Introduction to Online Christian Universities
ChristianColleges is site dedicated to providing resources and guides for students. Earning a high quality education is one thing, but to earn a degree from an accredited institution whose focus on Christian values is as important as the academics is often times more fulfilling. Christian colleges are also sometimes known as bible colleges. These are private colleges and universities that operate with a faith-based curriculum.
Christian colleges are attended by those who want to work in the church once they start their careers. This may be in the ministry working as a preacher or in administration and management, or education. Most Christian colleges focus on these areas, but many offer standard degrees such as engineering, marketing or biology. The programs offered at Christian college largely depend on how long the school has been around. Large colleges usually offer a wider array of degree programs than smaller schools.
BS in Christian Leadership
BS in Religion: Biblical Studies
MA in Christian Ministry: Worship
MDiv in Theology
|Liberty University — Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD degrees: Liberty University is an independent, fundamentalist Baptist university in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world. Over 140 undergraduate and graduate programs are offered on campus and online with 11,900 students enrolled on campus, and more than 36,000 students enrolled in online classes. Liberty offers degrees in several subjects, with some of the most popular being: MA in theological studies, Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Business Administration (MBA), BS in psychology, MA in professional counseling, MA in teaching, and the MS in nursing. Read in-depth review of Liberty University.
Doctor of Ministry
Master of Divinity
Seminary Cert: Leadership
|Indiana Wesleyan University — Bachelor's Degrees: Indiana Wesleyan University teaches leadership, encourages spiritual development, and prepares students to communicate Christian values to the world as pastors, counselors, missionaries, teachers, worship leaders and coaches. They offer several online programs in Divinity, Ministry, Religion, and Seminary Studies.
BA - Christian Studies
BA - Christian Studies: Biblical Studies
Master of Divinity
|Grand Canyon University — Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees: Grand Canyon University in Arizona is a private Christian university, regionally accredited, and has some of the best online education programs in the country. GCU offers online and campus-based degrees in Business, Education, Nursing and Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Fine Arts and Production. While it is a Christian college, its focus is primarily on encouraging moral choices and teaching students to become ethical global citizens.
MA in Theological Studies
|Colorado Christian University — Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's Degrees: Colorado Christian University is an accredited Christian college that offers associate, bachelor's and master's degrees. The campus itself is located next to the Rocky Mountains, but many students choose to complete their coursework entirely online. CCU prepares students for Christian leadership positions, as well as careers in business, education, and government, all with a focus on interweaving faith and service into their lives.
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What Do I Look for in a Christian College?
Christian colleges are often accredited by different organizations than traditional schools. The accreditation needed for your degree depends on what you’re going to school for. If you plan on utilizing your degree outside of the church, accreditation is very important. Most large and well-known Christian colleges are accredited by the same regional organizations that accredit traditional schools. Smaller schools are often accredited by Christian-based accreditation groups that are geared towards preparing students to work in the church or as part of a faith-based company. Students who are interested in communications, marketing or writing may consider looking at colleges that are regionally accredited to ensure their degrees are taken seriously for secular career paths.
What is Christian College Like?
Large Christian colleges operate much like any other school. There are qualified instructors who are experienced in their field, extracurricular activities and groups and study sessions, and the latest technology resources, just like a traditional university. The primary difference for Christian colleges accredited by regional organizations, is they offer many faith-based classes and often host religious events. There may also be a large number of extracurricular organizations that revolve around faith. Students are surrounded by those who share similar thoughts and ideas on life and how one should live. Smaller Christian schools heavily revolve around faith and often have stringent requirements for students. This may include:
- Dress codes
- Regulations on co-ed living arrangements
- Hours of operation for on-campus establishments
Some include a curfew for students. The experience had a Christian college can vary greatly. Your primary concern should be attending a school with a well-rounded degree program that will prepare you for your career.
Are There Online Christian Colleges?
There’s a healthy mix of online Christian colleges and schools with traditional campuses that offer online courses and degree programs. Online Christian colleges are ideal for students who work full time or are involved in the church, which can be a serious time commitment. Students who visit other countries as missionaries or for volunteer work can also benefit from online Christian colleges. These courses operate online and are accessible from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Students completing volunteer work in other countries should ensure their Internet connection is adequate before signing up for any online courses. The objectives for online classes are the same as those in a traditional classroom, but students have the autonomy to work on things at their own pace. Students should ask ample questions when inquiring about an online Christian college. Many are diploma mills and do not offer degrees that will hold any weight once you’re in the job market, even if you are seeking employment in the church or for a non-profit religious organization.
What Do I Need to Know About Online Christian Colleges?
For all Christian colleges, you must be rigorous in your research. Because there’s no one governing body to accredit all Christian or faith-based colleges, it can be difficult to distinguish the legitimate institutions from the filler schools that are diploma mills. Other than inquiring about which organization has accredited the school, you should also ask about what qualifications the average instructor has. This is especially important for online Christian colleges. An instructor’s experience can greatly affect the experience of an online class. Experienced teachers know how to interact with students and keep a level of engagement, even though the course takes place outside of the conventional classroom. Also ask how long the program you’re interested in has existed at the school. Developed programs take a while of years to master, so it’s beneficial for you as a student to enroll in a degree program that the school has offered for a few years.
What Kind of Degrees Are Offered at Christian Colleges?
Most Christian colleges focus on faith-based degrees that may lead to a career within a religious organization. These degrees include:
- Business administration
Most degrees involve limited faith-based classes, but those who are looking to work in the church will usually take additional courses. During the first two years of most degree programs at any Christian or bible college, students will take courses in bible studies, practical ministry and bible history. Students are expected to worship throughout their college careers. All Christian colleges have a church on campus. Depending on the size of the school, there may be multiple places of worship. Students can also participate in bible study groups outside of classes. The amount of bible study varies from school to school. Large schools often have a very small amount of bible study required for students, while others integrate faith-based courses throughout a four-year degree program.
Are There Prerequisites for Christian College?
The majority of Christian colleges require a student to have a high school diploma and some faith-based volunteer work or experience. Some require an essay or letter of recommendation from a church official, which can be a pastor or bible study instructor. Many of the small and online only Christian colleges accept students with a GED. Christian colleges often require more from students who are seeking a degree in ministry, bible studies or theology versus students who are studying general degrees. Because these programs are usually hands-on, some schools limit the number of students. This can cause the programs to become very competitive and only accept students with a high school diploma, high grades, a letter of recommendation and a certain number of volunteer hours with the church. The letter and number of hours are to ensure a student is very active in the church, thus serious about a career as a minister or pastor. Nearly all Christian colleges accept students of any age. If you do not have all of these prerequisites and want to enter a competitive ministry program, you can always volunteer at church or complete a mission for a summer or school semester to better qualify for your desired program.
Do I Have to Work for a Religious Group With a Christian College Degree?
General degrees that do not focus solely on religion can be utilized in any career realm. You do not have to work for the church or any religious group with a degree from a Christian college. It’s for this reason that you want to seek out a program that’s regionally accredited. These degree programs will hold clout when you’re job hunting outside of the church. The techniques and lessons taught in a business or communications program can be utilized anywhere. Rest assured that Christian colleges do focus on the principle objectives of these degrees. You will be fit to work outside of the church, especially if you gain work experience with an internship in your field.
Theology at Traditional School vs. Bible College
The difference between studying theology at a traditional school vs. Bible College is that most secular theology programs cover multiple religions. Traditional schools offer theology degrees, but the curriculum usually involves the five major religions and may touch on newer religions or sub-sects within the most common religions. At a bible college, theology involves studying that school’s religion in detail with very little coverage of other religions. Christian colleges often operate from a Protestant, Episcopalian, or evangelical perspective.
Where Can I Teach With an Education Degree From a Christian College?
It depends on where you seek employment post-college. In most states, you will be required to have a teaching certificate in addition to a bachelor’s degree. Some schools do not require the degree to be in education or teaching, and accept candidates with degrees in English, math or other general subjects. If you are looking to teach at a religious school, it will be a private school. Most of these schools do require a state teaching certificate, but some allow teachers to bypass the test and still work as full time teachers. Working at a private school for a number of years is great experience for working in the public school system, but if you make the transition, you will be required to obtain a teaching certificate. Schools that are in need of teachers immediately often have a program where teachers can teach full time and obtain their certificate while under contract.
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