The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated October 10, 2022

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Master of divinity degree (MDiv) programs prepare graduates for ministry careers.

Graduates can lead congregations in worship services and provide pastoral care for their communities. They can also counsel individuals and groups on personal issues, matters of faith, and religious responsibilities. Clergy members make a mean annual salary of over $55,000.

During an MDiv program, graduate students build leadership, theological, and pastoral skills. Pursuing a master of divinity online gives students the flexibility to balance their studies with personal and professional obligations. Online degrees also allow students to attend top programs in the country without relocating.

Featured Online Schools

The Best Online Master of Divinity Degree Programs

#1 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Harding University

  • Searcy, AR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's can earn their master of divinity from Harding University, located in Searcy, Arkansas. The program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing enrollees for decision-making responsibilities. Master's graduates can also pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum examines advanced theories and practices in divinity. Learners individualize the program to prepare for focused careers. Applicants who majored in divinity or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Internships and other networking events help degree candidates expand their professional network.

Harding University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 61%

Total Online Master's Programs: 16

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,372

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,372

Average Tuition
In-state
$20,010
Out-of-state
$20,010
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
4,879
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#2 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Southeastern University

  • Lakeland, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online master of divinity at Southeastern University, located in Lakeland, Florida, prioritizes flexibility. Students prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous program. A master's degree can also prepare graduates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum emphasizes current research in divinity. Learners focus their training by choosing electives based on their interests and career goals. Applicants with a background in divinity typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

Southeastern University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 48%

Total Online Master's Programs: 4

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,810

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,810

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,620
Out-of-state
$25,620
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
9,894
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
48% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Clarks Summit University

  • South Abington Township, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, Clarks Summit University offers an online master of divinity. The program strengthens enrollees' specialized skills, preparing them for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare graduates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in divinity. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in divinity or a related field.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

Clarks Summit University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 41%

Total Online Master's Programs: 5

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,160

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,160

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,082
Out-of-state
$26,082
Retention Rate
78%
Admission Rate
41%
Students Enrolled
771
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

#4 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Multnomah University

  • Portland, OR
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Portland, Oregon, Multnomah University hosts a top-ranked master of divinity program. The program encourages career training throughout its curriculum, preparing students for leadership positions. A master's degree can also prepare graduates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum emphasizes theory and practice in divinity. Learners prepare for focused careers by choosing electives and concentrations. Applicants with prior experience in divinity or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Multnomah University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 53%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,440

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,440

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,440
Out-of-state
$26,440
Retention Rate
52%
Admission Rate
53%
Students Enrolled
635
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

#5 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

University of Northwestern-St. Paul

  • Saint Paul, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, University of Northwestern-St. Paul enrolls master's students in its top-ranked online master of divinity program. The program emphasizes advanced practice skills, training students for leadership roles and an increased earning potential. Master's degree-holders can advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to divinity. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants who majored in divinity or a related field typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections by attending networking events.

University of Northwestern-St. Paul at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 92%

Total Online Master's Programs: 6

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,982

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,982

Average Tuition
In-state
$31,580
Out-of-state
$31,580
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
92%
Students Enrolled
3,525
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#6 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Abilene Christian University

  • Abilene, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Abilene, Texas, Abilene Christian University offers an online master of divinity. The program builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing enrollees for leadership positions with increased salary potential. A master's degree also helps graduates pursue new career paths.

The curriculum blends theory and practice to provide an advanced understanding of divinity. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. Applicants with a background in divinity typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to find local internships. These and other networking events help graduate students expand their professional network.

Abilene Christian University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 61%

Total Online Master's Programs: 12

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $22,356

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $22,356

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,250
Out-of-state
$36,250
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
61%
Students Enrolled
5,292
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#7 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Moody Bible Institute

  • Chicago, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of divinity at Moody Bible Institute, located in Chicago, Illinois, uses a flexible distance learning format. The program strengthens specialized skills, preparing enrollees for leadership roles with a higher earning potential. After completing a master's degree, graduates can advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The curriculum covers theoretical and practical approaches to divinity. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The admission requirements include a background in divinity or a related field.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internships at approved sites in their local communities. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Moody Bible Institute at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 94%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $8,010

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $8,010

Average Tuition
In-state
$11,200
Out-of-state
$11,200
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
94%
Students Enrolled
3,009
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#8 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Anderson University

  • Anderson, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of divinity at Anderson University, located in Anderson, South Carolina, uses a flexible distance learning format. The program builds specialized skills for advanced practice, preparing learners for leadership positions with increased salary potential. Earning a master's degree helps candidates move into a new career or advance in their current field.

The curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners take specialized courses to stand out in a competitive job market. The program recommends that applicants bring a background in divinity or a related field.

Online enrollees meet any in-person requirements, such as internships, at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to participate in hands-on experiences and networking events to grow their professional connections.

Anderson University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 69%

Total Online Master's Programs: 2

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,651

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,651

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,130
Out-of-state
$26,130
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
3,543
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
44% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#9 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Crown College

  • Saint Bonifacius, MN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota, Crown College offers an online master of divinity. The  program emphasizes industry-relevant knowledge and skills, preparing students for decision-making responsibilities. After earning a master's degree, candidates can also pursue careers in new industries.

The curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches. Learners prepare for the job market by choosing a specialty through electives. Applicants without a background in divinity may need to complete prerequisites.

Online enrollees work with the program to identify internship opportunities at approved sites in their local communities. Internships and other practicum activities build both hands-on experience and professional connections.

Crown College at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 50%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,720

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,720

Average Tuition
In-state
$26,480
Out-of-state
$26,480
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
50%
Students Enrolled
1,522
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#10 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Hope International University

  • Fullerton, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of divinity at Hope International University, located in Fullerton, California, uses a flexible distance learning format. The program helps graduates move into leadership roles and increase their earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help graduates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum emphasizes both practical and theoretical approaches to divinity. Learners specialize the program by choosing from a variety of electives. Applicants with a background in divinity typically meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. Internships and other practicum activities also provide professional networking opportunities.

Hope International University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 37%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,764

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,764

Average Tuition
In-state
$32,250
Out-of-state
$32,250
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
37%
Students Enrolled
1,130
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
50% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#11 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Liberty University

  • Lynchburg, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

From its campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University hosts a top-ranked master of divinity program. Enrollees prepare for advanced roles in the field during the rigorous program. A master's degree can also lead graduates to new career paths.

The curriculum explores advanced methodologies and research in divinity. Learners prepare for focused career paths by choosing electives and concentrations. The admission requirements include a background in divinity or a related field.

Online enrollees coordinate with the program to complete internships at approved sites in their local area. The program encourages professional development activities, including networking events, so graduate students can expand their professional connections.

Liberty University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 51%

Total Online Master's Programs: 67

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $7,980

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $7,980

Average Tuition
In-state
$15,417
Out-of-state
$15,417
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
51%
Students Enrolled
85,586
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#12 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Olivet Nazarene University

  • Bourbonnais, IL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University offers an online master of divinity. The program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing learners for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. Earning a master's degree can also help graduates pursue new career opportunities.

The curriculum emphasizes current research in divinity. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. The program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in divinity.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students also build professional connections through virtual networking events and other activities.

Olivet Nazarene University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 58%

Total Online Master's Programs: 9

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,420

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,420

Average Tuition
In-state
$36,080
Out-of-state
$36,080
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
4,317
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
58% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#13 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Anderson University

  • Anderson, IN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's can earn their master of divinity at Anderson University, located in Anderson, Indiana. The program emphasizes specialized skills, preparing enrollees for increased responsibilities and a higher earning potential. A master's degree can also prepare candidates for opportunities in new fields.

The curriculum emphasizes current research in divinity. Learners choose electives or a specialization to gain focused career training. Applicants with prior experience in divinity or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees gain real-world experience through internships offered in their local area. Graduate students grow their professional connections through internships and virtual networking events.

Anderson University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 63%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $9,808

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $9,808

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,700
Out-of-state
$30,700
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
1,567
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#14 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Cornerstone University

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The master of divinity program at Cornerstone University, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, uses a flexible distance learning format. Students train for leadership roles in the field while earning their degree. A master's degree can also train candidates for roles in new industries.

The curriculum covers methodological and research perspectives. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on undergraduate training or professional experience in divinity.

Online enrollees complement the classroom experience with internship opportunities in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Cornerstone University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 78%

Total Online Master's Programs: 10

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $13,680

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $13,680

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,360
Out-of-state
$25,360
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
1,998
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#15 The Best Online Master of Divinity (MDiv) Degree Programs

Oral Roberts University

  • Tulsa, OK
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Oral Roberts University, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, enrolls students in its online master of divinity program. The rigorous curriculum prepares learners for leadership responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new career path entirely.

The curriculum emphasizes the best practices in divinity. Learners often choose a specialized concentration, which can help them stand out in a competitive job market. Applicants with prior experience in divinity or a related field often meet the admission requirements.

Online enrollees work with the program to find internship opportunities in their local area. The program encourages graduate students to attend networking events to expand their professional connections.

Oral Roberts University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above

Admission Rate: 68%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: Master of divinity

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,960

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,960

Average Tuition
In-state
$28,998
Out-of-state
$28,998
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
4,160
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Best Online Programs

Online Master's in Divinity Programs Ranking Guidelines

We ranked the following programs based on factors like quality, faculty strength and publications, reputation, and rankings.

Choosing an Online MDiv Program

Prospective MDiv students should consider several factors when researching potential programs. We cover several important considerations for prospective learners below.

  • Program Cost: In addition to researching tuition cost per credit, students should research any online learning fees, graduation fees, and book costs when determining the total cost of a prospective program.
  • Transfer Policies: Many programs offer transfer credits for prior academic work, military training, and professional experience. Programs with generous transfer credit policies can save students time and money on a degree.
  • School Size and Type: Students should consider factors such as average class size, online student support services, and a school's alumni network when seeking the best program for their needs.
  • Program Length: An online MDiv program typically takes three years to complete, but some programs offer accelerated timelines.
  • On-Campus Requirements: Some online MDiv programs incorporate on-campus requirements, which students should ensure they can meet before committing to a program.
  • Thesis, Fellowship, and Work Requirements: Some online MDiv degree programs have thesis or internship requirements. Students should choose a program with requirements aligned with their career goals.

What Is a Master of Divinity Degree?

Online master of divinity programs prepare graduates for ministerial leadership roles in churches, social service agencies, hospitals, and the military. Most MDiv programs require three years of full-time study. During that time, students take courses on topics like ministry studies, religious studies, ministry experience, and scriptural interpretation. Graduate students may also study religious traditions outside of their own faith. Some MDiv programs conclude with a capstone project, research paper, or senior seminar.

Applicants to master of divinity programs typically need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. They must also submit essays on their religious faith and reasons for pursuing the degree. Some programs set prerequisite undergraduate courses for admission.

What's the Difference Between a Master of Theology and a Master of Divinity Degree?

Both master of theology and master of divinity programs include coursework on religious traditions, theology, and biblical studies. However, master of theology programs emphasize academic pursuits, including textual analysis and theological theory, while master of divinity programs focus on preparing graduates for leadership roles in ministry.

During a master of theology program, students may conduct original research and write a master's thesis. In MDiv programs, graduate students build the leadership and administrative abilities necessary for providing pastoral care to a congregation. Divinity school may also incorporate field experiences.

After earning a master of theology, graduates can enter a doctoral program or pursue academic or research positions. A master of divinity leads to ministerial roles, such as pastor, chaplain, or spiritual counselor.

Divinity Careers

Master of divinity programs prepare graduates for religious leadership roles, like minister, pastor, or preacher. Students also gain pastoral and counseling skills that prepare them for roles like military chaplain or spiritual counselor. In addition to clergy positions, graduates can pursue careers as community service managers, high school teachers, and college professors.

The following list outlines several common careers and potential salaries for graduates.

Clergy

Clergy members conduct worship services and provide pastoral care for members of their churches. They write sermons, advise their congregations, and offer spiritual guidance to individuals and groups. They also analyze religious texts and interpret them, often sharing their conclusions with their church communities. Clergy may also manage the financial and administrative needs of a church. In some churches, they perform community outreach to expand church membership and engage in fundraising for the church.

Median Annual Salary

$48,990

Projected Growth Rate

8%

Social and Community Services Managers

Social and community services managers supervise social service programs and oversee community organizations. They identify a community's needs for programs and services, implement programs, and analyze data on a program's effectiveness. They may also plan outreach activities and write proposals to secure funding.

Many faith-based organizations hire social and community services managers to oversee programs that address poverty, hunger, and other social problems.

Median Annual Salary

$65,320

Projected Growth Rate

13%

Private High School Teachers

Private high school teachers can teach a variety of subjects, depending on their educational background and the school's needs. Some private schools hire graduates with a master of divinity to teach courses on religion and theology.

High school teachers create lesson plans, deliver lectures, and design assignments and exams to assess student abilities. They also communicate with parents and work with school administrators to carry out the school's functions. Some private high schools may require a state-issued teaching license.

Median Annual Salary

$60,320

Projected Growth Rate

4%

College Professors

College professors instruct students in a particular subject. MDiv graduates may teach subjects like religion, theology, or pastoral care. Professors plan lessons based on specific topics and assess student learning through assignments and exams. Many professors also conduct research and publish in scholarly journals.

Professors may also supervise graduate students, apply for grants, or serve on specialty committees at their institutions.

Median Annual Salary

$78,470

Projected Growth Rate

11%

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Master of Divinity Mean?

A master of divinity trains students for religious leadership roles, such as minister, pastor, and preacher.

Is a Master of Divinity a Master's Degree?

Yes, a master of divinity is a master's degree. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree before gaining entry into a master's program.

What Is the Study of Divinity?

The study of divinity examines theology and ministry, particularly Christian theology.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master's Degree in Divinity?

A master's degree in divinity typically takes three years to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.

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