Seminaries and Bible Colleges by Degree: Certificates to Doctorates

Christian colleges and universities offer a variety of different degrees that prepare people for ministry service.  These programs train pastors, missionaries and counselors, as well as lay leaders.  Your current level of education, experience and calling will all influence which program is right for you.

List seminaries and Bible colleges by degree:

Certificate Programs

There are many different certificate programs, some of which are accredited and others that are not.  Certificate programs usually last from six months to two years.  They can be categorized into two types of programs.  Some certificates cover a general curriculum for people who want to develop their Christian faith.  Other certificates provide specialized training for a specific type of ministry.  For a list of Christian Bible colleges and seminaries offering certificate programs, click here.

Who They Are For

  • Lay Leaders
  • Christian Leaders with Other Obligations
  • Missionaries
  • People Who will have a Focused Ministry

Associate Degrees

Two-year associate degrees lay an educational foundation, which can be used for further study.  People can either pursue an associate degree on their way to a bachelor’s degree, or as a terminal degree.  Many people want and education in the Bible and theology, but do not have the ability to attend a four-year program.  For them, an associate degree is ideal.  A list of bible colleges that offer associate degrees can be found here.

Who They Are For

  • Lay Leaders
  • Christian Leaders with Other Obligations

Bachelor’s Programs

Most Bible colleges offer a Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.), but some issue Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) degrees.  Although there are technical differences, they are not uniform distinctions.  Most bachelor’s degrees provide students with a liberal arts education and a solid foundation for Christian ministry.  Within their training, students can usually focus on one or two aspects of ministry.  These are four-year programs at Bible colleges.  This page has a list of Bible colleges and Christian universities that offer bachelor’s degrees.

Who They Are For

  • Pastors
  • Missionaries
  • Counselors
  • Anyone Who Wants to Pursue Graduate-Level Education
  • Lay Leaders Who can Devote Four Years to Education

Master’s of Arts Programs

The Master’s of Arts (M.A.) degree or Master’s of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) are equivalent.  The M.A.R. simply indicates that the master’s degree was in religion.  These are academic programs offered by graduate-level institutions.  They can be taught at secular or Christian universities, as well as seminaries.  A master’s program typically takes from one to two years to complete.  The master’s of arts page also includes similar master’s-level programs.

Who They Are For

  • Pastors
  • Missionaries
  • Counselors
  • Anyone Pursuing Doctoral Work
  • People Interested in Research

Master’s of Divinity Programs

Although pastors can enroll in M.A. and M.A.R. programs, the Master’s of Divinity (M.Div.) is considered the standard professional degree for pastors.  Many denominations require their pastors to have an M.Div.

The M.Div. degree builds upon the academic foundation of the M.A.R.  In addition to the M.A.R. classes, M.Div. students must take classes in practical theology, such as homiletics (preaching) and pastoral theology.  Most M.Div. degrees take three years to complete, although a few seminaries’ programs last four years.  As professional degrees, M.Div. degrees are issued by seminaries.  Almost all seminaries offer M.Div. degrees.

Who They Are For

  • Pastors
  • Missionaries
  • Counselors

Master’s of Theology

The master’s of theology degree is the most research-focused theological degree at the master’s level.  Students spend their time writing a thesis, which they must defend to graduate.  Unlike doctoral-level research programs, Th.M. students rarely receive funding from the seminary they study at.  Most of the schools offering a Th.M. degree also have Ph.D. or Th.D. degrees.

Who They Are For

  • Teachers of Religion at the Junior College Level or Below
  • Teachers at Private Schools
  • Prospective Ph.D. and Th.D. Students
  • Some Pastors
  • Some Missionaries

Doctor of Ministry Programs

The Doctor of Ministry degree (D.Min.) is a doctoral-level degree that builds upon the foundation of the M.Div.  Instead of focusing on research, as the doctoral programs below do, D.Min. programs have a practical emphasis.  The writing required of D.Min. programs is much less than that of Ph.D. curricula, but people who hold a D.Min. can still write “Dr.” before their name.  These D.Min. programs can help Christian leaders in a variety of settings.

Who They Are For

  • Pastors
  • Missionaries
  • Counselors
  • Bible-College Professors

Research-Based Doctoral Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) are two other doctoral degrees available within religious studies.  These two degrees are essentially identical to each other.  Which one a student receives generally depends on which school he or she attends.  These degrees are doctoral-level programs, as is the D.Min.  However, the Ph.D. and Th.D. are much more focused on research than the D.Min. is.  Ph.D. and Th.D. students must write and defend a lengthy dissertation.  For more information about these degrees, look at the list of Christian Ph.D. degree programs and the Christian Th.D. degrees offered by seminaries and graduate universities.

Who They Are For

  • Professors at all Educational Institutions
  • Some Pastors
  • Some Missionaries
  • Christian Counselors who want to be Experts in Psychology

The degree program that best meets your personal needs will depend on your goals for Christian ministry.  As your calling becomes clearer, the most appropriate program will also be clarified.  Below you can find more information about schools that offer these different degrees.

 

Other Options for Viewing Schools

Looking for a seminary school that is in your area, associated with your denomination or offers courses based around your schedule?  You can also look through the Christian schools by: