Online Christian Colleges in Illinois

With a large number of churches, Christian companies, and faith-based learning institutions, Illinois offers a rich environment for Christians. A study by the Pew Research Center found that approximately 71% of all Illinoisans consider themselves Christian, with Catholics accounting for 28% of that figure. Evangelical Protestants and mainline Protestants are the next largest groups. Illinois residents identifying as Christian attend religious services and ensure that God is part of their lives; the same Pew study found that 34% of residents attend a service at least once a week, while an additional 33% attend once or twice a month to a few times per year.

71% of all Illinoisans consider themselves Christian, with Catholics accounting for 28% of that figure. Evangelical Protestants and mainline Protestants are the next largest groups Pew Research Center

Due to the state's religious landscape, Illinois is home to 31 Christian universities, seminaries, and Bible colleges, 27 of which provide online courses. In addition to standard Christian schools, the state houses an impressive number of theological seminaries for students planning to enter the ministry upon graduation. Because Christian institutions allow learners to grow in their faith while also building skills and knowledge, they are often highly beneficial to religious students.

Online Christian Colleges in Illinois

Online Christian colleges allow degree seekers to take part in a rigorous, biblically-based curriculum from the comfort of their home. Online courses usually offer the same curriculum as on-campus classes, taught by the same faculty members. Diplomas and transcripts do not distinguish between courses completed online and on-campus.

Common online resources include virtual counseling and spiritual support, forums and online meet-ups, and worship live streams.

Many Christian universities in Illinois ensure that online learners have access to the same services as their brick-and-mortar peers. Common online resources include virtual counseling and spiritual support, forums and online meet-ups, and worship live streams. Several schools also offer online tutoring, library assistance, and career services.

Flexibility also plays a critical role. Many online students juggle personal and professional responsibilities while enrolled in school. Many online Christian colleges in Illinois provide asynchronous courses for students who cannot login at specific times. Individuals concerned about cost also favor online programs since they are typically more affordable. Distance learners often receive tuition discounts or a reduced rate. Online students also avoid costs associated with on-campus courses, including accommodations, travel expenses, activity fees, and meal plans.

Illinois's Best Online Christian Schools

University of St. Francis

One of the top Christian colleges in Illinois, University of St. Francis is a Catholic Franciscan institution that serves almost 4,000 students around the United States. USF has a main campus in Joliet, Illinois, near Chicago. Students can pursue a variety of programs across the university's four colleges: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Leach College of Nursing, the College of Business and Health Administration, and the College of Education. Students can also explore online opportunities at USF. Online programs are available in the following disciplines:

  • MA in Teaching
  • RN-to-BSN
  • MBA
  • MBA in Marketing
  • Master's in Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor's Degree in Business
  • MS in Special Education
  • Transition to Teaching (T2T)
  • MBA in Management Information Systems
  • Master's in Healthcare Administration

Undergraduate applicants to USF must provide high school transcripts outlining four years of English; three years of math; two years of social studies; three years of electives; and three years of computer science, foreign language, or music/art. Additionally, undergraduate applicants must hold a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit ACT/SAT scores. Applicants to graduate programs must submit their admissions application, an essay, undergraduate transcripts, proof of a minimum 2.75 undergraduate GPA, one letter of recommendation, and their current resume.

USF's Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides students with a number of academic support opportunities that include programs and services dedicated to enhancing learning, such as computers, study tables, study aids, and tutoring. ARC also highlights exam preparation help, workshops on learning styles, note-taking, time management, and one-on-one assessments of learning strategies. USF holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Lincoln Christian University

Lincoln Christian University features extension sites in Las Vegas, Nevada; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Normal, Illinois. One of the best Christian colleges in Illinois, LCU is affiliated with the churches of Christ along with independent Christian churches. Students can pursue coeducational four-year education at the Bible college, including certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees. Students can also enroll in the graduate seminary to earn master's degrees and a doctor of ministry degree. Additionally, students enjoy the opportunity to take advantage of online program formats.

The following six degrees are offered entirely online at LCU:

  • AA in Bible
  • BA in Business Administration
  • BA in Psychology
  • BA in Christian Ministry
  • MA in Organizational Leadership
  • MA in Bible and Theology

Students can also pursue degrees in hybrid formats, completing up to 66% of coursework online and the rest on campus. Undergraduate applicants at LCU must submit a completed admissions application, a written essay, and a Christian character reference from a leader in a Christian company, organization, or church who can vouch for the applicant's Christian character. Additionally, undergraduate applicants must submit their high school transcript verifying a minimum 2.5 GPA and SAT/ACT scores.

Graduate and seminary applicants must complete an online application, submit a written essay, provide a Christian character reference, and prove a minimum 2.5 GPA on their undergraduate transcripts. LCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Lewis University

A private Roman Catholic and Lasallian university in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis University offers over 80 undergraduate programs and more than 20 graduate programs with accelerated options across disciplines for working professionals. Lewis comprises five academic colleges and schools: the College of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the School for Professional and Continuing Education, and the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Online opportunities include eight bachelor's programs, 10 master's programs, and one doctoral program.

Online bachelor's programs cover topics including nursing, organizational leadership, and professional studies. Online bachelor's students can also explore accelerated formats in business administration, computer science, criminal justice, information security and risk management, and information technology management. Master's students can explore programs covering subject matter such as data science, aviation and transportation, and organizational leadership.

Undergraduate applicants at Lewis must complete an admissions application, pay the application fee, submit high school transcripts, and provide ACT/SAT scores. Students can also submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their admissions application. Graduate applicants must complete an admissions application and provide undergraduate transcripts with their application fee. Depending on their chosen program, applicants must meet other requirements that include a minimum GPA and submission of supplemental materials. Lewis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Olivet Nazarene University

Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University was founded in Olivet, Illinois, as a grammar school and moved to its current location in the late 1930s. Affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene, ONU belongs to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and highlights bachelor's degrees in nearly 70 areas of study -- along with pre-professional programs, an ROTC program, and study abroad options. Additionally, students can enroll in a variety of online programs such as the options below:

  • Business
  • Certified Life Coaching
  • Education
  • Ministry
  • Professional Development
  • Nursing

Applicants to ONU must complete an admissions application, which takes most students less than ten minutes to complete, and provide their official transcripts. Depending on which program they apply for, applicants might need to submit additional items, including letters of recommendation, admissions essays, and a professional resume.

Online students benefit from a variety of resources that include academic advising, which provides students with the support they need to conduct better time management and determine course selection. Students also enjoy access to technical support, pastoral services, tutoring, writing services, and career services. ONU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is one of the largest private Catholic universities in the country. The university is home to the Loyola University Medical Center and features 11 schools and colleges, offering more than 80 undergraduate options and 140 graduate and professional programs. Loyola features six campuses across the Chicago area along with a campus in Rome and guest programs in Ho Chi Minh City and Beijing. Loyola also offers a variety of online programs, including the offerings below:

  • Arts and Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Continuing and Professional Studies
  • Education
  • Law
  • Pastoral Studies
  • Nursing
  • Social Work

Among the discipline areas, students can pursue master's programs in information technology, bioethics and health policy, public health, nursing and healthcare administration, divinity, pastoral studies, and Christian spirituality.

Students can also explore online certificates in topics such as clinical bioethics, public health, healthcare ministry leadership, computer science, leading inclusive Catholic schools, and advanced school mental health practice. Doctoral students can earn their online doctorate in bioethics or nursing practice. Loyola is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

DePaul University

A private Roman Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois, DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Vincentians and took its name from St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th-century French priest. DePaul had the highest enrollment of any U.S. Catholic university in 1998 and places great importance on bringing in first-generation students from disadvantaged upbringings. DePaul offers the following degrees in an online format:

  • MS in Accountancy
  • BA in Professional Studies in Business Administration
  • MS in Business Information Technology
  • MS in Computer Science
  • MS in Cybersecurity
  • MS in Data Science
  • MS in E-Commerce Technology
  • MA and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership with a Higher Education Concentration
  • MS in Game Programming
  • MS in Health Informatics

The online programs at DePaul boast formal recognition and authorization for every state along with Washington, D.C. Undergraduate applicants to DePaul must complete an admissions application, submit their high school transcripts, and complete all necessary prerequisites. Applicants can decide whether to include their ACT/SAT scores with their application. DePaul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Dominican University

Affiliated with the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters, Dominican University is a Catholic institution located in River Forest, Illinois. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), DU offers an online master's in social work (MSW), partially online master of arts in conflict resolution, and an online RN-BSN degree completion program.

The MSW allows for part- or full-time study and offers a concentration in military social work that may be completed fully online. Scholarships are available to those in this major, and class sizes are small to allow for maximum attention and communication between faculty and students. The MA in conflict resolution boasts a convenient, predominantly online format that allows students to complete two, five-day courses on campus and the rest of their coursework online.

The online RN-to-BSN at DU promotes flexibility and convenience, allowing students to graduate in as little as one year. Students focus on coursework covering nursing in the community, multicultural global perspectives in nursing, and professional development for the RN. The curriculum emphasizes transformative learning, allowing students to build upon their experiences to adapt their philosophy of nursing.

North Park University

Founded by the Evangelical Covenant Church in 1891 as a private Christian university, North Park University serves as a top Christian college in Illinois and offers a variety of academic disciplines across colleges and schools. Online opportunities are varied and include the options below:

  • BBA
  • Bachelor's in Digital Marketing
  • Bachelor's in Location Intelligence
  • Bachelor's in Nonprofit Management
  • Bachelor's in Organizational Management and Leadership
  • MBA
  • Master's in Organizational Management and Leadership
  • Master's in Nonprofit Administration
  • Master's in Higher Education Administration
  • Master's in Human Resource management

Undergraduate students at NPU can enroll in the School of Professional Studies to explore online opportunities that combine the quality and engagement of programs at the university with the flexibility and convenience of an online program. Students benefit from asynchronously delivered coursework, allowing them to complete their work at their own pace and from any location. Online undergraduate students can transfer in up to 90 credit hours from another accredited institution, and those who transfer to NPU with their associate degree receive a 20% discount on their tuition.

Online graduate programs at NPU's School of Business and Nonprofit Management provide rigorous curricula to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the job market after graduation. Many students take advantage of grant and scholarship opportunities to reduce their tuition costs. NPU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

McKendree University

Previously known as McKendree College, McKendree University is a private liberal arts university located in Lebanon, Illinois. Originally founded in 1828 as the Lebanon Seminary, MCK is the oldest college in the state, representing students from 29 states and 25 countries. Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, MCK adopted its current name in 2007. Students enjoy a variety of academic programs offered through the MCK School of Education, the College of Arts and Science, the School of Health Professions, and the School of Business. Students in need of a more flexible program to align with their busy schedules can consider the following online programs:

  • AS in Business Administration
  • BA in Psychology
  • BA in Sociology/Criminal Justice
  • BBA
  • BS in Computer Information Systems
  • BS in Nursing
  • MA in Criminal Justice
  • MA in Education
  • MBA
  • MS in Nursing
  • Dual MSN/MBA Degree
  • DNP

Students pursuing their online BBA can choose a specialization to further tailor their degree to their personal interests and career goals; options include sports management, marketing, accounting, business administration, human resource management, entrepreneurship, and management. Online programs at MCK boast a maximum enrollment of 20 students per online course. MCK is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Judson University

An evangelical Christian university in Elgin, Illinois, Judson University was formed from the liberal arts sector of the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary when the seminary relocated from Chicago to Lombard, Illinois, in 1913. Judson derives its name from the first American Baptist missionary to foreign shores, Adoniram Judson, and became a university in 2007. Judson features additional campuses in Rockford and Elgin. Students looking for flexible and convenient educational opportunities can pursue a variety of online degrees, including the options listed below:

  • MBA
  • MA in Human Services Administration
  • MA in Organizational Leadership
  • Master of Leadership in Ministry
  • Bachelor's in Human Services
  • Bachelor's in Applied Psychology
  • BBA
  • Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership

In addition to online programs, Judson also offers a variety of online undergraduate coursework and professional certification exam preparation courses. Undergraduate associate applicants to Judson must have a high school diploma or GED and submit official transcripts.

Applicants must also complete at least one year of full-time work experience and hold a 2.0 minimum GPA. Bachelor's applicants must hold at least 40 transferable credits from another accredited institution and a 2.0 minimum GPA with at least two years of professional, full-time work experience. Judson boasts regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Elmhurst College

Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois, is a comprehensive, four-year private liberal arts college that emphasizes service-oriented learning. Affiliated with the United Church of Christ, EC achieved university status in June 2019, resulting in a name change to Elmhurst University effective June 2020. Among EC's offerings are 26 undergraduate options, 15 certificate options, 17 master's options, and 15 pre-professional programs. Online offerings include the following degrees and certificates:

  • BBA
  • Bachelor's in Information Technology
  • Bachelor's in Applied Psychology
  • RN-to-BSN
  • Cybersecurity Certificate
  • Geographic Information Systems Certificate

Online programs at EC are designed as degree completion programs for students coming in with previous college experience and credits. The degree completion programs allow students to follow a flexible format while earning their undergraduate degree at an accelerated pace. Students enjoy asynchronous delivery of online programs, completing coursework at times and places most convenient for them. This delivery allows students to maintain full-time jobs and fulfill other commitments while they further their education.

Applicants to EC must complete an admissions application, submit their official transcripts from high school, and provide SAT/ACT scores. The average minimum GPA of incoming freshmen at the college is 3.4, but all applicants are evaluated on a holistic and individual basis. EC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Trinity Christian College

Located in Palos Heights, Illinois, Trinity Christian College functions as a four-year liberal arts college and offers more than 70 areas of study. Trinity was founded in 1959 by a group of Chicago businessmen who aimed to establish a college to provide students with Christian higher education. Students can explore a variety of program offerings at Trinity that include the following online opportunities:

  • Bachelor's in Business Management
  • Bachelor's in Education: K-12 Specialist Education
  • Bachelor's in Education: Business (6-12 License)
  • Bachelor's in Education: Elementary Education (1-6 License)
  • Bachelor's in Education: Middle Grades Education (5-8 License)
  • Bachelor's in Education: Secondary Education (9-12 License)
  • Bachelor's in ESL Bilingual Endorsement Sequence
  • Bachelor's in Psychology
  • Bachelor's in Special Education

Trinity's online undergraduate programs cater to students who desire a more flexible format for their education due to work and other commitments. These programs follow a cohort format, and while much of the coursework is delivered online, students meet on campus one night each week. The accelerated format allows students to earn their degree more quickly than those following typical enrollment plans.

Applicants to the undergraduate online programs at Trinity must complete the online admissions application. Once accepted, students can contact an admissions representative to schedule a campus tour and meet with the chairperson for their department. With their application, applicants must also provide their official transcripts. Trinity is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Benedictine University

In 1887, Benedictine University was founded as St. Procopius College, a private Roman Catholic University in Lisle, Illinois. The institution remains close with the Benedictine Order and rests within the Chicago metropolitan area near two national research facilities: the National Accelerator Laboratory and the Argonne National Laboratory. Students can pursue a wide variety of online programs, including the options below:

  • MBA
  • Master of Public Health
  • MS in Nursing
  • MS in Management and Organizational Behavior
  • MS in Nutrition and Wellness
  • MS in Accountancy
  • Dual MSN/MBA
  • Dual MBA/MPH
  • Dual MPH/MSMOB
  • Dual MBA/MSMOB
  • BA in Management
  • BA in Organizational Leadership

Benedictine allows undergraduate students to transfer in up to 90 credits toward their bachelor's degree, enabling them to earn their degree at an accelerated pace. Online programs at the university relate online courses to on-campus courses, providing students the chance to discuss class topics with their peers and instructors.

Benedictine's dual degree opportunities allow students to earn two full master's degrees through one program, saving about 25% of both the cost and time they would spend to earn each degree on its own. The flexible format of these programs cultivates maximum convenience for students. Benedictine is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Quincy University

A private liberal arts Franciscan university located in Quincy, Illinois, Quincy University was established in 1860 when a group of Franciscan friars in Germany came to Illinois to serve the German-speaking population in the state. In 1860, QU began as St. Francis Solanus College, shifting into Quincy College and Seminary after providing consistent education and training for Franciscan priests. QU admitted women for the first time in 1932 and was renamed Quincy University in 1993. Online program offerings include a BBA, a bachelor of human services, and an MBA.

Applicants to Quincy can apply online or download their admissions application and send it in to the admissions team. Along with their application, applicants must provide their official high school transcripts, ACT/SAT test scores, and a letter of recommendation from their school counselor. They must also complete the university's scholarship form to determine their eligibility. Quincy does not require minimum test scores for applicants. Instead, the university reviews applicants holistically to determine if they would be successful in their chosen academic program.

Online students benefit from resources including the campus ministry, clubs and organizations, health and wellness, multicultural programs, the counseling center, and the student success center. Quincy is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Trinity International University

Providing education as an evangelical Christian university in Deerfield, Illinois, Trinity International University includes an undergraduate college, graduate school, law school, and theological seminary. TIU's law school is in Santa Ana, California, and additional campuses are located in Dolton, Illinois, and Florida. TIU operates under the Evangelical Free Church of America following Radical Pietism traditions. Online program opportunities are varied and include the following options:

  • BA in Business
  • BA in Christian Ministries
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Psychology
  • MA in Bioethics
  • Master of Education in Diverse Learning
  • Master of Legal Studies
  • MA in Theological Studies
  • MA in Educational Ministries
  • Certificate in Christian Studies

Online programs are asynchronous, which allows students to complete their work at any time and from any location.

Undergraduate applicants need a high school diploma or GED and a minimum 2.5 GPA. Other requirements include specific prerequisites and minimum SAT/ACT scores. Transfer students need a minimum 2.0 GPA from an accredited institution to be considered. TIU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Saint Xavier University

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC),Saint Xavier University operates as a private Roman Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois. SXU features more than 43 undergraduate programs and 25 graduate degrees across the Graham School of Management, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. The university boasts one of the most diverse student bodies in the Chicago area and functions as a qualified Hispanic-serving higher learning institution. Students can pursue the following flexible programs through online formats at SXU:

  • BA in Communication
  • BBA
  • BA in Leadership and Public Administration
  • BS in Nursing
  • Master of Applied Computer Science
  • MA in Education
  • MA in Teaching
  • MBA
  • MS in Nursing

SXU features a variety of concentration opportunities that allow students to further specialize their degrees. Computer science students can focus on web development, data science, networking and security, or software engineering. Education students can specialize in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Business administration master's students can choose from specializations that include digital marketing, project management, finance, and forensic and investigative accounting. Nursing students can cater their degree toward their desired career path with options including an RN-to-MSN and concentrations in clinical leadership or executive leadership. Specializations are also offered for those who wish to work as family nurse practitioners or nurse educators.

In addition to online bachelor's and master's programs, students can also explore online certificates in the following areas:

  • Employee Health Benefits
  • Project Management
  • Nursing Educator
  • Clinical Leadership
  • Financial Fraud Examination and Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Health Administration

Greenville University

A liberal arts university in Greenville, Illinois, Greenville University boasts an affiliation with the Free Methodist Church. Formerly Greenville College, the institution achieved university status and adopted its current name in June of 2017. In 1999, Greenville became the first campus in the United States to feature an entirely wireless internet network spanning across the entire campus. Today, students can choose from a variety of online opportunities including the following programs:

  • Bachelor's in Business Management
  • Bachelor's in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor's in Health Psychology
  • Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership
  • MS in Management
  • MBA
  • MA in Coaching
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MA in Teaching English as a Second Language
  • MA in Special Education

In addition to the university's online bachelor's and master's programs, students can pursue online endorsement opportunities in special education, middle school, and teaching English as a second language. Additionally, the university offers online driver education coursework. The university highlights a fully supported online learning community, allowing students access to a collaborative learning environment, enabling them to interact with their classmates and instructors from anywhere in the world.

The university's online bachelor's programs are delivered through degree completion opportunities, serving students who already hold prior college experience and wish to complete their degree at an accelerated rate. Greenville University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Concordia University Chicago

Concordia University Chicago is a private liberal arts university located in River Forest, Illinois, previously focusing exclusively on parochial teacher education. Today, CUC boasts over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and enrolls more than 5,000 students each year. Part of the Concordia University System, CUC affiliates with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Online degree and program options are varied and include four certificates, five endorsement opportunities, an associate degree, six bachelor's degrees, 30 master's degrees, and one doctoral degree.

CUC allows students pursuing their MBA to focus their degree on a particular specialization, depending on their personal interests and career goals. Specialization options include digital marketing, healthcare management, leadership and change management, sports management, and finance. Online students can pursue degrees at all levels from a plethora of disciplines, including public safety administration, early childhood education, kinesiology, curriculum and instruction, sports leadership, and religion.

Associate applicants must complete an admissions application, submit high school transcripts, and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Bachelor's applicants must submit an admissions application and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA along with 30 semester hours of prior college credits from an accredited institution. These applicants must provide their resume when applying. Graduate applicants must provide official transcripts, prerequisite credits, two letters of recommendation, and a professional resume. CUC is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Illinois's Best Online Seminaries

Chicago Theological Seminary

Affiliated with the United Church of Christ and established in 1855, the Chicago Theological Seminary led the Christian abolitionist movement during the 19th century and is the oldest higher learning institution in Chicago. CTS provides students with the education and skills they need to become ordained by the Metropolitan Community Church and the United Methodist Church. Today, CTS highlights a diverse student body and features several online opportunities that include the options below:

  • Master of Divinity
  • MA in Religious Leadership
  • Master of Sacred Theology
  • Master of Social Work

Online programs at CTS highlight rigorous curricula to educate students and cultivate the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their respective careers after graduation. Students in online courses do not typically meet at the same time as on-campus students, but they must participate in different activities each week that include audio or video lectures, live video chats, and forum discussions.

The online programs cultivate a rich academic environment to promote collaboration and mutual discussion. CTS is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Operating as a graduate school of theology, the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary offers a variety of master's and doctoral degrees, actively engaging with congregations focused on the Midwest with influences from around the world. Among the program offerings is an online opportunity in United Methodist studies.

Students interested in becoming ordained through the United Methodist Church can pursue their education through the flexible online format offered at Garrett-Evangelical. The seminary offers all six of the courses in the Book of Discipline through a convenient online format, exploring topics of the contemporary church to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to lead a congregation in the 21st century.

The program promotes collaboration, allowing students the chance to receive individualized attention from instructors to make the most of their curriculum. The courses explore theological concepts and teach students about new and innovative models in ministry. Course topics include the history of the church, doctrine, polity, evangelism, mission, and worship.

Applicants to the seminary must complete their online admissions application and submit a statement of purpose, a resume, three letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. International applicants also need to submit their TOEFL scores to demonstrate their English-speaking proficiency. Garrett-Evangelical is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Moody Bible Institute

Moody Bible Institute is a Christian higher learning institution with a main campus in Chicago, Illinois. The institution was founded in 1886 by Dwight L. Moody, a businessman and evangelist. Along with its Chicago location, Moody also features a graduate campus in Plymouth, Michigan. Students at Moody gain the training they need to conduct ministry in parachurch organizations and churches. Online program offerings include the following options:

  • BS in Biblical Studies
  • BS in Ministry Leadership
  • BS in Theological Studies
  • BS in Theology and Cultural Engagement
  • Associate of Biblical Studies
  • Certificate of Biblical Leadership
  • Certificate of Biblical Studies
  • MA in Biblical Exposition

Moody features distance education programs to allow students from around the world to study Bible and theology. Students learn from experts in the field who hold years of academic and professional experience. In addition to Moody's certificate, associate, bachelor's, and master's programs, continuing education opportunities are offered through online education, focusing on personal enrichment and spiritual formation.

Undergraduate applicants at Moody must complete an admissions application, hold a 2.0 minimum GPA, submit a Christian character reference, and provide ACT/SAT scores. Depending on their specific program, graduate and undergraduate students might need to meet additional admission requirements. Moody holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

What Christian Colleges are in Illinois?

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Finding the Right Christian College

Choosing the right college requires a lot of thought and planning. Prospective students must consider factors such as cost, location, program options, and school values. Smaller schools typically offer a lower student-to-faculty ratio, more opportunities to truly get to know peers and professors, and a tight-knit community of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. Larger schools usually offer more resources, research opportunities, internships, and business partnerships.

Students should also consider school values. Many Christian colleges in Illinois set their own guidelines for student behavior. Bible schools often require students to attend chapel multiple times per week, avoid visiting doom rooms belonging to students of the opposite sex, and abstain from the use of nicotine, alcohol, and drugs. Before enrolling at a particular school, students should also check out the college's location. Does the campus and immediate neighborhood feel safe? Are there nearby amenities such as grocery stores?

For learners considering online Christian universities in Illinois, it’s also important to research resources for distance learners. While many schools offer support services comparable to those on brick-and-mortar locations, other schools have more limited online resources. Prospective students should check with the admissions department to learn more about the ways in which the school integrates distance learners into the faith community. Many online schools offer faith-based chat rooms, worship live streams, and Christian discussion boards.

Lastly, Christian students must consider degree offerings. Regardless of how well the school caters to your biblical viewpoints, if it doesn’t offer a degree suited to your career interests, it’s probably not a good fit. Students should pick one of the many Christian colleges in Illinois that serves both their faith and their career.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

There are several Bible schools and seminary schools in Illinois. While Bible schools and seminaries share many similarities, they differ considerably in program options, structure, and other factors. Bible schools feature a number of faith-based degree paths, including missions and intercultural studies, discipleship, and biblical studies. Many of these schools also provide a small number of secular degrees – such as social work, communications, or finance - for individuals seeking jobs outside of ministry.

Seminary schools focus on graduate-level education for students entering ministry. Individuals attending a seminary in Illinois usually plan to work in a faith-based setting, be it a church, missions team, or Christian company. Some of the majors available include pastoral counseling, chaplaincy, and theology.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Regardless of whether they enroll at a Christian college or secular school, all students should attend an accredited institution. Accreditation ensures that schools meet certain academic and professional standards. Accrediting agencies fall into three categories: regional, national, and specialized. Regional accreditation is the most well-regarded of the three, since it requires the most rigorous standards. Regionally accredited schools go through a multi-year process to receive approval.

Regional accreditation is the most well-regarded of the three, since it requires the most rigorous standards. Regionally accredited schools go through a multi-year process to receive approval.

Career, technical, and for-profit schools typically receive national accreditation. While national accreditation is still recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, it is still less rigorous than regional accreditation. Some students attending nationally accredited schools have trouble receiving financial aid, transferring schools, earning certifications, and finding jobs.

Specialized accreditation focuses on individual programs such as nursing, teaching, or accounting. This form of accreditation ensures coursework adequately prepares graduates for jobs in a particular field upon graduation. Usually, professional associations and industry organizations grant specialized accreditation. For example, the American Psychological Association accredits psychology programs. Christian colleges in Illinois may also receive faith-based accreditation. Examples include the Association for Biblical Higher Education, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

Students should visit the U.S. Department of Education’s database to see if their school is accredited.

Career and Salary Expectations

In a February 2018 economic forecast prepared for the State of Illinois, researchers found that Illinois has been slow to fully recover from the effects of the recession, but has still made gains. August 2017 marked the first month that no metropolitan area of the state was in recession, while employment numbers continue to rise. As of March 2018, unemployment in Illinois sat at 4.6%, as compared to the national unemployment average of 4.1%.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in Illinois earn an average hourly mean wage of $25.20 and an annual mean wage of $52,410. Illinois workers enjoy income levels that are higher than the national average. This is even more true for graduates of Christian colleges in Illinois, who stand to command higher salaries due to their degrees. While jobs in construction, the public sector, and leisure/hospitality are still stagnating, positions for individuals in manufacturing, auto and auto parts, technology, fabricated metal, and industrial equipment all show signs of growth.

Many graduates of Christian universities in Illinois use their degree to serve the community. The following table highlights some of the many community and social service jobs in the state.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Illinois
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 3,340 $17.96 $37,360
Marriage and Family Therapists 410 $25.44 $52,910
Mental Health Counselors 5,150 $20.86 $43,380
Rehabilitation Counselors 2,970 $18.08 $37,600
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 12,150 $28.27 $58,790
Healthcare Social Workers 5,050 $26.48 $55,070
Social and Human Service Assistants 12,780 $16.01 $33,300
Clergy 2,090 $23.09 $48,030
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 1,210 $21.07 $43,820
Religious Workers, all other 620 $15.31 $31,850
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Seminaries, bible schools, and Christian colleges in Illinois tend to be more expensive than their public counterparts. Fortunately, many scholarships are available to help offset costs. Aside from the awards highlighted below, students should do their own research to find suitable funding.

Christian Scholarships

Italian Catholic Federation Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply:This scholarship is open to students from Illinois who identify as Roman Catholic. Applicants should also be of Italian descent and show financial need. View Scholarship

Beta Sigma Pi Christian Leadership Scholarship $1,500

Who Can Apply:This award is available to Lutheran male students in their freshman year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. View Scholarship

Lincoln Christian University Scholarships $6,000

Who Can Apply:LCU offers freshman academic scholarships to incoming students with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher. View Scholarship

Greenville University Scholarships $18,000

Who Can Apply:This Christian college provides a large number of scholarships based on financial need, academic merit, and intended area of study. View Scholarship

Baptist Foundation of Illinois Seminary Scholarship $2,625

Who Can Apply:Students from Illinois who plan to attend or are currently attending seminary in Illinois are eligible for this award. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Illinois Residents

Golden Apple Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply:This scholarship assists Illinois students who plan to pursue a teaching career at a high-need school. Candidates should identify as a minority. View Scholarship

Illinois Achievement Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply:Students planning to attend the University of Illinois qualify for this renewable award. Applicants should demonstrate financial need and maintain a 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Back2School Illinois $2,500

Who Can Apply:Graduating seniors who reside in Illinois and can demonstrate financial need should apply for this scholarship. View Scholarship

Champion Scholars Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply:Residents of Illinois with at least a 3.0 GPA who plan to attend a two-year or four-year program are eligible for this scholarship. View Scholarship

Crystal Charitable Fund $4,000

Who Can Apply:Sponsored by the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation, this fund helps pay for cultural and educational travel, including study abroad trips. Applicants must come from a financially impoverished family. View Scholarship


Find a Church in Your Community

After enrolling in college, many Christian learners look for a perfect place to worship and build community. Databases like Church Finder and USA Churches make it easier for students to find a place of worship while they’re in college. Users can search by denomination and distance from their school.

Get Connected

Christian networking sites connect Christian students with employers that share their values and beliefs. Networking sites provide spiritual and professional resources, as well as job boards.

  • The Christian Business Network The CBN operates chapters throughout the United States, including Illinois. The network equips, empowers, and connects Christian business leaders.
  • Christian Business Fellowship The CBF is a group of active Christian entrepreneurs and employees. Membership benefits include regular meetings and mentoring opportunities.
  • C12 Group Chicago C12 is the nation’s largest network of Christian CEOs, business owners, and executives. The group discusses how to integrate biblical values into business practice.

Find Christian Ministries

Because Christian colleges are more expensive than their secular counterparts, many learners simply can’t afford to attend them. The good news is that many Christian ministry programs are also located on non-Christian universities in Illinois. The following list highlights some of the best-known Christian student clubs and organizations.

  • Campus Crusade for Christ Also known as Cru, this campus-based program offers opportunities to grow in faith while making friends with those sharing similar beliefs.
  • Chi Alpha Located on hundreds of college campuses throughout the United States, Chi Alpha helps Christian learners follow the Bible and surround themselves with others who do the same.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES supports evangelical Christian students looking for a place to worship, pray, and commune with others. The group offers publications, prayer groups, alternative spring breaks, and mission trips.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes The FCA encourages hundreds of thousands of students each year to grow both in their faith and in their athletic potential. The FCA operates more than 11,000 groups throughout the country.
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA provides campus ministries at hundreds of colleges. The ministry’s app helps students find their closest chapter and stay up-to-date on weekly events and happenings.
  • Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. Founded to help Lutheran students continue building their faith while in college, LSM-USA provides an annual national gathering, local chapters, and alternative spring break opportunities.
  • Reformed University Fellowship The RUF hosts large worship services, small Bible studies, and one-on-one spiritual guidance sessions.
  • UKirk UKirk is currently active in 36 states plus Washington D.C. UKirk supports campus ministers by providing resources, hosting weekly meetings, and connecting like-minded individuals.
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life In addition to hosting local and national events, BCM Life offers on campus and church-based ministry, collegiate church planting, discipleship, and international student ministries.

Public Universities in Illinois with Christian Ministries

  • The University of Chicago: UChicago is home to Campus Crusade for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and dozens of other Christian student groups.
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Fellowship of Christian Athletes maintains an active and engaged huddle for both college and high school students.
  • Northwestern University: NU is home to a large and ever-growing chapter of the Reformed University Fellowship. Offerings include a large weekly group meeting, small groups, Bible studies, socials, and opportunities to volunteer.