Online PhD in Theology: A Guide to the Best Programs

A PhD in Theology prepares students for a variety of careers in which they can apply their critical thinking skills to religious texts and traditions. Theologians often find work as professors or researchers at universities, where they can share their knowledge with students and contribute to the advancement of scholarship. In addition, many theologians work as clergy members, providing guidance and counseling to those who turn to them for spiritual guidance. Others may find positions in government or nonprofit organizations, where they can use their theological expertise to inform public policy or advocate for social justice. Regardless of their career path, graduates of online theology PhD programs are prepared to make a significant contribution to the academic study of religion.

If you’re considering pursuing a PhD in theology, you may be wondering if you can do it online. The answer is yes – there are a number of excellent online PhD programs in theology offered by universities around the world.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best online PhD programs in theology, with a focus on what you can expect from an online PhD in theology program.

How Many Years Does it Take to Get a PhD in Theology?

It typically takes 2-7 years to earn a theology PhD online, depending on the program,  the student’s qualifications, and experience.

Some online PhD theology programs offer a more flexible schedule, which can be a great option for students who want to continue working while they study. Others require students to attend some classes on campus, which can be more difficult for those who live far away or have other commitments.

Regardless of the online PhD program in theology you choose, be sure to carefully research the requirements of various PhD theology online programs and expectations.

Is a PhD in Theology Difficult?

Earning a PhD in theology can be a difficult but intellectually engaging and very rewarding. You’ll be required to do a significant amount of research, writing, and critical thinking in order to complete the program.

However, if you have the dedication and perseverance, you can definitely succeed. Furthermore the faculty in most universities are experienced professionals who will help you every step of the way.

It’s always advisable to reach out to them if you encounter challenges during the program. They would be more than happy to help!

What do People do With a PhD in Theology?

A PhD in theology can lead to a variety of careers. The most common positions are professor, pastoral minister, or researcher.

A professor position may require you to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in theology, religious studies, or related subjects. A pastoral minister is someone who provides religious leadership in a congregation or community. Finally, a researcher typically works for a university or research institute that focuses on theological topics.

The Best Accredited Online Theology PhD Programs

With diverse choices, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, this list of the best online theology PhD programs will help you narrow down your options and find the right program for you. Each of these online PhD theology programs has been carefully selected based on a number of factors, including academic rigor, student satisfaction, and career outcomes.

So whether you’re looking for a traditional theology program,  a PhD in theology & apologetics online, PhD in catholic theology or something even more innovative, you’re sure to find the right fit from this list of online accredited PhD programs in theology.

This list is based on intense analysis of the many accredited online PhD programs in theology on offer today.  That’s to say each of these online theology PhD programs is accredited by competent institutions.

1. University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham offers a comprehensive online PhD in Theology program that is designed for students with a background in theology or a related discipline.

To be eligible for admission, students must have a Bachelor’s degree with a 2:1 honors or above, or a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent. Students must also be proficient in English, as all coursework is conducted in English.

The program offers a broad range of courses that cover key areas of theology and philosophy, as well as religion, culture, and ethics. The  program culminates in the submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words that reflects the student’s original research.

The Theology (distance learning) PhD takes three years for full-time students and up to six years for part time students.

2. Regent University

If you’re looking for a Ph.D. program that will challenge your assumptions and broaden your understanding of theology, the Doctor of Philosophy in Renewal Theology at Regent University is perfect for you. The program is based on the belief that theology should be constantly evolving to meet the needs of a changing world. So the curriculum is designed to encourage critical thinking and original research. The faculty are leading scholars in the field of renewal theology, and they’re committed to helping you develop your unique voice as a theologian.

Whether you’re interested in exploring historical approaches to theology or examining contemporary issues through a theological lens, Regent University’s Theology program will give you the tools you need to succeed. If you’re ready to push the boundaries of your thinking and expand your understanding of God’s work in the world, then this can be a great choice.

The PhD in Renewal Theology is designed for individuals who have a M.Div. degree or its equivalent with a minimum of 72 credit hours from a regionally accredited, post-secondary institution or an institution accredited by CHEA. The program is designed to provide the student with a comprehensive education in biblical studies, Christian theology, church history, and practical theology among other topics. Some of the core courses include: Advanced Hermeneutics, Advanced Cosmogony & Anthropology, and Renewal Theology.

3. Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary

The Online Doctor of Philosophy in Theology program at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary is for the students who want to deepen their understanding of the Bible and Christian doctrine. The program is designed for those who desire to pursue a career in teaching or research, or who want to further their ministry leadership skills. The curriculum consists of 49 credits spread across three stages including the PhD stage which constitutes a Research Core and Academic Presentations.

Students may choose to specialize in Old Testament, New Testament, or Systematic Theology. Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. The program is available online and can be completed within reasonable duration.

The Doctor of Theology, PhD Religious Studies Online is rigorous and will prepare you for a successful career.  In addition to your coursework, you will also be required to complete an academic presentation..

4. Birmingham University

The Theology and Religion PhD program at Birmingham University is designed to enable students to become researchers or leading experts in their chosen field. The program consists of four modules, which are taken over the first phase of the course, and a dissertation.

A wide variety of subjects is covered in the curriculum, including Biblical studies, Christian theology, Islamic studies, Jewish and Holocaust studies, Pentecostal and Charismatic studies, Quaker studies, and Religion and Society.

According to the QS World University Rankings 2020, the University of Birmingham ranks 34th in the world in Theology, Divinity, and Religious Studies. This makes it one of the most outstanding online PhD theology degrees.

Upon graduation from Birmingham’s Theology program, students acquire a wide range of transferable skills such as: knowledge of research methods; ability to analyze large amounts of multi-source information; and, the ability to organize and present information in a coherent, engaging way.

5. Charisma University

Charisma University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Theology program is designed for those who want to pursue an academic career in theology or prepare for ministry careers. The program offers a rigorous and comprehensive education that will equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their chosen field. You’ll take courses in topics such as Systematic Theology, PhDTh 811 Theology of Marriage & Family, Jewish Theology, Moral Theology, Catholic Theological Ethics, Catholic Education & Catechesis, Virtues Ethics, and more. .

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Theology Online provides advanced theological training and equips students with the skills necessary to engage in scholarly research and theological reflection. It introduces students to the field of Christian Theology.  A selection of perspectives and issues will be addressed, as well as the content, context and divisions of theology. Besides practical christian Theology, the course will also examine Doctrine and Church History and Biblical Studies, which are all subfields of Christian Theology.

Students will also be able to identify the fields in Theology, explain how Christian Theology impacts the modern world and diversity, as well as assess the ethical issues that are linked with Christian Theology.


If you are looking for a quality PhD theology online, the programs offered by the University of Nottingham, Columbia International University, Regent University, Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary, Birmingham University, and Charisma University are some of the best in this field. These online PhD in theology programs offer a high level of training in theology and will certainly prepare you for a thriving career in ministry or academia.