New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary plans to begin offering three online degrees – its first – by next fall, according to a story in the Baptist Press.
The school will be launching an online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies, a Master of Arts in Theology, and a Master of Theological Studies. The biblical studies and theology programs are modeled off similar on-campus programs, and many of the courses in the programs are already offered online. These two programs are expected to be available fully online soon.
The biblical studies program is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching, research, or writing. Students may choose from concentrations in Old Testament and Hebrew; New Testament and Greek; biblical backgrounds; or the broader biblical languages focus. Coursework covers topics including systematic theology, spiritual formation, ministry studies, Greek, and Hebrew. A thesis is required.
The theology program is designed to lead students toward a doctoral degree in religion, and students must hold an undergraduate degree in religion to be admitted to the program. Students can earn a general degree, or may choose from specializations in church history, philosophy and ethics, or Islamic studies. This program requires a thesis.
The theological studies program, expected to launch fall 2013, is a general degree program that does not lead to a doctoral degree program. The degree program will have to be specifically approved by the accrediting agency before it can be offered to students, because it does not currently exist on campus or at one of the school’s extension locations.
The primary accrediting agency for seminaries, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, decided over the summer to only approve a few types of online degrees for accreditation.
The New Orleans seminary currently offers online undergraduate certificates in biblical studies, Christian education, Christian ministry, and advanced women’s ministry; and a hybrid program in basic women’s ministry. It also offers online graduate certificates in biblical languages, Korean biblical languages, biblical studies, Hebrew studies, and Greek studies.