Theology Degrees: Associate’s / Bachelor’s / Master’s / Ph.D. / Dual

Theology is the study of religion, which may cover religion in general; concentrate on a specific faith (like Christianity); or build an understanding of multiple religious groups and belief systems. A theology degree allows individuals to advance their knowledge, skills and experience as it pertains to their career interests – whether it’s ministry, education or community service.

The theology field provides a broader examination of the foundations, doctrines, practice, and traditions of religious principles. It involves analyzing historical religious texts and reviewing testimonials of spiritual experiences. A theology degree equips a student with an academic background that prepares them to incorporate their faith into a career field. The higher the degree, the more specific and concentrated a student’s studies, knowledge and skills become.

Those who wish to integrate their faith or religious beliefs as part of their skill set for employment often apply to schools that offer degree programs in theology, as well as programs that cover how religious beliefs relate to history and culture, such as:

  • divinity studies
  • religious studies
  • religion
  • theological studies
  • biblical studies
  • Christian studies

There are subtle differences between the various fields of religious study.

For example, theology students may focus on the study of God, the Bible, and their specific denomination (often undergoing a strengthening of their own spirituality), while others opt to take religion and divinity courses that introduce a wider scope of study often extending beyond their own faith, and including other beliefs and worldwide religions.

Below is an overview of education programs associated with the study of religion, starting with the fastest way to earn a theology degree – the associate’s degree:

Associate of Theology

An associate degree in theology (or similar, like divinity studies) provides the most basic foundation for individuals seeking to work in a faith-based profession. Coursework concentrates on building a deeper understanding of the Christian faith, another religion, or many religions.

Purpose of an Associate of Theology Degree

An associate’s program in theology aims to equip students with a better understanding of the Bible (and its related text and topics) as well as create a background and experiences in theological matters that prepare a graduate to assume a position in a faith-based career choice. The typical program instills a mastery of biblical principles; solid understanding of doctrines; and the importance of the Church and its history.

Many graduates use what they learn to lead, teach, or minister at a local church, private school, or other religious organization – oftentimes in a volunteer or entry-level capacity. Sometimes, an associate’s degree is required to fulfill basic requirements for certain jobs, such as church leader, missionary, or youth leader. An associate’s degree program also serves as a stepping stone for graduates who decide to pursue an advanced degree in the future.

Program Length

Full-time students generally finish his or her associate-level education in as little as 18 months, but usually within two years or less. Most programs require the completion of at least 60 credit hours of coursework.

Education and Admissions Prerequisites

Applicants for an associate’s degree program are expected to possess a high school diploma, GED, or the equivalent. Official high school transcripts are often requested. Depending on the school, an applicant may need to fulfill minimum GPA requirements, as well as meet minimum exam scores (such as the SAT and ACT). Some schools have their own set of special requirements, such as the several programs in the U.S. that cater specifically to the nontraditional student, who is at least 23 years old or has significant life experience in the field.

Step by Step: Getting an Associate Degree in Theology

1. Research two-year theology degree programs. Associate degree programs, like the Associate of Arts in Religion, are largely offered through community colleges and private, Christian universities. Applicants can pursue an education on a full-time or part-time basis, which allows students to work while taking classes. Studies may take place in the classroom, online, or as a combination of the two. Some schools have accelerated degree-completion programs that offer fast-tracked studies (ideal for an aspiring traveling missionary).

In addition to a Th.A. (Associate of Theology), schools may offer degree programs in Christian Arts, Christian Leadership, Ministry, and Biblical Studies. As you research available programs, important factors to consider include affiliated denomination, class size, reputation of school, and cost to attend. Also, be on the lookout for schools that offer financial assistance and tuition scholarships to students meeting specific qualifications, such as being a resident of a state; or belonging to a certain faith or church.

2. Submit an application, and meet prerequisites.  Admission prerequisites can be as simple as having a high school diploma, or years of experience within a church or religious organization. The overall admissions process varies for each school program, and generally involves showing proof of a diploma or GED; writing a brief essay or personal statement (oftentimes describing a Christian conversion experience or answering questions related to faith and beliefs); submitting a recommendation or letter of reference from a local church; and having actively participated in church activities for a specific period of time.

3. Complete core courses. Schools require students to complete a set number of credit hours in order to earn an associate’s degree in theology. The average curriculum combines general education courses (like humanities and fine arts, mathematics, behavioral science, and communication) with biblical foundations core courses that often include the history of Christianity, the Christian doctrine, church history, as well as scripture from the Old Testament and New Testament. Students also choose theology electives to round out their studies, such as ancient language study (Latin, Hebrew or Greek); analysis of specific ancient or original texts of religious writings; child psychology; and ministry challenges of today’s youths. Some students choose a concentration during their studies, such as ministry, religious studies or Biblical studies.

4. Gain experience in the field. In addition to shaping an educational and historical background related to Christian faith and beliefs, students often gain experience in the field through internships and assistantships, when applicable. Listening skills, communication tools and counseling skills necessary to serve a congregation, school, or agency are put to the test. Depending on a student’s professional aspirations, it is important to demonstrate their leadership skills in action.

5. Pass school-specific and career-related requirements. Associate degree programs generally require students to satisfy specific requirements before graduation, either school-specific or those associated with intended career paths. For example, the aspiring minister, pastor or church leader may take practical ministries courses, while others participate in a preaching practicum. Some students sit for comprehensive exams, participate in year-end projects, complete a mentorship, and/or write research essays.

The associate’s degree in theology, divinity or religious studies prepares graduates for entry-level positions associated with a church or religious organization, such as the following options:

Upon earning an associate degree, it is not uncommon for a graduate to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program. Obtaining an undergraduate degree opens the doors to more employment opportunities, oftentimes related to education, writing, counseling, politics, and social work.

Although not every path towards becoming a faith-based professional is the same, having at least a bachelor’s degree is generally viewed as the minimum requirement to qualify for the majority of jobs and higher-paying openings within the religious field.

Bachelor in Theology

After completing an associate degree program in theology, you may want to consider transferring credits into a bachelor’s program. An undergraduate program gives students the opportunity to focus their education on a specific subject, like biblical texts or religious education. Some professions require applicants to hold a degree, and a B.A. in Theology (or a related field) is the next or primary step to furthering a faith-based education and career plans.

Purpose of a Bachelor Degree in Theology

A bachelor’s degree program in theology equips students with knowledge specifically related to religious faith and practice, as well as builds problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills. Coursework and school curriculums allow graduates to become leaders, teachers and ministers within a local church, religious organization, or other agency. Students begin a methodical study of scripture; expand their understanding of church history and traditions of his or her faith; and are introduced to contemporary moral issues. Having a B.A. in Theology also prepares students to pursue advanced degrees.

Program Length

A bachelor’s degree program in theology generally takes four years to finish, but can also be completed within three to five years. Depending on the school program, students are expected to complete a certain number of credit hours; many of which are 128 credit hours.

Education and Admissions Prerequisites

Prospective students qualify for entry into a bachelor’s degree program when they have a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent. Those who have completed an associate’s degree program often transfer credits, depending on school policy and the curriculum. Applicants are generally expected to submit high school transcripts and evidence of college-level coursework.

Some schools require applicants to meet minimum score requirements on standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT. Other prerequisites to consider include appearing for an interview; submitting recommendation letters (preferably pastoral references); and writing a personal essay, statement of faith, or spiritual autobiography.

Some schools, like Christian colleges, do not place any emphasis on previous academic achievements, but instead, seek candidates that demonstrate strong ‘Christian character,’ maturity, ministry experience, and/or other faith-driven life experiences.

Step by Step: Getting a Bachelor Degree in Theology

1. Research undergraduate degree programs. Many factors come into play when choosing a bachelor’s degree program in theology, such as location, cost, admission requirements, credit transfer policies, school denomination, as well as full-time and part-time options. Research the type of degree programs offered. A student typically earns a BA in Theology, but can also pursue one that is more specialized, such as a BA in Bible and Theology, BA in Theological Studies, or a BA in Theology with Emphasis in Pastoral Studies.

Some schools offer financial assistance and low tuition rates, based upon meeting specific criteria. Tuition discounts are available to ministers and professionals already working with religious programs and agencies (like Word of Life, the Salvation Army, and Teen Challenge USA). Students whose parents are involved in full-time Christian service can receive a discount.  Yellow Ribbon participating schools lower their tuition costs for military personnel and eligible veterans.

2. Submit an application, and meet prerequisites. Prospective students must possess at least a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent in order to be considered for admission at an undergraduate college or seminary. During the admissions process, an applicant must fill out an application and send in the appropriate paperwork, which generally includes high school transcripts, a statement of faith, and recommendation from a local church.

Depending on the school, doing well on standardized test scores and previous school grades are not always a requirement for admission. Instead, it is an applicant’s church involvement, extracurricular religious activities, and life experiences that are viewed more important than scoring high on exams or maintaining a specific grade point average in high school.   

3. Complete core courses. Every school develops their theology program curriculum to reflect the theological doctrine of the institution. Therefore, core courses can greatly vary according to school, as well as a student’s career track. Coursework typically concentrates on a blend of theology-specific subjects (such as ministry, biblical studies, religious education, church history, and religious historical studies) and general education classes, such as math, English, and the arts. Students spend time reviewing scriptural texts, attending lectures, and taking career-specific electives, such as Christian Education Resources for Youths and Families geared towards ministry positions, or a foreign language course for future mission work.

4. Choose a concentration or specialization. Program coursework is also dictated by the specific concentration a student chooses for his or her bachelor’s degree, which is usually based upon their intended career path. Aspiring educators may concentrate on learning how to teach the Bible to different age groups. Future social workers take courses in biblical counseling, family counseling, and psychology. A current or aspiring youth pastor may base their studies on youth and family ministry, education ministry, or children’s ministry. Other specializations to consider include Evangelism, Christian Ministries, Church History, and Global Studies.

5. Obtain experience in the field. To receive hands-on training and apply their knowledge in the field, students often partner with a mentor within the community (like a church pastor or religious agency employee); volunteer at their church; student-teach at a children’s Bible school; run a program at a faith-based community center; complete service hours in a ministry setting; and/or complete an internship.

Academic advisors often match students to an appropriate internship or mentor through partnerships with local churches, businesses, the military and nationwide faith-based groups and agencies (such as City Vision, Samaritan’s Purse, and the Salvation Army). Some programs require students to complete a capstone project or mission work.

6. Fulfill profession-specific requirements. Before a graduate of a theology degree program qualifies for a position within their field, he or she may have to complete specific requirements according to their intended career path. For example, prospective religion educators must finish a teacher preparation program (for public school teaching); gain experience as a teaching assistant; pass comprehensive exams; and become state-certified or licensed to teach.

7. Join an organization. In addition to networking with professionals in your field and getting leads to open employment opportunities, becoming a part of an organization or association is also beneficial for a graduate pursuing an advanced degree, like a Master of Theology. A few to consider include the Association of Practical Theology, the American Academy of Religion, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Obtaining an undergraduate degree in theology, divinity or religious studies helps expand the number of entry-level positions that a graduate may apply to. More employment opportunities outside of churches and religious organizations also become available. To get an idea, a bachelor’s degree in theology prepares a student to qualify for some of the following careers:

However, in order to qualify for theological professions with a higher level of responsibility and influence, having a master’s degree is preferred (and in some cases, required). Some students pursue postgraduate degrees later on in their careers, while others immediately continue their studies after completing a bachelor’s degree program.

Master of Theology

A master’s degree in theology (or a similar field, like divinity) offers a relatively broad scope of study options related to advancing a student’s basic knowledge, understanding and skills related to theological principles and assuming a role that is guided by his or her faith. It is with this degree that professionals complete specialized training, research and coursework.

Purpose of a Master’s Level Theology Degree

A master’s degree program in theology engages a student in advanced studies of scripture, theological research and skill-building related to faith-based employment. Degree programs often expand a student’s knowledge of the worldview, traditions and history of a specific denomination. The average curriculum, while allows students to dive deep into their chosen specialization or field, further extends their understanding of the Bible and Christian principles.

Some students choose a specific master’s degree program to better match their career goals:

A Masters of Theology (ThM) provides a curriculum more focused on the study of scripture (from church history to global studies) that equips students with a deeper understanding of the history, language and interpretation of religion more than its social aspect. Those in active ministry tend to choose this type of program.

One of the most common degree programs in seminaries and theological colleges is the Master of Divinity (MDIV). Its purpose is to prepare students for leadership roles within a church or parish. Most denominations require this degree for pastoral ordination. Aspiring religion teachers, counselors, public speakers, journalists, writers and advocates (such as civil rights attorneys and family social workers) also benefit from an MDIV.

A Master of Arts (MA) degree with emphasis on a specific field of religion (like Christian Education, Biblical Counseling, Worship Arts, Biblical Linguistics, or Christian Leadership) allows a student to indulge in coursework focused on a single concentrated area.

Program Length

The average theology master’s program requires students to earn between 34 and 38 credit hours, which takes roughly two years of full-time study to complete. Some programs allow students to fulfill their requirements in as little as 18 months. Depending on a specialization or concentration, depth of instruction, and full-time versus part-time study, it is not uncommon for a student to take up to four years to complete a theology degree program.

Education Prerequisites and Admissions

Admission requirements vary from school to school, but all applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field from an accredited institution. Other prerequisites to consider for securing a space in a master’s degree program in theology include submitting a statement of call, personal essay, official undergraduate transcripts (usually showing at least a 2.7 to 3.0 GPA), church endorsement or recommendation letters (especially pastoral), and completed autobiographical or divinity questionnaire.

Depending on the school and type of degree, prospective students must demonstrate adequate experience in the field. It is not uncommon for a Master of Arts in Ministry program to require applicants to have served as a pastor or lay leader for a minimum number of years, and be able to submit ministry references. Some schools show preference to applicants with vocational and volunteer experience, especially in regards to ministry work.

Step by Step: Getting a Master Degree in Theology

1. Research schools with graduate-level degree programs. Schools with theology master’s degree programs offer on-campus, online only, or hybrid options, which combine classroom learning with online instruction and exams. Online degree programs rely on a wide range of teaching methods, such as video lectures, audio chats, email discussions, and shared research documents. Other factors to consider include cost, financial aid assistance, class size, geographic location, degree programs offered, and reputation.

For example, larger seminaries, like Gordon-Conwell, are able to provide a greater breadth of educational programs. As one of the largest seminaries in the U.S., students can take classes between an online program and two institutions in Massachusetts, North Carolina and Florida. These programs have educated students representing over 40 countries and more than 100 denominations. The school has several specialized academic and professional MA degree programs, like the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry Leadership, and a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling dual degree program.

2. Submit an application, and meet prerequisites.  The application process for graduate school differs for every school, but typically involves submitting the proper paperwork, along with transcripts, recommendations, personal essay or statement, and evidence of experience. Some learning institutions have minimum requirements for entrance exams, test scores (like the GRE), GPA in undergraduate school, and level of church involvement. Work and volunteer experience is also taken into account during the admissions process.

3. Complete core courses. A blend of general education courses; core classes in theology and biblical studies; and electives – ranging from intercultural studies to career-specific courses (like Preaching for Special Occasions) – make up the bulk of a graduate-level theology degree program. The typical master’s degree program curriculum includes coursework centered on church history, moral issues, sacraments, as well as scripture from the Old and New Testaments that provide more in-depth studies than the one achieved in undergraduate school.

4. Choose a specialization or concentration. A master’s degree program involves the selection of a specialization (one that preferably caters to a student’s future career plans). Aspiring educators and clergy may specialize in Church History to become well-versed in the historical progression of their religion, classical reformation, and American Christianity of today. A concentration in Global Studies is ideal for prospective missionaries, teaching pastors, and professors that wish to specialize in Christian theology and how it relates to the global church. Local church leaders and professors also benefit from having a background in Biblical Studies, which involves the dissection of religious texts such as John, Hebrews, Isaiah, and Psalms.

5. Complete program-specific requirements, like capstone projects and thesis paper. In order to earn a master’s degree, schools have various program-specific requirements to complete that demonstrate a student’s readiness for graduation. This may include comprehensive exams, capstone projects, seminars, research essay, mission trip, and/or a practicum, where lessons learned in class are applied to real-life situations. A thesis paper is a defining requirement in most master’s degree program; it’s a significant research writing project that generally marks the end of a degree program. Choose your topic wisely, as it could come in handy if you decide to pursue a doctorate degree in theology in the future.

6. Obtain experience in the field. Students sharpen their skills and put their training to the test by taking wide-ranging electives, and gaining hands-on field experience through internships, mentorships, or assistantships. Some theology students participate in a study abroad program that takes them around the world to locales such as South Africa, Australia, and Ireland. Prospective educators often student-teach at middle and high schools, or grade papers for college professors in the classroom. Those looking to advance their role or become a member of clergy may earn credit in their current role at a church, or participate in a Ministry Residency program.

7. Fulfill career-specific requirements. Graduate-level coursework prepares a student to sit for certification and/or licensure examinations. Prospective faith-based counselors and social workers are expected to complete a state-mandated licensure process to qualify for pastoral counseling positions. Some school programs work with certifying agencies to make sure students graduate with certification. Christian leadership positions may require additional administrative training, seminars, workshops and certifications. Ministers undergo an ordination process that may include taking district-licensing courses, and completing oral and written examinations.  Religious education positions in public schools require job candidates to pass state-specific teaching certification exams.

A Master in Theology (or in a similar field) is not only beneficial for expanding a faith-based professional’s career possibilities, but is also a requirement to qualify for various positions related to biblical studies, religious education, pastoral counseling, and Christian leadership. Graduates with an M.A. in Theology often go on to become the following:

A graduate degree is generally the preferred credential that employers seek when hiring job candidates for positions related to religious-based academia, religious counseling and social work, administration for faith-based institutions, and ministry. However, for those who wish to conduct research, become a scholarly authority, or teach at a college or university, he or she must earn a Ph.D. in Theology (or in a related discipline).

Ph.D. of Theology

A doctorate degree in theology or divinity is the highest level of education that a professional can attain. Doctoral degree programs are generally highly competitive and come with a strenuous workload. Students also face a rigorous dissertation process, comprehensive exams, and other requirements to fulfill before earning a Ph.D.

Purpose of a Ph.D. in Theology

A Ph.D. in Theology (or in a related field) qualifies an individual in a faith-related career (such as a religious education director, minister, writer or social worker) to accept positions in academia, churches, and seminaries which carry greater responsibility and influence. Students spend a great deal of time developing advanced research techniques, and often complete a dissertation as part of their studies. Having a doctorate degree unlocks more opportunities for professional advancement and higher pay. A Ph.D. is also a requirement for educators seeking a position as a theology professor at a college or university.

Depending on a student’s career path or a professional’s future goals, he or she may choose one of the following degree programs to pursue:

A Doctor of Ministry (DMin) primarily caters to MDiv or MA degree holders, who wish to attain a deeper understanding of ministry (and how it impacts members and the associated culture of a congregation). Pastors pursue this type of program to improve their leadership qualities, and are often able to choose a specialty, such as ministry development, education or spirituality. This DMin degree is almost always an option reserved exclusively for those who are active in church ministry.

A Doctor of Ministry in Education (DEdMin) is a DMin degree with a focus on education, which a Ph.D. candidate can use to qualify for non-public school positions.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest degree offered by Christian schools, universities and seminaries. Those who successfully complete the program improve their ability to write, teach, preach, and lead others in their personal religious journeys. Within media circles, churches, publishers and religious organizations, these Ph.D. holders are considered ‘experts’ in their field.

Program Length

The time it takes a student to complete a doctorate degree program varies, depending on the school requirements, research demands, and individual dissertation demands. On average, it takes 2-3 years to complete required coursework and examinations, which doesn’t include the 2-3 years it takes to finish the dissertation process.

Education and Admissions Prerequisites

Applicants are generally accepted to a theology Ph.D. program when he or she has obtained a master’s degree in a religious field, such as theology or divinity. Some schools expect an applicant to have maintained a specific GPA in past religion and theology coursework. Some schools give preference to applicants with high verbal and analytical writing GRE scores.

Universities and seminaries vary on admission requirements, which may include having faith-based qualifications related to a specific denomination. Some programs are specially geared towards educating members of clergy, while others cater to a specific interest of study, such as counseling, social work, preaching, administration, public policy, or community service.

Other prerequisites for gaining entry into a doctorate program include submission of transcripts (from both undergraduate and master’s programs); furnishing letters of recommendation; demonstrating fluency in research languages; meeting minimal age or experience requirements; and/or having a strong background in Biblical Studies or church involvement.

Since a doctorate-level education concentrates heavily on research and publication, an applicant’s writing ability plays an important role in the selection of Ph.D. candidates. Most programs require a writing sample, such as a research paper or a chapter of a master’s thesis. Additionally, an applicant may be asked to include an original essay or personal statement.

Step by Step: Getting a Ph.D. in Theology

1. Research schools offering doctorate degree programs. Doctorate degree programs prepare students for advanced work in religious education, research and ministry. The majority of coursework for earning a Ph.D. center on the specific faith-based traditions associated with the school that a student chooses. It is important to research the specialties and subfields of theology offered at a college which coincide with your career plans. Some schools offer extremely targeted studies, such as Fuller Theological Seminary (noted as the largest multidenominational seminary in the world), which offers eight concentrations within their Ph.D. in Theology program, including a Korean-language doctoral program in ministry. Try visiting potential campuses and their theological departments, or speaking to graduates of online colleges.

2. Submit an application, and meet prerequisites. In addition to holding a graduate degree (preferably in a religious field, such as theology or divinity), prospective Ph.D. students are also expected to fulfill school-related prerequisites, such as meeting minimum GRE scores; furnishing letters of recommendation; and submitting an admissions essay with their application. Depending on school requirements, applicants may have had to maintain a 3.0 or higher GPA in religion-related courses from an accredited institution. Sometimes, seminary credit hours are accepted for those with no graduate degree.

3. Complete coursework in a theology specialty. Oftentimes, the bulk of a student’s doctoral-level coursework includes directed readings, lectures, and seminars. They ultimately earn their academic credentials by selecting a subject, topic or specialty during their studies, and conducting intense research on it. Examples include Ancient Religious History; Ethics and Philosophy; Iconography; and Philosophical Theology. A professor within the theology department, as well as an academic advisor, generally guides a Ph.D. student to ensure the appropriate number of credits and graduation requirements are satisfied.

4. Obtain experience in the field. Ph.D. programs in theology prepare students to enter careers in church ministry, teaching, and research. Internships and assistantships at churches, religious organizations or at a university are often part of a doctorate program, with the latter sometimes serving as a way for students to earn a living while working on their Ph.D. Some students instruct classes, when possible, or grade papers for professors in the theology department.

5. Pass examinations, when applicable. The majority of colleges, universities and seminaries expect students to pass written and/or oral comprehensive examinations as part of the Ph.D. process. A student is tested on material related to his or her major and minor concentration fields.

6. Submit a dissertation proposal. A dissertation is a document written as part of the Ph.D. process that involves conducting a serious amount of research on an original topic that adds a fresh perspective to the field. It’s more in-depth than the thesis projects of a master’s program, and involves the organization and presentation of innovative ideas, religious theories, theological issues, philosophical arguments, and wide-ranging sources. Students choose topics and themes that demonstrate their knowledge of field research, and then show proof of their independent research.

7. Complete the dissertation process. There are three main actions associated with the dissertation process:

  • Research. Dissertations are largely constructed using a combination of primary sources and supporting secondary sources. Catalogs, archives, videos, lectures, and position papers play an important role in the process. Oftentimes, students pull ideas and information from their master’s thesis, and then expand upon the topic. Attending and presenting at conferences is an excellent way to exchange research, discuss theological concepts, and receive feedback from other professionals.
  • Write it. Students must create a paper that can be published and also encourages healthy discussion on a topic in a new and inviting way. Dissertation approaches for theology Ph.D. candidates may include an analysis of scripture, Christian faith history, church history, current religious challenges, or world religions.
  • Defend it. As part of the process, Ph.D. students are encouraged to share parts of their research and writings with academic mentors, department advisors, and/or graduate students. They must be prepared to defend their findings in front of a dissertation committee, usually comprised of a major advisor, other members of the department, and a faculty member outside of the theology department.

If the committee approves the dissertation and defense, the student is awarded a Ph.D. degree.

An advanced degree qualifies a graduate to assume roles within a church, parish, religious organization and beyond that require a higher level of knowledge and experience. A doctorate degree is a requirement or preference for becoming one of the following professionals:

Professionals with a doctorate degree are expected to conduct their own research, present at conferences, and submit to scholarly journals. Although having a Ph.D. is the highest level of education that a theology major can reach, professionals may also pursue additional degrees that allow them to thrive within other specific faith-based employment fields.

Specialized Dual Degrees in Theology

Students, who wish to pursue a career that combines their faith and a particular field of study outside of religion, often apply to colleges offering duel-degree master’s programs. Candidates for a dual degree program must apply to and gain acceptance individually to both schools (or school programs). You must be prepared to fulfill the requirements of two different admissions processes, if needed.

A dual degree allows students to complete their studies in more than one discipline at the same time, in fewer years and paying less than when pursuing each degree separately.

A few examples of dual degrees in theology include:

Emory University has a dual-degree program for aspiring faith-based lawyers. Students may earn a Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies from Emory Chandler School of Theology alongside a Juris Doctor degree from Emory’s School of Law. The MDiv/JD is a five-year degree program, while the MTS/JD program takes four years to complete.

Boston University offers a dual-degree program for social workers who wish to incorporate their faith into their services. Full-time study takes three years to complete the Master of Social Work & Master in Theological Studies (MTS) program; and four years to earn a Master of Social Work & Master in Divinity Studies (MDiv).

Harvard Divinity School is home to several dual-degree options that pair theology or divinity majors with programs of study at Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School (for public servants with an interest in business, medicine, law, or design), Harvard Law School, as well as Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Careers where applicants benefit from having a dual degree include:

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