The 10 Best Doctor in Theology Online Schools in 2023

doctor of theology online schools

Theology is an incredibly important line of research, questioning, and debate that has a long and glorious history, dating back thousands of years B.C. Today, it remains a controversial and oft discussed subject, even among those who deny God’s existence.

Theology, as a discipline, has a vast number of subdisciplines, which are related to topics and discussions in every other academic field. A doctorate in theology represents the crown of the theologian’s struggle up the mountain of academics, the prize for which they have been working, and the basis for their future career.

This list represents 10 of the very best online doctor in theology degrees currently offered. Included is a mix of pastoral, practical, and academic degrees. If you are looking to do an online doctorate in theology, this list is for you!


  • 100% online and hybrid courses provide distance learning students in an online doctor in theology program with convenience and flexibility
  • Online doctor in theology programs promote advanced knowledge in preparation for ministry and/or academics
  • Students are given the opportunity to present research through seminars, conferences, and publications
  • Programs and institutions are recognized for their excellence
  • Strong faculty and staff support for students
  • Favorability to transfer students
  • Availability of financial support

Best Doctor in Theology Online Schools

Oral Roberts University

Tulsa, OK

Oral Roberts University

Oral Roberts University’s Online Ph.D. in Contextual Theology is all about the mission. Whether you’re planning to work as a scholar or put your knowledge to use in a practical way, this online doctor in theology program situates the action of the Spirit in a global context. Within this global context, the unique aspects of various cultures are brought to bear on both the questions of how to spread the Christian message and how each particular place is already a work of the Spirit.

Widely recognized as one of the top evangelical Christian universities, Oral Roberts’s Ph.D. in Contextual Theology upholds the high standards of academic and ethic commitments the university is known for. The degree is 51 credits. Classes are delivered in a unique modular format that allows students to continue in their current responsibilities while studying for the doctorate. Scholarships and grants are available to high-achieving applicants.

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • CV/Resume
  • Writing Sample
  • Vocational Essay
  • Research Proposal
  • 2 Academic Recommendations
  • 1 Professional Recommendation
  • 1 Personal Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • GRE Scores

Tuition: $460 per credit

Four Facets of Theological Reflection:

  • The inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit
  • History of Christian Doctrine
  • The cultural context of a particular nation or region
  • Global trends in Spirit-empowered Christianity

Prospects: Graduates from this online doctoral program go on to train Christian leaders, give witness to the Spirit-empowered message, work as an expert in the field, and move into positions of leadership in the Christian academic and church communities.

Learn more about the Spirit’s work in the many contexts of theology.

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University

If you love the Bible and have a desire to understand the best ways to explain and defend the claims of Christianity at the highest levels, Liberty University’s online Ph.D. in Theology and Apologetics is a top choice among online doctor in theology programs. As a doctoral program that combines theology and apologetics, this degree ranges from philosophy to history, to scripture studies, to questions of systematic theology. Because of this broad and integrated curriculum, this online doctorate will be a benefit to scholars and pastors and evangelists, and missionaries alike.

Graduates from this 57 credit program will be better equipped to tackle difficult passages in the Bible and explain them to the broader modern world. Liberty University has a very generous policy regarding transferring credits and offers scholarships and grants, including discounts for military students.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • Transcripts from Master’s degree/s

Tuition: Block tuition of $2,750 per semester for full-time students

Key Courses:

  • Seminar in Theological Method
  • Apologetic Method
  • Miracles
  • Bibliology

Prospects: Excellent reputation, credentials, and scholarship all characterize this degree program. Graduates go on to teach in fields of higher education or work in an area of ministry.

Look here if you’re interested in earning a Ph.D in Theology and Apologetics that you won’t be sorry for .

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA

Regent University

Regent University has been widely acclaimed as one of the top Christian universities in the country. The university’s focus is combining faithfulness to Christ and academic excellence in order to build up “Christian Leadership to Change the World.” Regent boasts of the largest D.Min. program in the country with some of the top divinity faculty. Regent’s outstanding online Ph.D. in Renewal Theology expands the vision and outreach of the university, maintaining the same standards of academic and Christian excellence.

Courses are online with minimal residency requirements. The program is 60 credits. Graduates will have successfully written and defended a dissertation.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • 72 credits with M.Div. or equivalent
  • Transcripts
  • Writing Sample
  • Recommendation from Clergy Member
  • Statement of Faith

Tuition: $650 per credit

Renewal Theology Concentrations:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Theology
  • Church History
  • Practical Theology

Prospects: Graduates from Regent’s online Ph.D. in Renewal Theology go on to work as pastors and theologians. They engage in academic research, consulting. They also carry out ministry leadership and college and university faculty functions.

Renew Your Theological Prospects Through Regent Online’s Ph.D in Renewal Theology

Lancaster Bible College

Lancaster, PA

Lancaster Bible College

The top online doctor in theology at Lancaster College is set apart by its complete focus on biblical studies. This online Ph.D. will help you perfect your knowledge of biblical stories, their context, and backgrounds. Intimate knowledge of the Bible is amplified by the study of the languages the Bible was originally composed in, such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Excellent and personable faculty guide students through this 60 credit doctorate. Financing options are available.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

Admission Requirements:

  • Personal Faith in Jesus Christ
  • Accredited Master’s degree in a related field
  • 3 confidential references
  • GRE scores

Tuition: $440 per credit

Key Courses:

  • Hermeneutics and Theology
  • OT Backgrounds
  • NT Backgrounds
  • Advanced Biblical Research and Writing

Prospects: Graduates from this top online doctor in theology will be ready for ministry and research in the areas of biblical history and languages as well as exegesis and hermeneutics.

Learn More about the Online Ph.D. in Biblical Studies at Lancaster Bible College

Faulkner University

Faulkner University

Montgomery, AL

Faulkner University offers a top online doctor in theology for those wanting to advance their ministry or move into research and education. Faulkner’s Ph.D. in Biblical Studies takes four to five years to complete. It requires 54 credits and a dissertation. Language is a major component of this challenging online doctor in theology.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • Biblical Studies master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of personal goals
  • Graduate writing sample

Tuition: $575 per credit

Key Courses:

  • Biblical Scholarship and Christian Ministry
  • Advanced Studies in Biblical Languages
  • Advanced Studies in Biblical Textual Criticism

Prospects: Graduates from Faulkner University’s online Ph.D. in Biblical Studies are prepared for entry-level teaching positions in centers of higher education as well as for post-doctoral research. Faulkner’s online doctor in theology provides its graduates with expertise in biblical language, scripture’s languages and history, and history.

Learn more about Faulkner’s outstanding online doctor in theology-biblical studies

Colorado Theological Seminary

Longmont, CO

Colorado Theological Seminary

Colorado Theological Seminary is unique among the top online doctor in theology degree programs. It is solely dedicated to distance learning. Another benefit to students is that courses, as well as each program, are designed to be completed that the student’s own pace.

In addition to the unique education platform and approach that Colorado Theological Seminary takes, it also offers the widest range of online doctor in theology degrees. Costs are kept at a minimum for each program as well. All combined, these factors make Colorado Theological Seminary a very attractive institution for those wanting to earn a terminal degree in theology.

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission International for Schools, Colleges and Theological Seminaries Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

Tuition: $121 per credit

Degrees Offered:

  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Doctor of Biblical Studies
  • Doctor of Theology in Christian Counseling

Prospects: Graduates from this online doctor in theology degree program will be ready to serve in a better-equipped manner church, and church-related spheres as well as other ministry-related callings.

Learn More about Colorado Theological Seminary’s accommodating online doctor in theology degree programs

Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit, PA

Clarks Summit University

Baptist Bible Seminary at Clarks Summit University offers an online Ph.D. that can be suited towards ministry, academics, or both. With four concentrations, the outstanding online doctor in theology will meet the needs of any aspiring teacher or pastor. In addition to a strong academic basis, Clarks Summit online doctor in theology program provides distance students with constant, personal mentoring.

In this 60 credit program, students are able to choose between four different focuses. This gives students the ability to emphasize academic or ministry or to simply blend to the two. The entire program is designed to be completed in 7 years, making this one of the longer and more leisurely online doctor in theology programs.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Association for Biblical Higher Education, Commission on Accreditation

Admission Requirements:

  • Slight variations depending upon the master’s degree an applicant holds
  • 3.0 GPA in graduate studies
  • Facility in Greek and Hebrew
  • Transcripts

Tuition: $695 per credit

Degree Concentrations:

  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Systematic Theology
  • Bible Exposition

Prospects: Graduates from Clarks Summit University’s top online doctor of theology degree offered through Baptist Bible Seminary are poised to move into academic research through their mastery of biblical languages, the content of the books of the bible, and their enriched knowledge of the historical background of the many biblical cultures. Pastors and other ministers also stand to benefit, especially through the biblical exposition concentration.

Reach the Summit of your theological education at Clarks Summit University

Evangelical Theological Seminary

Myerstown, PA

Evangelical Theological Seminary

The top online doctor in theology at Evangelical Seminary is designed for working professionals and currents ministry leaders. Its 39 credits and dissertation can be completed in only three years. Low tuition helps make the program affordable.

As the program’s website notes, this online doctorate (Th.D rather than Ph.D.) is more suitable for ministry than the academy. However, an M.Div is not required, as it is many Th.D programs. This program, although courses are online and students work closely with a mentor, requires on-site appearances each term. This degree program uniquely combines British and American models of doctoral studies. This means that both coursework learning and individual mentoring will take place in the program.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Resume/CV
  • 2/3 pages autobiography
  • Statement of intent
  • Writing sample
  • Letter of reference

Tuition: $530 per credit

Degree Tracks:

  • Missional Track
  • Semiotics Track
  • Restorative Track
  • Biblical Track
  • Contextual Track
  • Historical Track
  • Personhood Track
  • Science and Christianity Track
  • Next Generation Apologetics Track

Prospects: Graduates from this outstanding online doctor in theology will possess greater knowledge and facility with theological and biblical terms and concepts that will greatly assist their ministerial effectiveness.

Learn more about the top online doctor in theology at Evangelical Seminary

Pacific School of Religion

Berkeley, CA

Pacific School of Religion

The Pacific School of Religion was founded in 1866. Located in Berkeley, California, PSR has been a leader in LGBTQ, Racial, and other social justice issues throughout the course of its history. Unlike the majority of the other top online doctor of theology programs on this list, PSR quite self-consciously transgresses denominational and dogmatic boundaries, looking to create spiritual leaders and practitioners keenly aware of the need for justice for the marginalized and outcast.

The program is a D.Min degree. The D.Min is not an academic degree but focused on pastoral and ministerial ends. Hence, it requires only 24 credits to complete. This allows for students to move through the program in as few as 25 months! Students can enter the program at any time of the calendar year.

Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • Personal statement
  • Sealed, official transcripts
  • M.Div or equivalent
  • Three typed letters of reference
  • CV or resume

Tuition: $639 per credit

Prospects: Graduates from PSR’s D.Min online doctor in theology program will be ready to become adept teaching and practitioners of a spirituality designed to reach out to the oppressed and minority communities. This degree program will form religious trailblazers, pioneering new approaches to the interfacing of religion with all walks of life.

Learn more about PSR’s excellent online doctor in theology degree

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Louisville, KY

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Under the presidency of the well-known Albert Mohler, one of the most widely recognized and respected evangelical thinkers in America, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has made a major claim to be among the very top of all Baptist seminaries. Academic excellence and fidelity to the evangelical witness to Christ, the seminary has built up a reputation for gaining top faculty and producing outstanding research. The online D.Min extends this excellence to the distance and online learning formats.

As a practical degree, SBTS’s top online doctor in theology offers three degree concentrations, designed to suits a variety of ministerial needs both home and abroad. Each concentration requires 32 credits. Members of the Southern Baptist Convention receive around a $4,000 per year tuition reduction.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges; Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools

Admission Requirements:

  • Regionally accredited M.Div, MACE, or M.A.
  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Ministry Field Essay
  • Ministry resume


  • Southern Baptist Convention: $12,258 per year
  • Non-Southern Baptist Convention: $16,016 per year

Degree Concentrations:

  • Applied Theology
  • Christian Ministry
  • Global Missions

Learn more about SBTS’s top online doctor in theology degree program

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between PhD and ThD?

In the past, the ThD stood for Doctor of Theology. It referred to the research degree in theology. In this respect, the ThD was like the Ph.D. The main difference was that the ThD was awarded by the department of divinity, while the Ph.D. the Faculty of Arts. In the United States, the designation has fallen out of use. Duke Divinity School and Evangelical Seminary seem to be the ATS (Association of Theological Schools) accredited schools to offer the ThD. Given the shift regarding accreditation and ceasing to offer the ThD as a research degree, ThDs now offered are almost always ministry-oriented. This means that a ThD will very likely not lead to an academic career. A Ph.D. is needed for this.

What are the different types (or fields) of theology?

This is a tricky question. Many divisions and distinctions can be made and not all agree that the divisions are legitimate, or, if legitimate, whether certain areas of theology should be considered theology at all. Often the scope and types (or fields) of theology will be strongly influenced by denominational affiliation. According to the most common division, theology is distinguished in the following manner:

  • Exegetical Theology: Includes Biblical Studies and Biblical Theology
  • Historical Theology: Includes Patristic, Medieval, Reformation, and Modern Periods
  • Systematic Theology: Considers God, Anthropology, Christology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology
  • Practical Theology: Includes Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, and Missiology

How long does it take to earn a doctorate in theology?

A doctoral program in theology in the United States will require a large number of courses in theology as well as a research project such as a dissertation or capstone project of some kind. Coursework usually takes 2-3 years, and the dissertation another 2-3 years. This adds up to 4 to 6 years to complete a Doctor of Theology degree program.


Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor