Not long ago, Christian colleges and universities were fairly small and narrow in their scope, providing basic degree programs oriented toward Christian students. But in the 21st century, with growing competition, many Christian institutions have made big leaps forward, with online degree programs in a wide variety of fields. In fact, online Christian colleges have become some of the best, most affordable choices for graduate students.
Online Christian grad schools have especially put a focus on the needs of working adults and career-changing professionals, building online graduate programs to help students earn master’s and even doctoral degrees online in a variety of professional fields. Everything from nursing to business to social work – students can find the credentials they need to advance in their careers.
Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Christian Universities for Graduate Degrees
To rank the best online Christian graduate programs, the editors at Best Master’s Programs started with a pool of Evangelical and mainline Protestant colleges and universities offering online graduate programs. From there, they were ranked according to cost, alumni salary, and variety of offerings.
NOTE: Online Catholic graduate programs are ranked separately, as Martin Luther intended.
1. LeTourneau University
LeTourneau University, recognized as one of the best Christian online universities in Texas, offers thirteen online graduate degrees that can be completed entirely online. AS one of the Lone Star State’s best online Christian universities, LeTourneau University offers online degrees in business, mental health, education, engineering, health care administration, strategic leadership, psychology, teaching, and school counseling, among others. Students enrolled in one of the country’s best Christian universities online earn degrees from a school recognized by US News among the best schools offering online degrees. Online students at LeTourneau University are supported by a full education library of resources and experienced faculty members.
LeTourneau University was founded in 1946. LeTourneau University operates as a Christian interdenominational institution of higher education that serves more than 3,000 students. LeTourneau University has several campuses in Longview, Houston, and Dallas, Texas. LeTourneau University’s campus is built upon an abandoned WWII hospital.
Online Graduate Degrees: 13
2. Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University is ranked among the midwestern US’s best Christian online universities offering six graduate degrees that are available 100% online. Among the graduate degrees offered by one of the best Christian universities online is an MBA with six concentrations, or an MS in Accounting, Human Resource Management, Organizational Leadership, and dual degree of MBA and Master of Science in Nursing. Additionally, Indiana Wesleyan University provides online graduate degrees in leadership, nursing, psychology, social work, education, and health sciences, among others.
Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) is a private institution of higher education that was established in 1920 as a teacher training institute. As one of Indiana’s best online Christian universities, Indiana Wesleyan University serves more than 13,500 students on its thirteen suburban campuses in Marion, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. IWU holds the distinction of being the biggest institution of higher learning in the state.
Online Graduate Degrees: 6
3. Concordia University – Saint Paul
Concordia University – Saint Paul is one of Minnesota’s best Christian universities online by offering twenty graduate degrees that can be completed entirely online. CSP’s graduate degrees include programs in education, criminal justice, family science, human resource management, leadership & management, sport management, business administration, curriculum instruction, creative writing, coaching, and exercise science. As one of the country’s best Christian universities online, Concordia University – Saint Paul is recognized as a military-friendly school as well. All online graduate degree candidates work through the program with a trusted adviser.
Concordia University – Saint Paul is one of the country’s best online Christian universities that was founded in 1893. Approximately 4,900 students attend classes on the Saint Paul campus of CSP. The Lutheran Church (LCMS), the second largest Lutheran church administration, operates the Concordia University system, of which CSP is a member.
Online Graduate Degrees: 20
4. Baker University
Among the best online Christian universities in the Midwest, Baker University offers eight graduate degrees that are available 100% online. These graduate level degrees from one of the state’s best Christian online universities include a Master of Science (MS) in Instructional Design, Sports Management, Student Affairs in Higher Education Administration, and Nursing. Additionally, Baker University offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Organizational leadership, Education, plus a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program.
Baker University is a liberal arts institution of higher education that was established in 1858. As one of Kansas’ best Christian universities online, Baker University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The university’s campus in Baldwin City serves more than 2,900 undergraduate and graduate students. Baker University holds the distinction of being the oldest university to be continually operating in the state of Kansas.
Online Graduate Degrees: 8
5. Mississippi College
Mississippi College is recognized among the Mississippi’s best online Christian universities by offering more than 20 graduate degrees that care available to be completed entirely online. The graduate degrees offered by one of the best online Christian universities are available in traditional formats and accelerated courses. Degree programs available from one of the country’s state’s best Christian universities online include the topics of business administration, accountancy, education, teaching arts, health informatics, communications, health administration, homeland security, nursing counseling, and cybersecurity, to name a few. Several graduate degrees offer specializations within the degree like the MBA with a business focus, finance focus, accounting focus, and JD dual degree focus.
Mississippi College was established in 1826. Mississippi College’s suburban campus in Clinton serves more than 5,000 students. Mississippi College remains affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention since the mid-1850s. Mississippi College holds the distinction of being the 2nd oldest Baptist institution of higher education in the nation and the oldest school in the state.
Online Graduate Degrees: 24
6. Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University is one of the best online Christian universities on the west coast that completely offers 21 graduate degrees online. Among the academic degrees available from one of the nation’s best Christian universities online include a master’s in art education, education technology, leadership, visual art, healthcare administration, nursing education, business administration, public administration, physical ed, art history, and library science, among others. Other graduate programs include innovative topics like user experience design, screenwriting, and strategic communication.
Azusa Pacific University (APU) was established as a private institution of higher learning in 1899. This evangelical university is considered among California’s best Christian online universities, with more than 5,000 students attending yearly. APU is a recognized leader for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. The seminary and theology graduate school align with the Wesleyan Arminian doctrine.
Online Graduate Degrees: 21
7. Northwest Nazarene University
Northwest Nazarene University, among the best Christian online universities, offers twelve graduate degree programs that can be finished entirely through the university’s distance learning platform. Among the master-level degrees offered by Idaho’s best Christian universities online include education, curriculum, education leadership, nursing, accountancy, business administration, and missional leadership, among others. Northwest Nazarene University’s Theology and Christian Ministries offers a pastoral ministry, divinity, and missional leadership. The Masters of Divinity degree program offers several specializations in spiritual formation, youth, and children.
Northwest Nazarene University was established in 1913 as both an elementary school and bible school. The school’s suburban location in Nampa is home to more than 2,000 students. NZU remains affiliated with the Nazarene Church. Northwest Nazarene University is a member school of the Church of the Nazarene and considered among the best online Christian universities in the nation.
Online Graduate Degrees: 12
8. Dallas Baptist University
As one of the best online Christian universities, Dallas Baptist University (DBU) prepares students to servant leaders by offering sixteen graduate degree programs that are available entirely online. TheBestSchools.org recognizes the graduate programs offered by DBU as among the best Christian online universities in the country, which include various degrees in the fields of business, ministry, education, leadership, liberal arts, and professional development. Professional development degrees offered online from DBU include concentrations in church leadership, counseling, management, finance, higher education, and criminal justice, to name a few.
Dallas Baptist University is a private southern Baptist institute of higher learning that was founded in 1898. DBU’s urban campuses Dallas, Hurst, and Plano, serves more than 4,300 students and covers more than 340 acres. Dallas Baptist University is considered among the best Christian universities online in Texas.
Online Graduate Degrees: 16
9. Liberty University Online
Liberty University Online, as one of Virginia’s best online Christian universities, offers nearly 75 different graduate degrees that are available 100% online. Among the most popular academic degrees from one of the best Christian online universities includes programs from business administration, teaching, mental health, counseling, criminal justice, public health, divinity, human services, education, and executive leadership, among others. Liberty University Online offers eight start dates each calendar year with online classes follow a flexible format that covers only 8 weeks. Liberty University Online offers a generous transfer credit policy, which can be found on the school’s website.
Liberty University was established by Jerry Falwell, Sr, in 1971. More than 44,000 students attend classes on-campus in Lynchburg, with another approximately 93,000 students studying online through the school’s distance learning platform. LU is considered among the largest and the best Christian universities online in the world.
Online Graduate Degrees: 73
10. California Baptist University – CBU Online
California Baptist University is California’s best Christian online universities that offers 18 graduate degrees through the university’s distance learning platform. CBU online has received authorization to offer academic degrees online in 37 states. Included in the master level degree programs offered by one of the nation’s best online Christian universities include degrees in the area of public health, accounting, public administration, communication, leadership, counseling, business administration (with two MBA emphases), education (with five concentrations), kinesiology and Information Technology Management. California Baptist University is accredited by the WSCUC – the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Senior College and University Commission.
California Baptist University is a private institute of higher learning that was established in 1950. The university’s eleven colleges/schools serve more than 11,000 students. California Baptist University remains affiliated with the SBU – the Southern Baptist Convention, making it one of the best Christian universities online in California.
Online Graduate Degrees: 18
11. Baptist College of Florida
The Baptist College of Florida is recognized as one of Florida’s best Christian online universities that offers three graduate degrees online that are available completely through the college’s distance learning platform. These programs from one of Florida’s best online Christian universities include Master of Arts (MA) degree programs in Counseling, Christian Studies and Music, and Worship Leadership. The Christian Studies master’s degree is offered as a research oriented academic degree program. The counseling master’s degree program is a practice-based and dedicated to counseling in the ministry.
The Baptist College of Florida was established in 1943 as an institute to train ministers. The college’s campus in Graceville is home to more than 450 students studying for degrees offered by BCF. The Baptist College of Florida is administered to by the FBC – the Florida Baptist Convention, which makes it one of the best Christian universities online in the country.
Online Graduate Degrees: 3
12. Johnson University
Johnson University is a multiple campus institution of higher education that is recognized among the country’s best Christian online universities. Among the online master’s degree programs offered by Johnson University includes a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program, a Master of Arts (MA) in Intercultural Studies degree, and a Master of Arts (MA) in the New Testament. Johnson University’s MBA program is currently being reviewed for accreditation by the ACBSP. MBA concentrations from one of Tennessee’s best online Christian universities include Nonprofit Management, Management, or Leadership.
Johnson University is recognized among Tennessee’s best Christian universities online that was established in 1893. Johnson University is affiliated with the Restoration Christian Movement. The university operates two campuses – one in Kimberlin Heights, TN, and Kissimmee, FL, just outside of Orlando. Johnson University was initially called the School of the Evangelists, but names for the school’s 1st president.
Online Graduate Degrees: 4
13. Northwest University
Northwest University is one of Washington state’s best online Christian universities with its six graduate degrees that can be completed entirely online or through hybrid delivery formats. Among the master’s degrees offered by one of the country’s best Christian online universities, one can enroll in a graduate degree in ministry, bible and theology, mental health counseling, nursing, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA). For instance, the Master of Science in Nursing is available entirely online and can be completed in less than two years.
Northwest University was established in 1934 as a nonprofit institution of higher learning dedicated to bible studies. As one of Washington’s best Christian universities online, Northwest University serves more than 1,500 students vying for academic degrees offered by Northwest University’s six colleges/schools. NU is administered by the Assemblies of God, USA.
Online Graduate Degrees: 6
14. King University
King University, operating as one of Tennessee’s best online Christian universities, offers two graduate degrees through the university’s online platform. The graduate degrees available from one of the nation’s best Christian online universities include a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The MSN degree from King University offers candidates three concentrations – nurse educator, nurse administrator, or pediatric nurse practitioner. The MBA program offers concentrations in project management, healthcare administration, marketing, MIS, human resource management, and general management.
King University was established in 1867 and is considered among Tennessee’s best Christian universities online that serves students on its wooded campus in Bristol. The land for the King University was donated by the Reverend J. King. King University maintains dual affiliations with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church.
Online Graduate Degrees: 2
15. Belhaven University
Belhaven University ‘s fourteen Online Graduate Degrees creates one of the country’s best online Christian universities. US News and World Report recognizes Belhaven University among the best regional universities in the southern US. Among the programs offered from one of the best Christian online universities in the state are – a master’s degree in education, reading literacy, theological studies, MBA (with seven concentrations), health administration, leadership (with three concentrations), public administration (with two concentrations), teaching sports administration and information technology management.
Belhaven University is one of Mississippi’s best Christian universities online that was established in 1883. BU is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and serves more than 4,100 students on their Jackson campus. BU has additional academic facilities in Madison, Chattanooga, Dalton, and Memphis. BU was created when the McComb Female College and the Mississippi Synodical College merged.
Online Graduate Degrees: 14
16. Lee University
Lee University is recognized as one of the country’s best online Christian universities by offering four graduate degrees through the school’s innovative distance learning platform. The graduate degrees offered by Cleveland Tennessee’s best Christian online universities include a Master of Arts (MA) in Ministry Studies, a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Science (MS) in Family and Marriage Studies and a Master’s degree in Music Education. Coursework from Lee University is offered in classes that run seven weeks and are available asynchronously.
Lee University was established in 1918 as a bible college. The university is now considered among the best Christian universities online that is affiliated with the Church of God. The school’s 100+ acre campus covers more than 100 suburban acres and serves more than 5,200 students. Lee University if the 5th largest institution of higher learning who are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Online Graduate Degrees: 4
17. Bethel University (MN)
Bethel University (MN) offers more than 25 graduate academic degrees online, which makes it one of the nation’s best online Christian universities. Among the many graduate degrees offered by one of Minnesota’s best Christian online universities are graduate degrees in education (with six concentrations), a Master of Business Administration (MBA with eight concentrations), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Master of Arts (MA) in Special Ed (with four concentrations), and strategic leadership, among others. Bethel University also offers dual degree options with an MBA and DNP or a Strategic Leadership degree with a DNP.
Bethel University (MN) was established in 1871 as a bible school but is currently recognized among Minnesota’sbest Christian universities online. More than 6,400 students study on the university’s Arden Hills campus or online. Bethel University remains affiliated with the Converge. The school was originally established in Chicago to educate Swedish immigrants.
Online Graduate Degrees: 26
18. Concordia University – Wisconsin
As one of the best online Christian universities in the Midwest, Concordia University – Wisconsin (CUW) offers nearly 50 academic graduate degrees on the school’s distance-learning platform. Concordia University – Wisconsin’s graduate online degrees include programs in occupational therapy, product development, education, curriculum development, nursing, special education, business administration, finance, healthcare administration, accounting, communications, international business, sports business, and sustainability management, to name a few. Students enrolled in Concordia University – Wisconsin as one of the best Christian online universities, receive an advisor’s guidance throughout their school tenure.
Concordia University – Wisconsin was founded in 1881. Among Wisconsin’s best Christian universities online, the Lutheran Church (LCMS) administers Concordia University – Wisconsin and the more than 7,500 students attending classes. Concordia University – Wisconsin is one of the nine higher education institutions that comprise the Concordia University system in the United States.
Online Graduate Degrees: 47
19. Shorter University
Shorter University offers six graduate academic degrees from a school that is considered among Georgia’s best online Christian universities and colleges. The master level degree programs available from one of the country’s best Christian online universities include a Master of Accountancy, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sports Management or Health Care Management, and a Master of Management (MM) general degree or an MM with a concentration in Human Services Non-Profit Management. These online graduate degrees are offered in an accelerated format, which allows students to finish in as little as one year.
Shorter University is a private university that was founded in 1873. Shorter University operates several academic centers in Atlanta, as well as Rome, Georgia. More than 1,700 students attend classes on campus and online. Shorter University is managed by the GBC, the Georgia Baptist Convention. The university is considered among the state’s best Christian universities online and on-campus.
Online Graduate Degrees: 6
20. Calvary University
As one of the Midwest’s best online Christian universities, Calvary University offers three graduate degrees through the school’s online system. These degrees require either 33 or 36 semester credits to meet the program’s requirements. As one of the state’s best Christian online universities, Calvary University provides a Master of Science (MS) in Worship Arts (MUSIC), a Master of Science (MSEd) in Education, and a Master of Science (MS) in Organizational Development. Calvary University offers tuition discounts to military members or those who are currently working full-time in a ministerial position.
Calvary University was established as a bible school in 1932 and is now recognized as one of Missouri’s best Christian universities online and on-campus. The university’s campus in Kansas City serves approximately 350 students. Calvary University was created when the Midwest Bible College and the Kansas City Bible College merged. An additional merger added the Citadel Bible College in the mid-1980s.
Online Graduate Degrees: 3
21. Concordia University – Chicago
Concordia University Chicago offers sixteen academic master-level degree programs, which makes it among Chicago’s best online Christian universities. These graduate level programs from one of Illinois’ best Christian online universities include degrees in church music, curriculum, early childhood education, education administration, human services, innovation & entrepreneurship, instructional design & technology, and gifted education, among others. The graduate level curriculum degrees are offered with concentrations in trauma, ESL, Bilingual Endorsements. Concentrations for graduate education degrees include technology leadership and second language.
Concordia University – Chicago was established as a teaching seminary in 1964. Concordia University – Chicago’s campus in River Forest is home to more than 6,000 students who are studying for degrees from one of the city’s best Christian universities online. The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod manages all nine schools in the Concordia University throughout the United States, of which CUC is one.
Online Graduate Degrees: 16
22. Clarks Summit University
Clarks Summit University offers four master-level degrees through the school’s distance learning platform that can be completed in less than 24 months. As one of the commonwealth’s best online Christian universities, Clarks Summit University offers a Master of Arts (MA) degree, a Master of Arts (MA) in Literature, a Master of Education, and a Master of Science (MS) degree in Counseling. The associated Baptist Bible Seminary offers a Master of Arts, Ministry, and Divinity. As one of the best Christian online universities in the country, Clarks Summit University prepares students for their lives in the service of Jesus Christ.
Clarks Summit University was established in 1932 in upstate New York. Clarks Summit University’s campus covers more than 125 acres, is several minutes from Scranton and home to about 750 students. Clarks Summit University remains affiliated with the Baptist Church and is recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s best Christian universities online.
Online Graduate Degrees: 4
23. Gardner-Webb University
Gardner-Webb University is among North Carolina’s best online Christian universities and offers four graduate-level degree programs through the school’s distance learning platform. Included in the degrees offered by one of the nation’s best Christian online universities is a Master of Accountancy degree, a Master of Business Administration (an MBA with or without a certificate), and a Master of International Business Administration (IMBA). These online graduate degrees from Gardner-Webb University require degree candidates to complete 30 semester credits to meet each program’s requirements.
Gardner-Webb University was founded as a high school in 1905. The university’s college-town campus serves more than 3,500 students studying for academic degrees offered by the university’s six colleges/schools. Gardner-Webb University is a Baptist institution of higher education ranked among the best Christian universities online in North Carolina.
Online Graduate Degrees: 4
24. Charleston Southern University
Charleston Southern University, recognized among the southern US’s best online Christian universities, offers thirteen master-level academic degrees through the school’s online platform. Included in the graduate degree lineup from one of the country’s best Christian online universities includes graduate degrees in the areas of analytics, technology, business, supply chain management, computer science, project management, criminal justice, healthcare, hospitality, leadership, public safety management, general management, nursing, and human resources. US News recognizes CSU as the best school for veterans seeking a baccalaureate degree in the state of South Carolina.
Charleston Southern University was established in 1964. The campus in North Charleston covers more than 300 acres and serves nearly 3,800 students. As a Southern Baptist institution of higher learning, Charleston Southern University is recognized among South Carolina’s best Christian universities online and on campus.
Online Graduate Degrees: 13
25. Culver-Stockton College
Culver-Stockton College, ranked among the best online Christian universities in the midwestern United States, offers three graduate degrees through the college’s online platform. The master’s degree from one of Missouri’s best Christian online universities includes a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Education and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) combined with a Master of Business Administration dual degree. The coursework offered from Culver-Stockton College is offered in eight-week formats, where students enroll in one class at a time until they meet the online program requirements.
Culver-Stockton College was established in 1853. The college’s campus in Canton is managed by the Disciples of Christ and is home to more than 1,000 students. Culver-Stockton College holds the distinction as being the first coeducational institution of higher education that was located to the west of the Mississippi River and being one of the state’s best Christian universities online.
Online Graduate Degrees: 3
Why Should I Get My Master’s From an Online Christian University?
Online Christian colleges have an edge over public institutions when it comes to attracting students of faith. These schools integrate faith and learning for a holistic worldview that doesn’t offend conservative beliefs. When students attend online Christian colleges, every class is taught from a faith-based perspective that incorporates Scripture in the foundations of each education track.
Christian universities online offer an integration that aids students seeking knowledge in the context of traditional Christian values. This is particularly true when it comes to understanding God’s will and purpose for men and women. Students who want to celebrate the glory of God and learn how each subject fits into His eternal significance can benefit from Christian universities online. Under the right stewardship, careers become something more than the pursuit of financial gain.
Christian colleges online have professors with a genuine interest in connecting with students. This is possible in the online environment as well as traditional on-campus environments. When students attend a Christian-based grade school, they enter a world of enlightenment on many levels. Caring staff members offer their time, thoughts and prayers before exams, during times of personal and global crises and any time it’s needed. Having mentors to offer encouragement and wisdom for life challenges is a distinct advantage that extends beyond academics.
Christian colleges online hire staff members who share the school’s values and worldview. This means that everyone from admissions clerks to financial aid advisors share a joint vision to support students as Christ instructed. Students will attend classes with other students who believe in the vision of God’s grace and aim to bring his wisdom and grace to earth. Discover an academic world of people with ethical values and meet lifelong friends who share a mutual love of God. If you have a passion for Christ, attending a Christian university may be your opportunity to express that openly.
How Can I Save Money on an Online Master’s from a Christian University?
Before going for the cheapest online Christian colleges as a default, consider other ways to save money. In fact, if you are seeking knowledge without the pressure of a degree, there are ways to attend Christian online colleges free. For example, AMES International School of Ministry offers paid classes to earn a degree and unpaid classes for any students who wish to take them.
Low tuition Christian colleges, such as Southern New Hampshire University offer fully online degrees at a fraction of the cost of other affordable online Christian colleges.
Because they have a special mission, most Christian-based colleges are private institutions, so even the cheapest online Christian colleges tend to cost more than public universities. Fortunately, the federal financial aid calculation takes the cost of tuition into account when you apply for aid. So, you may receive additional assistance if you attend a private institution.
Affordable online Christian colleges may offer loans and scholarship opportunities for students in need. Check the website of the school you wish to attend to find out what kind of aid they offer. Additionally, you can search for scholarships and grants exclusively tailored to students attending Christian universities. Some sites list out scholarships and give you tips on how to apply for them.
Due to opportunities to take classes at Christian online colleges free and low tuition Christian colleges, students who choose a state institution may end up paying more than those who select a Christian university. Finding scholarship opportunities and impressing the granting organizations is the best way to save money to secure your spot at an online Christian university.
How Do I Choose an Online Christian Grad School?
Choose from accredited online bible colleges to ensure your employability after you receive your degree. Reputable accredited Christian colleges showcase their accreditations in the about section of their website or on the homepage. Besides traditional college accreditation, look for accrediting organizations for Christian universities such as :
- Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools (AARTS)
- Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
- Association of Theological Schools The Commission on Accrediting (ATS)
Top online Christian colleges include those that maintain their faith-based curriculum including Notre Dame, Georgetown and Brigham Young University. Many other schools that began as Christian universities have adopted secular viewpoints in how to administer the schools and teach the classes. For example, Yale and Harvard harken back to Puritan founders, whereas, Princeton catered to its Presbyterian founders and students. Make sure that the curriculum you follow includes faith-based teaching if that’s important to you.
You can also use ranking sites to help you choose the best accredited Christian colleges for you. For example, EDsmart assesses accredited online bible colleges in four areas: student satisfaction, cost, salary of graduates and academic quality.
The data the site uses comes from College Navigator. and College Scorecard maintained by the U.S. Dept of Education. Those sites can also help you narrow down your existing list of top online Christian colleges. Other reputable ranking sites include Niche.com and Best Christian Colleges.