Ministry Studies Degrees: Bachelor, Associate & Online Class Info

About this article
What will you learn in a ministry studies bachelor's or associate degree program? Read about bachelor's and associate degrees in ministry studies requirements, the pros and cons of bachelor's and associate degrees and potential careers.
View available schools

Ministry Studies Bachelor's and Associate Degrees at a Glance

If you like to work with people and want to do it in a religious or church setting, then a ministry studies bachelor's or associate degree program could be just what you are looking for. A bachelor's degree program in ministry studies prepares you for a role in the ministry. It equips you to hold a pastoral position, be a missionary, work in a Christian school or become a youth pastor. A variety of career options are available with this bachelor's degree.

Churches, schools and religious organizations always need skilled workers. The mission field needs highly skilled workers with a bachelor's degree.

Associate Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Students who are interested in working in the lay ministryStudents who would like to lead a church, other spiritual organization, or a ministry in a church
Common Career Paths (with approximate median annual salary) Religious worker ($26,000)* - Clergy ($44,000)*
- Directors of religious activities and education ($36,000)*
Time to CompletionTwo yearsFour years
Common Graduation Requirements About 20 courses Roughly 30-40 courses and practicum for service requirement
Prerequisites U.S. high school diploma or GEDU.S. high school diploma or GED and 50 credit hours from an accredited college
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate in Ministry Studies

An associate program in ministry studies provides the training necessary to work as a church staff member or volunteer. If you enroll in an associate degree program, you receive an introduction to theology, Bible studies and the ministry. You can specialize in an area such as church, Christian education or music ministry.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You will develop the skills necessary to work in the lay ministry
  • You will take courses that you can apply toward a bachelor's degree
  • You will learn how to become more effective as a spiritual leader

Cons

  • You may need to take additional courses in order to meet ordination requirements
  • If you would like to become a pastor, it may be best to enroll in a bachelor's degree program
  • When searching for jobs, preference may be given to students with a bachelor's degree

Common Courses and Requirements

You will be required to take a wide range of courses to develop knowledge in theology and learn practical skills such as writing and public speaking to be effective in the ministry. Some courses you'll take might include:

  • Bible study methods
  • Public speaking
  • Biblical texts
  • English composition
  • Introduction to psychology

Online Degree Options

Online associate degree programs in ministry studies are available to students around the world. Students who need the convenience of online courses to accommodate their schedules can choose to enroll in an online program. Online courses are taught by faculty members and allow for communication between students and also for interaction between students and instructors.

Get Ahead with This Degree

Because you will be interacting with and helping many people in the ministry, taking courses in psychology will help you to better understand human behavior and get ahead. In order to be better able to communicate the teachings of a church to others, it will help to focus on developing your writing and speaking skills.

Bachelor's Degree in Ministry Studies

In a bachelor's degree program in ministry studies, you learn how to preach, perform rituals, lead a congregation and apply spiritual principles in making decisions. You can choose an area of concentration, such as pastoral ministry, missionary service or Christian counseling. A bachelor's degree program, which helps you learn theological knowledge, as well as practical skills, prepares you for work in the ministry or for graduate studies.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You can develop knowledge and practical skills that enable you to serve as a pastor or do other work in the ministry
  • You'll learn to integrate critical thought with teachings of your denomination
  • You'll learn how to present a spiritual teaching to a group of people

Cons

  • You may not make very much money as a missionary or pastor and might have to work a secular job as well
  • Working in the ministry requires a lot of interaction with people, so it may not be the best career for people who like to work alone
  • A career in the ministry, because it requires a lot of giving, may lead to burnout

Common Courses and Requirements

A bachelor's degree program in ministry studies offers a number of courses. Depending on what your goal is - pastor, missionary or educator - your classes may vary. Some common courses include:

  • Introduction to theology
  • Counseling
  • Public speaking
  • Theology of missions

Online Degree Options

Some ministry studies departments provide bachelor's degree programs that can be completed online to accommodate students with jobs or families. You begin your program with a group of other students and have the ability to interact with them, as well as your teachers, throughout the program.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Since working in the ministry field usually requires a lot of public speaking, it would benefit you to take a speech course in order to hone this skill. In order to be better able to help people, taking courses in counseling also could help you get ahead. In addition, acquiring skills in administration and management could make you more competitive.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Christian Studies - Youth Ministry
      • B.A. in Christian Studies - Biblical Studies
      • BA in Christian Studies
      • BA in Christian Studies - Worship Leadership
      • B.A. in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Global Ministry
      • B.A. in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Philosophy
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Political Science
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. General Studies - Religious Studies
      • B.S. Biblical Studies
      • B.S. General Studies - Liberal Arts
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA General Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Thomas Edison State University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Liberal Studies
  • Milwaukee, WI

    Marquette University

  • Notre Dame, IN

    University of Notre Dame

  • Online Programs Available
    9. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA in Humanities (Fine Arts)
      • BA in Humanities (Literature)
      • BA in Humanities [Without Concentration]
      • BA / BS in Liberal Arts [Without Concentration]
      • BS in Liberal Arts (Professional and Technical Writing)

Featured Schools

Grand Canyon University

  • Bachelor: Christian Studies - Youth Ministry
  • B.A. in Christian Studies - Biblical Studies
  • BA in Christian Studies

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership

Which subject are you interested in?

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Political Science

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • B.S. General Studies - Religious Studies
  • B.S. Biblical Studies
  • B.S. General Studies - Liberal Arts

What is your highest level of education?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • BA General Studies

What is your highest level of education?

Thomas Edison State University

  • BA in Liberal Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?