2023: The Most Affordable Online and Campus-Based Master of Divinity (MDiv) Programs in the United States

Most Affordable Master of Divinity Programs BadgeIf you have been called to any high-level role in Christian leadership, and certainly if you plan to lead from the front as a church pastor, then you already know that there are number of major legs that are part of that journey. And chances are, if you’ve come to this resource, you are preparing for one of the most significant steps in that process: earning your Master of Divinity (MDiv) from a college recognized by your denomination.

An MDiv isn’t the only graduate degree that church pastors and other Christian leaders hold, but in many ways it is the most complete scriptural and pastoral training you can receive. This fact places the MDiv among the most widely recognized and respected ways to prepare for a career in ministry. As a comprehensive course of graduate study lasting as many as four years, it’s also among the most expensive Christian graduate degrees.

All MDiv programs are offered through private Christian Universities. This provides the assurance that you will receive a first-rate Christ-centered education. That kind of preparation comes with a significant cost. According to 2020 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees at a private university in the United States rings in at $26,500 per year.

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With most MDiv programs lasting between three and four years of full-time study, you are easily looking at six-figures to earn that important qualification.

You already know that God will provide everything you need to fulfill your calling. But that doesn’t change the fact that the responsibility falls to you to make prudent and wise decisions as you follow that path.

With our comprehensive, state-by-state analysis of the most affordable Master of Divinity degrees, we give you the tools to make well-informed decisions about how you spend your tuition dollars.

How We Identified the Most Affordable Christian Universities Offering MDiv Programs

We have a simple formula for finding the MDiv programs with the best comparative tuition rates in each state.

First, we start with only fully accredited universities.

We understand the integrity it takes to follow the path to a life in ministry. Looking for the most reasonable tuition rates available must start with a baseline assumption that we are evaluating only high-value MDiv programs that are uncompromising about quality and rigor. Rest assured, those are the only types of programs we even consider in our tuition evaluation.

We only look at Christian universities that have met the rigorous standards it takes to receive a stamp of approval from an institutional accrediting agency sanctioned by CHEA (the Council for Higher Education Accreditation) and the US Department of Education. This type of institutional accreditation is a requirement for any university to be eligible to receive Title IV federal subsidized loans and grants.

Then, we collect detailed tuition data for every MDiv program in the United States offered at an accredited university.

Those tuition details include the per-credit rate and total credits required for the MDiv, which allows us to present a clear picture of the total program cost at each school. Although we include everything from tuition to technology fees to give the real cost of the education you’ll receive, we exclude cost of living expenses, room and board, as well as books and other necessary and discretionary supplies.

Because some schools run on a quarter-system, rather than the more common semester-system, we use a standard conversion (1.5 quarter credits = 1 semester credit) for all quarter-system schools to provide an apple-to-apple cost comparison in each state.

Next, we simply find the average total cost for all accredited MDiv programs in each state.

In the end, it’s the Christian universities offering MDiv programs with total costs below the state average that earn the distinction of being called the “most affordable.” From coast to coast, each one of those MDiv programs is featured right here on this list, conveniently organized by state.

Oh, and you might find a few that sneak in just over the line—if a school’s total tuition costs are closer to the typical cost of the more affordable options but just over the state average, we make an exception to ensure we’re providing you the full breadth of affordable MDiv options in your state.

In all cases, you will find that you can get a high-quality MDiv for considerably less than you might have thought.

Saving You Money Without Compromising the Quality and Rigor of Your MDiv Program

Of course, both your calling and your church may have a lot to say about the Christian university you should attend. No two MDiv programs are exactly alike. They have different concentrations, are taught in different ways, and come in different formats, from online, to hybrid, to traditional.

So, although we are giving you only the most affordable options in the marketplace, we’re also laying out a lot more information for you to help narrow down your choices. For each listing, in addition to the per-credit and total estimated program cost, you’ll find other key points that will be very important in helping you make your final decision:

And we also looked closer at every single program to tease out some of the important factors you might want to weigh in making one of the most important decisions of your life – the key points that may differ from school to school. Every school is unique, and every program has something special to offer that you might not find anywhere else. So we dove in to look for things like:

You’ll find every point that stood out to us about the school when we performed our evaluation - things that make each one a place you might want to consider as another step to fulfilling your unique calling.

Most Affordable MDiv Degrees by State

Most Affordable Master’s of Divinity Programs

ALABAMA - State average: $38,048

Heritage Christian University
Ezell Institute of Biblical Research
Florence, AL


heritage christian university logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus, online)

Total Estimated Cost: $18,675
Cost Per Credit: $249

Total cost is $19,373 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: Master of Ministry, MA in Christian Scripture

The holistic program offered at HCU specifically focuses on the needs of a Christian community, building leadership skills out of the shared religious heritage stretching back to the Old and New Testament. Youll study those writings in the original Hebrew and Greek for the complete experience. Youll also get a better picture of the church through history as you explore world religions and specific cultural contexts such as the limits of resource dynamics in Ancient Israel. A six-hour practicum rounds off your studies to allow you to hone leadership skills in front of a real congregation.

Amridge University
Turner School of Theology
Montgomery, AL


amridge university logo

Master of Divinity (online)

  • Ministerial Leadership

Total Estimated Cost: $37,440
Cost Per Credit: $480

Total cost is $608 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Christian Education, MA in New Testament Studies, MA in Old Testament Studies, MS in Christian Ministry, MS in Ministerial Leadership

A lifetime of learning and leadership are offered at Amridge through a focus on church, family, and society. As an independent co-educational school dedicated to Christian ideal and heritage, Amridge has been in a unique position to break new ground in divinity studies since it was founded in 1967. The school was one of the first 15 participants in the U.S. Department of Educations pioneering distance education project, a forerunner in schools that resulted in changes to federal law to open up remote training. You can be sure youre getting the total experience here with no shortcuts, and no massive loans to pay off!

ARIZONA - State average: $48,665

International Baptist College and Seminary
Chandler, AZ


international baptist college seminary logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus)

Total Estimated Cost: $41,280
Cost Per Credit: $430

Total cost is $7,385 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: Master of Christian Education, MA in Ministry

IBC was founded to fill a gap in seminary education in the growing Southwest region. Charged with training young men and women for gospel ministries in evangelism, church planting, missions, and education, the school has been offering graduate degrees since 1986. The strong relationship with Tri-City Baptist Church opens up many regular opportunities for students to experience path such as music pastorship and Christian education. With residential options for students, this program offers a holistic approach to divinity training that includes your personal growth with pastoral training.

Phoenix Seminary
Scottsdale, AZ


phoenix seminary logo

Master of Divinity (hybrid)

  • Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Leadership and Administration
  • Christian Studies

Total Estimated Cost: $48,300
Cost Per Credit: $525

Total cost is $365 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Ministry (Christian Studies, Ministry Skills, Leadership and Administration, Intercultural Studies), MA in Biblical and Theological Studies

Practical and effective training at Phoenix Seminarys MDiv program comes along with something else that you dont often find when training for the ministry: adventure! The joy and inspiration of the ministry come front and center through your journey here, in fellowship with a community of students and leaders destined to change the world. Phoenix Seminary hands you all the tools you need to be effective in this role, from detailed biblical studies in the original Greek and Hebrew to learning how to communicate Christs truth in a pluralistic world.

CALIFORNIA - State average: $49,264

America Evangelical University
Gardena, CA


america evangelical university logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus)

  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Christian Counseling

Total Estimated Cost: $21,600
Cost Per Credit: $300

Total cost is $27,664 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Counseling

AEU trains lay leaders, missionaries, and pastors through strong donation to biblical principles but using the latest educational methods. By cultivating partnerships with organizations in different sectors, the university offers unique and in-depth internship experiences. A strong emphasis on accommodating the local cultural environment makes this school a natural choice for those performing mission work overseas.

SUM Bible College and Theological Seminary
El Dorado Hills, CA


sum bible college logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus, online)

Total Estimated Cost: $21,660
Cost Per Credit: $285

Total cost is $27,604 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Biblical Studies, MA in Christian Leadership

SUM originally stood for the School of Urban Missions. Although the college has a broader mission and more programs now, it remains a center for training for pastors interested in evangelizing in cities throughout the world. A significant emphasis on online learning means that youll be joined in your studies by students from around the world. The school intentionally doubles down on this by focusing on creating leaders for the global Christian movement. A requirement for MDiv applicants to already be active in ministry ensures you are joined on your path by fellow students who are serious and experienced.

World Mission University
Los Angeles, CA


world mission university logo

Master of Divinity (hybrid)

  • Biblical Preaching
  • Christian Counseling
  • Church Ministry
  • Church Music

Total Estimated Cost: $24,640
Cost Per Credit: $280

Total cost is $24,624 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Theology; MA in Worship Studies

Founded in the firm belief that the global village is the pastors ranch, WMU is the place to go for experienced training in the missionary aspects of pastoral work. The international perspective brings training in innovative worship models and cultural diversity, preparing you for a soft landing in any ministry you end up in. Taking a broader vision of what a Biblical education means leads the school to develop new and innovative approaches to divinity training. Outreach to other ethnic groups is part of the process here, meaning WMU offers a multicultural experience throughout your program of study.

Bethesda University
Graduate Department

Anaheim, CA


bethesda university logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus, online)

Total Estimated Cost: $25,440
Cost Per Credit: $265

Total cost is $23,824 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Biblical Studies

Striving to become a global center for Christian academic training is all the motivation that is needed at Bethesda to create an effective program for training future Christian leaders. Taking the Pentecostal Evangelical perspective, the MDiv program trains you in both theological and social constructs to develop the knowledge and professional skills you will need to bring the Word of God to the faithful. A devotion to developing the spiritual life of students also fires the passion and drive that you need to do His work each day.

Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Santa Fe Springs, CA


ptsa logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus)

Total Estimated Cost: $25,480
Cost Per Credit: $260

Total cost is $23,784 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: Master of Arts in Christian Counseling Psychology

Youll graduate from PTS with a deeper knowledge of yourself and your own relationship with God on top of the strong Christian worldview and comprehensive Biblical knowledge their MDiv program prepares you with. The cultural context of Christianity is placed with insights from the humanities, natural and social sciences, and the arts to give you a better footing in evangelism and theological reasoning.

Shasta Bible College and Graduate School
Redding, CA


shasta bible college logo

Master of Divinity (on-campus)

  • Pastoral and General Ministry
  • Military Chaplaincy

Total Estimated Cost: $27,000
Cost Per Credit: $375

Total cost is $22,264 below the state average for similar programs!

Also offers: MA in Christian Ministries; MA in Biblical Counseling

The main priority at Shasta is creating an atmosphere that is conducive to spiritual growth, in the knowledge that academic excellence is sure to follow inspiration. With passionate, highly-experienced and academically accomplished professors and mentors, the MDiv program here gives you every chance at success in the ministry. An active residential campus is family-oriented and offers plenty of outreach opportunities for students, as well as the promise of making new friends.

Epic Bible College and Graduate School
Sacramento, CA