The 10 Best Online Master’s of Religious Education Graduate Schools in 2023

Online Master's Religious Education - featured image

You may already be a holder of an undergraduate degree with a stable career involving religious work, such as ministry leadership or education. If knowledge expansion and career advancement are in your plans, an online Master’s of Religious Education degree is for you!

METHODOLOGY

What constitutes a top-rated online Master of Religious Education degree program? Our list of the best graduate schools offering this degree take pride in their arsenal of features that demonstrate academic excellence:

  • A 100% online or hybrid program offering convenient schedules for students who currently hold professional teaching, pastoral and similar roles involving religion and ministry,
  • A coursework that meets the rigorous academic standards to broaden the skillset of students seeking to advance their careers,
  • A range of specializations for different Religious Education career tracks,
  • Faculty and teaching staff consisting of experienced and esteemed religious educators,
  • Financial options for online students who meet the scholarship or grant requirements,
  • Positive student or alumni feedback,
  • Accreditation from academic bodies and organizations.
Online Master's Religious Education - fact

Best Online Master’s of Religious Education Grad Schools

Columbia International University

Columbia International University

: 7435 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC 29203
: (800) 777-2227

Online Master of Arts in Theological Studies

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies at Columbia International University is designed to equip you with a good understanding of your role in God’s desire to spread His love. Whether you want to gain advanced knowledge in theology or pursue better career opportunities, this master’s degree program is right for you. Aside from the solid theological foundation it offers, it also strengthens your faith and gets you closer to God.

Admission requirements

If you’re interested in enrolling at Columbia International University’s online Master of Arts in Theological Studies, these are the admission requirements that you need to comply with:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • A completed online application
  • Payment of $25 application fee
  • An 800 – 1000-word application essay
  • A reference from a church leader who has known you for at least two years
  • Official transcripts of your bachelor’s degree and any master’s degree program you have taken
  • Proof of English proficiency if English is not your first language

Standout Features of Columbia International University’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program at Columbia International University comprises highly engaged classes. It is mentored by faculty members who are not only experts but practitioners of the courses they teach. 

CIU’s theological studies degree aims to enrich your career and open doors for you to many opportunities, especially in areas that involve academic and church work. 

Did You Know?

Did you know?

More than 98% of CIU’s seminary students rate the school’s quality of teaching from good to excellent.


ILIFF School of Theology

ILIFF School of Theology

: 2323 E. Iliff Ave. Denver, CO 80210
: (800) 678-3360

Online Master of Theological Studies

Offered in on-campus, online, and hybrid formats, the Master of Theological Studies degree program at ILIFF School of Theology combines the rigorous study of theology and several academic subjects. The program is designed to equip you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence you’ll need to qualify for a leadership role in any church, academic, or corporate organization you’ll be working for in the future.

Admission Requirements

These are the requirements that you need to meet should you decide to apply for enrollment to ILIFF School of Theology’s online Master of Theological Studies degree program:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
  • A completed online application
  • Payment of $60 application fee
  • A 1100 – 1300-word application essay in MS Word or Google Doc format – Tell your story by answering the essay questions

Standout Features of ILIFF School of Theology’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program at ILIFF School of Theology combines rigid academic training and personal experiences that will help you get the tools you need to succeed – whether you’re aiming for professional growth or an opportunity to get others closer to God. This program will help you get what you need to reach your goal.

Did you know?

ILIFF School of Theology was founded in 1892 by the Colorado Seminary or the present-day University of Denver. After its incorporation in 1903 as an independent institution, ILIFF has been a leader in graduate theological education in the United States.


Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary

: 135 N. Oakland Ave., Pasadena, CA 91182
: (626) 584-5200

Online Master of Arts in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology degree program offered at Fuller Theological Seminary focuses on spiritual formation, biblical and theological studies, and church history. It is an excellent groundwork that can help to enrich your theological knowledge concerning a vocation you desire to pursue.

Admission Requirements

If you want to become a student at Fuller Theological Seminary’s online Master of Arts in Theology, you need to comply with these requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A completed online application for admission
  • Three references – one reference from a pastor and two academic or professional references
  • An essay responding to the questions in the application portal
  • A 250 to 500-word religious autobiography 
  • Your statement of purpose – A 250 to 500-word essay stating the reasons why you are interested in Fuller Theological Seminary’s Master of Arts in Theology program
  • Your statement of calling – A 250 to 500-word essay relating how you see your calling for God’s mission 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you’ve attended
  • Proof of English proficiency if English is not your first language

Standout Features of Fuller Theological Seminary’s Master of Arts in Theology Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Theology program at Fuller Theological Seminary will develop and refine your understanding of theological and philosophical perspectives. It allows you to explore your interests. These are laid before you, including theology, ethics, the arts, youth and culture, and many more. The program will discover your unique calling and specific area of interest because the subjects are relevant to our time. 

Did you know?

Each year, more than 3,500 students from 110 denominations and 90 countries enrolled at Fuller Theological Seminary’s academic programs.


Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University

: 33701 State Road 52, St. Leo, FL 33574
: (800) 334-5532

Online Master of Arts in Theology

The Master of Arts in Theology degree program at Saint Leo University is a flexible learning model for graduate students and working professionals who are deprived of the opportunity to attend traditional classes. 

If you are a nontraditional graduate student seeking to pursue an advanced career in theological education, a career in ministry, or develop your spiritual leadership, Saint Leo’s Master of Arts in Theology is for you.

Admission Requirements

If you want to be considered as a degree-seeking student for Saint Leo University’s Master of Arts in Theology program, you need to meet these application requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • A completed online application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended
  • Professional recommendation from your pastor or work supervisor
  • A 250 to 500-word Statement of professional goals
  • Disclosure of how you plan to pay for the program

Standout Features of Saint Leo University’s Master of Arts in Theology Degree Program

Highly qualified experts mentor Saint Leo University’s Master of Arts in Theology degree program in Ignatian Spirituality, the Second Vatican Council, and the Catholic-Jewish dialogue. It holds its Theology faculty responsible for guiding you to a path that suits your strengths and individual goals. 

Did you know?

Saint Leo University is recognized nationally for its performance in delivering a quality learning experience. It is one of the Top-100 Institutions in the United States for minority students.


George Fox University Portland Seminary

George Fox University Portland Seminary

: 12753 SW 68th Ave #278, Portland, OR 97223
: (503) 554-6150

Online Master of Arts in Theological Studies

The Master of Arts in Theological Studies at George Fox University’s Portland Seminary guarantees to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to get a career in the biblical academe. The school delivers its promise through the following:

  • Investigation of Biblical and Theological Topics
  • Study of Hebrew or Greek Language
  • Develop Students’ Leadership and Spiritual Skills, and
  • Expose Students to a Two-Semester Teaching Apprenticeship

Admission Requirements

To be considered as an applicant for George Fox University’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree program, you need to comply with the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A completed online application
  • Official electronic transcripts from all colleges and universities you’ve attended
  • Application for financial aid – this is optional but highly encouraged

Standout Features of George Fox University’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies Degree Program

George Fox University’s Portland Seminary’s Master of Arts in Theological Studies program is deeply committed to developing your spiritual leadership, confidence to interpret the bible, and academic research skills. It enables you to make things happen whether you’re in a church or academe. If you want to pursue a research, writing, or teaching career in and out of the ministry, this program is specifically designed for you. 

Did you know?

George Fox University was founded as a Wesleyan tradition seminary. Its present community is composed of almost 50 denominational traditions. It has a diverse Christian community that the school’s administration believes has helped them better understand God.


University of Dallas Braniff Graduate School

University of Dallas Braniff Graduate School

: 1845 East Northgate Drive, Irving, TX 75062-4736
: (972)  721-5000

Online Master of Theological Studies

The Master of Theological Studies degree program at the University of Dallas Braniff Graduate School is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need for the effective pastoral application of your theological knowledge. This program is available online or through traditional on-campus classes.

Admission Requirements

If you wish to be admitted as a student for the University of Dallas’ Master of Theological Studies degree program, these are the requirements that you need to comply with:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • A completed online application
  • Payment of a $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. These should be sent directly by the schools to Braniff Graduate School
  • Two letters of recommendation were sent directly by the recommender to Braniff Graduate School
  • A 750-word statement of purpose
  • A 750-word intellectual autobiography
  • A 6,000-word sample of your academic writing
  • GRE test scores – these should not be more than five years before your date of application
  • Some background in philosophy – this can be waived if you demonstrate competency in the subject

Standout Features of the University of Dallas Braniff Graduate School’s Master of Theological Studies Degree Program

The Master of Theological Studies degree program at Braniff Graduate School is focused on biblical theology. Delivered through the traditional on-campus and online formats, the program is available to students and working professionals who desire to pursue a higher level of theological knowledge. It is intended to equip you with the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed in your pastoral leadership work.

Did you know?

The University of Dallas is a private Catholic university founded in 1956. It is one of only 23 Catholic universities in the U.S. to earn a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.


Hartford International University for Religion and Peace

Hartford International University for Religion and Peace

: 77 Sherman Street, Hartford, CT 06105-2260
: (860) 509-9500

Online Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies

The Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies degree program at Harford International Univesity for Religion and Peace is designed to immerse you in a rigorous academic study of religions. It aims to provide you with a strong foundation for studying religions and related facets like religious traditions, history, and many more.

Admission Requirements

If you desire to become a part of Hartford International University’s Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies, these are the requirements for admission that you need to comply with:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A four- to five-page, double-spaced Statement of Purpose that reflects:
    • Your goals in seeking theological education
    • Your reasons for choosing Hartford Seminary
    • Your educational and vocational goals
    • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • Three letters of recommendation, one of which must come from a faculty member of the school where you earned your undergraduate degree or a person from your workplace or religious community who can vouch for your potential to succeed in the program.
  • Proof of English proficiency if your first language is not English

Standout Features of Hartford International University’s Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies is intended to allow you to gain solid ground in interreligious studies. It aims to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to learn and articulate the concepts and methods of interreligious studies and the efficient application of those methods.  

Did you know?

The previous name of Hartford International University is Hartford Seminary. It was founded in 1834 as The Theological Institute of Connecticut.


Chicago Theological Seminary

Chicago Theological Seminary

: 1407 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
: (773) 896-2400

Online Master of Arts in Religious Studies

The Master of Arts in Religious Studies degree program offered at Chicago Theological Seminary focuses on theology, religious traditions, and ethics. This program is designed for individuals who are preparing to advance their studies to the doctoral level. It is also best suited for students who want to gain advanced knowledge in theology for a more effective service to their ministry.

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission to Chicago Theological Seminary’s Master of Arts in Religious Studies program, you need to comply with these requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you’ve attended
  • Four letters of recommendation – two of these must come from professors, one from a pastor or minister, and one from a supervisor or friend
  • Proof of English proficiency if English is not your first language
  • Other Requirements:
    • Good oral and written communication skills
    • Strong academic references
    • Previous coursework in humanities
    • Good critical thinking skills

Standout Features of Chicago Theological Seminary’s Master of Arts in Religious Studies

The online Master of Arts in Religious Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary is a rigorous academic endeavor like its traditional on-campus classes. It intends to equip you with the knowledge and skills to think critically, especially about religious traditions. It aims to perfect your ability to perform academic research in the area of religious studies. Overall, this program will equip you to demonstrate a scholarly knowledge of religions which could serve as your key to better career opportunities.

Did you know?

Chicago Theological Seminary is an affiliated seminary of the United Church of Christ. Nevertheless, it is considered a home to students from different religious traditions, including more than 20 Christian denominations.


Graceland University – Community of Christ Seminary

Graceland University - Community of Christ Seminary

: 1 University Place, Lamoni, IA 50140
: 641.784.5000

Online Master of Arts in Religion

The Master of Arts in Religion degree offered at Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary is intended to create a solid foundation of the Christian faith. It focuses on three areas of concentration: Spiritual Leadership, Christian Theology, and Peace and Justice. These subjects can be your groundwork for a strong, effective, and reliable Christian ministry or a career in religious education.  

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission to Graceland University’s Master of Arts in Religion, there are specific requirements that you need to meet. These are:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • A completed online application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended
  • Recommendation from three unbiased persons who can vouch for your desire and capability to complete the program. Your references must have known you for at least one year, and they should have sufficient knowledge of your intellectual and ministerial abilities.
  • Submission of a 500-word essay relating your reasons for applying to the Community of Christ Seminary
  • Proof of English proficiency if English is not your first language

Standout Features of Graceland University’s Master of Arts in Religion Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Religion at Graceland University’s Community of Christ Seminary combines religious theory and practical studies. Offered in both online and traditional on-campus format, religion professionals and scholars with stellar academic backgrounds mentor the program’s courses. This program will make your educational experience rewarding and worth your money and time.

Did you know?

Graceland University’s online programs are approved by the State of Iowa to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).


Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

: 2001 W. Seminary Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76115
: (817) 923-1921

Online Master of Theological Studies

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Master of Theological Studies degree program provides foundational theological education in Bible, Theology, and History.   

Admission Requirements

Even if you have an ardent desire to serve God and humanity, you still need to comply with specific admission requirements to pursue a master’s in theological studies degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. These are:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities you’ve attended
  • A completed official application for admission
  • Payment of a $35 nonrefundable application fee
  • A statement of call that relates the following:
    • Your conversion experience
    • Your family background
    • Your spiritual development
    • Your call to ministry
    • Your vocational and ministry goals, and
    • Your educational goals
  • Information about your medical, emotional, and social background
  • Spouse/fiance information
  • Church endorsement
  • A background check
  • Any additional information as the admission committee may request

Standout Features of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Master of Theological Studies Degree Program

The Master of Theological Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is committed to strengthening your theological knowledge and skills to make you ready to answer and fulfill God’s calling. The program will expose you to the highest research and training standards to prepare you for a ministry in evangelism, worship, missions, and discipleship.

Did you know?

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is one of the largest seminaries in the United States and the world.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master of Religious Education degree?

The Master of Religious Education (MRE) is an academic degree typically offered by Christian institutions. It prepares students for a profession in the teaching ministry.  

Because the MRE is focused primarily on preparing students for teaching, the program often requires previous training or experience in education as a prerequisite for admission. 

Individuals who want to strengthen their faith or learn about religions will benefit from an MRE program. A typical religious education degree educates students about theology, sacred text, religious history, history of churches, and the church’s role in the past and present society.

What skills can I learn with a Master of Religious Education degree program?

Religious education programs such as the MRE work to build your communication skills to prepare you for teaching, counseling, and pastoral care roles. They also develop your speaking skills, necessary for your future classroom or pulpit engagements and written publications.

On top of these, you will also develop excellent research skills as it is a requirement for the effective exercise of your profession. Whether you choose to become a chaplain, religious educator, or author for a religious publication, a master’s degree in religious education can equip you with the skills you need to make a difference.

What is an online Master of Religious Education program?

An online Master of Religious Education program is where a host school or university delivers its lessons directly to students through computer and information technology. As such, the students are not required to go to a traditional classroom to attend classes. Instead, they are required to use computers that allow them to attend their classes right in their own homes at convenient times. 

Online Master of Religious Education programs are flexible. They allow working professionals and individuals with family commitments to pursue their studies without quitting their jobs, relocating, or compromising other commitments.   

What’s the difference between Religious Studies and Theological Studies?

Religious and theological studies may sound similar, but they have lots of differences. Theological studies focus more on God and faith, while religious studies focus on the critical scrutiny of religions. Theological studies are faith-based, but religious studies are analytical. 

What is the job outlook for Religion or Theology professionals?

As a postsecondary teacher, the employment of religion or theology professionals is projected to grow by 12% from 2020 to 2030. Nearly 140,000 job openings for postsecondary teachers are also expected for the same period.

On the other hand, the employment of pastors and religious leaders is projected to grow by only 4% from 2020 to 2030.

What can I do with a Master of Religious Education degree?

If you’re wondering what careers await you as a graduate of a master’s degree in religious education, here are some of the most popular jobs you can consider as a religion or theology expert:

1. Teacher/Education

Teaching religion or theology can be a challenging yet rewarding occupation. It doesn’t just allow you to teach. The job requires you to model the values that you teach

A degree in religious studies, however, isn’t just about teaching faith-based courses. It can also equip you with the tools and knowledge to teach world religion and philosophy, especially in private schools. 

2. Missionary 

A missionary works as a living witness of God’s goodness. Your job wants you to teach people about it – and spread your faith in the process. This can be challenging, and it requires you to travel to different places around the world to spread God’s word and your religion.

4. Chaplain 

Chaplains conduct religious services for followers who have difficulty attending a typical service, such as military bases, prisons, hospitals, and universities.

5. Charity Officer 

Many religious organizations rely on donations to fund their operations. Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army are just two of the largest known non-profit organizations in America. 

6. Youth Director

As a graduate of a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, you certainly have the qualifications to work as a youth director at schools, churches, and youth centers. The job is quite challenging as you’ll be dealing with adolescents and children in their formative years. But it can be very rewarding, especially when you see that you have made an impact in their lives.  

7. Technical Writer

Freelance technical writing is a lucrative job that can earn you up to $70 an hour, and your religious education can be a good training ground for it. With your advanced knowledge in humanities, cultures, religions, and beliefs, you can easily find a place in the office of a content publisher who needs an expert’s insights in these subjects.

Dr. Jared Goff
Chief Editor