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Theology/Theological Studies

Program Description

Just the Facts

Theology/Theological Studies. A program that focuses on the beliefs and doctrine of a particular religious faith from the intramural point of view of that faith. Includes instruction in systematic theology, historical theology, moral theology, doctrinal studies, dogmatics, apologetics, and applications to specific questions of ecclesiastical polity and religious life.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree
  • Doctoral degree

High School Courses

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Additional Information

People study theology for many reasons. Some people are interested in learning more about the Bible and church history. Others want to go on to graduate work and research. Still others want to train for leadership roles in the church and community.

Theology is not the same as religious studies. Most religious studies programs focus on the study of world religions. That means a religious studies degree will not train you to be a minister.

In the U.S., the bachelor of theology degree (BTh) is becoming less common.

"The trend in the United States is for students to take their BA in either humanities or liberal arts as preparation for their master's in divinity -- a three-year postgraduate program offered at seminaries, divinity schools, universities and colleges," says Dee Weksten, a former professor at the Perkins School of Theology in Dallas.

If you want to be a minister, ask your minister or pastor for advice on schools. This is important because every denomination has different requirements.

"Accreditation is a very important factor when considering any college or university program, particularly with religious schools," say Randall Bell. He is associate director of the Accrediting Association of Bible Colleges (AABC). It accredits undergraduate religious programs.

About 85 North American schools are accredited by AABC. However, schools don't have to be accredited.

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredits theology master's programs in North America. These schools will only admit students with a bachelor's degree in a liberal arts field.

Many theology programs encourage students to do a double major in another field. For example, studies in teaching, counseling or youth work go well with a theology degree.

Students can often specialize. For example, you may get a theology degree with a specialization in a field such as music ministry, youth work or pastoral counseling.

So what are schools looking for in a theology student? Weksten says admission requirements at Perkins include examination of personal standards, personal references, church involvement and a personal essay.

In high school, take courses in religion, social studies and English. College Compass, an education Web site, also recommends history, natural sciences, fine arts and music.

Other activities that could help you are attending church, doing Bible study, participating in youth or church groups or helping in Sunday school.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Protestant Ministers

The World of Religions
A detailed site on religions around the globe

Religious Studies Page
A listing of web resources


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