What are Christian Colleges?
Christian colleges are private, often non profit schools that weave a faith based world view into their programs. As a result, while earning a degree, you might learn about Christian values and how to infuse them in your career.
What’s the Difference Between a Bible College and Christian Colleges?
While both are Christian institutions, the main way Christian colleges differ from a Bible college is typically its goal for the graduate.
A Christian university usually aims to shape students with Christian ethics to prepare them for the secular workforce. As a result, you may find degree programs in a range of majors. Including:
Some may also offer professional health sciences programs. Like pre-med, pre-vet, and pre-law. Beyond that, these schools are likely to offer Church or Bible specific fields. For instance, graduate programs tied to ministry or pastoral counseling.
A Bible College may also be a Christian school with higher education programs. But the primary goal of the Bible college is often to prepare the graduate for Christian ministry. As a result, there may be less focus on a liberal arts education. And more course work in Biblical studies, Church leadership and the like.
What Kinds of Christian Colleges are There?
Just like secular or non religious colleges, there are two year and four year Christian colleges. And just like these other schools, some may have small class sizes while others may have larger ones and several campuses. Of these, many may be liberal arts schools with academic programs in the arts and sciences. There may also be schools devoted to research and building a service focused workforce.
Christianity in the U.S. has many facets and denominations. So you may also find schools that affiliate with a specific Church. Southern Baptist, Jesuit, Churches of Christ etc. These often have robust religious degree program choices in religion, theology, ministry and pastoral counseling.
- 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral level.
- Transfer up to 90 credits into an undergraduate degree program.
- No standardized testing if you meet admission requirements.
- Credit for prior training, certification, licensure, experience, and learning, and more.
Do I Have to Identify as Christian to Attend a Christian College?
As a rule, you may not have to identify as a Christian to attend Christian colleges. That said, while enrollment may be diverse, Christian schools may have mandatory ‘religious’ courses as part of the general college core in either a BS/BA program. And many times encourage making time to worship and on community service. You are also likely to find some kind of moral code in place that sets out acceptable social contact for the enrolled student body.
Where Could I Find a Christian College?
The CCCU accredits 180 + Christian colleges and universities in the United States. While there may be campuses in many states, the National Center of Education Statistics reports the South is home to more of these schools than other regions.
Top 25 Christian Colleges
To make it easier for you to find Christian colleges and universities, we compiled a list of 25 schools. These schools had the most graduating students in the 2019 academic year according to the NCES.
#1 OAKLAND CITY UNIVERSITY
OCU is the top Christian College with the most graduates in 2019. They are a 4 year private not for profit school affiliated with the General Baptist Church and located in Oakland City, a town of Indiana. Apart from degrees at all levels, there may be some fully online programs. Including majors in Christian Studies, Criminal Justice, and Early Childhood. The school also typically offers academic programs in the arts and sciences taught with a Biblical point of view.
#2 WHITWORTH UNIVERSITY
Whitworth is a 4 year private not for profit school located in Washington. The school offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificates. Students here may choose from a range of 100 undergraduate majors including Army ROTC and a BA in Theology/Biblical Studies.
#3 BOB JONES UNIVERSITY
Bob Jones is a 4 year private not for profit school located in Greenville, South Carolina. A nondenominational evangelical school, BJU weaves faith and worship into all their programs. These span accounting nursing, pre med, Biblical Counseling and Biblical Studies. There may also be a range of other majors to choose from its 7 colleges.
#4 ELIM BIBLE INSTITUTE AND COLLEGE
Elim is a two year private not for profit school located in New York. The Christian Bible school typically offers 1 year, 2 year and 3 year associate degrees and certificates. These aim to provide a well rounded education and in depth study of the Bible. Their flagship program is one that aims to prepare students for a vocation in ministry. For those who couldn’t make it to the campus, there may be online courses.
#5 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
Liberty is a four year private not for profit school located in Lynchburg VA. The school typically offers degrees from associate’s to doctorate in many areas. These may span 700 programs including over 450 online offerings. And, aim to continue the evangelical mission of the founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell.
#6 UNIVERSITY OF MOUNT OLIVE
UMO is a four year private not for profit liberal arts school located in North Carolina. The school affiliates with the Free Will Baptist Church and stresses personal ethics. Here, you may find programs for traditional and adult undergraduate students. There may also be some 100% online graduate programs and the potential to use transfer credits.
#7 ANDREWS UNIVERSITY
Andrews is a four year private not for profit school located in Michigan. The school affiliates with the Seventh-day Adventist Church and has a theological seminary. It typically offers a range of master’s and doctoral programs that educate aspiring pastors and Church leaders. The undergraduate offerings include a range of online programs. And these cover about 100 majors including aviation, music and business.
#8 LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY
La Sierra is a four year private not for profit school. Located in California, the school affiliates with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They offer over 50 undergraduate programs and 23 pre professional ones. At the master’s level, one may go for a Master of Arts in Teaching online and there are many on campus programs as well.
#9 LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY
Loma Linda is a four year private not for profit school located in California. The school offers programs at all levels from associate up to doctorate and affiliates with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Some of these programs may be available online. LLU is also known for the health sciences, research and students may take part in campus spiritual life.
#10 SOUTHERN ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY
Southern Adventist is a four year private not for profit school in Tennessee. Affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the school goes by the motto “God has a purpose for you”. The school typically offers a range of undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences including Music and Worship and Outdoor Ministry. And at the master’s level, several dual degree options that pair nursing or social work with an MBA.
#11 SOUTHWESTERN ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY
Southwestern Adventist is a four year private not for profit school in Texas that offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. SWAU often features some pre professional and online programs as well. And affiliates with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. So campus life, if opting for in person learning, has opportunity to worship and serve.
#12 WALLA WALLA UNIVERSITY
Walla Walla is a four year private not for profit school that offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Located in Washington, the university affiliates with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. All areas of study typically have roots in a well rounded liberal arts philosophy and there are usually various majors to choose from apart from Biblical Languages.
#13 WASHINGTON ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY
Washington Adventist is a four year private not for profit liberal arts college in Maryland. The university operates under the Seventh day Adventist Church. And, generally offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as an honors program. One of the school’s majors is religion and prep for the Christian mission and ministry. Including pastoral ministry, metro ministry, and lay ministry.
#14 MEADVILLE LOMBARD THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL
Meadville is a four year private not for profit school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of a few Unitarian Universalist seminaries in the world. And, offers both a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Leadership Studies. Both make use of a low residency format and integrated internships. Called “Contextual Learning” it typically allows you to earn your degree from where you live and serve.
#15 STARR KING SCHOOL FOR THE MINISTRY
Listed number 15th of our Christian colleges, Starr King is a four year not for profit graduate theological school and seminary in California. They offer post bachelor certificates and master’s degree programs. The school is also a member of the Graduate Theological Union. And, affiliates with the Unitarian Universalist Church. Apart from a Master of Divinity degree, there are Master of Arts and joint degrees. For instance, a MDIV/Master of Arts in Social Change.
#16 HELLENIC COLLEGE – HOLY CROSS GREEK ORTHODOX SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Hellenic College is a four year not for profit Greek Orthodox graduate school in Massachusetts. The school offers a curricula in the liberal arts, a seminary and pre professional studies. There are several undergraduate programs and certificates. These usually span several areas including religious studies. While grad degrees may include MDiv, Master of Theology and Master of Theological Studies.
#17 OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
Oklahoma Wesleyan is a four year not for profit school located in the town of Bartlesville, OK. Affiliated with the Wesleyan Ministry, the school usually offers both campus and online programs as well as options for high school college credit. Apart from majors in Christian Ministry, Church Planting, Biblical Studies and Christian Leadership, there may be others to choose from.
#18 ERSKINE COLLEGE
Erskine is a four year not for profit liberal arts college. Located in South Carolina, Erskine affiliates with the Reformed Presbyterian Church. It has majors in many areas including pre professional programs. There is also a seminary and the opportunity to earn a BA/MDiv dual degree.
#19 DENVER SEMINARY
Denver Seminary is a four year private non for profit Protestant school located in Denver, Colorado. There is also a campus in Washington DC and a fully online wing. As a seminary, it typically offers Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theology and Doctor of Ministry programs. However there are currently no bachelor’s degrees available.
#20 FAITH INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY
Faith International is a four year private non for profit school with a seminary. It affiliates with the Gospel and Protestant Church. The mission of the school is to equip Christian leaders with a biblical, theological, and practical Christian education. As a result, the school generally offers many of its programs in areas related to the ministry and these areas. There are a select group of other majors which may be available in various formats: online, webinar, hybrid, or residency.
#21 GRACE COLLEGE OF DIVINITY
Grace College is a four year private non for profit Bible school in North Carolina. It offers degree programs from associate’s up to doctorate. One may complete all of GCD’s programs entirely online. These span areas like Bible and Theology, and Christian Counseling. Another feature is what the school calls, “the Experience College Internship”. It is typically for full time undergraduates and entails a practical experience in Manna Church which is in Fayetteville.
#22 MESSENGER COLLEGE
Messenger College is a four year private non for profit Bible College located in Texas. The school generally focuses only Christian ministry and pastoral counseling. MC offers these majors through associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs. There is a residency and some programs may have an online learning option.
#23 PACIFIC RIM CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
Pacific Rim is a four year private non for profit Bible school located in Hawaii. PacRim aims to nurture emerging Christian leaders by growing their theology, ministry skills and character. It does this through associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all taught with the Christian lens. Some of the majors it offers are Theology and Bible Studies and Bible and Pastoral Ministry.
#24 CHICAGO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Chicago Theological Seminary is a four year private not for profit school in Illinois. As a seminary, it offers graduate programs and post bacc certificates only. Some of the options include joint degrees. Like an MDiv paired with a Master of Social Work. They also offer a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program with 5 other Chicago area seminaries.
#25 DEFIANCE COLLEGE
Defiance College is a four year private not for profit school in Ohio. The school affiliates with the United Church of Christ. And generally offers associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A few of these programs may be available online including an RN to BSN and MBA. If looking into Ministry Studies, the school also offers this major. Internships take place in local Defiance area settings.