Many students believe distance learning and Christian teachings should go hand-in-hand, leading them to search out online schools founded on biblical principles. The following guide introduces the benefits of online Christian colleges and universities, details several popular Christian degree paths, and helps students find the school that’s right for them. Keep reading to learn more about getting an online education that can help you grow both spiritually and academically.

Search Online Christian Colleges by Denomination

Whether seeking a large Catholic university or a small Baptist seminary, college-bound students can use the search tool below to filter options by denomination, degrees available, location, tuition, student population and more. In addition, they can compare up to four colleges at a time to easily see which school best fits their needs.

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Why Attend an Online Christian College or University?

Though everyone has a specific reason for pursuing an online Christian education, there are some general commonalities between students. The top reasons for enrolling in an online Christian college or university include:

1
Christian Values

Faith-based schools incorporate theology and spiritual concepts of living across curricula and classes, encouraging students to deepen their beliefs while completing their degrees.

2
Likeminded Individuals

Rather than feeling the need to hide their Christian values, students at faith-based universities are surrounded by others who, though they may differ on some points, believe strongly in God and salvation.

3
Focused Growth

Christian colleges emphasize spiritual discipline in all that students do, ranging from work ethic to academic integrity when taking exams or writing papers. By keeping values front and center, students learn how to put God first when making decisions – including career choices after graduation.

4
Potentially Lower Costs

In addition to online courses typically costing less than class-based studies, students may find Christian schools cost less than their secular counterparts.

5
Added Flexibility

The asynchronous nature of most online classes allows learners to complete assignments at times that fit their schedules, which is especially beneficial for students who are working or ministering while completing their degrees.

Christian Universities vs. Bible Colleges: Which Is Right for You?

Hundreds of online Christian universities and Bible colleges exist throughout the country, and prospective students may not initially understand how they differ. While there are many similarities between these two options, there are also significant differences, which we outline below.

Christian Universities Bible Colleges
Academic Offerings
Though Christian universities may have religion classes tucked into their general education requirements, they offer secular programs similar to those at other major universities. Thus, Christian universities expose students to common worldviews. Bible college students can pursue degrees all the way to the doctoral level, just as they can at Christian universities. However, coursework is exclusively focused on Christian topics. Rather than taking general education classes, students focus their entire degrees on areas such as Christian leadership, pastoral studies and church administration.
Student Culture
With Christian and non-Christian students mixing, student clubs and organizations run the gamut from being exclusively focused on faith to serving purely social purposes. Activities and student groups are either focused on Christian endeavors, such as Bible study, or have strong spiritual links (e.g., volunteer groups).
Religious Participation
Chapels are commonplace on school grounds, but participation in religious services depends on the institution. More conservative schools may require attendance, while others provide it as an option. Bible colleges require religious participation, and it is often a substantial part of a student’s time at college. Whether in the form of daily chapel or weekly Bible study, these activities are essentially extensions of the curriculum.
Ideal Student
Students with a Christian faith who want to study career-focused or practical topics should feel at home at a Christian university. These students may not be planning to go into the ministry, but they’ll be able to merge their spiritual and academic lives. People who plan to go into ministry or find a career within the church are suited for Bible College study.

Spotlight on Christian Degrees, Coursework and Careers

Numerous college degrees directly focused on biblical themes are offered by online universities across the nation. The following section highlights some of the most popular Christian degrees, along with common coursework and possible career outcomes after graduation.

Christian Ministry

Created for individuals planning to work in direct ministry, this degree provides a solid foundation in theology and biblical studies while also developing skills in spiritual leadership and pastoral discipleship.

Degree Levels Available
  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
Course Examples
  • Introduction to Church Ministry

    Reviews the biblical foundations of ministry and emphasizes the view that ministry is a calling from God.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Leadership
    • Selflessness
    • Counseling
  • Teaching Scripture

    Explores how to teach the Bible and Christian concepts to various age groups; surveys teaching methods and learning styles.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Practical teaching
    • Sermon design
    • Evaluation of biblical lessons
  • Personal Development of Leaders

    Analyzes spiritual leaders throughout the Bible so students can begin cultivating pastoral leadership qualities.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Monitoring and developing of personal character
    • Understanding of an ordered private world
    • Effective leadership
Specializations
  • Evangelism
  • Chaplaincy
  • Pastoral Ministry
Possible Careers
  • Associate Pastor
  • Youth Minister
  • Missions Minister
Biblical and Theological Studies

Courses in this major provide students with an exhaustive understanding of the Bible while also giving them the tools to understand and uncover the intended meaning of scripture and apply those concepts to the modern world.

Degree Levels Available
  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Doctorate
  • Postgraduate Certificate
Course Examples
  • Biblical Literature

    Provides a historical landscape for understanding the context of the Old and New Testament, with emphasis on exegetical work.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Understanding of hermeneutics
    • Ability to interpret verses
    • Awareness of scriptural context
  • Biblical and Theological Foundations of Ministry

    Gives students a starting point for understanding the principles that informed the creation of the church and shaped the role of clergy within it.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Spiritual guidance
    • Awareness of leadership examples in the Bible
    • Ability to evaluate ministry from a biblical perspective
  • The Pentateuch

    Looks at the first five books of the Bible through a historical and exegetical lens to understand the foundations of scripture and early history of God.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Familiarity with the Old Testament
    • Ability to verbalize the importance of Old Testament books
    • Knowledge of text meaning and themes
  • Board Governance and Volunteer Management

    Prepares graduates to manage the dynamics of church governance, where most congregations are overseen by a board of governors, while coordinating volunteer efforts to run a church.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Understanding function of boards of directors
    • Ability to work with senior leadership
    • Volunteer management techniques
Specializations
  • Church History
  • Spiritual Formation
Possible Careers
  • Missionary
  • Clergy
  • Chaplain
Church Management/Administration

By combining coursework in business management and church leadership, this degree prepares graduates for administrative and leadership roles in finance or operations.

Degree Levels Available
  • Associate
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s
  • Certificate
Course Examples
  • Financial Reporting

    Reviews the steps for reporting donations and expenditures; introduces them to accounting and financial statements.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Cost Analysis
    • Managerial Accounting
    • Accounting Controls
  • Civil and Church Regulations

    Offers an overview of laws on labor, liability and contracts while also reviewing legal documents of different denominations.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Familiarity with relevant laws
    • Understanding of HR management
    • Ability to review legal document
  • Ethics of Church Administration

    Exposes students to concepts of decision-making and management, financial transparency, and how to be business-minded in a ministry setting.

    Skills & Knowledge Gained
    • Decision-making
    • Ethical management
    • Integrating faith into everyday life
Specializations
  • Church Finance
  • Administrative Leadership
Possible Careers
  • Pastor
  • Director of Operations
  • Finance Director

Getting Help Paying for Online Christian Colleges

There are many financial aid opportunities available for online Christian students. Those looking for more information should read our online college financial aid guide, which breaks down every funding option and provides expert advice on filling out the FAFSA®.

Staying Connected: Christian Student Clubs & Ministries

Students at online Christian universities or Bible colleges have many opportunities for fellowship with fellow believers. Clubs and ministries not only help students stay grounded in their faith, but also provide avenues for building meaningful friendships, taking part in service projects, and continuing their spiritual development. Many of these groups maintain an online presence, making it easy for distance learners to participate from home. Here are a few of the most prominent ones:

Association of College Ministries

This national group brings together student clubs and ministry groups on college campuses to help them learn from each other.

Chi Alpha Christian Ministries

Chi Alpha is a campus-based ministry organization that seeks to build communities of fellowship, prayer and worship among students and faculty.

Christians on Campus

This organization serves as a resource to the many student-led groups focused on Christian fellowship.

College Church Connection

The CCC helps students find churches to attend and other religious communities to meet up with in their town.

Fellowship of Catholic University Students

FOCUS student chapters promote spiritual growth by connecting Catholic students to mission opportunities, retreats and evangelical outreach events.

InterVarsity

Operating as a student club on college campuses across the United States, InterVarsity brings together Christian students and faculty for fellowship.

Reformed University Fellowship

RUF has been serving college campuses since the 1970s. Students can find a RUF outpost via the website’s handy search feature.

Accreditation for Online Christian Colleges and Universities

There are two types of accreditation to look for when evaluating colleges: institutional and programmatic.

Online Christian colleges may either receive institutional accreditation from a secular body, a Christian body or both. Colleges and universities accredited by secular organizations have gone through a rigorous process and review by the accrediting body to receive their distinction. Most people consider accreditation from regional bodies to be more prestigious than national accreditation. The former is commonplace at Christian universities, putting them on equal footing with traditional public and private universities.

Institutional accreditation given by Christian organizations includes some of the same metrics as a secular body, but includes added standards related to personal spiritual development and use of a faith-based curriculum. Although it’s possible for a Christian university to be institutionally accredited by a Christian organization, this option is typically reserved for Bible colleges.

Programmatic (or specialized) accreditors, meanwhile, review individual degrees or departments within a school rather than the institution as a whole. This is most common with Christian schools that also offer traditional subjects, unlike seminaries or Bible colleges.

Here are three accrediting agencies that deal exclusively with Christian schools and programs:

The Association for Biblical Higher Education

Comprised of 200+ colleges and universities providing Bible-centered postsecondary educations, ABHE schools enroll more than 50,000 students.

The Association of Theological Schools: The Commission on Accrediting

The ATS Commission on Accrediting evaluates more than 270 graduate schools of theology throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

TRACS has operated as an institutional accrediting agency since 1979, with a focus on promoting and improving Christian schools throughout America.

Other Helpful Websites for College-Bound Christians

This webpage is just a starting point on your journey to a faith-based education. Here are five more places to look for guidance:

American Association of Christian Colleges and Seminaries

The AACCS includes member schools and seminaries with the shared goal of providing an education that exalts God. It has a handy directory of member schools.

American Association of Christian Schools

Operating throughout the U.S., the AACS is a useful resource for finding schools and programs that support and nurture Christian students.

Christian College Consortium

This group of 13 schools is committed to providing Christ-centered higher education.

Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

CCCU is a professional organization that helps faculty and students alike by providing a database of affiliated colleges.

National Catholic Education Association

Families and prospective students looking for information about schools rooted in the Catholic faith can find it at NCEA.