A Master of Arts in Christian Education is a professional degree that includes studies in practical theology, church history, theology, and Bible. The degree prepares students for ministry in education and formation in congregational settings. Other aspects of degree preparation in the Master of Arts in Christian Education include training educators for Christian churches or schools.
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge in Christian-related matters, earning an online Master’s of Christian Education degree is for you. For an online distance learning option, see our list below; however, on-campus attendance most likely will be mandatory. In addition, you may be required to complete your degree through practical applications within your own church congregation.
There are a number of Master’s of Christian Education programs to choose from. However, online Master of Christian Education programs are not as numerous. Most online programs require some on-campus requirements. Online Master of Education programs may also require candidates to complete work in their congregations or churches as well.
Online Master of Christian Education Degree
Online Master of Christian Education programs will include a curriculum that teaches students about theology in church and school settings and the Bible. Distance learners are often aspiring or current educators, ministers, or administrators in various ministries and Christian schools. They explore the different methods of applying foundational theories and concepts in Christian studies to modern ministry settings.
Students become knowledgeable in topics, such as Christian nurturing and teaching methods. As mentioned, only a few colleges and universities offer online Master of Christian Education programs. Some institutions allow students to select a specific area of concentration within Christian studies, such as school counseling, educational administration, adult ministry, and youth ministry.
Some of the courses and emphases of an Online Master of Arts in Christian Education program include:
- Biblical Studies,
- History and Ecumenics,
- Practical Theology,
- Human Sciences,
- and Pastoral Care.
For those who are interested in working in a religious setting or would like to expand their ministry by serving Christian communities, these 10 online Master of Christian Education programs will equip them to become effective teachers and dynamic leaders and gain an in-depth knowledge of Christian education.
Are you called to serve Christian communities and considering earning a graduate degree? We’ve put together the 10 Best Online Master’s of Christian Education Graduate Schools! Located all over the United States, these web-based programs are offered by universities to accommodate adult learners seeking to advance their careers and calling:
- 100% or hybrid graduate-level coursework that is experiential and immersive, such that students understand the theories and application of advanced Christian education concepts,
- A Master of Christian Education Graduate curriculum that focuses on enhancing a student’s proficiency in work related to the advancement of Christian churches, congregations, and communities,
- A consistent presence in esteemed education rankings and excellent reputation among academic resources,
- Taught by faculty members with indisputable experience in Christian education and related careers
- Fully accredited university and Christian program
Best Online Master’s of Christian Education Graduate Schools
: 1971 University Boulevard, Lynchburg, VA 24515
: 800 424 9595
Headquartered in Virginia, Liberty University is an evangelical liberal arts institution with 15 schools and colleges, including a school of divinity, medical school, and business school. With 700+ programs of study, from the certificate to Ph.D. programs, LU trains and educates students with practical experience and classroom theory. The university’s graduates are equipped to impact a Christ-centered impact in every vocation.
- Liberty University’s online Master of Religious Education program can be completed within 2.5 years on average.
- The curriculum consists of 100% 8-week courses that will discuss effective pedagogy in a classroom setting and serve churches through small ministry groups.
- Should students prefer, global studies course guides are available upon request.
- Sixty credit hours must be completed in the Divinity program.
- Although an upfront application fee is not required, a deferred $50 application fee will be evaluated in the Financial Check-in.
Standout Features of Liberty University’s Online Master of Religious Education Program:
The online Master of Religious Education program at Liberty University is offered through the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity. It received accreditation from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools.
Given that ATS approves it, students pursuing the religious education graduate program are assured that their degree is well-respected among non-profit organizations, ministries, and churches and has achieved rigorous standards.
Since 1985, Liberty University is one of the pioneers in distance learning within the U.S. The university offers outstanding resources to distance learners, including a comprehensive online library, Online Student Life, the Online Writing Center, and a Tutor.com partnership.
: 1000 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
: 800 373 5504
Regent University was established in 1978 in Virginia Beach. It is a nationally ranked private, Christian liberal arts institution that offers both on-campus and online programs in more than 150 areas of study. It is one of the fastest-growing premier Christian universities in the country. Regent University is the product of Dr. M.G. Robertson’s vision of building a graduate-level institution that will prepare students for the challenge of representing Christ in their careers.
- The online Master of Arts in Christian Discipleship program at Regent University offers a balanced combination of coursework, including Christian Theology, Spiritual Formation, and New & Old Testament.
- The 36-credit-hour graduate degree will help students discover how to communicate the gospel through an accelerated program.
- The program consists of three major components: Foundational, Specialization, and Capstone courses.
- Students will immerse themselves in real-world ministry practice through a 3-credit hour capstone program.
- To enroll, applicants must have spiritual integrity and maturity of character, understand and accept Regent University’s Statement of Faith, and their personal goals must be aligned with Regent’s mission.
Standout Features of Regent University’s Online Master of Arts in Christian Discipleship Program:
Regent University’s online Master of Arts in Christian Discipleship program has received accreditation from the Commission on Accrediting the Association of Theological Schools. The university itself offers several graduate and ungraduated programs in religious studies, including an online M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, M.Div. in Christian Discipleship, and M.A. in Practical Theology.
Regent University is one of the frontrunners in offering Christ-centered studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Regent University is one of the Top 2% of schools that nationally garnered an “A” ranking by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for its comprehensive liberal arts curriculum.
It is one of the Top National Universities consistently recognized by the U.S. News & World Report. With numerous financial aid options for military and veterans, Regent is considered one of the military-friendly universities in Virginia.
Indiana Wesleyan University
: 1900 W. 50th St., Marion, IN 46953
: 765 677 8985
Indiana Wesleyan University is The Wesleyan Church’s comprehensive Christian university. Formerly known as Marion College, the university was established in 1920 and is committed to professional and liberal arts education. IWU offers many graduate programs and 80+ undergraduate degree programs to non-traditional and traditional students from 80 Christian groups and ten countries worldwide.
- IWU’s online Master of Christian School Education requires 36 credit hours or 12 courses to be completed.
- The 100% graduate program doesn’t lead to an administrative or teacher licensure in the U.S.
- The program includes action research and six online workshops to strengthen students’ skills in resolving challenges within schools.
- Enrollment is simple. Applicants will only submit their online application, a CHEA-accredited and ED-accredited baccalaureate/graduate degree, and a letter of Christian testimony.
- Aspiring and current administrators and teachers of Christian schools will benefit from the program’s curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
Standout Features of Indiana Wesleyan University’s Online Master of Christian School Education Program:
IWU’s online Master of Christian School Education program provides graduates with a diverse range of learning outcomes. It is a comprehensive graduate program that trains students to participate and lead in engaging activities with parents, community organizations, administrators, teachers, and colleagues.
The university has Wesleyan Seminary, catering to busy working ministers and providing a student-centered and practical learning experience. 85% of Wesleyan ministers don’t have a seminary degree; hence, Wesleyan Seminary provides a more affordable and accessible for all.
Indiana Wesleyan University is the CCCU or the Council for Christian Colleges and the University’s largest member. Based on enrollment, CCCU is the biggest private college in Indiana and is one of the biggest employers in the state.
In 1985, the university garnered national recognition for its innovative and state-of-the-art IWU-National and Global adult studies program.
Columbia International University
: 7435 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203
: 800 777 2227
Columbia International University’s first classes started in rented rooms at the old Colonia Hotel in Columbia’s downtown and the YMCA. In 1923, it officially became Columbia Bible School. In 1929, the school changed its name to Columbia Bible College. With a motto, “To know Him and to make Him known,” CIU is committed to providing quality and affordable religious studies to more than 1,000 students.
- CIU’s online Master of Arts in Theological Studies program offers two program tracks to accommodate students regardless of their academic background.
- One program is for students with no previous academic credits in theology or the Bible, while the other program is for students with a minimum of 30 credit hours of Church history, theology, or the Bible.
- Matriculation requirements include a completed application, 800-word essay, Church leader reference, official transcripts, and a $25 application fee.
- Students can earn their graduate degree in theological studies within 24 months.
- To graduate, students must have 48 credit hours of course completion only.
Standout Features of Columbia International University’s Online Master of Arts in Theological Studies Program:
Columbia International University’s online Master of Arts in Theological Studies program is accredited by the American Theological Society. Students will participate in highly engaged, practical online classes with colleagues from different parts of the world.
They will discover different methods of biblical interpretation and how to apply them in a variety of contexts. Faculty will introduce them to a diverse range of tools and techniques for interpreting and explaining Bible doctrines.
Thanks to the power of prayers, Columbia International University has achieved what CIU now is. It is the result of the fervent prayers of a Sunday school educator and her friends. Today, the university garners several accolades from different prestigious publications and organizations.
According to WalletHub, CIU ranked #3 overall as the best university in South Carolina. It is also a top institution for the Military by Military Advanced Education publication.
Grand Canyon University
: 3300 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017
: 855 428 5673
In 2009, Grand Canyon University only had a population of fewer than 1,000 students. Today, the university continues to expand to address students’ changing and diverse needs and advocate a world-class learning experience. With more than $1B investments, GCU remains steadfast in its commitment to invest in programmatic expansion, new facilities, technology infrastructure developments, and full-time faculty.
- GCU’s online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program is suitable for students who want to pursue a career that offers care and pastoral guidance to their church community’s members.
- The program features coursework and thoughtful discussions. The curriculum also includes various supervised ministry field experiences integrated throughout the program.
- Many classes have an 8-week duration, requiring a total of 38 credits for degree completion.
- Students can complete their degree regardless of their location through GCU’s flexible learning path initiative.
- Applicants can transfer a maximum of 12 credits or 1/3 of the overall program, whichever is less.
Standout Features of Grand Canyon University’s Online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry Program:
GCU’s online Master of Arts in Christian Ministry program will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the New and Old Testament foundations and the creation of Christian doctrines. The rigorous training will strengthen students’ professional, intellectual, and spiritual knowledge to prepare them to serve as faithful gospel ministers.
Grand Canyon University’s non-traditional student population increased from 22,000 students to more than 60,000 distance learners and counting. More than 47% of the university’s distance learners are pursuing graduate-level studies.
Despite the massive amount of investments, GCU has self-funded most of the investments with minimal tuition increases for non-traditional students while freezing the tuition fees of traditional students for more than a decade.
University of Holy Cross
: 4123 Woodland Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131
: 504 394 7744
Headquartered on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, the University of Holy Cross is the sole four-year university on New Orleans’ West Bank. It is also one of the eight Holy Cross universities and colleges around the country. The university has offered South Louisiana a tradition of educational excellence and has been a frontrunner for high-quality education for almost 100 years.
UHC has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
- UHC’s online Master’s of Arts in Catholic Theology degree features a 36-credit hour program of study.
- Students can either pursue an online or a hybrid learning format, depending on their preferences and availability.
- As a culminating requirement, students can pursue two Professional Practicum courses or a Research Seminar for Thesis and Theology Thesis courses.
- The graduate program is suitable for all Catholic Christians.
- To apply, students must submit their online application, resume/CV, three letters of recommendation, 1,500 to 2,000-word essay, a letter of good standing, and a baccalaureate degree.
Standout Features of the University of Holy Cross’ Online Master’s of Arts in Catholic Theology Program:
The University of Holy Cross’ online Master’s of Arts in Catholic Theology program is influenced by the traditions of the Marianites of Holy Cross – “to educate the mind but not at the expense of the heart.”
Although the program is intended for Catholic Christians, Christian students from other religious traditions are very welcome to enroll. It is also suitable for working adults who want to deepen their faith by matching their experience and knowledge in the arts, medicine, law, and business.
UHC is a Ministry of the Marianites of Holy Cross, a Catholic assembly of women dedicated to providing selfless service in the name of Jesus. Even after nearly 100 years, the University of Holy Cross is still guided by the Marianites’ approach, traditions, and way of life.
One of the core beliefs is that UHC must commit to enlightening and educating students in both the mind and heart. If you’re interested to know the Holy Cross Family, it consists of Stonehill College, the University of Portland, the University of Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College, St. Edward’s University, UHC, King’s College, and the University of Holy Cross at Notre Dame.
Athens State University
: 300 N. Beaty Street, Athens, Alabama 35611
: 256 233 8100
Established in 1822, Athens State University is the oldest academic institution of higher learning in Alabama. It started as a small female academy in a 4-room schoolhouse. Today, the university has achieved more significance than any other institution in the country’s university system. As an upper-division University, Athens State serves graduate, senior-level, and junior-level students in their academic pursuits of getting a degree.
- Athens State University’s online Master of Arts in Religious Studies will prepare students for a Ph.D. degree in religious studies.
- The program is a non-denominational degree and promotes objective, critical analysis of different religions worldwide in a neutral environment and learning.
- Students will participate in an exclusive and collaborative learning environment featuring 18 students with a personalized learning experience.
- A complete online application, baccalaureate degree, and GMAT/GRE/MAT scores are required to enroll.
- Students will have a deeper understanding of the religious orientation’s relation to communities, the cultural significance of religion, and the historical development of religion.
Standout Features of Athens State University’s Online Master of Arts in Religious Studies Program:
Pursuing an online Master of Arts in Religious Studies program at Athens State University will offer students one of Tennessee and Alabama’s most affordable tuition fees. The university also has a flexible tuition payment plan that works with students’ budgets. It is a career-focused program, with 80% of Athens State’s alumni communities hired within 12 months after completing their degrees.
Athens State University has put a genuine emphasis on educating and producing the graduates that many employers desire. The university became a prime destination for returning students and transfer students and busy adults balancing their academics with personal and professional commitments.
With 82% of courses available through distance/hybrid learning, 91% of students at Athens State take at least one online course per semester.
Oklahoma Baptist University
: 500 West University, Shawnee, OK 74804
: 405 585 4000
In 1911, Oklahoma Baptist University opened its pioneering classes in First Baptist Church’s basement and Shawnee’s Convention Hall. As acknowledged by the U.S. News and World Report for three decades, it is a Top Ten Regional College in the West. For 25 consecutive years, OBU has been Oklahoma’s highest-ranked regional college. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the university is a Christian liberal arts university in Shawnee.
- OBU’s online Master of Arts in Christian Studies program is a 36-credit-hour program that integrates unparalleled ministry relevance with uncompromising academic rigor.
- Students can enroll in the M.A. program during the summer, fall, and spring semesters.
- The 100% online M.A. in Christian Studies offers two tracks that students can choose from, namely Apologetics or Leadership tracks.
- Admission requirements include official transcripts, current resume/CV, statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, and must have completed both New Testament and Old Testament courses at OBU.
- Students can apply for transfer credits between 9 to 12 credit hours or two courses from accredited graduate colleges or universities.
Standout Features of Oklahoma Baptist University’s Online Master of Arts in Christian Studies Program:
Oklahoma Baptist University is a proud member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, an association of 180+ Christian institutions worldwide. The university is one of the accredited and comprehensive universities whose objectives are Christ-centered and deeply rooted in Christian doctrines.
Oklahoma Baptist University is one of the three institutions of higher learning in Oklahoma and the sole private university in the region listed in the 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. Forbes.com has consistently ranked OBU as one of America’s Best Colleges.
Another popular publication – The Princeton Review, has ranked OBU as one of the best universities and colleges in the West for 16 consecutive years.
: 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458
: 718 817 4800
Fordham University is one of the 400+ institutions in the U.S. categorized as a Doctoral/Professional or Doctoral University. It is also one of the 135 Doctoral Universities in the country to garner “High Research Activity” status from the Carnegie Classification. Since its founding in 1841, Fordham has produced 192 Fulbright Scholars, 1M+ community service hours per year, 658 prestigious scholarships in the past five years, and 3,500 New York-based internship companies.
- Fordham University’s online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality requires the satisfactory accomplishment of 12 courses equivalent to 36 credit hours.
- Students will choose one out of three program specializations, namely Generalist, Research, or Spiritual Direction.
- The Spiritual Direction concentration will prepare students to become spiritual directors, while the Research specialization will prepare them for doctoral studies.
- Students pursuing the Generalist and Spiritual Direction specializations must pass a comprehensive exam. Proficiency in a 2nd language and a master’s thesis are required for the Research concentration.
- Intensive summer classes are also offered every year.
Standout Features of Fordham University’s Online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality Program:
Fordham University’s online Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality program can be pursued as a full-time or part-time program, making it one of the rare programs of its kind in New York. The program’s curriculum has a set of courses designed according to the guidelines of the New York Theological Consortium. The program features a diverse range of campus ministry and spiritual retreat programs.
Fordham University was a product of its founder, John Hughes, and began as St. John’s College. Despite the dangerous and daring venture of its founder and lack of funds to buy land, John Hughes persevered and was determined to build the 1st Catholic institution of higher learning in the North East of the U.S.
Today, Fordham University is a prestigious Jesuit university in N.Y. that started as a small college in a farming village.
Dallas Theological Seminary
: 3909 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75204-6411
: 800 387 9673
Dallas Theological Seminary is an evangelical theological institution in Texas that is popular for advocating the theological tradition of Dispensationalism. It offers 100% online degree programs designed to every student’s needs to strengthen their knowledge of the Gospel story in the 66 books of the Bible. In 1982, DTS started the M.A. in Christian Education to obtain specialized education for Christian ministries.
- DTS’ online Master of Arts in Christian Education is a 66-credit-hour program that can be completed within two years.
- Students can integrate into the program their preferred area of ministry, along with courses from major categories such as Electives and Spiritual Transformation, Leadership and Educational Ministry, Systematic Theology, and Biblical Exposition.
- The 100% online MACE program allows students to choose from one out of five specializations, such as Children’s Ministry, Marriage and Family Ministry, Ministry with Women, Spiritual Formation and Disciple-making, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
- All students at the MAC program must complete the MinistrySafe’s Sexual Abuse Awareness Training.
- Eligible MACE learners may accomplish a ministry residency at a local church, including a 2-week intensive at the Dallas campus.
Standout Features of Dallas Theological Seminary’s Online Master of Arts in Christian Education Program:
Dallas Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and has received approval for the Comprehensive Distance Education program. The university is an affiliate member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Other memberships include the Evangelical Training Association and the Association of Christian Schools International.
The online Master of Arts in Christian Education program at DTS will provide students with the opportunity to register and participate in Spiritual Formation groups for four spring and fall semesters at the Washington DC, Houston, or Dallas campuses.
Dallas Theological Seminary is one of the very few institutions in the U.S. to offer 100% free online bible courses. For more than nine decades, DTS has been consistent in educating the truth found in Christian doctrines and scriptures. With free online courses, the university has already trained thousands of teachers and pastors for several years.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the standard curriculum of an online Master of Christian Education program?
Online Master of Christian Education programs can be completed within 24 to 36 months of full-time learning. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree for enrollment and undergraduate Christian education credits. Some Christian graduate programs also require professional experience ranging from two to five years working in the ministry.
Depending on the students’ preferred school, they can specialize in a particular area of disciplines, such as business ministry, adult ministry, or childhood ministry. Although some programs have a 100% learning format, fieldwork requirements may be required. Independent research is also a crucial component of the majority of online Master of Christian Education programs. Students are also required to take a final exam.
The majority of online Master of Christian Education programs include a combination of education-related and ministry courses. Most programs require between 30 to 42 credit hours. The core curriculum of a graduate program in Christian Education has common courses in the following:
- Biblical Leadership
- Christian Education Principles and Philosophy
- Christian History
- Christian Nurturing and Formation
- Church and Business
- Curriculum Development
- Family-Based Ministry
- Post-Modern Ministry
What are some of the common courses in an online Master of Christian Education program?
An online Master of Christian Education curriculum has core courses in education and theology that must be completed before choosing a set of elective courses. Like other online programs, students pursuing an online Master of Christian Education program will access and accomplish coursework through the school’s online learning management platform.
Here are some of the common courses that are found in many graduate programs in Christian Education:
Christian Youth Education
A Christian Youth Education course will provide distance learners with the knowledge about training and education for child and youth ministries. They explore different modern-day issues in youth ministries and how they are associated with Christian Education.
Introduction To Christian Education
With a course in Introduction To Christian Education, students will have an overview of the academic components of Christian ministries, especially strengthening their knowledge and skills of theology. It will orient them to the different methods and practices of creating an academic ministry, including congregational life and discipleship.
Philosophy of Christian Education
A Philosophy of Christian Education course will educate students about Christian Education’s rich history, from the Old Testament to the current era. Students can also create effective study methods as influenced by interpretations of Hermeneutics and the New Testament.
What is the salary range for graduates with an online Master of Christian Education program?
The emphasis on enhancing students’ expertise and proficiencies of theological methods of teaching and youth ministries will qualify graduates for careers in religious organizations, including a youth minister. According to PayScale, Youth Ministers with an online Master of Education degree can earn between $25,000 to $51,000 per year, with an average annual salary of $48,938.
Graduates can also work in the religious sector as clergy, allowing them to earn $57,230 per year on average.
What are the potential careers for graduates with an Online Master of Christian Education program?
Many employment opportunities are available to graduates with an online Master of Christian Education degree. They can become directors of religious studies, Christian school teachers, and seminary professors. Here are some of the detailed descriptions of the potential careers for online Master of Christian Education graduates:
Director of Religious Studies
Directors of Religious Studies work for a particular program or church. They will develop academic programs in religious organizations and ensure that every course will cover Christian lessons and principles. Additional responsibilities include performing admissions tasks and employing and training educators. Directors of Religious Studies report to church officials, working under the ministerial team or ministers.
Christian School Teachers
Christian School Teachers will educate and train K12 students. They will integrate biblical studies into the program’s curriculum at the elementary school level. Educators will discuss subjects at the high school and junior high levels, such as science, English, and mathematics. However, several opportunities are also available to permit them to teach about the Bible.
Aspiring Christian School Teachers must have an undergraduate degree and major in their preferred subject area.
Seminaries are also considered higher institutions of learning devoted to educating religious professionals. It is a professional school that often caters to a single group; however, some seminaries have multiple groups under a single institution.
Seminary Professors will educate students at the post-secondary level and can also accomplish research work. These professionals are responsible for the delivery and design of courses. They also perform other duties that involve administrative tasks, such as writing letters of recommendation and submitting students’ grades.
Like other professors, seminary professors must have a graduate degree, preferably a Ph.D.
- Earning an online Master’s degree in Christian Education is a great way to become an educator to help others learn about Christian-related matters.
- You can choose to concentrate on teaching today’s youth, pastoring a congregation, or becoming a seminary professor.
- As you assist others in their faith, you will reap the benefits of a rewarding career in serving the Lord!