christian Studies

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Website

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Ouachita Baptist offers online religious studies programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $29,120

Ouachita Baptist University offers online religious studies programs that focus on the Baptist Christian faith. It also offers a bachelor’s in Christian Studies that is 100% online.

The online program also makes it possible for those who can’t make it to class. However, students take online classes like:

  • Advanced Christian ministry
  • Bible studies
  • Introduction to philosophy
  • Old Testament prophets

Additionally, financial aid and scholarships are available to those with need. The school also offers grants and work study programs.

Finally, Ouachita ranks #2 in best regional Christian colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

#21 – Kentucky Wesleyan College

Online Bachelor in Religion

Owensboro, Kentucky

Website

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Earn an online bachelor’s in religion at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
Undergraduate Tuition: $28,540

Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) is an affordable school for religion degrees online. It offers a bachelor’s in religion program that focuses on religious diversity.

The program also prepares you for work in journalism, ministry, or the private sector.

The program also studies liberal arts and promotes critical thinking. For example, students take part in active discussions and workshops. You also break into small groups during class time. In addition, you’ll complete forum posts and projects.

Online courses will also cover topics like:

  • Christianity and culture
  • Religions of the world
  • Sociology of religion

Additionally, KWC ranks #18 in best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report. It’s also accredited.

#20 – Crown College

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota

Website

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Affordable religious programs online at Crown College!
Undergraduate Tuition: $27,980

Crown College offers one of our top online religious studies programs. It is affordable and also flexible.

The program also has options to pick up a minor along with your biblical studies degree.

For example, pair your degree with minors like:

  • Christian ministries
  • Counseling
  • Drug and alcohol counseling
  • Human services

Additionally, classes are online and require no campus visits. Because of this, you’ll be able to work while earning your degree.

As a result, the program is great for those who can’t make it to class at set times.

Finally, the school ranks #119 in best regional schools in the Midwest and #12 in top performers on social mobility by U.S. News & World Report.

#19 – Bluefield College

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Bluefield, Virginia

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Ranked and accredited! Earn an online bachelor’s in Christian studies at Bluefield College.
Undergraduate Tuition: $27,570

Bluefield College is a top-ranked school for religious studies degrees. It offers a bachelor’s in Christian studies with a concentration in ministry leadership.

This program helps you balance work, home life, and education. For instance, online courses offer flexible learning times.

The program also prepares you for work in Christian leadership and ministry.

Popular career paths include jobs like:

  • a Christian faith-based nonprofit
  • a church
  • a missions based organization

You’ll also be prepared for graduate school in areas like divinity and theology.

Finally, Bluefield is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. It also ranks #59 in best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

#18 – Belhaven University

Online Bachelor in Biblical Studies

Jackson, Mississippi

Website

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Earn a biblical studies degree online at Belhaven University.
Undergraduate Tuition: $27,025

Belhaven University is a budget-friendly school for religious studies online degrees. It offers an online bachelor’s in biblical studies with a concentration in human services.

The program is also for those interested in Christian ministry. You can also go to work as a chaplain, counselor, or pastor.

Classes covers topics like:

  • Old and New Testaments
  • Old Testament historical and poetic books
  • Teachings and life of Jesus

Additionally, the concentration prepares you for work in social service settings.

Finally, U.S. News & World Report ranks the school #53 in best regional universities in the South and #23 in best value schools. Belhaven also offers financial aid packages that lower costs.

#17 – Brescia University

Online Bachelor’s in Theology

Owensboro, Kentucky

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100% online bachelor’s in theology. Brescia University.
Undergraduate Tuition: $25,100

The online bachelor’s degree in religious studies programs at Brescia University include theology. The degree also allows students to focus on pastoral studies.

In the same way, if you plan to work as a minster, the degree will prepare you. It will also help you with practical skills you will need as church leader.

The program also helps you balance your work and home life. Namely, online programs require no campus visits, Thus, you’ll never have to go to class but will log in when your schedule allows.

Additionally, the program follows standards set by the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. Likewise, these standards give Brescia its status as a regionally accredited school.

Finally, Brescia ranks #33 in best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report. It is also a cost-effective school for a theology degree.

#16 – Saint Leo University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Saint Leo, Florida

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Accredited and affordable! Saint Leo University’s online religious studies programs.
Undergraduate Tuition: $24,640

If you’re looking for an online religion degree, Saint Leo University has options. It offers a distance degree in religion that focuses on Christian beliefs.

The program also helps you move into different career paths like:

  • chaplain
  • clergy leader
  • minister
  • missionary
  • youth minister

Additionally, Saint Leo partners with the Benedictine brothers and sisters of Saint Leo Abbey and Monastery. This partnership benefits students. For example, you learn what it’s like working in ministry. You also learn what it’s like to help others.

Lastly, Saint Leo is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. It also ranks #26 in best regional colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report.

#15 – Faulkner University

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Montgomery, Alabama

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Completely online! Faulkner University’s religious studies degree.
Undergraduate Tuition: $22,990

Faulkner University is a top-ranked school for a religious studies degree online. It offers a bachelor’s in biblical studies with a 122-credit requirement.

This program helps you understand how to serve in Christian organizations. It also shows you what it’s like to use biblical and theological studies to better help the people you serve.

Graduates of the program work as:

  • directors
  • church leaders
  • pastors

The program also lets you transfer in credits because of the school’s good transfer credit policy. While 41 courses are required, you may also take less if you transfer credits.

Additionally, all biblical studies courses are online. And there are no campus visit. So if you need to work, you won’t have to log in at set times.

Finally, Faulkner ranks #103 in best Southern schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#14 – Liberty University

Online Bachelor of Religion

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

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Known for its large online programs. Liberty University offers an online bachelor’s in religion.
Undergraduate Tuition: $21,587

Known for its large selection of online programs, Liberty University offers an affordable bachelor’s degree in religion. If you plan on a career in full-time Christian ministry, the online religion degree might be a good fit.

To be accepted, students must have official high school transcripts and a diploma. But the acceptance rate is generous.

Once accepted, online religious degrees help you understand:

  • Christian theology
  • the Bible
  • the Church

The program is administered by Liberty’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity and features faculty members with both academic and professional experience. The online religion degree is the same as the one offered on-campus. And your transcript won’t show a difference if you earn your degree online.

Another bonus for the online degree in religious studies is that if you’re working, you won’t have to log in for class at set times. Instead, you’ll have a flexible schedule that allows you to work and balance family life outside of school.

Additionally, Liberty ranks #298 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#13 – Regent University

Online Bachelor’s in Biblical Studies

Virginia Beach, Virginia

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Regent University’s online bachelor’s in religious studies costs less than 19k per year!
Undergraduate Tuition: $18,720

Regent University is a cost-effective school for a religious studies degree. It offers a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies.

This program prepares you for a career in Christian ministry. It also helps you understand the bible, teaching students how to interpret biblical text.

The program also focuses on Hebrew and Greek languages, as students look at different language translations and how they’ve impacted the meaning of scripture over time.

Additionally, you graduate prepared to either go into ministry or enter a graduate study program. And since the entire program is online, you’ll earn your degree without having to go to set classes.

The school is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. It also ranks #298 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#12 – Grand Canyon University

Online Bachelor’s in Christian Studies

Phoenix, Arizona

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Ranked with U.S. News! GCU offers an online religious studies program.
Undergraduate Tuition: $17,800

Looking for a religious studies degree online that’s cost-effective? Then the bachelor’s degree in Christian studies at Grand Canyon University (GCU) might work.

GCU offers:

  • affordable tuition
  • financial aid packages
  • scholarship programs

GCU is also offers many online programs in theology. One example is the Christian studies program.

In this program, you read and write about Christian texts. You also apply what you read to modern-day issues. And when you graduate, you’re prepared for full-time ministry work. Graduates also land jobs at nonprofits and social service agencies.

Additionally, GCU is a non-profit Christian university that’s ranked #298 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#11 – Moody Bible Institute

Online Bachelor’s in Theological Study

Chicago, Illinois

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Affordable religious study degree online at Moody Bible!
Undergraduate Tuition: $13,970

Moody Bible Institute is an affordable college for some of the best religious studies programs. It offers a bachelor’s in theological study.

This program helps you understand the meaning of the bible. It also helps you relate the bible to your personal life and the lives of those around you.

The program also focuses on past and present theology. Courses cover things like:

  • Church and its doctrine
  • New Testament and theology
  • Old Testament and theology
  • Self and social identity in Christianity

After you graduate, you can move into full-time ministry. Some even go to graduate school to earn a master’s in theology.

#10 – Louisiana State University

Online Bachelor of Religious Studies

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Website

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LSU’s online bachelor’s in religious studies ranks with U.S. News.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,962

Louisiana State University (LSU) is an affordable college for religion degrees online. The school offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies for those who want a career in:

  • Journalism
  • Public affairs
  • Religious education

The program helps you get into graduate school, if that’s your plan. It also helps you understand the major religions and many religious faiths throughout the world.

The program also focuses on human history and culture, helping students gain skills that will serve them in ministry. Courses also cover things like American and world religion and Christian thought.

Additionally, students at this best-value school can transfer credits. By doing so, you cut the time it takes to earn your degree.

Lastly, LSU is accredited. It also ranks #153 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#9 – Oregon State University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Corvallis, Oregon

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OSU’s online bachelor’s in religious studies prepares students for law and other fields.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,858

Oregon State University (OSU) is a budget-friendly college for online bachelor’s in religious studies degrees. It offers the Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies.

The program helps you understand world religion and its impact on culture. It also show how religion relates to diversity, ethics, sexuality, and violence.

The program also prepares your for graduate studies in:

  • history
  • law
  • sociology

You can also land a job in education, journalism, or public policy after graduation.

But the real benefit of this degree is that it’s online. The online option gives you flexibility while working. Many students hold a full-time job while they earn their religious studies degree.

Additionally, OSU ranks #153 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#8 – Arizona State University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Tempe, Arizona

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A top-ranked religious studies degree online program – ASU!
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,338

Arizona State University (ASU) offers is an affordable college for a religious studies degree online. It offers a bachelor’s in religious studies program for those who want to go to graduate school.

This program helps you look at world religions from different views. It also shows you how religion relates to:

  • art
  • culture
  • death
  • gender
  • life
  • media

The program also focuses on how religion impacts the world. Students read and write about the impact religion has around the globe.

Students complete 120 credits and a senior capstone project. You will graduate prepared to enter graduate school or a career in many different industries. Some students enter nonprofit work, while others choose private industry jobs.

Additionally, ASU is accredited and ranked. Rankings with U.S. News & World Report include #103 in best national schools and #1 in innovation.

#7 – The University of Memphis

Online Bachelor of Religious Studies

Memphis, Tennessee

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Accredited and affordable! The University of Memphis offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies.
Undergraduate Tuition: $9,912

The University of Memphis is an affordable school for a religion studies degree. It offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies that prepares students for graduate school or a career.

This program helps you understand world religions and why they are a part of society. It also shows how religion is used in different cultures and locations.

The program also focuses on a wider worldview, helping students develop skills and knowledge that will serve them in careers like:

  • counseling
  • education
  • human services
  • social services

The program also offers online courses. Students take classes online that are taught by the same professors who teach on campus.

Additionally, Memphis offers financial aid awards and is accredited. Memphis also ranks #258 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#6 – Missouri State University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Springfield, Missouri

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Study religion online at Missouri State University.
Undergraduate Tuition: $7,938

Missouri State University provides students with an online bachelor’s in religious studies that delves into how world religions have impacted history and shaped all forms of culture. Students can choose from concentrations in:

  • biblical studies
  • religion and culture
  • religions of Asia
  • religions of Europe and the Middle East

Students are required to choose a minor or secondary religious studies major from a list of several options. Also, students may choose from a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. Graduates have gone on to careers as archaeologists, chaplains, counselors, editors, journalists, and teachers. The religion degree online is also excellent preparation for graduate school. MSU has been ranked #298 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#5 – American Public University

Online Bachelor of Religion

Charles Town, West Virginia

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A flexible and online religious studies program – APU.
Undergraduate Tuition: $7,360

American Public University (APU) is a cost-effective school for an online religious studies program. It offers a Bachelor of Arts in Religion with concentrations in:

  • anthropology
  • economics
  • history
  • psychology
  • sociology

This program helps you look at religion from different perspectives. It also shows you how to use critical thinking skills to read religious texts.

The program also teaches students how to discuss topics with their peers and professors. Students will complete 120 credit hours and a capstone project. The project involves research on a major figure, movement, or religious issue.

Additionally, online students learn how to bring their religious studies to their workplace, even if it’s not in ministry. The program is online, which provides working students the balance they need to attend classes at APU.

#4 – Eastern New Mexico University

Online Bachelor’s in Religion

Portales, New Mexico

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An affordable online bachelor’s in religion – Eastern New Mexico University!
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,648

Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) is an affordable college for a religious studies degree online. It offers a bachelor’s in religion.

The program is accredited and open to transfer students. It also accepts most or all associate degree credits if you plan to earn a bachelor’s degree at ENMU.

The program is also free of campus visits. Instead, students complete the degree online. Common courses cover topics like:

  • Comparative religion
  • Old and New Testaments
  • Religious history

Additionally, ENMU ranks #95 in best regional schools in the West by U.S. News & World Report.

#3 – Valdosta State University

Online Bachelor’s in Philosophy & Religious Studies

Valdosta, Georgia

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Study philosophy & religious studies online at Valdosta State.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,583

Valdosta State University is an affordable college for religious studies degrees. It offers an online bachelor’s in religious studies with concentrations in religion or philosophy.

The program has a dual track in religion and philosophy. It also allows you to follow a single track and specialize in one study area.

The program also focuses on other subjects, such as history and sociology. You’ll take classes like:

  • Ethics and society
  • Logic and argument
  • World religions

Additionally, students learn think critically and write with purpose. Their readings are pulled from many different topics to offer wide perspectives.

Valdosta ranks #154 in top public schools by U.S. News & World Report. It is also accredited.

#2 – Florida International University

Online Bachelor’s in Religious Studies

Miami, Florida

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FIU, an affordable choice for online religious studies degrees.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,565

Florida International University (FIU) is an affordable school for online religious studies programs. It offers a bachelor’s degree in religious studies through the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs.

The program helps you understand different world religions and why religion exists. It also shows how religion works in different areas and cultures.

The program also offers different study tracks, including:

  • Asian religions
  • Indigenous tradition
  • Society and ethics

Students will complete a minimum of 120 credit hours. These credit hours take four years or less if you transfer credits.

Additionally, FIU ranks #187 in best national schools by U.S. News & World Report.

#1 – University of Central Florida

Online Bachelor’s in Religion and Cultural Studies

Orlando, Florida

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#1 most affordable religious studies degree online – the University of Central Florida.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,368

University of Central Florida (UCF) is the most affordable school on our list for a religious studies degree online. It offers a bachelor’s in religion and cultural studies.

The program helps you think critically, reason, and research. It also helps you understand different religious traditions and beliefs.

The program also prepares you for work as:

  • chaplains
  • clergy members
  • foreign service officers
  • humanitarian workers
  • missionaries
  • nonprofit directors

Additionally, students at this cost-effective school take online courses that require no campus visits.

UCF ranks with U.S. News & World Report. These rankings are:

  • #16 in most innovative schools
  • #77 in top public schools
  • #160 in best national schools
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Frequently Asked Questions

What can you do with an online bachelor’s in religious studies degree?

As a graduate of online bachelor’s degree programs in religious studies, you have many job options. Below are popular jobs for those with religious studies degrees online.

Archivist
Archivists look at historical records and documents. They also preserve what they find.

Additionally, they have a background in religion and history. Some also have a theology degree.

Community Development Professional
Community development workers are on the front lines of faith-based organizations and charities.

They also help people get services and money. They also do tasks like:

  • fundraising
  • marketing
  • outreach

Journalist
Journalists who write on religion also have knowledge about things like:

  • history
  • philosophy
  • politics
  • world religions

They also have strong communication skills. For example, they are good writers.

They also work with churches, nonprofits, and other places for research. Then they present information to the public.

Pastor
The main duties of a pastor include tasks like:

  • administration
  • community outreach
  • counseling
  • preparing sermons

Pastors also lead ministries and churches. Most pastors have religion degrees.

Youth Minister
Youth ministers work with young people. Their work also involves working with pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults.

Their work also includes some of the same duties as a lead pastor. But since they work with young people, their work changes.

How much money can you earn with an online religious studies degree?

Full-time ministry is a popular career path for graduates of religious studies programs. As such, we chose to focus on full-time salaries of people in ministry.

If you wonder how much money you can make as a clergy member, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows an average wage of $56,560 per year.

The BLS polled over 52,000 clergy to collect this data. In addition to wages, the BLS shows the bottom 25% and the top 75% of earners.

For example, the bottom 25% earn $38,110 per year. Also, the top 75% earn $66,980. And the top 90% make $89,510.

Data from Payscale.com also shows $50,162 in wages for full-time pastors.

But wages can change.

Average wages go up with more experience. For instance, entry-level pastors earn less than late career pastors.

  • Entry-level pastors: $40,249
  • Mid-career pastors: $49,003
  • Late-career pastors: $54,003

About 50% of the 52,000 clergy work for religious organizations. Pay for these clergy also changes.

High paying religious industries include:

  • Home health care
  • Nursing care

In home health care, clergy make $59,570 on average. Clergy also make good wages in nursing care, but less than in home health care. In nursing care, clergy earn $59,180 on average.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a religious studies degree online?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that jobs for those with a religious studies bachelor’s degree will grow by about 2% through 2030. Growth is slower than the average for all occupations tracked by the BLS.

While growth is slower for clergy, some metro areas show good job prospects. For example, cities with strong job growth include:

  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Portland

Additionally, smaller regions show strong job growth. These areas include:

  • Hawaii
  • Montana
  • Oregon

There are certain reasons growth is expected for clergy in certain areas.

Firstly, demand will rise due to those who retire. Demand will also go up as clergy leave their jobs for work outside of ministry.

Secondly, full-time workers will move to part-time ministry. As a result, demand to fill vacant spots will increase.

But strong growth is expected for clergy in social service.

What professionals associations can you join while earning an online bachelor’s in religious studies degree?

American Academy of Religion

The American Academy of Religion (AAR) is the largest organization for students and clergy. The organization also has over 8,000 members.

AAR focuses on research in religion. It also works with professors and scholars.

Additionally, AAR doesn’t exclude any religious beliefs or practices. And due to its size, it’s also found in 10 regions of the U.S. However, it is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Association of Practical Theology

The Association of Practical Theology (APT) is an organization for students and faculty. It offers its members:

  • advocacy
  • professional development
  • publishing opportunities in journals

Members also gain access to conferences and support. You also meet your peers and form relationships.

Additionally, APT does not discriminate on the basis of:

  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • marital status
  • race
  • sexual orientation
Association of Youth Ministry Educators

The Association of Youth Ministry Educators is a faith-based Christian group that trains future youth ministers. It also supports current youth pastors.

This group has members all over the country. It also offers a conference that takes place at different spots each year.

Additionally, members get help with the following:

  • mentoring
  • networking
  • professional development
  • publication

How long does it take to earn an online bachelor’s in religious studies degree?

Four years. That’s the average time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree. But what about an online degree?

At most schools, the online degree is the same as the on-campus degree. Both programs require:

  • 120-130 credit hours
  • core courses
  • electives

Both programs also show up on your transcript the same way. At least at most colleges.

But how can you shorten the time it takes to earn an online religious studies degree?

First, you can transfer credits.

If you’ve earned a high school diploma and plan taking classes at a community college, you’re in luck. You may be able to transfer those credits.

Some schools allow students to transfer up to 90 credits. However, other schools might have different requirements. Some schools also cap transfer credits to 30.

However, many online religious studies programs on our list have helpful transfer credit policies.

Second, take a full-time load of classes.

If your schedule allows, try enrolling full-time. Some online programs let you finish your degree in less than four years if you enroll full-time. They also let you take classes in the summer.

But many full-time programs also offer part-time options for those who need a break.

Part-time programs are great for students with full-time jobs.

Finally, look for fast-track programs. These programs are also called accelerated programs.

In summary, online fast-track programs help you finish your degree quickly. They also offer year-round classes so you’ll finish your degree in less time.

BDP Staff
July 2021

Related:

This concludes our list of the top 30 best religious studies online programs.

Brenda Rufener
Author

Julie McCaulley
Expert

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief