Why Attend a Christian College?
College-bound students are in a transitional phase of life — not only in their education but also with regards to their spiritual beliefs and values. While not all schools build a foundation around religious principles, some students may wish to attend a university that upholds familiar values. If you are looking to connect with faculty and staff in a faith-centered environment, a Christian university could be right for you.
Christian colleges emphasize a spiritually-themed mission that integrates Biblical faith into the curriculum. While some Christian schools only offer religious degrees, others receive the same designation while offering a wide variety of programs. Online Christian colleges offer the same faith-based curriculum and guidance as traditional schools, but in a convenient format for students who can’t consistently commute to campus.
To build our list of the best online Christian colleges, we selected only accredited schools that are members of the Council of Christian Colleges & Universities. Below are our top picks for the nation’s best online Christian universities.
|Rank||School Name||School Logo||City||Cost||Address & Contact Info||School Links||Acclaim for Online Programs||School Description|
|Bristol||1350 King College Rd|
Bristol, TN 37620-2699
King University is a Christian college in the Presbyterian and Reformed traditions. The school offers 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees, and concentrations, including degrees in religious studies, English, communications, and nursing. King works to provide students with an academically rigorous education grounded in Christian morals, with a mission to help students "build meaningful lives filled with achievement and cultural transformation in Christ."
One of the best online Christian colleges, King uses the Blackboard learning management system to facilitate its online programs. Courses are taught in an accelerated format, and courses are offered year-round. King welcomes military service members, veterans, and their families, and seeks to help them find the right academic fit as they transition back to civilian life.
Anderson, SC 29621-4035
Anderson University is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The school offers 36 majors and 38 concentrations, including Christian-centered online programming in ministry and Christian studies, along with online programs in traditional subjects like criminal justice, nursing, and business administration. AU, which also offers an online doctor in ministry program, seeks to help students learn more about scripture in a community modeled after the values taught by Christ.
Transfer students need at least 24 credit-hours or more of college work and a 2.0 GPA to be admitted to AU. In Anderson's online nursing program, students and faculty serve in Managua, Nicaragua for a week each year as part of its outreach mission.
Toccoa Falls College
|Toccoa Falls||107 Kincaid Drive|
Toccoa Falls, GA 30598
Toccoa Falls College is an evangelical school in Georgia that integrates biblical teachings, academic rigor, and spiritual formation within its Christian community. Affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, TFC has 35 majors and 43 minors, and awards associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Online certificates are also available. The institution's 12 online degree programs include ministry leadership, counseling psychology, and business administration.
TFC has a dual-enrollment program offered online or on-campus that helps high school students earn college credits while still in school. Through the state-funded Move On When Ready scholarship program, students who are Georgia residents can receive assistance for tuition and books. Toccoa Falls College also offers a number of study abroad opportunities, including in Rome and Jerusalem.
|Longview||2100 S Mobberly Ave|
Longview, TX 75607-7001
A nondenominational Christian university located in Texas, LeTourneau (LETU) delivers educational programming within the framework of a theistic worldview. Students can pursue one of more than 90 graduate and undergraduate academic programs, ranging from liberal arts to engineering, business, and aeronautical science; many of these programs are available online. LETU's Christian Ministries Major has a number of concentrations that prepare students for ministry, in-depth Bible study, and to graduate study at seminary or divinity school.
LETU's students have opportunities to engage in in-depth research with experts in various industries, many of them successful businesspeople. Students can expect personalized learning with an "innovative, entrepreneurial focus," the school notes, whether students take classes online or in the classroom. The school has a number of study abroad and service learning programs, including modules in Germany, South Korea, Russia, and Spain.
|Cleveland||1120 N Ocoee St|
Cleveland, TN 37311
Located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Tennessee, Lee University is one of the largest Christ-centered universities in the state. Sponsored by the Church of God, the school offers 52 majors for bachelor's, master's, and education specialist degrees, including many affordable online programs. Christian-themed bachelor's degree programs include Bible and theology, Christian studies, and ministry leadership.
This online Christian college uses the Moodle learning management system. Transfer students can be admitted without an examination if they have at least a 2.0 GPA, and withdrew in good standing from their previous school with at least 16 hours of college work.
|Wilmore||1 Macklem Dr|
Wilmore, KY 40390-1198
Asbury is a four-year multidimensional Christian university where students study, worship, and serve together. The school awards associate, bachelor's, master's, and education specialist degrees in 54 subjects. Popular programs include media communications, elementary school grades P-5, worship arts, and equine studies. AU is a Christian college in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, and the school emphasizes academic excellence and spiritual vitality.
The institution uses Discovery, its own learning management system, to deliver online courses. In order to graduate from Asbury, students must participate in a cornerstone 'Spiritual Vitality' project that incorporates four foundational principles of the school: Scripture, Holiness, Stewardship, and Mission. AU has a Confucius Classroom, which promotes understanding between American and Chinese students by teaching Chinese language and culture.
Dallas Baptist University
|Dallas||3000 Mountain Creek Parkway|
Dallas, TX 75211-9299
Sitting atop 292 acres on the hills of Southwest Dallas, DBU offers 72 undergraduate majors, 29 master's programs, and doctoral and accelerated learning programs. Sixty-one of DBU's degree programs are fully online, including the associate of biblical studies, bachelor's in biblical studies, and many non-theological disciplines, including criminal justice, communications, and psychology. The school's mission is to provide Christ-centered and rigorous undergraduate and graduate programming in the arts, sciences, and professional studies to produce servant leaders.
DBU uses Blackboard to deliver its online courses, with a student completion rate of 92%. Transfer students are a significant segment of the student body and are admitted if they have at least a 2.5 GPA and 30 college credit hours or more.
|Kirkland||5520 108th Ave NE|
Kirkland, WA 98083-0579
Just east of gorgeous Lake Washington lies Northwest University, an academically rigorous school affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Among NU's 70 majors are online bachelor's programs in ministry leadership and psychology, and master's programs in ministry, Bible and theology, and education. NU's mission is to provide students with an environment to cultivate spiritual vitality while excelling academically.
NU offers direct transfer opportunities to students with approved associate of arts degrees from community colleges in Oregon and Washington. They may receive 60 semester credits from NU and be considered juniors. NU's proximity to many titans in business today, such as Microsoft, Google, Boeing, Amazon, and Costco, gives students a variety of nearby internship opportunities and places to work upon graduation.
|Huntington||2303 College Ave|
Huntington, IN 46750
Founded in 1897, Huntington University is a top liberal arts college affiliated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Popular programs include an associate degree in organizational management, undergraduate and graduate degrees in ministry and missions, an accelerated bachelor's in marketing, and a renowned RN-to-BSN program. HU also offers an online master of arts in counselling focused on experiential learning, spiritual formation, and community impact. More than 90% of students receive some form of financial assistance.
Southwestern Assemblies of God University
Waxahachie, TX 75165
A Bible-based university for theological and professional studies, Southwestern Assemblies of God is overseen by the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Among its more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs are many online degrees, including bachelor's programs in biblical studies, pastoral leadership, and non-theological programs like business management, psychology, and education. Online master's degrees include offerings in divinity, Bible & theology, education, and an MBA program.
Students looking to transfer credits into SAGU will be able to so with a "C-" grade or above if credits meet the requirements for the student's degree program, and were earned at a regionally accredited institution. There are different requirements regarding credit transfers from unaccredited colleges.
|Saint Bonifacius||8700 College View Drive|
Saint Bonifacius, MN 55375-9001
Crown College's educational programming is Christ-centered, rigorous, affordable, and globally connected. Based in Minnesota, Crown is a four-year college that offers more than 40 associate, bachelor's, and master's programs. Many of these can be taken online, including pastoral leadership, biblical studies, disaster management, and counselling.
Crown College is well known for its affordability, as tuition costs 20-40% less than other Christian colleges in the region. Intercultural exchange is an inextricable part of the Crown experience. Before graduating, half of Crown's students travel abroad in at least one "Destination: Serve Trip," where they work and provide service to people from different cultures, or in the community off-campus.
California Baptist University
|Riverside||8432 Magnolia Ave|
Riverside, CA 92504-3297
California Baptist offers more than 40 bachelor's and master's degree programs online, taught by a dedicated group of Christian faculty members and staff. Popular programs include Christian ministries, communication studies, kinesiology, criminal justice, and public health. The school provides all of its students with a Christ-centered education integrating academic achievement with spiritual and social development. Students can graduate from some programs in just 12 months. CBU uses the Blackboard platform and other technologies to foster an interactive learning environment.
Hope International University
|Fullerton||2500 E Nutwood Ave|
Fullerton, CA 92831-3199
Hope International works to give students an education that empowers them to serve the church and positively impact the world. Hope is a California-based private Christian university that identifies with non-denominational Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. Four of its undergraduate programs are fully online: Christian ministry, liberal studies: teacher preparation, business administration, and human development. Additionally, most of HIU's graduate programs can be completed online. All programming integrates Hope's mission of faith, service, and learning.
HIU delivers its online courses through video lectures, real time chats, and discussion forums; courses are accessible 24/7. HIU provides affordable and flexible online programming to meet the needs of active military and veterans, and a variety of military payment options and discounts are available.
|Lakeland||1000 Longfellow Blvd|
Lakeland, FL 33801-6034
Southeastern University is a Christ-centered school affiliated with the Assemblies of God and rooted in the Pentecostal tradition. Students can pursue fully online programs in a number of subjects, such as business administration, education, psychology, and ministerial leadership. Each student at SEU is encouraged to pursue his or her own divine design to serve Christ and the world through "Spirit-empowered" life, learning, and leadership.
SEU uses the Moodle learning platform to deliver its online courses. Local high school students are able to take college credit at SEU at a 50% discount (including online classes.) Students may also pursue a variety of study abroad opportunities, in countries like Israel, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Egypt.
Central Christian College of Kansas
|McPherson||1200 S Main|
McPherson, KS 67460-5740
Affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America, Central Christian College (CCC) of Kansas welcomes all students regardless of their religious beliefs. More than 40 areas of study are available at the undergraduate level, including online programs in ministry leadership, criminal justice, and psychology. Through its McPherson location and online learning community, Christian Central College seeks to engage students in learning that will develop them as people of character, leadership, and service.
CCC's online classes are taught asynchronously, meaning that there are no specific class times. Popular programs include exercise science, business, and education. The school has articulation agreements with a number of community colleges that allow students to transfer up to 64 hours of previous coursework towards a bachelor's degree.
Oral Roberts University
|Tulsa||7777 S Lewis Ave.|
Tulsa, OK 74171
Oral Roberts is a leading evangelical Christian university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. With 65 undergraduate, 14 graduate, and two doctoral programs, ORU students have an opportunity to participate in a variety of rigorous majors that embrace a Christian worldview. Students can earn a bachelor's online in less than four years through the school's accelerated programs. Some of ORU's most popular areas of study include nursing, business administration, and biology. ORU's Leadership MBA and accelerated master's in school administration are also available online.
ORU's online programs are taught year-round, with two terms each in the fall, spring, and summer. Students take two classes at a time and can enroll in a program anytime before the seven-week session begins. ORU's Online Bible Institute gives students opportunities to acquire the skills and training needed for a career in the ministry.
|Campbellsville||1 University Dr|
Campbellsville, KY 42718-2799
Located in the heartland Kentucky, Campbellsville prepares servant-leaders for a life of learning, scholarship, and avid participation in a global society. The school offers more than 80 undergraduate, graduate, and pre-professional programs on its main campus, regional centers, and online. Rooted in Christ-centered values, popular online programs include pastoral ministries, RN to BSN, theology, social work, and business administration.
Campbellsville offers affordable tuition. A military-friendly school, Campbellsville particularly emphasizes affordability for veterans and military personnel: Active duty military members can take undergraduate courses for just $250 per credit hour.
Colorado Christian University
|Lakewood||8787 West Alameda Avenue|
Lakewood, CO 80226
Founded in 1914, Colorado Christian is the top interdenominational Christian college in the state and Rocky Mountain region. Students have a catalog of more than 50 bachelor's, master's, and associate programs to choose from, in addition to certificate and licensure programs. Degree programs range from biblical studies and theological studies to business administration and criminal justice. CCU provides a Christ-centered learning community, rigorous academics, an environment for spiritual formation and engagement in the world.
CCU's virtual classroom uses Blackboard to facilitate its online offerings; courses begin and end on specific dates. Students can take classes at anytime but must adhere to established weekly deadlines. Most distance learners qualify for financial aid, and the school works to make education both affordable and accessible.
|Elgin||1151 N State St|
Elgin, IL 60123-1498
Located 40 miles from Chicago, Judson is an evangelical Christian university that gives students a broad education in the liberal arts and sciences. Its catalog includes more than 50 undergraduate majors, minors, and pre-professional programs. Online offerings include applied psychology, leadership in ministry, human services, and business administration. The school offers graduate programs in architecture, business administration, and a PhD in Education. Judson's mission is to produce decisive leaders who participate in church and society.
Students seeking to study abroad have several opportunities, including England, China, Japan, Russia, Egypt, Germany, and Uganda. Judson is home to the World Leaders Forum, in which leaders such as George W. Bush, Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Tony Blair, and Condoleezza Rice have visited and given inspiration to students.
|Jackson||1500 Peachtree St|
Jackson, MS 39202
Established in 1883, Belhaven is known for rigorous academics, renowned faculty, and affordability. The school offers more than 70 programs in academic majors and concentrations across disciplines. Popular programs include biblical studies, accounting, education, sports administration, and human services. Programs are taught from a Christian worldview with a mission "to prepare students academically and spiritually to serve Christ Jesus in their careers and in the world."
Students can watch online courses at any time during the week. Online undergraduate degree programs can be completed in fewer than four years; graduate programs require 36 hours, and can be completed in just two years. BU is a Military Friendly School, offering tuition discounts and credits to students with military experience.
Ranking the top Online Christian Colleges
To rank the nation’s best online Christian colleges, we developed our own set of criteria. We weighed a variety of academic and financial factors, and we also accounted for the number of online programs each school offers. Our ranking is designed to reflect a school’s academic rigor and the employment outcomes students can expect to have after graduation.
Online Flexibility (35%)
|Factor||Weight||Why It Matters|
|Total number of online media||30%||Here, we considered the number of online educational multimedia available to distance learners. This includes books, databases, and other media, which helps us determine the overall quality of resources available to students at each school.|
|Number of online bachelor programs||40%||Forty percent of the score is determined by the number of bachelor programs an institution offers that are completely online. For this determining factor, it is important that schools offer a diverse selection of online degrees for students to choose from. Generally, the greater the number of online bachelor programs, the more diverse the offerings within this category.|
|Percent of students participating in online classes||30%||The percentage of students that are participating in at least one online course is another important factor. Typically, the more diverse and high-quality online courses a school offers, the greater the percentage of students interested in distance education. This can also encourage the school to add more high-quality programs and develop resources for online students in years to come.|
|Factor||Weight||Why It Matters|
|Admissions Rate||20%||To determine the admissions rate of a school, we start with the number of students admitted and divide that number by the number of applications submitted. While many schools outline a long list of stringent criteria for admission, this calculation is equally important in determining mathematical selectivity of a particular school.|
|Enrollment Rate||20%||Enrollment accounts for 20% of the overall academic score. The enrollment rate is determined by dividing the total number of students enrolled by the number of students admitted. This figure is especially important in determining how many students are accepted and subsequently decide to enroll at a particular school.|
|Retention Rate||20%||Knowing a school’s retention rate is important when considering whether students enjoy attending that particalular institution. Comprising 20% of the overall academics score, the retention rate is the percentage of students that stay in school after matriculation.|
|Graduation Rate||25%||Graduation rate, or the percentage of students that graduate, accounts for 25% of a school’s overall academic score. Carrying the most weight among factors in this category, the graduation rate is important not only in determining how many enrolled students graduate from an institution, but also reflects the overall health of a school’s online programs.|
|Student Faculty Ratio||15%||The student:faculty ratio is the number of enrolled students divided by total faculty at the school. A low number is desireable, as it affords students more opportunities to interact directly with faculty.|
Experience and Affordability (25%)
|Factor||Weight||Why It Matters|
|Average Net Price||35%||The average net price is the total cost of attendance, including tuition, books, and other learning supplies, minus financial aid. This is a crucial component of a school’s affordability.|
|Average Tuition||35%||The average tuition price at a particular school.|
|Average Default Rate||20%||The average default rate represents the proportion of students that default on their students loans after graduating.|
Things to Ask Yourself When Choosing an Online Christian College
When comparing online Christian colleges and programs, there are a few factors to consider. The following are the key questions to ask yourself when looking for the right fit.
What do I want to study?
Some college-bound students have a major in mind, while others are unsure of what to study in college. While you may feel pressure to choose a study track fast, don’t worry if you are still trying to settle on a major. You might consider asking yourself questions like, “How do I like to spend my time?” or “what are my hobbies?” If you have work experience, you might have some idea about what kind of degree you need for the field you’re familiar with.
What will it cost?
Most students need financial aid to pay for their college education and, consequently, affordability is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing schools. To help manage the cost of your education, your first steps should be drafting a budget and exploring your eligibility for financial aid. Be sure to compare all forms of aid that are available to you, which may include scholarships, grants, and loans. If your program of choice is available at multiple schools in your area, affordability will be key.
Which school will provide the best education?
Obviously, academics are an important part of choosing a college. When considering an online Christian college, consider which schools that incorporate religion into the curriculum resonate with you. Be aware of your own specific criteria for what is important during your college experience. For example, you may prefer a smaller, more personal class size or a large number of diverse online programs. You may also want to consider some of the key factors that carry the most weight within our methodology, such as high graduation rate and low default rates.