Higher education began with Christian higher education, building around the needs of the church to educate its leaders and gradually expanding to science, mathematics, and humanities as we know them. Today, Christian colleges and universities are just as varied and diverse as Christianity, with nearly every denomination represented. Colleges include mainline Protestants, evangelicals, independents, Latter-Day Saints and Adventists, and many more. These institutions may be politically liberal or conservative, they may be doctrinally strict or inclusive, but they are all founded on the values of their Christian faith.
Many of the best Christian universities in America also double as online Christian colleges offering reputable online degree programs. Many Christian students believe that an online education from a Christian college fits their needs and beliefs better than an education from a secular institution. Christian colleges integrate Christian philosophy and biblical teachings into their curriculum, building students’ faith while educating them. Students who have been home-schooled in a Christian curriculum often choose online Christian colleges as well.
How We Ranked the Best Online Christian Colleges and Universities
Christian colleges are often judged on a different scale than secular institutions, but for the College Consensus, all colleges – big and small, national and regional, private and public – are put on the same plane. (The Consensus Method is explained in more detail on the About page.) By bringing together published rankings and student reviews into on aggregate ranking, College Consensus gives students a full picture of how a college is perceived. In fact, the loyalty of Christian college graduates often gives Christian institutions an advantage in student reviews.
To qualify for the Best Online Christian Colleges and Universities ranking, institutions must have a Consensus Score and at least 5 fully online degree programs, either undergraduate or graduate.
Note: The College Consensus ranking of Online Christian Colleges and Universities does not include Catholic institutions; they have their own ranking.
Fresno Pacific UniversityFresno, CA
LeTourneau UniversityLongview, TX
Point Loma Nazarene UniversitySan Diego, CA
Southwestern Adventist UniversityKeene, TX
University of TulsaTulsa, OK
Pepperdine UniversityMalibu, CA
Houghton CollegeHoughton, NY
Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL
Messiah CollegeMechanicsburg, PA
California Lutheran UniversityThousand Oaks, CA
Concordia University-Saint PaulSaint Paul, MN
MidAmerica Nazarene UniversityOlathe, KS
The Master’s University and SeminarySanta Clarita, CA
Eastern UniversitySaint Davids, PA
Elmhurst CollegeElmhurst, IL
Greenville UniversityGreenville, IL
Ashland UniversityAshland, OH
Geneva CollegeBeaver Falls, PA
Valparaiso UniversityValparaiso, IN
Azusa Pacific UniversityAzusa, CA
Are Online Christian Colleges Accredited?
Many online Christian colleges are accredited, while others are not for reasons that are explained here. Accredited Christian colleges are those that met certain requirements by an authorized body charged with quality assurance. In the process, they are tested on the grounds of accountability to make them answerable to a higher authority and credibility to ensure impeccable code of conduct and specified study ethics.
This rigorous exercise also ensures that accredited online bible colleges have adhered to a strict graduation procedure that makes it impossible to confer any degree fraudulently. Employers have for a long time disregarded degrees from non-accredited Christian colleges, questioning their authenticity, which makes it an unfavorable option for those seeking employment.
However, just because an institution is not accredited doesn’t imply that the quality of education offered is low. Some online Christian colleges decide to stay out in principle due to the inconvenience of sacrificing their core values/philosophies. For example, Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act forbids gender discrimination, and is often read to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Some conservative colleges that believe in traditional male/female roles, or who ban gay or transgender students, choose not to be accredited or to accept government aid to avoid having to abide by Title IX.
Since education is all about a secure future, most students who are not devout believers will avoid the risk by attending accredited online Christian colleges instead.
Are Online Christian Colleges Expensive?
No, they are not. They fall in the category of some of the most affordable colleges you can ever get. A recent survey revealed interesting statistics that the average annual tuition cost of 24 tuition Christian colleges polled was $ 6,075 in 2018, making them the cheapest online Christian colleges. The institution charging the lowest fees pegged their tuition fee per credit hour at only $ 190, totaling to only $ 4,020 for the entire year. The second-placed school was an institution which charged $ 275 per credit hour, summing up to $ 4,125 annually for M.S. in criminal justice and M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership.
Besides the cost, these affordable online Christian colleges offer concrete degree programs with an academic approach that’s Christ-centered, molding men and women into fruitful and productive people in several disciplines including Master of Arts in Theological Studies and biblical studies for undergraduate degree holders from accredited colleges. Free online classes are also available.
Do I Have to Be a Christian to Go to Online Christian Colleges?
No. Most online Christian colleges open their doors to any applicant, religious backgrounds notwithstanding. However, some more conservative-leaning colleges may require a statement of faith or a conservative honor code as a primary requirement to consider one’s admission. This may effectively bar non-Christian students from these schools.
Other conservative Christian colleges enforce strict rules. Dressing codes must conform to the prescribed standards as a requirement, church service attendance is compulsory, students should get ready for random drug tests whenever asked, and abstinence from premarital relationships for students. Online students who don’t have to go to campus physically, however, are exempt by default.