Top 20 Online Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) Degrees

What if you could complete a Master of Theological Studies degree anywhere, without moving across the country, leaving your job or ministry, or upending your family’s lives?

There’s an increasing number of MTS degrees being offered in a part-time, distance-learning format that allows you to do just that.

Some of these programs require an occasional visit for an in-person session on campus, others are completely online. If you’ve thought about getting a Master of Theological Studies degree, but can’t justify uprooting your life, these are for you.

To make your search easier, we compiled a list of Christian seminaries that offer online (or mostly-online) Masters of Theological Studies degrees.

Here’s the list of seminaries with online Masters of Theological Studies

Here are the seminaries we’ve identified that offer an (at least mostly) online Master of Theological Studies degree:

  1. Calvin Theological Seminary
  2. Church Divinity School of the Pacific
  3. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
  4. Gateway Seminary
  5. Iliff School of Theology
  6. Lexington Theological Seminary
  7. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  8. Multnomah University
  9. Newman University
  10. New Orleans Baptist Seminary
  11. Pacific School of Religion
  12. Palmer Theological Seminary
  13. Pentecostal Theological Seminary
  14. Regent University
  15. Santa Clara University Jesuit School of Theology
  16. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  17. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  18. Tyndale Seminary
  19. United Theological Seminary
  20. University of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry

Below you’ll find links to each seminary’s website where you can find more information on the degree, each seminary’s location, their ATS accreditation status, and the degree to which their program is online. You’ll also find a short description of each program.

Calvin Theological SeminaryCalvin Theological Seminary online MTS degree

  • Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes, with two in-person sessions each year

Calvin Theological Seminary’s online Master of Theological Studies program can be completed through their distance learning program.

As part of this program, students will take part in two “intensives,” five-day sessions on Calvin’s Grand Rapids campus. During these on-campus sessions, students get to meet faculty and fellow students face to face.

Other than that, Calvin’s MTS degree is completed fully online. You’ll have access to professors through online office hours and email, and be able to take your courses asynchronously through their online learning platform. While you have a great amount of flexibility, you won’t be all alone in your studies, and regular Google hangouts sessions and discussion boards provide collaborative opportunities.

You’ll want to check that Calvin’s distance learning program serves your state or province: certain regulations prevent them offering it everywhere. Here’s an overview of their program.

From Calvin’s website:

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program is a flexible academic program designed to prepare you for further academic study or other careers that can be enriched by a strong theological education. You may also be interested in this program if you desire to understand the Christian faith more deeply. The MTS includes courses in Old and New Testament, Greek, Christian theology, apologetics, and more.

Church Divinity School of the PacificChurch divinity School of the Pacific online MTS degree

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Church Divinity School of the Pacific offers a fully online Master of Theological Studies degree. While this degree is not intended to prepare students for ordination, it does provide solid academic theological grounding for students wishing to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith and gain a theological perspective on their vocations.

Students in CDSP’s online MTS program will begin by completing basic Bible coursework. In the latter half of the degree, they will choose an area of interest, complete electives in that area, and prepare a thesis or project.

Furthermore, students can choose to pursue an additional “area of focus”—degree specializations that require four more elective credits for completion. The following areas of focus are currently offered:

  • Liturgical Studies
  • Pastoral Studies
  • Christian Education
  • Ministry Development
  • Interfaith Relations

Garrett-Evangelical Theological SeminarGarrett-Evangelical Seminary online MTS degreey

  • Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: No. ⅓ of courses can be taken online.

If you’re in the Illinois area and looking for a primarily residence-based degree with the flexibility of some online courses, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary might work out perfectly.

In their MTS degree program, students can choose to complete up to one-third of the courses online. There’s a bit of added flexibility as well: you’ll also have the option of taking courses at Northwestern University and other schools in the Chicago metropolitan area.

From Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary’s website:

The Garrett-Evangelical Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program provides the background for preparation for the doctoral study of religion. It can also be combined with another professional degree to provide the foundation for a career in religious leadership in a variety of ministry settings. This two-year degree program allows for specialization in a chosen area of research and a thesis or project that reflects your vocational goals.

Gateway SeminaryGateway online MTS degree

  • Location: Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Rocky Mountain campuses
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Gateway Seminary’s MTS degree can be completed fully online. They also offer the degree through several campuses for students wishing to complete all or a portion of the degree on-campus.

Gateway describes their Master of Theological Studies degree as primarily meeting theological needs for those in volunteer positions. The 49-credit degree can be completed in two years and isn’t intended to replace an M.Div or other more specialized theological degrees.

“[The MTS program] is intended to stimulate students to establish an adequate foundation for the beginning or the continuation of volunteer leadership and ministry forms of service to the church.”

Iliff School of TheologyIliff online MTS degree

  • Location: Denver, Colorado
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes, not all electives available to distance students

Iliff School of Theology’s MTS degree can be completed fully online, through a distance learning program.

Like other MTS degrees, this program starts with required coursework and culminates with a thesis. At Iliff, the thesis must be interdisciplinary and display your ability to work across multiple disciplines.

Students have the option to customize their courses and degree focus to meet their individual goals. Focus topics include ethics, sacred texts, and more.

From Iliff’s website:

​Iliff’s Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree offers you the flexibility to combine a study of theology, biblical studies, ethics, sociology, philosophy, religious studies, social change and a variety of other offerings into an integrated plan of study. The MTS is designed for those who would like to increase their personal understanding, to enhance and existing career path, or prepare for a doctoral degree.

Lexington Theological SeminaryLexington Seminary online MTS program

  • Location: Lexington, Kentucky
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

The online Master of Theological Studies degree from Lexington Theological Seminary is intended to introduce students to main theological disciplines and accommodate preparation for different vocational goals and some specialization.

Here are the program’s goals (from Lexington’s website):

  1. Students will gain graduate level knowledge in the areas of biblical studies, church history, theology, Ethics and Society, and Educational Ministries.
  2. Students will sharpen their ability to think theologically.
  3. Students will gain knowledge and skills that can be of use in local congregations and religious organizations, as well as in further academic (e.g. Ph.D.) work.

Midwestern Baptist Theological SeminaryMidwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Online Master of Theological Studies

  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Six terms begin each year at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, so you won’t have to wait long to start your online MTS degree.

Midwestern describes their MTS degree as being similar to an M.Div, but taking less time. (If you’re interested in an online M.Div, they have one available too!)

MTS degree objectives, from Midwestern’s site:

Students graduating with the Master of Theological Studies degree will be able to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate increased biblical and theological knowledge
  2. Interpret and apply Scripture more effectively using appropriate hermeneutical principles
  3. Formulate maturing theological convictions based on Scripture, with due notice of their prior historical development
  4. Initiate and maintain a practice of classical spiritual disciplines
  5. Develop a Great Commission perspective that finds expression in evangelism, missions, and commitment to local church ministry.

Multnomah UniversityMultnomah University online MTS degree

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Multnomah states that—upon completion of their online MATS degree—students will be able to articulate and defend their ethical and theological system, have a basic understanding of the history of Christian theology, be able to perform scholarly independent research, and more.

It’s great to see a university clearly lay out the results and skills students should expect to gain from their degree.

Multnomah’s online MATS degree is suitable for senior and solo pastors, adult ministry leaders, campus and parachurch leaders, teachers in Christian schools, future doctoral students, and those involved with speaking and writing ministries.

Newman UniversityNewman University online MTS degree

  • Location: Wichita, Kansas
  • ATS accredited: No
  • Fully online: Yes

The Master of Theological Studies degree from Newman University is distinctly Catholic in nature. And it can be completed entirely online—while there’s an on-campus event at the start of the program, an online version is provided for students who can’t make it.

It prepares students to teach in Catholic high schools, apply to hospital chaplaincy programs, or work in parishes or diocesan offices—it also prepares lay people to teach classes and participate in other parochial ministries.

From Newman University’s website:

The Master of Theological Studies degree (M.T.S.) is intended to deepen the theological understanding of diocesan catechists and teachers of religion. It prepares students to explore and explain the Catholic theological tradition and provides a solid grounding in that tradition. The program is intended for those working in catechetical ministry in a Roman Catholic context and anticipates questions that frequently arise in the classroom and during the RCIA process.

New Orleans Baptist SeminaryNew Orleans Baptist Seminary online MTS program

  • Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

New Orleans Baptist Seminary (NOBTS) also offers a fully online MTS degree.

Their degree—designed to teach students general theological knowledge—is also available in a hybrid format, if you’d like to take part in one of their week-long workshops or a traditional class on-campus.

Pacific School of ReligionPSR online Master of Theological Studies degree

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: No, 50% can be completed online

Half of the credits required for Pacific School of Religion’s MTS degree can be completed online. The rest must be completed in-person. Still, cutting the number of on-campus credits in half will add a lot of flexibility, particularly for those already living near the Berkeley.

The duration of the MTS program is no more than two years full-time, or up to five when completed part-time.

PSR’s program focuses on inter-disciplinary and contextual studies. From their website:

“Students who complete this degree will be able to demonstrate understanding and knowledge of four basic theological disciplines, i.e., bible, history, theology, and ethics through a critical and contextual appropriation of the Christian tradition.“

Palmer Theological SeminaryPalmer seminary online program (MTS)

  • Location: St. Davis, Pennsylvania
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes, with two one-week residencies

The fully online MTS degree from Palmer Theological Seminary is typically completed in three years. Their program is designed to accommodate pastors and leaders who already lead busy lives, and leverages the online aspect to bring people together from around the world.

Palmer also offers a discounted group rate, perfect for churches or groups with multiple people who wish to pursue an MTS degree.

Here’s a video from Palmer explaining more about their online MTS degree:

https://youtu.be/nr0AKGgYHpc

Pentecostal Theological SeminaryPTS online MTS degree

  • Location: Cleveland, Tennessee
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Pentecostal Theological Seminary offers two versions of their MTS degree: (1) Master of Theological Studies: Biblical Studies, and (2) Master of Theological Studies: Pentecostal Theology. Both of these degrees can be completed fully online.

The courses and requirements will vary based on which track students choose to pursue, with the Biblical Studies program requiring a 12 more credits.

Both of the online MTS degree concentrations focus on Pentecostal hermeneutics.

Regent UniversityRegent online MTS degree

  • Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Regent University’s online MTS degree is offered with a variety of concentrations: Christian Theology, History of Christianity, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Biblical Studies.

The basic MTS program coursework includes topics such as biblical hermeneutics, spiritual formation, biblical languages, Christian theology, and Old and New Testament.

Of course, additional courses are added to the degree to tailor it to each concentration.

This MTS degree can be completed fully online, fully on-campus, or in a hybrid model, providing ample flexibility for just about any situation.

Santa Clara University Jesuit School of TheologySanta Clara online MTS degree

  • Location: Berkeley, California
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes, with one week spent on-campus at the beginning of the initial semester

This online MTS degree provides a broad understanding of the Catholic theological vision, combined with an area of concentration. Students can choose from the following concentrations:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Spirituality
  • Cultural and Historical Studies of Catholicism
  • Ethics and Social Theory/Religion and Society
  • Church History
  • History of Art and Religion
  • Liturgical Studies
  • Systematic and Philosophical Theology

According to the school, most online students take 1-2 courses per semester while maintaining other life responsibilities. Full-time is also an option if you’re so inclined.

The Jesuit School of Theology’s MTS program FAQ has more information.

Southeastern Baptist Theological SeminarySEBTS online MTS program

  • Location: Wake Forest, North Carolina
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

The fully online MTS degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is intended for international students in a cross-cultural setting who are part of an approved Global Theological Initiative cohort.

From Southeastern’s website:

The curriculum is designed to expose the student to a broad range of theological disciplines and then guide the student to the focused study of a specific theological discipline via a concentration of elective courses and a final research thesis project.

Southwestern Baptist Theological SeminarySouthwestern online Master of Theological Stuides

  • Location: Fort Worth, Texas
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

This online MTS degree provides basic theological education in Bible, History and Theology. It can be completed 100% online and culminates with a final examination.

What’s more, it’s the shortest fully online MTS degree of any Southern Baptist seminary. Part-time students (taking just two courses per semester) can complete the 36-hour degree in only three years.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary also offers a church staff discount: if you’re serving more than 20 hours per week on a church staff, they’ll cut the cost by 30%.

Tyndale SeminaryTyndale online MTS degree

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

Each semester, Tyndale offers four to six online courses. You can choose to take as many as you’d like, from part- to full-time.

In all, the program requires completion of 18 courses, all of which can be completed online. 10 of these courses are core to the MTS program, and 8 are electives that can be chosen by the individual student. You can choose a broad range of electives for a more general degree, or instead focus on a certain concentration.

United Theological SeminaryUnited Theological Seminary online MTS program

  • Location: Dayton, Ohio
  • ATS accredited: Yes
  • Fully online: Yes

United Theological Seminary’s online MTS degree provides a basis for theological understanding and prepares students for further academic study of religion.

Like many other online MTS degrees, it can also be completed on-campus or in a hybrid model. Most—but not all—of the available degree concentrations are available to online students.

From United Theological Seminary’s website:

The Master of Theological Studies degree is designed to:

  • Provide you with a solid foundation in theological study, including Bible, theology, church history and related studies
  • Introduce you to the academic study of religion in preparation for further graduate study (Ph.D.)
  • Deepen your understanding of Christian faith and practice through concentration in a specific theological area
  • Enable you to develop a specialization for a particular vocational aim

University of Dallas Neuhoff School of MinistryUniversity of Dallas Neuhoff School of Ministry online MTS degree

  • Location: Irving, Texas
  • ATS accredited: No
  • Fully online: Yes

The University of Dallas—or, as their homepage puts it, “The Catholic University for Free Thinkers,” also offers an online MTS degree.

Unlike other online degrees, there are no onsite requirements at all for this program.

Furthermore, there’s no difference in the classes taken online and on-campus, which means you can take some online and some on-campus without issue. It also means you’re not getting a different course than you’d get if you were able to attend in person.

And the online classes here are taught by the same professors who teach their on-campus counterparts—all points that reinforce the Neuhoff’s School of Ministry’s dedication to a quality online program.

Did we miss any online MTS programs?

Leave us a note in the comments so we can add it to the list!

And if you’re considering another online ministry-oriented degree, check out our master list of online seminary degrees.

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