We don’t need to tell you that vocational ministry is a job like none other. Its spiritual underpinnings make it much more than a job, or even what you would call a profession. But like any role in this world that comes with significant responsibility, there are skills to build and qualifications to meet before you’ll be trusted to carry the weight of that responsibility.
Most people called to fill jobs in ministry in the United States start their path with a bachelor’s degree, it’s that simple.
Those going on to become pastors and church leaders will eventually come to a point where they build on the scriptural knowledge and pastoral skills developed in a Christian bachelor’s program by earning a Master of Divinity or similar graduate degree. That makes a Christian bachelor’s degree foundational for almost any role in Christian leadership.
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Like any serious commitment, that path requires a big investment in time and money. It all pays dividends when building a career that allows you to work in His service, but it’s still wise to be responsible about the way you choose to spend your tuition dollars.
Christian degrees are only offered at private Christian schools, which don’t have the luxury of state tax subsidies. The full cost of education comes down to the students, and it can be significant.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost for tuition and fees at a private university is $32,769.
That brings the total costs of your bachelor’s degree alone well into the six-figure range. In fact, the national average stands at $131,076. That’s more than twice the cost of the average bachelor’s degree at American colleges when you factor in the much lower cost of state school tuition.
But where there is God’s will, there is a way. And if your search for an affordable Christian bachelor’s program brought you here, we feel a sense of honor and responsibility to give future Christian leaders like you exactly what you’re looking for. That’s why we’ve taken the time to perform a thorough analysis of tuition costs around the country. We see it as a duty and a privilege to help you make an informed decision about the most affordable options.
How We Found the Most Affordable Christian Bachelor’s Degrees for 2022
The way we built this list of affordable Christian degrees is no big mystery. We just invested the hours it takes to collect and collate the data, then did the math:
- Using the published costs from each school, we established the total estimated program cost of tuition and fees, not including books, room, board, or other expenses
- For each state, we added up the total estimated cost to find the state average cost for the four-year bachelor’s programs
- We selected each school for our list where the total cost came out below the state average
Oh, and in a few places we threw in a school or two that squeaked just over the line, if other degrees in the state were considerably more expensive. You want an analysis that lets you make an informed decision, after all, and that’s exactly what we give you.
Only Title IV Eligible Accredited Institutions Were Considered
But we also gave consideration to which schools we would include in the analysis. The ideas it to make sure you don’t have to compromise quality and credibility for your cost savings, so we limited our review to schools that hold standard institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) and the Department of Education.
That means every single school on this list has been weighed and found to offer a college education that is worthy of the name. There are no schools here that get their low costs through short-cuts or shady deals. Graduating from any of them will mean coming away with a well-respected Christian bachelor’s degree.
Accreditation is a very important consideration for controlling costs too, since only accredited schools are eligible for the Title IV federal grants and subsidized loans most families rely on to help cover the cost of sending a son or daughter off to college.
Affordability Isn’t the Only Criteria When Deciding on a Christian Bachelor’s Degree
Christian degrees come in a wide range of different fields and with different specializations. If learning about media production in worship arts is your thing, you have dozens of choices in that field alone.
So we’ve also included a lot of information here to help you nail down your selection. For every school, we include:
We also looked at each and every one of these schools to identify the little things that set them apart. Do they offer an accelerated path that will take you from your bachelor’s to an MDiv program, saving you time and money? Is the student-to-teacher ratio particularly favorable? What’s the school culture like? Are their Christian student organizations that help students become part of a Christian campus community?
We know the questions that Christian undergrads have, and we take the time to answer them for each and every school we feature.
State-by-State Guide to the Most Affordable Christian Bachelor’s Degrees in the United States
We know that affordable never has to mean second rate when it comes to Christian degree programs. That means you’ll only find the kind of programs here that we feel good about recommending, even before we perform our tuition analysis.
Somewhere on this list you will find the Christian bachelor’s program that will fulfill your calling while respecting your budget.
Most Affordable Online and Campus-Based Christian Bachelor’s Degree by State
ALABAMA - State average: $57,833
BS in Ministry/Bible (online)
BA in Biblical Studies (online)
Total Estimated Cost: $48,000
Cost Per Credit: $375
Total cost is $9,833 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: Master of Divinity, MA in Christian Education, MA in New Testament Studies, MA in Old Testament Studies, MS in Christian Ministry, MS in Ministerial Leadership
Amridge University’s bachelor’s degree programs prepare students for a lifetime of service in the church. Whether your career goals include becoming a minister, deacon, missionary, or educator, you’ll find Amridge’s Christian undergraduate programs to be comprehensive and dynamic. And if you have plans to pursue a graduate ministry degree in the future, you’ll be well-prepared for success with one of Amridge’s Christian bachelor’s degrees on your resume. Biblically based, intellectually designed, and contemporary in application, Amridge’s BS in Ministry/Bible and BA in Biblical Studies programs will point your career in the church in the right direction.
BA in Biblical Studies (online)
Total Estimated Cost: $43,264
Cost Per Credit: $338
Total cost is $14,569 below the state average for similar programs!
Also Offers: Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry, MA in Christian Scripture
Heritage Christian University’s BA in Biblical Studies is focused on real-world ministry and designed with value in mind. You’ll enjoy the option of online delivery, which allows you to earn your Christian bachelor’s degree from the comfort of your home, along with practical assignments that ensure you’re able to successfully apply what you’ve learned in real-world settings. Learn about doctrinal, historical, and systematic theory in the classroom and then head to the field, where you’ll transfer your scholarly experiences into practical settings. You’ll love the small class sizes here, which feature a low, 6:1 student-to-teacher ratio, along with faculty members who also serve as mentors throughout your ministry journey. Need help along the way? Heritage Christian’s Learning Center features walk-in tutoring sessions that’ll help you get back on track in no time.
- Ministerial Theology
- Pastoral Care and Pre-Chaplaincy
- Biblical studies and Languages
- Church Leadership
- Religious Education
Total Estimated Cost: $37,920
Cost Per Credit: $316
Total cost is $19,913 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: MA in Pastoral Studies
Oakwood University’s Christian bachelor’s degrees provide tomorrow’s church leaders and missionaries with Christ-centered, contemporary courses of study that are grounded in the Seventh-day Adventist church tradition and designed with your budget in mind. Whether your career goals include pastoral or evangelical ministry, Bible research and inquiry, or Bible-based education, you’ll be well-served by completing your Christian undergraduate degree at Oakwood. And if you want to take your degree one step further, Oakwood offers minors in Theology and Biblical Studies and a certificate in Church Leadership. Study here is complemented with outstanding opportunities for student engagement. Choir, drama club, outreach and mission groups – there are plenty of opportunities to become an active partner in ministry at Oakwood!
- Pastoral Ministry
- Mission and Evangelism
- Christian Education
- Social Work
Total Estimated Cost: $22,940
Cost Per Credit: $185
Total cost is $34,893 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: Master of Ministry (Pastoral Studies, Biblical Leadership)
For more than 30 years, Huntsville Bible College has been offering Christian degrees that prepare individuals to become church leaders who make a difference. Today, Huntsville continues this tradition of excellence in Christian education through its exciting undergraduate degree programs in pastoral ministry, mission and evangelism, Christian education, and social work, all of which are part of the college’s contemporary courses of education designed with value in mind. Huntsville Bible College understands the needs of today’s students, which is why many classes are offered on Saturdays, evenings, and online. Huntsville Bible College is where convenience and affordability converge!
ARIZONA - State average: $71,975
BA in Christian Ministry (on-campus)
BA in Christian Studies (on-campus, online)
- Biblical Studies
- Global Ministry
- Worship Leadership
- Youth Ministry
BA in Worship Arts (on-campus)
- Media and Production Ministry
- Worship Ministry
Total Estimated Cost: $66,000
Cost Per Credit: $550
Total cost is $5,975 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: Master of Divinity, MA (Christian Leadership, Christian Ministry, Urban Ministry, Youth and Family Ministry)
Grand Canyon University’s outstanding variety of theology undergraduate degrees feature value and convenience for today’s students. These gospel-centered, church-focused, and missions-oriented programs prepare students for a lifetime of faithful service and ministry in the church. Whether online or on-campus, Grand Canyon’s undergraduate offerings ensure a good fit with your busy schedule. Best of all, if you have aspirations of graduate study, you’ll be happy to hear that Grand Canyon’s BA in Christian Ministry and BA in Christian Studies feature graduate-level courses as part of their undergraduate pathway through the Accelerated Undergraduate Degree to Master of Divinity program. This fast-track options allows students to jumpstart their graduate degree while earning their bachelor's. And if your career aspirations include serving in pastoral ministry, the Barnabas Pastoral Program offers an exceptional opportunity to be trained, mentored, and deployed in a local church upon graduation.
BS in Christian Ministries (online)
BA in Biblical and Theological Studies (online)
Total Estimated Cost: $54,000
Cost Per Credit: $450
Total cost is $17,975 below the state average for similar programs!
Arizona Christian University’s online Christian undergraduate degrees boast the convenience you’re looking for and the value you demand. Choose the Christian Ministries major if your career goals include ministering in a church or church-related ministry. You’ll have the option of complementing your degree with a variety of minors like business, behavioral health, or music. Or choose the BA in Biblical and Theological Studies if you’re interested in a contemporary study of the Bible that’s complemented with a liberal arts curriculum. And if earning a graduate ministry degree is part of your future goals, consider completing the fast-track program offered through the Dallas Theological Seminary. Through this program, you’ll earn the BA in Biblical and Theological Studies at ACU and the MA at Dallas Theological Seminary in your choice of disciplines in just five years! Choose ACU and you’ll enjoy the integration of spiritual development within your Christian bachelor’s degree through a minor in Biblical Studies, twice-weekly chapel services, and the completion of spiritual formation and service hours every semester.
- Bible and Christian Service
- Pastoral Studies
- Church Music
- Church Ministries
- Bible and Teacher Education
- Elementary Education
- Secondary Education
- Bible and Church Music
- Bible and Business Leadership
Total Estimated Cost: $52,460
Cost Per Credit: $430
Total cost is $19,515 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: Master of Divinity, Master of Christian Education, MA in Ministry
International Baptist College and Seminary’s Christian undergraduate degree programs boast outstanding value and an exceptional academic experience. Part of the integral ministry of the Tri-City Baptist Church, these programs prepare students for ministry and for a variety of church-related roles. Choose the Christian Service major if you want preparation for ministry, seminary, or graduate school studies. Choose the Bible and Teacher Education major if you want to prepare to become an elementary or secondary school teacher. Choose the Bible and Church Music major if your career goals include teaching, performing, and administrating music programs in the church. Or choose the Bible and Business Leadership major if you envision a career in church administration and leadership. Not quite ready to make a commitment to a four-year program? Consider taking a “Gap Year” – a program that allows students to take an initial lighter academic load to transition to the rigors of a college-level academic schedule.
ARKANSAS - State average: $98,466
- Leadership and Ministry (on-campus)
- Bible and Family Ministry (on-campus)
- Bible and Ministry (online – adult completion, and online – second major only)
- Bible and Missions (on-campus)
- Bible and Preaching (on-campus)
- Bible and /MDiv track (on-campus)
Total Estimated Cost: $92,544
Cost Per Credit: $723
Total cost is $5,922 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: MEd in Christian Education Leadership
Are you called to ministry? You won’t find a school that offers more bachelor degree options at an affordable price than Harding University! These degrees feature a blend of Bible theory and specialized seminars that prepare students for a lifetime of preaching, counseling, and ministry. In addition to the outstanding selection of on-campus bachelor’s degrees offered here, Harding also offers the BA in Bible & Ministry as an accelerated adult degree completion program — a 2+2 completion program that allows students to transfer their liberal arts credits from a previous education and complete all of their Bible credits online. If you have aspirations of graduate study, you’re sure to like the Bible and Divinity program, which allows you to obtain two degrees – the BA in Bible and Ministry and the Master of Divinity – in just five years through an accelerated course of study.
BA/BS in Bible (on-campus)
BS in Missions (on-campus)
BS in Church Administration (PACE)
BS in Leadership and Ministry (PACE)
Total Estimated Cost: $63,600
Cost Per Credit: $530
Total cost is $34,866 below the state average for similar programs!
Central Baptist College’s Christian bachelor’s degrees offer everything tomorrow’s future pastors and church leaders demand – a personalized learning experience that features a low, 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio; an excellent selection of online, on-campus, and accelerated programs for learners with different needs; and a reputation as one of the premier Christian colleges in Arkansas. Since 1952, CBC has remained committed to providing students with a Christ-focused education. Today, its program offerings are designed with flexible formats and new classes that start every five weeks. Are you an adult learner who wants a convenient and flexible path to your Christian bachelor’s degree? CBC’s PACE (Professional Adult College Education) program features once-weekly classes that are delivered on-campus, online, or a blend of both. This accelerated, flexible learning format also allows students to earn college credit through past work experience.
CALIFORNIA - State average: $106,822
Bachelor of Sacred Theology (on-campus)
Total Estimated Cost: $100,560
Cost Per Credit: $838
Total cost is $6,262 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: Master of Divinity, MA in Pastoral Ministries, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Theology, MA-MDiv combined, MA in Biblical Languages, MA (Art and Religion, Biblical Studies, Christian Spirituality, Cultural and Historical Studies of Religion, Liturgical Studies, Systematic and Philosophical Theology)
Santa Clara University’s Bachelor of Sacred Theology is a Roman Catholic ecclesiastical degree that provides students with a strong foundation in the Catholic doctrine. You’ll be well-served by completing this program whether your career goals include ministry, administration, or future study at the graduate level. For future graduate students, you’ll be happy to know that the Jesuit School of Theology views this program as an enhancement of their Master of Divinity, and students here may complete both the requirements of their bachelor’s and the Master of Divinity simultaneously. Rooted in the thousands-year-old tradition of Christianity, yet focused on the church of the 21st century, the Jesuit School of Theology operates with an international approach. Your time at Santa Clara will be rich and fruitful thanks to plentiful opportunities to attend liturgies, community Masses, reflection sessions, and weekly dinners.
BA in Christian Studies (online)
Total Estimated Cost: $76,012
Cost Per Credit: $613
Total cost is $30,810 below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers on-campus bachelor’s programs at a higher cost: BA in Christian Studies, Bachelor of Applied Theology
Also offers: MA in Counseling Ministry, MA in Worship Arts
California Baptist University’s BA in Christian Studies effortlessly blends value with convenience. Priced well below the state average among similar programs and featuring flexible, online delivery that’s designed to accommodate the needs of today’s busy, working adults, this Christian undergraduate degree is built on a foundation of biblical-based theology that prepares students to become Christian servant leaders. This online program prepares students to assume any number of leadership roles upon graduation while also serving as an excellent springboard for future graduate-level biblical studies. Just a few highlights of online study at California Baptist University include accelerated courses that start every eight weeks; a convenient, three-semester, year-round calendar; and the best in support from dedicated, personal enrollment counselors, student service advisors, and an Academic Success Center, which offers 24/7 online tutoring.
BA in Transformational Ministry (on-campus)
- Intercultural Studies
- Worship Ministry
- Youth Ministry
BA in Biblical Studies (on-campus)
- Intercultural Studies
- Pastoral Ministry
- Worship Ministry
- Youth Ministry
BA in Worship Arts and Media (on-campus)
- Creative Arts
- Media Production
- Music Performance
BA in Ministry and Leadership (online)
Total Estimated Cost: $69,600 ($56,400 online)
Cost Per Credit: $580 ($470 online)
Total cost is $37,222 ($50,422 online) below the state average for similar programs!
Also offers: MA in Theological Studies
Life Pacific University’s Christian bachelor’s degrees are comprehensive, offering a well-balanced integration of biblical studies, faith, leadership, and learning. They’re also affordable, boasting tuition rates that make them among the most affordable in California. If you’re interested in a lifetime of service and ministry in the church, you’ll appreciate these dynamic programs that emphasize ministry, missions, and real-world experiences. Life Pacific University’s Christian bachelor’s degree are part of the university’s legacy of academic excellence, which includes an outstanding 94% employment rate and a 75% immediate ministry placement among grads.