A Bible college centers its curriculum on the Bible. You'll learn how to interpret the Bible and get a detailed understanding of its major books. You'll be able to earn your degree in 2-4 years. Bible colleges tend to be more cost-effective than other colleges. Students are required to align their values and actions to biblical faith.
While Bible colleges mainly prepare you for roles inside the church, such as a pastor, missionary or church director after graduation, you can also work in religious roles outside of the church setting. A chaplain, for instance, can work in prisons, hospitals, and the military.
Students can also study subjects like education, social work, and communications. They may go on to work in human services roles that are less religiously oriented, such as social work and counseling.
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The Best Bible Colleges
Established in 1636, Harvard now enrolls more than 23,700 students on an annual basis. The university also provides free online courses through the HarvardX online platform.
The Harvard Divinity School offers five degree programs, including the master of theological studies, master of divinity, master of theology, master of religion and public life, and doctor of philosophy. Students typically finish their master's degrees within one to three years, while doctorate students finish their courses within five to seven years.
Applicants must submit official transcripts of records, three letters of recommendation, an updated resume, and a statement of purpose.
Since its founding in 1701, Yale blossomed into a large research university, recognized nationally and internationally. About 4,660 undergraduate students and 7,400 graduate students attend Yale every year.
Yale Divinity School offers master's degrees in divinity, religion, and sacred theology, along with certificate programs in black church studies, educational leadership ministry, Lutheran studies, and united methodist studies. Yale allows students to cross enroll in courses and allows students the opportunity to complete dual degrees.
Interested applicants must send over a completed application form, an academic writing sample, letters of recommendation, and official transcripts of records.
Founded in 1890, UChicago ranks among the top urban research universities in the country. UChicago offers 52 majors at the undergraduate level and six professional schools for graduate study.
The University of Chicago Divinity School also offers areas of study in constructive studies, Buddhist studies, religion and the human sciences, Islamic studies, and religions in the Americas. UChicago's students take different classes across these areas of study and can pursue special courses.
UChicago does not require domestic students to submit official academic records. However, all applicants must meet the minimum score requirements for the TOEFL and IELTS and submit letters of recommendation and a writing sample.
Emory was founded in 1836 and now consists of two campuses in the city of Atlanta. The university enrolls more than 14,000 students in the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Emory's Graduate Division of Religion offers nine courses of study, including American religious cultures, ethics and society, Hebrew Bible, historical studies in theology and religion, person, community and religious life, and theological studies. All students participate in the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program as part of their study plan.
Emory requires interested applicants to submit transcripts, a statement of purpose, an updated resume, and three letters of recommendation.
Established in 1860, Wheaton now offers more than 40 undergraduate degrees and 18 graduate programs. Wheaton integrates a 10:1 student-faculty ratio and an average class size of 23 students.
Wheaton's School of Biblical and Theological Studies provides students with degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wheaton offers bachelor's degrees in biblical and theological studies and biblical archaeology, master's degrees in biblical exegesis, Christianity, and theology.
Interested applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum GPA of 3.0.
Saint Johns University
With two campuses across the state of Minnesota, SJU offers more than 60 areas of study. All classes at SJU are taught by credentialed faculty members, as opposed to graduate assistants.
The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at SJU offers a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and an advanced certificate in theology. SJU also provides students with the option to take an accelerated dual degree program and complete bachelor's and master's degrees in five years of full-time study.
SJU requires all applicants to fill out the online application and submit all official transcripts of records from an accredited college or university.
The University of the South
Sewanee rolls out 38 majors, 44 minors, and 15 special programs in its academic line-up. The university also implements an excellent student-faculty ratio of 11:1, providing a welcoming environment for the teaching-learning process.
Sewanee's School of Theology offers a major and a minor in religious studies. Students of this program learn intensive courses, including philosophy of religion, introduction to the Bible, introduction to Asian religions, gender and sex in the new testament, and methodologies in religious studies.
All applicants must submit their official transcripts of records, two letters of recommendation, and a completed application form.
Since its inception in 1847, Earlham consistently ranks among the best liberal arts institutions in the country. Earlham provides top-quality education through an excellent student-faculty ratio of 9:1.
Earlham's School of Religion offers master's programs in divinity and ministry, religion, theopoetics and writing, and peace and social transformation. Earlham also offers certificate programs in spiritual exploration and formation, writing as a ministry, entrepreneurial ministry, and bi-vocational ministry.
Interested applicants must complete the online application form, submit official post-secondary transcripts, and complete the essay within the Slate application system.
For over 180 years, Erskine developed a reputation as a first-rate Christian academic community. Erskine provides students with academic success resources, including supplemental instruction, writing services, and information technology support.
Erskine's Bible and Religion program offers the Christian education track and the biblical and theological track. For students planning to continue their studies in the seminary, Erskine also offers the Accelerated Ministry Program.
Erskine requires all applicants to fill out the online application and submit all official academic transcripts of records.
Located in a 200-acre picturesque campus in Laurel Highlands, Saint Vincent enrolls more than 1,800 students every year. Saint Vincent offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, along with an 11:1 student-faculty ratio.
The Theology Department at Saint Vincent offers a bachelor of arts degree in technology, along with more than 40 majors and minors. Graduates of Saint Vincent's theology program now work in the youth ministry, campus ministry, parish ministry, military chaplaincy, or teach as high school theology teachers.
All applicants must complete a signed application form, submit official high school transcripts and SAT and/or ACT scores, and pay a $25 application fee.
Walla Walla University
College Place, WA
WWU expanded to five campuses throughout the Pacific Northwest since its founding in 1892. About 1,700 undergraduate and graduate students attend WWU every year.
WWU's School of Theology offers bachelor's degrees and minors in religion, theology, and Biblical languages. Students of this program learn through field experiences in local churches, hospital visitations, and regional evangelistic meetings.
WWU requires applicants to hold a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and submit their official transcripts of records.
Currently recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the country, Belmont enrolls more than 8,200 students annually. Belmont also offers more than 100 undergraduate programs and 27 graduate degrees.
The College of Theology and Christian Ministry at Belmont offers bachelor's degrees in Biblical studies, Christian leadership, church leadership and administration, faith and social justice, ministry, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and worship leadership. Belmont also provides students with field education experiences and opportunities to study abroad.
Belmont requires all applicants to fill out an online application form and submit their official transcripts directly to the Office of Admissions.
Hellenic College-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Established in 1937, HCHC is the only fully accredited Orthodox Christian college in the Western Hemisphere.
HCHC's School of Theology offers master's degree programs in divinity, theological studies, and theology. HCHC also provides students with the option to complete certificate programs in Byzantine music, the diaconate program, and youth and young adult ministry and leadership.
Interested applicants must complete an online application and submit official copies of transcripts. HCHC also requires applicants to submit a personal essay and a letter of recommendation.
Recognized as a top-ranked Catholic liberal arts college, SNC offers more than 80 programs of study. About 1,900 students attend SNC every year.
SNC offers a master of theological studies program for students wanting to learn more about the history of Christian doctrine. This theology degree program delivers courses during the evenings and Saturdays for maximum flexibility.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, submit their official transcripts, and complete a 500-word essay.
Texas Lutheran University
TLU was founded in 1891 and earned an affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). TLU provides students with 27 majors, 37 minors, and 64 specializations.
TLU's theology degree program offers three specializations the areas of liberal arts, pre-seminary, and youth ministry. This theology program combines both philosophy and classical language courses to provide students with holistic education.
TLU requires applicants to send their official transcripts, write a personal essay, and submit their official SAT and/or ACT scores.
John Paul the Great Catholic University
JPCatholic established a vibrant community of nearly 300 students since opening its doors in 2003. Ninety-nine percent of JPCatholic students receive institutional financial aid.
The School of Theology and Religious Studies at JPCatholic offers a master of arts, licentiate, doctor of philosophy, and doctor of sacred theology degrees in Biblical studies. Graduates of this program now assume roles as religious sisters, biomedical ethicists, and liturgists.
JPCatholic requires interested applicants to complete the Common Application form, a secondary school report with counselor letter, and official high school transcripts.
Ranked as a top Midwest university in the nation, UE offers areas of study at the undergraduate and graduate levels. UE now enrolls more than 2,000 students every year.
UE offers a bachelor of arts in religion. The university also provides students with focus areas in religion and culture, social justice, and New Testament and Early Christianity.
All applicants must submit their official transcripts, official SAT, and/or ACT scores.
Johnson University Florida
Established in 1893, JUFL provides students with a state-of-the-art campus near the Florida coasts. JUFL integrates small class sizes that allow for interactive discussions between students and professors.
JUFL offers an associate of arts and associate of science degrees in biblical studies that provides students with the eligibility to pursue a four-year bachelor's degree. JUFL's Biblical studies program rolls out blended coursework from the Arts and Sciences core and the Bible and Theology core.
JUFL requires students to send their official transcripts, along with their ACT, SAT, or CLT scores.
Founded in 1889, Saint Anselm ranks as one of the best national liberal arts colleges in America. Saint Anselm offers a wide array of academic programs, including 45 majors and 52 minors.
Saint Anselm also offers a major and a minor in theology. Students of this program learn in-depth courses in biblical studies, moral and ethics, comparative theology, history, and systematics.
All applicants must fill out the admission application form and submit their official transcripts, school report, and a letter of recommendation.
Since its inception in 1827, Hanover offers an interdisciplinary program with 34 majors. Around 1,100 students enroll at Hanover every year.
Hanover offers a theological studies program for students aiming to study the influence and impact of religious movements. Students of this theology program complete courses in theology and ethics, interfaith encounters, issues in religious ethics, and feminist theologies.
Hanover requires students to complete the application for admission and submit original or certified true copies of transcripts.
What Is the Difference Between Bible Colleges vs. Christian Schools?
Christian colleges share some similarities with Bible colleges. Christian colleges center teaching from a Christian worldview, and Bible colleges heavily focus on a particular denomination's teachings. For this reason, all Bible colleges can be considered Christian schools.
But Bible colleges differ from Christian Schools in a few key ways. The main distinction between the two is that Bible colleges prepare you to do work in the religious sector, while Christian colleges provide an education that can apply outside of religious institutions.
While all Christian schools have at least some emphasis on religion and the Bible, some may only require one or two religiously oriented courses. Christian colleges can offer a wider range of courses — students may be able to find coursework in the sciences, mathematics, history, and philosophy.
Bible schools prepare people for ministry roles or other religiously-oriented jobs. They go in-depth on the Bible's teachings and more heavily incorporate them into the curriculum. Coursework includes topics on the Bible, missions, ministry, and theology.
Bible school curriculums also include areas at the intersection of faith and the professions. For example, degree offerings may also include areas like biblical counseling or music ministry. If you know you want a religiously oriented career path, Bible schools are a great option to prepare you.
How Much Does Bible College Cost?
The cost of Bible college depends on a number of factors, including whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student or live on or off campus. Bible colleges are also private institutions, which are generally more expensive than public colleges.
You can offset the cost of Bible college through scholarships, grants, and loans. You can also get denominational funding and informal church donations. While faith-based organizations and communities may not have enough cash to pay off all your debts, they might be more generous given that their money would go to you devoting yourself to your faith.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bible Colleges
Is Bible college a real degree?
Degrees from accredited colleges meet a third-party standard. A degree from any accredited Bible college is a real degree. With that said, there are some Bible colleges that don't have accreditation.
What's the difference between Bible College and Seminary?
While both Bible colleges and seminaries will prepare you for religious-based roles, they have some key differences. Bible colleges are undergraduate, while seminaries are graduate-level. Students can attend either Bible college or seminary school, but they can also attend both for a more immersive experience.
How long does it take to get a degree in Bible college?
Bible college degrees can take two to four years to complete, depending on if you pursue an Associate degree or Bachelor. There are also some accelerated programs. Other schools also offer 4+1 tracks, where you can earn your master's in Bible studies with just one additional year of study.
Can you get a job with a Bible degree?
You can get a job with a Bible degree. You can work in faith-based organizations or serve in faith-based roles at prisons, the military, and hospitals. A Bible degree demonstrates a level of devotion and ethics that is welcome in a wide range of careers.
Do you have to go to Bible College to be a pastor?
You do not necessarily need to go to Bible College to be a pastor, but some churches may require this. Keep in mind that throughout history, many religious leaders didn't even have the option to do so. Formal education can prepare you to be a pastor, but it is not the only avenue.
Page last reviewed June 14, 2023. All rankings and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by the TBS Rankings Team.