Online Degrees in Religious Studies

Religious studies is a fascinating field of study, one that can lead to well-paying jobs in numerous fields. There is no question that this humanities degree opens doors to several career paths, including teaching, community relations officer, humanitarian relief worker, or counselor, to name a few. Careers for religious studies also include several in-demand jobs; for example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for postsecondary teachers is at 12%, which is faster than the average.

What is religious studies?

Religious study is the academic study of world religions, world views, and the philosophy of the people who follow them. It is often viewed as an academic track to gain insight into our faith’s historical and cultural roots. But more broadly, it can be seen as a way to explore how people’s beliefs intersect with their daily lives and how those beliefs shape our world. Whether you’re interested in the origins of the Bible or exploring how people practice their faith around the world today, there are plenty of online religious studies degree options that can be completed at your own pace.

Available online Religious Studies Degree Program

ProgramDuration Credits required (may vary)
Associate of Arts in Religion/Religious Studies2 Years60 Credits
Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science  in Religion/Religious Studies.  4 Years120 Credits
Master of Arts or Master of Science in Religion/Religious Studies    2 Years60 Credits
PhD Religious Studies2 years60 credits

Choosing an online Religious Studies Degree Program

Many online religious studies degree programs are available, but it is important to choose one that is right for you. Some factors to consider include the specific courses you want to take, the emphasis the program places on research, and the quality of the instructors. Additionally, it is important to choose a nationally or regionally accredited school. Accreditation ensures that the school meets specific standards and is likely to provide students with a quality education.

Here is a list of the 15 cheapest degrees in Religious Studies.

#1. Guilford Technical Community College.

Program: Associate in Arts Religious Studies (Pathway)

Tuition: $76.00 per credit hour (in-state), $268.00 per credit hour (out of state)

Accreditation: Accredited by SACSCOC

The Associate in Arts Religious Studies (Pathway) at GTCC is designed to meet the requirements for students to transfer into a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. Upon completion of this degree, graduates will be able to assess resources to access new information in the field of Religion and compare objective and subjective beliefs as they are practiced generally in the field of Religion.

Courses in this program include

  • Philosophical Issues
  • General Psychology
  • Introduction to the Old and New Testament
  • Religion in America

#2. Valdosta State University

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy & Religious Studies

Tuition: $182.13 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #4 of 50 Most Affordable Online Non-Profit Schools in America.

The Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies at VSU offers dual-track studies that result in a B. A. in Philosophy & Religious Studies. Students may choose to emphasize in a Philosophy Track, a Religious Studies Track, or both. Students who opt for the Religious Studies Track will delve into studies on the diversity of religious thought and practice from multicultural points of view. Students explore the significance of religious traditions in shaping societies worldwide. Religious studies courses are designed to encourage various disciplinary approaches toward the expression of Religion in the fine arts, politics, literature, social conflict, history, language, or gender studies.

Courses include

  • world religions            
  • ethics and society
  • religious traditions      
  • upper-division electives in Philosophy & Religion
  • history of Religion and sacred texts

#3. Florida International University

Program: B.A. Religious Studies

Tuition: $228.81 Per Credit Hour (In-State), $345.87 per credit hour (out of state).

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #4 Best Accredited Online College in Florida

 FIU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies at FIU is a rigorous program that provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the beliefs, history, and practices of the world’s religions. The program encourages students to explore eastern and western religions from various perspectives. Students get to explore eastern and western religions while developing exceptional skills as researchers and writers.

Focus courses:

  • Art History
  • English, History
  • Humanities
  • International Relations
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology/Anthropology

#4. Athens State University

Program: Bachelor of Arts with a major in Religion

Tuition: $241 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #13 of 48 Best Colleges in Alabama.

The Bachelor of Arts with a major in Religion at Arizona State provides students with a broad-based knowledge of Religion. The degree includes rigorous coursework in four major areas of study: world religion, moral values and theology, biblical studies, and sociology of Religion. The program focuses on practices of ancient and modern religions. The program includes observance of sacred texts in various cultures, the relationship between religion and culture, Religion’s historical and literary elements, and the sociological research methods required for understanding the evolution of religious thought throughout history. Graduates possess the knowledge, competencies, and skills to engage in ongoing research of the writings of the world’s religions.

#5. Missouri State University

Program: B.S. or B.A., Religious Studies

Tuition: $267 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and ranked #47 of 326 Best Online Colleges in America

 At Missouri State University, the online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Religious Studies program is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the world’s major religions. Students learn to see the world from different points of view, understand the theological principles of religious thought and expression, and train to think analytically. Students learn to read, write and speak effectively. They also develop an ability to empathize with others and understand different perspectives.

#6. Louisiana State University of Alexandria

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Tuition: $291 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #13 of the top 24 Top Public Schools

LSUA’s online B.A. in Religious Studies allows students to explore the major belief systems, scriptures, and spiritual practices, that influence our history. Students are enlightened in self-confidence and self-knowledge and acquire soft skills employers seek, including teamwork, critical thinking, and compassion. Graduates of this program may continue their education and gain a counseling degree at the graduate level.

#7. Hampton University (Online)

Program: A.A. Religious Studies

Tuition: $300.00 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #21 of 42 Colleges with the Best Academics in Virginia

The A.A. Religious Studies online degree at Hampton University is an introductory program in the study of Religion. The program provides students an organized and scholarly chance to study all the world’s main religions in their respective cultural, historic, and social settings.

Courses in this program include:

  • World Religions
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Religious Studies
  • Introduction to Sociology

#8. King University

Program: B.S. Religious Studies

Tuition: $305 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #7 of 58 Best Value Universities in the South.

The B.S. Religious Studies at King University prepares students to serve in the church and parachurch organizations, and they may also advance their studies in seminaries or graduate schools. The program combines studies in 21st century Christianity with understanding religions of the world and present-day expressions of faith. The program is designed for students who seek an academic, passionate approach to serving the needs of society in the 21st century.

#9. Beulah Heights University

Program: Associate Degree in Religious Studies

Tuition: $318 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by (ABHE) Association for Biblical Higher Education

and (TRACS) Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

The A.A. in Religious studies online degree at Beulah Heights University teaches students to participate in religious ministry within the domain of culture and the church. The program allows students to learn the Bible through direct study. The skills gained through this religious degree program will equip graduates with the ability to change the lives of the people that they serve.

#10. Oregon State University

Program: B.A or B.S. in Religious Studies

Tuition: $346 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and ranked #5 of 384 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

The Religious Studies B.A. or B.S. program online through OSU will allow students to develop essential reasoning and critical-thinking skills that are crucial to navigating society’s complex cultural interactions. It is an interdisciplinary program that exposes students to the foundational texts of critical scholarship, world religions, and current theoretical debates. Graduates are equipped with an understanding of the impact various religious traditions make in the world and in the realms of politics, social structure, and culture.

#11. Liberty University

Program: Associate Degree in Religious Studies

Tuition: $390 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #5 of 326 best online undergraduate programs.

Liberty’s online associate degree in religious studies equips students with a lifetime of quality ministry. Students can learn to effectively engage unbelievers’ questions, doubts, and skepticism and justify their thoughts with logical and untiring argumentation. The online religion degree can enhance students’ knowledge of the scriptures by studying their biblical content, developing penetrative skills, and honing their theological interpretations.

Courses in this program include:

  • Methodical Study of Scripture
  • History of Life
  • Global Studies
  • Theological Interpretation of the Bible

#12. Southwestern Assemblies of God University.

Program: Religious Studies, A.A.

Tuition: $399 per credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and ranked #8 Best Online College in Texas

The two-year online Associate degree in Religious Studies at SAGU is designed to prepare students for foundational studies in general education and religious studies. Students will learn to identify key people, places, and themes of the Old and New Testaments, understand Christian theology, and articulate the fundamentals of a Christian worldview.

#13. America State University

Program: Religious Studies – Religion, Culture and Public Life (B.A.)

Tuition: $621 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and ranked #1 Best Colleges in Arizona.

In the online B.A. in Religious Studies – Religion, Culture, and Public Life at ASU, students explore the impact of Religion on societies around the world. The program emphasizes how Religion influences everyday life and its portrayal in art & media. Graduates understand how belief systems are viewed and shared by exploring religious depictions in literature, popular culture, film, and more. The curriculum investigates how various religions support different areas of human behavior, from appearance and attitudes about mortality and sexuality.

#14. St Thomas University

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Tuition: $815 Per Credit hour

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by SACSCOC and made it to the Best Regional Universities South Rankings at #80 of 139

The Online Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies at STU is a rigorous program in the foundation in religious studies that is significant to effective leadership in today’s world, not only for religious institutions but for excellent leadership in general. The program prepares students for graduate or professional education. The program meets the requirements of the diocese for Florida and reflects Florida’s rich racial, ethnic, and religious diversity.

#15. California State University Chico

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies

Tuition: $7,972 per year

Accreditation and Ranking: Accredited by the WASC, Senior College and University Commission and ranked #18 of 66 Top Public Universities in the West

The B.A. in Religious Studies program at CSU-Chico is designed to equip students with technological and research skills. Graduates can handle qualitative analysis and data interpretation and are prepared to work effectively in culturally diverse and challenging settings. Students of this program are well-rounded and educated problem solvers and fluent writers and can examine issues from many perspectives. The program teaches sensitivity to individuals’ religious, ethnic, and socio-economic identities in various settings.

What can you do with a Religious Studies Degree?

Religious studies degrees can be used in a variety of ways. The most common is that they provide excellent preparation for choosing a specific religious career path. For example, someone who studies Religion might eventually decide to become a minister or priest or work as a chaplain at institutions such as a hospital or university. They may also choose to work in the field of education, where they could teach in elementary, secondary, and post secondary schools.

In addition to being prepared for careers such as these, a religious studies degree also gives its holder access to information about different religions and how they are practiced worldwide. This knowledge can help students understand the beliefs and practices of their faith communities and make connections among them through comparative analysis.

The chart below shows the percentage of common degree types held by the working population in Religious Studies based on Information from Data U.S

What jobs can you get with a Religious Studies degree?

Religious Studies professors and students have a running joke: if anyone asks you what you study, say geology. It’ll be an easier conversation. After they’ve asked what your classes are about, the next inevitable question will come – “what exactly are you going to do with that degree?” The truth is that you can go on to find employment in all kinds of areas, usually making the most of the soft skills that you will have acquired in your studies—compassion, empathy, and willingness to listen and understand people.

The following chart highlights the Median Salary for common Religious Studies Degree Jobs and the projected annual increase in job openings, data based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is the difference between a Religious Studies Degree and a Theology Degree?

Theology and religious studies degree programs focus on different aspects of religious belief. For theology, students study topics such as biblical interpretation, systematic theology, and ethics. On the other hand, religious studies degree programs are more focused on studying religions themselves. This may include topics such as history, mythology, and ritual. Ultimately, the two degrees will have different focuses and may lead to different careers.

TheologyReligious Studies
Focuses closely on the study of faith and  God.Focuses on the critical investigation of various religions.
Closely associated with religious colleges/universitiesPrograms are available in institutions as an academic discipline in its own department.
Theology requires learners to have some degree of faith.It does not require its learners to have religious beliefs

Why pursue an online religious studies degree?

A Religious Studies Degree leads graduates in many directions. It qualifies students for further graduate school studies or prepares them for entry into the job market. As with any humanities program, religion studies trains students in critical thinking and cross-cultural understanding. These skills are highly in demand in many professional fields and not just in a religious capacity, as seen in the list of career opportunities highlighted in this article. With so many career possibilities and opportunities for growth, a degree in Religious Studies is definitely worth it.

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