Best Theology Schools

Updated on January 3, 2024

Theology schools provide advanced religious education and prepare students for careers in ministry, religious scholarship, and other faith-based vocations. Here are 10 of the top theology schools based on factors like academics, affordability, and career outcomes.

Harvard Divinity School

Location: Cambridge, MA

Rating: 9.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 12%

Tuition: $52,000 per year

Avg Salary: $65,000

Website: hds.harvard.edu

Harvard Divinity School is one of the most prestigious theology schools in the world. It offers master’s and doctoral level degree programs focused on the academic study of theology and religion. Graduates pursue careers in ministry, chaplaincy, nonprofit leadership, and religious scholarship.

Yale Divinity School

Location: New Haven, CT

Rating: 9.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 30%

Tuition: $24,900 per year

Avg Salary: $55,000

Website: divinity.yale.edu

Yale Divinity School has a rich history and stellar academic reputation. It offers several master’s degrees, including one specifically focused on training students for ordained ministry. Yale provides ample financial aid to make a top-tier theological education affordable.

Fuller Theological Seminary

Location: Pasadena, CA

Rating: 8.9/10

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Tuition: $19,700 per year

Avg Salary: $52,000

Website: fuller.edu

Fuller offers a wide array of master’s and doctoral programs geared towards training people for both lay and ordained ministry positions. As an interdenominational seminary, Fuller welcomes students from diverse Christian backgrounds.

Duke Divinity School

Location: Durham, NC

Rating: 8.7/10

Acceptance Rate: 30%

Tuition: $18,960 per year

Avg Salary: $47,000

Website: divinity.duke.edu

Duke Divinity School is part of Duke University, a world-class research institution. Its academic rigor combined with its Christian vision makes Duke one of the best theology schools for anyone pursuing in-depth theological training.

Princeton Theological Seminary

Location: Princeton, NJ

Rating: 8.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 30%

Tuition: $21,990 per year

Avg Salary: $45,000

Website: ptsem.edu

Princeton Theological Seminary prepares students for both ordained and lay ministry in the Reformed tradition. Students can pursue master’s and advanced theological degrees in areas like Biblical studies and Christian ethics.

Boston University School of Theology

Location: Boston, MA

Rating: 8.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 34%

Tuition: $22,760 per year

Avg Salary: $43,000

Website: bu.edu/sth

As part of Boston University, this theology school leverages the resources of a major research university. It welcomes students from all faith backgrounds and offers comprehensive financial assistance.

Loyola University Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies

Location: Chicago, IL

Rating: 8.0/10

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Tuition: $14,370 per year

Avg Salary: $38,000

Website: luc.edu/ips

This Jesuit graduate school prepares students for service and leadership within the Catholic Church. Degree options include ministry, religious education, pastoral care, and more.

Iliff School of Theology

Location: Denver, CO

Rating: 7.8/10

Acceptance Rate: 81%

Tuition: $16,894 per year

Avg Salary: $36,000

Website: iliff.edu

Iliff is an inclusive theological school focused on social justice. Students represent over 40 religious traditions and pursuit master’s degrees centered on real-world ministry practice.

Multnomah University

Location: Portland, OR

Rating: 7.5/10

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition: $13,224 per year

Avg Salary: $32,000

Website: multnomah.edu

Multnomah offers biblically-centered bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs for students looking to integrate Christian faith with counseling, ministry, and teaching careers.

Moody Theological Seminary

Location: Chicago, IL

Rating: 7.3/10

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Tuition: $12,000 per year

Avg Salary: $30,000

Website: moody.edu/seminary

Moody Theological Seminary trains students for practical gospel ministry roles. The school emphasizes accessibility and affordability while upholding academic rigor and quality.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do you need to become a pastor?

Most Christian denominations require a Master of Divinity degree to become an ordained pastor. This 3-year graduate program provides comprehensive biblical, theological, and practical ministry training. Some denominations may also allow alternative graduate theological degrees like a Master of Arts in Theology.

Do you need a theology degree to work for a church?

No, formal theological training is not required for most church staff roles aside from ordained clergy. However, pursuing an undergraduate or graduate theology degree can provide useful knowledge and skills for careers in areas like children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship ministry, church administration, and more.

Is a theology degree useless?

A theology degree is not useless, though career options are limited compared to more vocational degrees like business, engineering, or nursing. With a theology degree, graduates often pursue ministry roles within churches, para-church organizations, or faith-based nonprofits. Graduate theology degrees can also prepare students for roles in chaplaincy, education, academic research, and writing.

What can you do with a PhD in Theology?

Common careers with a Doctor of Theology (ThD) or PhD in Theology include being a seminary professor, academic researcher, author, or senior pastor. This advanced graduate degree generally focuses on researching and teaching Christian history, biblical studies, systematic theology, historical theology, and other religious topics at the university level.

What is the easiest seminary to get into?

Some of the easiest seminaries to get into based on high acceptance rates include Fuller Theological Seminary, Iliff School of Theology, and Multnomah University, all with 80%+ acceptance rates. More exclusive top-tier theology schools like Harvard, Yale, and Duke have acceptance rates around 30% or under.

Is seminary harder than law school?

Most seminaries do not have the same academic rigor or competitiveness as top law schools. However, graduate theology programs at elite universities like Harvard and Yale or academic seminaries like Princeton do have exceptionally challenging academics comparable to or exceeding that of some law schools.

Do seminaries offer online degrees?

Yes, many leading seminaries now offer online theology degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral level. Top seminaries with online offerings include Dallas Theological Seminary, Liberty University Rawlings School of Divinity, and Grace Theological Seminary. These online programs provide equivalent ministry training and preparation as on-campus programs.

Are seminary credits transferable?

The transferability of seminary credits depends on the receiving institution. Many seminaries allow transfer credits from accredited seminary and theology school programs. However, the specific amount and type of credits that can transfer differs between schools based on equivalency requirements.

Is a seminary degree good for anything?

Yes, seminary prepares graduates for various ministry roles within churches and faith-based organizations. A Master of Divinity can lead to ordained pastoral ministry whereas other master’s degrees can qualify graduates for positions in religious education, counseling, chaplaincy, nonprofit leadership and more. Seminary studies can also provide a foundation for related pursuits like writing, public speaking or academia.

What is the most expensive seminary?

The most expensive seminary tuition-wise is Harvard Divinity School, with yearly tuition costing over $52,000 for full-time graduate study, not factoring in fees, room and board, or other expenses. Many other elite theology schools have tuitions between $20,000-$40,000 annually. Mid-range seminaries average $15,000-$20,000 yearly for tuition, while affordable options can be under $10,000 per year.

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Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.