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 3 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.
Northwestern College (IA)Orange City, IA
Northwestern College (IA) is one of the best online Christian colleges in the Midwest for students who are looking to attend a faith-based school. Students have access to the same quality resources as those who attend class on the campus. Online degree programs provide flexible schedules and an opportunity to maintain a full work schedule while attending school. Students can thrive in a learning environment of their own choosing.
Cedarville UniversityCedarville, OH
Cedarville University is well-known for its quality degree programs. It is also considered one of the best Christian colleges as well. Students who prefer to learn in a faith-based environment are able to do so and continue to advance their education along the way. The online learning platform used by the school gives the students everything they need to successfully complete their degree. Students who learn online can enjoy not having to worry about a long commute to and from class.
Pepperdine UniversityMalibu, CA
Pepperdine University is considered to be one of the best online Christian colleges in the state. The university is second to none when it comes to advanced degree programs. Students can now take many of these programs online giving them the freedom they need to hold a job and gain additional work experience in the process. This gives each student the edge they need. By working and learning at the same time, students can achieve their goals much faster.
Baylor UniversityWaco, TX
Considered to be one of the best online Christian colleges, students who attend Baylor University are able to enjoy the freedom that online learning provides. They can study in an environment in which they are most comfortable. They also have the flexibility to work and take care of the needs of their family. This allows students with a strong faith to fulfill their moral obligations as well.
Messiah UniversityMechanicsburg, PA
Messiah University provides students with all of the advantages the best online Christian colleges have to offer. Every student has the resources they need to complete their education and still continue to pursue their career goals. Students can enjoy the faith-based environment that a Christian college offers its students, even those who participate in online learning programs. Students that choose an online degree program can also enjoy the freedom of studying when it is most advantageous.
Concordia University-Saint PaulSaint Paul, MN
Concordia University-Saint Paul is well-known for being one of the best online Christian colleges in the state of Minnesota. Students who live too far away to enjoy the benefits of a classroom setting can reap the rewards that an online learning platform has to offer. Not only do they get to take advantage of excellent learning programs, they can also hold down a job and support their family.
LeTourneau UniversityLongview, TX
LeTourneau University is among the best online Christian Colleges that offer a variety of degree programs over a secure online learning platform. Students have access to all of the same resources that on-campus students but also gain the freedom to study when it is best for them. Because of their flexible schedule, they can also work a part-time or full-time job. They have the options they need to make the best possible choices that will allow them to fulfill their dreams.
Texas Christian UniversityFort Worth, TX
Texas Christian University is able to provide students with all of the advantages of attending the best online Christian colleges. The faith-based environment allows students to follow their beliefs and learn about their faith in the process. The flexible schedule of an online degree program gives students to assist in taking care of their families and work at the same time. Flexibility ensures that the student can complete their goals and stay on track.
Azusa Pacific UniversityAzusa, CA
Azusa Pacific University has the reputation for providing many of the best online degree programs available. As one of the best online Christian colleges, the university’s online learning platform is easy to use and will provide students with everything they need to complete their education. Students can also take advantage of the school’s numerous resources. Students have the opportunity to study when they can and work when they need to.
Bethel University (MN)Saint Paul, MN
Bethel University (MN) is well-known for its academic excellence both in and out of the classroom. As one of the best online Christian colleges, the school offers an online learning environment that is second to none when it comes to both quality and flexibility. Students receive every opportunity they need to successfully complete their education. Every student has the ability to maintain their job and earn additional experience they can use when they are looking for a job after graduation.
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA
Liberty University is considered to be among the best online Christian colleges available. Its online degree programs offer all of the skills and abilities that are needed for a student to be successful in reaching their career goals. The online learning platform is one of the most advanced and allows students easy access to all of their coursework and exams.
Southwestern Assemblies of God UniversityWaxahachie, TX
Southwestern Assemblies of God University has a reputation for being among the best online Christian colleges in the area. Students who enroll in its degree programs have the option to continue working while they are attending school. With the flexible schedule offered by online degree programs, students are able to study whenever their schedule permits.
Concordia University-ChicagoRiver Forest, IL
Concordia University-Chicago is able to provide each student with the highest quality, online degree programs available. As one of the best online Christian colleges in Chicago, the school also offers a faith-based education that students can rely on. The freedom that a student has with online degree programs means that they don’t have to choose between their education and caring for their families.
Colorado Christian UniversityLakewood, CO
Colorado Christian University is thought to be one of the best Christian online colleges in the state. Flexible schedules, abundant resources, and an easy-to-use online learning platform provide students with every possible advantage. Students who are already working a full-time job will not have to leave work to return to school to complete their education.
Concordia University-WisconsinMequon, WI
Concordia University-Wisconsin offers many of the best online degree choices in the Midwest. The university is considered to be one of the best Christian online colleges for providing in-depth degree programs and exceptional student resources. The university goes to great lengths to ensure students who sign up for their online programs have everything they need to succeed.
University of the CumberlandsWilliamsburg, KY
The University of the Cumberlands is ranked among the best Christian online colleges for providing the highest quality education possible. Students enjoy a flexible schedule that will allow them to pursue their career goals while they work towards their diplomas. Every degree program is designed to provide the most accurate information as well as the most advanced skills and techniques.
Shorter UniversityRome, GA
Shorter University gives students a chance to further their careers by enrolling in its online degree programs. Considered to be among the best online Christian colleges, the school is able to assist students in getting the most out of their education. From the flexible schedule to the advanced online learning platform, students receive every possible advantage.
Mississippi CollegeClinton, MS
Mississippi College offers many of the most advanced, online degree programs available. Thought to be one of the best Christian online colleges in the south, the university takes great pride in being able to help students earn their education while continuing to work and support their families. The online learning platform provides everything the student needs to gain an advantage.
California Baptist UniversityRiverside, CA
California Baptist University offers students the opportunities they need to succeed at reaching their goals. The school is one of the best Christian online colleges on the west coast. The online learning environment gives students from all over the country an opportunity to earn their education and get the skills they need for their chosen career field.
Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas, TX
Dallas Baptist University is one of the best Christian online colleges for students who want to attend a school that supports their faith. Each degree program is designed to provide the most advanced skills and up to date information possible. The flexible schedule allows students to follow their career path and still earn the education they deserve.
Trevecca Nazarene UniversityNashville, TN
Trevecca Nazarene University gives each student an opportunity to learn in a faith-based environment. Students will be attending one of the best Christian online schools that is well-known for providing the highest quality education. Students can enjoy the freedom that comes with being able to study when it is best for them.
Faulkner UniversityMontgomery, AL
Faulkner University has been listed as one of the best Christian online colleges that provides in-depth degree programs. Every student is given the opportunity to earn their degree using the school’s online learning platform. This allows them to continue to take of their families and also fulfill financial obligations by continuing to work at their regular job.
Gardner-Webb UniversityBoiling Springs, NC
Gardner-Webb University gives students the option to attend school at one of the best online Christian colleges available. Those who prefer to attend a Christian school can depend on the university to provide them with a quality education that they can rely on when starting to build their careers. Students can take advantage of many different resources the school offers.
Concordia University-NebraskaSeward, NE
Concordia University-Nebraska gives students who attend their online degree programs the same opportunities as those who attend a classroom. The school is one of the best online Christian colleges for providing an education that is second to none when taught over an online learning platform. Students who learn online have access to all of the same resources as those who are on-campus.
Houston Baptist UniversityHouston, TX
Houston Baptist University has a reputation for being one of the best online Christian colleges in the state of Texas. Students who enroll in the school’s online degree programs are guaranteed to have everything they need to complete their coursework successfully. The school goes to great lengths to ensure students have all of the advantages they need to reach their goals.
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.