Christian studies includes in-depth examination of the teachings of the Bible, and encourages advanced understanding of historical as well as modern ideas of Christianity. Ideal candidates for Christian studies are interested in studying the Christian religion, as well as general religious philosophy, leadership through ministry, evangelism, and theological education. A Christian studies master’s degree allows students to take their undergraduate education to the next level, improve their current professional standing, or simply aspire to a deeper understanding of the subject. Online Christian master’s degree programs provide a comprehensive exploration of Christian philosophy, values, and common practices, integrating leadership, management, and communication skills to prepare students for upper-level positions in ministry and faith-based organizations.
Why a Master’s Degree?
Beyond the qualifications a bachelor’s degree provides for entry-level positions in this field, Christian studies master’s degree-holders may be eligible for careers in Christian studies involving more advanced levels of spiritual leadership, counseling, and mentoring, as well as ministry education. Top professionals in Christian studies, including Biblical studies elementary teachers, community ministers, and spiritual leaders are typically required to have completed a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), directors of religious activities and education for various faith-based organizations are among the careers available to those with a higher education as well as field experience.
Getting Into a Master’s Degree Program
Admissions policies vary according to the granting institution, but criteria for application to a master’s program are typically minimal:
- Bachelor’s or four-year degree from an accredited institution
- minimum GPA (varies by school)
- minimum GRE score (varies by school)
- Application including statement of intent and/or application fees (as applicable, according to school)
Inside a Master’s Degree Program
A master’s degree in Christian studies typically takes two to three years to complete. Many degrees comprise a combination of core curriculum, supplemental courses in leadership, theological education, and research, and open electives. Students may take courses in church history, the Old Testament, evangelism and missionary work, and Reformation and modern Christianity, among others, and are typically required to complete a capstone project or thesis in order to receive their diploma. Many schools offer either an MA or MS in Christian studies, with variations in the curriculum depending on the individual department that is granting the degree.
Pursuing a Christian master’s degree online may provide more convenience than a traditional program. Christian studies master’s degrees allow students to log on to work on assignments periodically from anywhere they have Internet access. Utilizing fully online resources and multimedia platforms, students can easily take advantage of Web resources and reference materials for research, as well as communicate with professors and other students exclusively through email and/or chat. Online master’s programs are designed to meet the same standards as conventional on-campus degrees, so graduates may be eligible for a variety of occupations in faith-based organizations and ministries, as well as other organizations in-need of qualified Christian studies professionals.
What’s Next for Christian Studies Master’s Degree Holders?
Christian studies master’s degrees are designed to teach not only the basics of this subject but also integrate practical and professional skills. Career prospects for graduates of a master’s degree program in Christian studies are more advanced than basic entry-level jobs in this field. Generally, jobs involving religious studies that also incorporate social services or counseling qualifications require a minimum of a graduate-level education. Master’s degree-holders in Christian studies are typically qualified to work in various capacities in ministry, spiritual counseling, and Christian education, including Biblical study. Those already working in Christian studies-related field may find advancement opportunities through completion of a master’s degree, enhanced even further with added field experience.
p>A master’s may provide elevated opportunities in the workforce, but students hoping to take their education to a higher level may opt to pursue a Ph.D. in Christian studies. Many aspiring academics, researchers of religious studies, and theological educators choose to complete this terminal degree in order to demonstrate a comprehensive and thorough understanding of Christian principles. Depending on the individual career goals and professional opportunities, some candidates may need a doctorate to become a researcher, scientist, or college professor in Christianity, theological studies, or a related subject.