A Guide to Online Philosophy & Religious Studies Degrees Accredited Online Degree Programs in Philosophy & Religious Studies

Ready to start your journey?

religious icons

Wondering why you should get a philosophy degree or a degree in religious studies? Online degrees in philosophy/religious studies allows students to take an in-depth look at their culture and the various aspects that make it unique. As they continue their studies, they are able to learn how to think critically about why some things are acceptable and why others are not. They are taught to use reasoning skills and recognize specific patterns in the cultural way of thinking.

Choosing a degree in philosophy can lead to pursuing other classes in religion and theology if a person is interested in pursuing a career in the church or as a counselor of some type. Individuals who are interested in understanding more about a nation’s culture and its religious beliefs will be able to use what they learn to teach others. As a pastor or counselor, a graduate can assist others in coping with difficulties they may face throughout their lives.

Most Popular Schools with Online Philosophy & Religious Studies Degree Programs

Top paying States for this occupation:

StateEmploymentAnnual mean wage
Rhode Island130$105,620
New Hampshire100$92,100
Source: 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2019-29 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Most Affordable Online Philosophy & Religious Studies Degree Programs

What Can You Do with a Philosophy or Religion Degree?

Individuals who choose to enroll in a philosophy or religious studies degree can embark on several different career paths. One path they can choose is to become an educator. Graduates with a degree in philosophy can choose to teach philosophy, theology, and many courses that have to do with either religion or cultural belief systems. Philosophy, in many cases, does not have to do with religion at all, but a culture’s belief structure and how it interconnects with the environment.

Pastors or reverends can obtain a degree in either philosophy or theology. As a leader of a church, a pastor or reverend must be able to understand not only the tenets of their religion but also the belief structure that supports it. They must be able to offer wise counsel to the members of their congregation and provide instruction in the ways of the church. They must be able to work within the scope of the church’s doctrine and still be able to assist members with their spiritual needs.

Counselors can be found both inside and outside of the church. Church counselors are well-versed in their faith and the beliefs of their particular religion and are primarily thought of as ministers within the organization. Counselors who work outside of the church may need to earn a psychology degree if they want to be considered to be a medical professional within the healthcare field.

Religion and Philosophy Degree Types

There are several degree types that a student can choose from. If they are just starting out on their path to higher education, they can begin by taking a few online courses and earning their Associate’s degree in philosophy or religious studies. Most degree programs will take from two to four years to complete unless you choose an accelerated program. Accelerated programs can be completed several months sooner than a traditional degree program, sometimes up to six months sooner.

Online Associate’s Degrees

An Associate’s degree program will start out teaching the most basic classes that will be needed to support almost any degree program, including philosophy and religious studies. In addition to the generalized courses, students will also have access to the basic philosophy courses that they will use to build the foundation of their education. Philosophy and religious studies degree programs can be completed online or in the classroom making it easy for the student to continue to work.

Earning an Associate’s degree will allow the student to gain enough of the basic knowledge that they can begin to look for work in their chosen career field. Students who are studying philosophy can sometimes start to work before they complete their Associate’s degree program as long as they work alongside someone who can mentor them and provide the guidance they need to be successful. This will also give them the direction they need to keep them moving forward while they continue to pursue their education.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees

A Bachelor’s degree in philosophy or religious studies is the next step towards completing an advanced degree. A step up from an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree starts to introduce the core concepts of a philosophy or religious study program. Students will learn about cultural differences and how they mold a belief system. They are also taught to understand how the traditions and beliefs from each culture are embedded within the religion and how both guide the people as they live their lives.

With a Bachelor’s degree, students are able to delve deeper into what philosophy really means and the history of the religion they are beginning to explore. The student will begin to learn how the religion and the belief structure came about and developed over time. The philosophy of each religion and cultural way of thinking is unique to each specific region. By earning a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies, students are able to get a better understanding of what is behind the religion they are learning about.

Online Master’s Degrees

A Master’s degree in philosophy and religious studies goes further into the tenets and laws of each religion or school of thought. The philosophy that surrounds a culture and is created through the belief structure is closely connected in many ways to the religion that helped to mold it and vise versa. A Master’s degree not only teaches the concepts associated with a school of thought or religion, it leads to a deeper understanding so the student can begin to apply what they are being taught to real-life scenarios and situations.

With a Master’s degree, the student will gain a thorough enough knowledge to be able to begin to share what they have learned with others. They can share this knowledge through work as a minister or pastor, or they can offer counseling services through their church or other organization. The level of knowledge offered by a Master’s degree in philosophy goes to the core of a culture’s main school of thought and beliefs. Mastering the concepts and being able to apply them to a specific situation is the main goal of a Master’s degree program in either philosophy or religious studies.

Online Doctoral Degrees

A philosophy or religious doctoral degree program ties all of the information that has been received in previous courses together. Students who work towards a doctoral degree normally do so because they are interested in teaching others. They can choose to teach philosophy or religious concepts and theology. No matter what course they choose to take, they will be able to provide students with everything they need to either pursue their own career or continue their own education. Graduates who have taken the time to earn a doctoral or Ph.D. degree are often able to pass on what they have learned through speeches and seminars that are offered to both the public as well as professionals.

Earning a doctoral degree gives graduates an opportunity to help others either through teaching what they have learned or offering guidance through counseling or through hosting teaching sessions. For those who choose a religious path, becoming a mentor through the church or leading the church through a pastoral appointment is the most desired course. Aside from providing instruction, graduates who earn a doctoral degree also use the knowledge they gain for practical purposes like mentoring new students or individuals who are trying to find their path in the church or the community.

Accreditation for Religion and Philosophy

Accreditation is a term that is used when a degree program has been proven to meet or exceed the standards and expectations of professionals within the industry it represents. For a degree program involving philosophy or religious studies to be accredited, it must prove that it contains the knowledge, concepts, and theories that sufficiently describe and relate to the specific belief system in question. Once accreditation has been given, students can rest assured that they will learn everything they need to know to either teach or pursue a career in the field of philosophy or religious studies.

Accreditation is also beneficial if a student is hoping to become certified or apply for a license. Degree programs that have earned accredited status mean that it teaches everything a student needs to apply and sit for an exam that will allow them to get their license to practice either as a counselor or as a religious leader. Choosing an accredited degree program means that the degree you earn will provide you with the knowledge that is required for you to be considered a professional among your peers. If you are unsure if your chosen degree program has been accredited, talk to your counselor or admissions advisor. They will be able to find the answers you are looking for.


When it comes to degree programs that involve philosophy or religious studies, there may be a few certifications or licenses you may be able to apply for that will allow you to take on new opportunities or pursue a career as a leader in a church or as a counselor in a particular school of thought. Philosophy and religious studies both involve the study and exploration of various cultures and religious schools of belief. There are many different schools of thought and religious belief systems to go along with the multitude of cultures from across the globe. Students who choose this type of career path must choose the ones that best suit their needs and will help them follow the path they most desire.

Applying for a certification or license can involve many different steps. Once you have completed your chosen course of study, you may have to work in your field for a specific time as an apprentice or novice so that you can learn at least a portion of what you need to know through hands-on learning that cannot be achieved in a classroom setting or an online degree program. Students who continue to try to apply for a license will have to complete the application and pay a fee to take the state exam. In most cases, the person who is applying for the license or certification must have successfully completed their degree program and have the transcript to prove it. Once the eligibility requirements have been met, the applicant can take the test and be certified in their chosen field of study.

Scholarships for Religion and Philosophy

Scholarships and grants are just two ways students can cut part of the cost of their education. Scholarships and grants are given as gifts to deserving students who have proven they need assistance. Student loans are often expensive and have higher than average interest rates. Because scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back, students can use the money they receive for the expenses related to their education without having to worry about any loans once they graduate. Scholarships can often cover the majority of a student’s educational expenses for their first couple of years in school.

A scholarship is slightly different from a grant. Scholarships are normally much smaller when it comes to the amount and are often given as a one-time gift. If a person is interested in receiving a scholarship, they must fill out an application and tell why they feel that they deserve the scholarship. Once it is determined that they are eligible to receive the gift, their name will be added to the list of other applicants who are trying to win the scholarship. Once it has been awarded, the student can use the money to pay for their books, tuition, supplies, or room and board. 

A grant is also a gift but it is designed primarily for students who have advanced to post-graduate degree programs. Unlike scholarships that are only gifted one time to a student, a grant may be a recurring gift that the student can rely on for several years in a row. Grants are also usually much larger, sometimes adding up to thousands of dollars over the course of time they gifts are given to the student. Grants that are given to post-graduate students can be used to pay for research fees or laboratory time. 


Best Online Christian Colleges & Universities

Best Christian Colleges & Universities

Best Catholic Colleges & Universities

Butler University

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?