Students of religion enter a seminary to pursue a position in ministry. If you are interested in online seminaries, you may have spent time as an undergraduate and now prefer distance learning to a residency commitment. Online seminaries are also excellent choices for students whose location limits their options. The best online seminaries are fully accredited and deliver the same amount of support to distance learners than they do to resident students.
"U.S. News and World Report" recently chose Liberty University as one of its top regional universities in the southern United States. Even though it is one of the largest Christian schools in the world, Liberty University is known for its low teacher to student ratio. This kind of attention and support is not lacking in Liberty’s online offerings, which include Master of Divinity and Doctor in Ministry programs. Known for its evangelical focus, Liberty University offers an excellent opportunity to get started in the ministry.
Grand Canyon University
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Grand Canyon University is a private Christian college that offers many online seminary programs. Students attracted to social causes will appreciate Grand Canyon’s commitment to community improvement, reflected in awards from ABA and the Make a Wish Foundation. The online curriculum at Grand Canyon is specifically tailored to help working professionals earn their seminary degrees. In order to fit students’ busy schedules, classes are only required one at a time.
Wesley Biblical Seminary
This online seminary offers an intensely Bible-focused curriculum and full-time faculty who are active in the ministry. The Master of Divinity program meets or exceeds the ordination requirements of any Christian denomination. For students who wish to go further, Wesley now offers a Doctor of Ministry degree as well. Wesley prides itself on its faculty, many of whom have won awards like the Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and prestigious fellowships from institutions like Harvard.
Fueller Theological Seminary
Fuller is perfect for the online student who would still like some amount of residency interaction. Fuller offers three different Masters degrees with flexible attendance options. Students may choose to pursue the degrees totally online, or if they live near one of the seven Fuller campuses, through some combination of in-person coursework. Regardless of the path you choose, Fuller delivers complete, multi-denominational preparation for a career in the ministry.
George Fox University
In 2011, "Forbes" ranked George Fox University as the third best Christian college in the country. Students interested in distance learning can now benefit from George Fox’s tradition of excellence through an online seminary. George Fox offers a Master of Divinity and three different Doctor of Ministry degrees, so you can choose the path that best serves your goals. This non-denominational college was founded in 1885 and offers advanced theological instruction for the home-based learner.
Douglas Matus is the travel writer for "West Fort Worth Lifestyle" magazine, and spent four years as the Director of Humanities for a college-prep school in Austin. Since 2005, he has published articles on education, travel and culture in such publications as "Nexus," "People's World" and "USA Today." Matus received an Education Pioneers fellowship in 2010 and an MFA from CalArts in 2011.