With nearly 200 public and private postsecondary institutions throughout the state, Minnesota has a strong higher education system and a well-educated population. About 70% of the state's public high school graduating class of 2014 went on to attend a postsecondary institution, and a vast majority of those students chose an in-state school, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
three out of four adult residents are Christian, 74% of adults say religion is important in their lives, with one-third of the population attending religious services at least once a week Pew Research Center
Nationally, the state ranks second in the percentage of its population with an associate degree or higher. Along with a commitment to education, Minnesotans have a dedication to their faith. About three out of four adult residents are Christian, according to the Pew Research Center. Similarly, 74% of adults say religion is important in their lives, with one-third of the population attending religious services at least once a week.
Due to the state's devotion to both education and religion, Minnesota is home to several Christian colleges and universities. Students in these schools have the benefit of growing in their faith alongside students with similar values. While Christian colleges in Minnesota represent a variety of denominations, the majority are affiliated with either the Catholic Church or a Protestant denomination like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Online Christian Colleges in Minnesota
Among the many Christian colleges in Minnesota, several offer online programs. Students in online Christian colleges receive the same, faith-based education as their on-campus peers, but have the convenience of learning from the comfort of their homes. Online programs are often delivered asynchronously, meaning they do not have set class schedules. Students complete their work when it is most convenient for them, making distance learning a great option for students with family or work obligations.
Christian online colleges may also be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts because students do not have to incur the costs of commuting or campus accommodations, such as fees for student life, wellness, and activities. Some schools also offer online students flat tuition rates, so students pay the same whether they live in or outside Minnesota.
Although distance learners aren't physically on campus, they can still fully integrate into their school's faith-based community. Many online Christian colleges offer services such as online spiritual support and counseling, live streams of student worship services, and online groups and forums that allow students to connect with one another. Online programs also typically require the same core curriculum as traditional programs, which commonly feature courses in Christian studies.
Minnesota's Best Online Christian Schools
Martin Luther College
Martin Luther College trains Christian witnesses to continue the ministry of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The school educates 720 students in classrooms with a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Learners can choose from several online degrees at MLC.
The school's three online graduate degrees cultivate Christian educators and leaders for schools, churches, and communities. The MS in education offers four specializations: instruction, special education, leadership, and educational technology. Additionally, the MS in educational administration uses standards established by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod to train principals and early childhood directors. One of the best Christian colleges in Minnesota, MLC also offers an MA in theological studies that provides teachers and staff ministers with the training necessary to apply biblical truths to life and ministry.
MLC students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency, and the college holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
An evangelical college located in St. Paul, Bethel University has been a leader in Christian higher education since 1871. The school, which is affiliated with Converge Worldwide, administers more than 100 academic programs to about 5,600 learners each year. Bethel students can pursue online associate, bachelor's, and graduate degrees.
Students can pursue online bachelor's degrees in fields such as accounting, business management, Christian ministries, and organizational leadership. The school's online AA and AS degrees provide learners with a liberal arts foundation that can be transferred to four-year programs or prepare learners for entry-level positions. Students complete general education credits in subjects such as history, communication, and computer applications in both degree plans. The AS allows learners to customize their education with an individualized major, such as business.
One of the best Christian schools in Minnesota, Bethel also offers online master's degrees in fields such as athletic training leadership, education K-12, and nurse midwifery.
Bethel holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Crown College maintains a reputation for high-quality online education. Since the school's inception, Crown has been affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Located in St. Bonifacius, Crown offers online associate degrees in fields such as business, care ministries, and general studies.
Students may transfer associate degrees into the matching bachelor's program at Crown, or they can choose from additional options such as criminal justice, psychology/counseling, or disaster and emergency management. One of the best Christian colleges in Minnesota, Crown also offers a portfolio of online graduate degrees in disciplines such as alcohol and drug counseling, global leadership, and Christian studies. The master's in global leadership allows students to specialize in areas such as church development, disaster and emergency management, or nonprofit leadership.
Crown holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
University of St Thomas
A Catholic school, UST maintains a virtual learning community equipped with thought-provoking videos, guest speakers, and peer collaboration opportunities. Undergraduates can engage in hybrid learning by completing some of their classes online to supplement classroom learning.
Graduate students at UST — one of the best Christian schools in Minnesota — can earn an MBA in a fully online or hybrid format; they can also specialize their studies with a healthcare option. Two other graduate degrees cultivate business leaders in healthcare: an MS in healthcare communication and MS in healthcare innovation. UST also administers an MA in special education with licensure and non-licensure tracks. Additional master's degrees include law, social work, and Catholic studies. UST offers competitive tuition rates, financial aid, and payment plans.
UST holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
The College of Saint Scholastica
The College of Saint Scholastica provides learners with a higher education shaped by the school's Catholic Benedictine heritage. CSS operates several campuses throughout the state, as well as a virtual campus. The school offers several online business programs, including a BA in accounting, BA in business management, and BA in marketing.
One of the best Christian colleges in Minnesota, CSS also offers a BA in organizational leadership that uses an interdisciplinary curriculum to examine the human aspects of management. Students study topics such as leadership, team development, and social psychology. The school also offers two healthcare degrees: an RN-to-BSN and a BS in health information management. Learners interested in a customizable degree plan can pursue an undecided/self-designed BS/BA.
CSS holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Concordia University Saint Paul
Concordia University Saint Paul is one of nine institutions affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This liberal arts school offers 48 associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs online.
Students undecided on a major or seeking a customizable degree can pursue the AA in general studies, which provides a foundational education that transfers to many four-year programs. CSP offers online BA degrees in fields such as business, child development, criminal justice, and healthcare administration. Students can choose from online master's degrees in disciplines such as family science, human resource management, and education. Doctoral students can choose from two options: education and physical therapy.
Under CSP's transfer plan, students who hold an associate degree can receive a $2,000 scholarship. Students at CSP — one of the most affordable Christian schools in Minnesota — pay the same tuition, regardless of residency.
CSP holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
At Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, students receive a Lasallian Catholic education and access to an international Lasallian network. The school's online catalog includes four undergraduate degree completion programs. Students can finish a BS in business administration, marketing, or human resource management or enroll in an RN-to-BSN program.
Graduate students at St. Mary's — one of the best Christian schools in Minnesota — can choose from online master's degrees in fields such as cybersecurity, educational leadership, international development, and project management. The MS in business intelligence and data analytics gives learners in-demand, specialized skills during one intensive year of study. The program includes the opportunity to interact with experts at Fortune 500 companies who critique students' work.
Saint Mary's holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Northwestern St. Paul
Established in 1902 as a Bible and missionary training school, the University of Northwestern St. Paul is a nondenominational Christian school in Minnesota. Students can choose from 60 online classes and several fully online degree options at UNW. For example, the school's online AA in general studies supplies the foundational knowledge necessary for transfer to a four-year program.
Faculty designed the BS in management for nontraditional learners. Participants study topics such as finance, corporate strategies, and international business. They also receive free textbooks for 15 business courses. The BS in health psychology trains professionals to enhance the lives of people with behavioral health issues, such as those with developmental disabilities. Students explore topics like stress and pain management, counseling, and health promotion through the lifespan.
Graduate students can choose from six online master's programs, including tracks in divinity, business administration, and organizational leadership.
UNW holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
St. Catherine University
St. Catherine University has a long tradition of educating women in the Midwest. This Catholic school also manages a coeducational college. St. Kate's offers several online bachelor's degrees, including majors in business management, early childhood education, nursing, and marketing. Students interested in a career in occupational therapy can enroll in a hybrid associate in occupational therapy assistant program — the first such program in the nation. This program blends online classes with face-to-face labs and fieldwork.
Graduate students can earn online master's degrees in fields such as education, healthcare management, nurse education, and health informatics. St. Kate's also offers an online doctor of occupational therapy for occupational therapists who hold a master's degree and aspire to leadership roles in health, education, and community settings. One of the best and most affordable Christian schools in Minnesota, St. Kate's accepts transfer students into its College for Women and College for Adults.
St. Kate's holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
North Central University
Located in downtown Minneapolis, North Central University provides learners with an education built on a Pentecostal foundation. Learners can choose from several online options. For example, the online bachelor's in business administration teaches learners in-demand theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Students interested in business can also earn a bachelor's in digital media that blends business, communication, and technical skills.
One of the best Christian schools in Minnesota, NCU also administers two online bachelor's degrees for students interested in ministry: church leadership and humanitarian leadership. Graduate students can earn an online MA in strategic leadership. The school has a generous transfer policy that awards credit for prior learning.
NCU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Minnesota's Best Online Seminaries
Luther Seminary enrolls about 600 students from around the world each year. Seminary students receive access to online courses that can lead to a master of divinity or MA in children, youth, and family ministry. The divinity program requires 30 courses and includes concentrations such as Old Testament, New Testament, systematic theology, and Spanish language for ministry.
The MA integrates theory, theology, and practical leadership. This degree requires 16 courses that cover core coursework, electives, and a capstone project. Students customize their MA by choosing one of four concentrations: Bible, history of Christianity, justice and reconciliation, or systematic theology.
Both master's programs use a cohort learning model and require two weeks of in-person intensives that supplement online learning. LS also offers online courses for other programs, such as its doctor of ministry and doctor of philosophy tracks.
LS holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
What Christian Colleges are in Minnesota?
Finding the Right Christian College
There are several high-quality Christian colleges in Minnesota. To help narrow their options, students should consider the main elements they want in a college. Prospective students can start their search by deciding what type of degree they want to earn, whether they want their program to have a Bible or ministry focus, and if they want a liberal arts-based education. Students pursuing an online program may also want to find schools that incorporate faith into the distance learning experience.
Beyond academics, students may want to evaluate a college's environment to determine whether it's a good fit for them. Christian colleges in Minnesota are all private institutions that usually have smaller student populations, providing students smaller class sizes and a more close-knit campus community. Students wanting a larger campus may prefer a school such as the University of St. Thomas, a Catholic college in Minnesota's capital city of St. Paul, that enrolls about 10,000 students.
Christian colleges in Minnesota are all private institutions that usually have smaller student populations, providing students smaller class sizes and a more close-knit campus community
A college's location can also be an important factor when considering off-campus activity options, safety, and internship and volunteer opportunities. Many Christian colleges in Minnesota are located in the the state's largest metropolitan area -- referred to as the Twin Cities -- which includes Minneapolis and St. Paul. Some faith-based schools, however, are housed in smaller towns.
Lastly, students may want to review a college's policies and values. Some Christian colleges require students to regularly attend church services, abstain from certain activities and substances such as drugs and alcohol, and abide by specific lifestyle standards.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Although seminary schools and Bible schools are both faith-based, their missions and program offerings are different. Seminary schools are typically graduate schools that prepare graduates for ministry or clergy professions, such as the pastorate. Some also prepare learners for careers in the nonprofit sector, academia, and counseling. The curriculum typically focuses on the Bible, theology, and philosophy and ethics. Seminary graduates, meanwhile, generally earn a master of divinity, master's of arts, or a doctor of ministry.
Bibles schools are typically geared toward undergraduate students, though some also offer graduate programs. Depending on the Bible college, students may earn a variety of degrees that are common among traditional four-year schools. The curriculum is unique, however, because of its biblical foundation. These programs commonly prepare students for ministry, though some graduates may also pursue careers that are not faith-based.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
Accreditation is essential for a higher education institution and its students. Colleges and universities seek regional or national accreditation, while individual programs or departments may apply for specialized accreditation within their area of study. Private educational agencies grant accreditation, and the U.S. Department of Education oversees the entire postsecondary accreditation system. Regional accreditation is often considered the highest standard and is most common among schools. Meanwhile, trade, vocational, and online schools often hold national accreditation.
An institution must be regionally or nationally accredited for its students to receive federal financial aid. Additionally, many regionally or nationally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from students who previously attended an accredited institution. Students can use the U.S. Department of Education's searchable database to check a school's or program's accreditation status.
Most Minnesota Bible colleges, seminaries, and other Christian schools hold regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, one of the six major regional institutional accreditors in the U.S. Seminaries in this state also typically hold accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools' Commission on Accrediting, whose membership includes 260 graduate theological schools in the U.S. and Canada. The Association for Biblical Higher Education, which includes 200 postsecondary institutions in North America that specialize in biblical ministry formation and professional leadership education, also accredits a few Christian colleges in Minnesota.
Career and Salary Expectations
Fortunately for graduates of Christian colleges in Minnesota, the state's economy and job outlook looks bright. In March 2018, Minnesota's unemployment rate was 3.2%, compared to the national rate of 4.1%. The state gained more than 21,000 jobs -- a .7% increase -- from March 2017 to March 2018, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Nationally, jobs increased by 1.6% during that period.
Minnesotans earn a mean hourly wage of $25.35 and an annual salary of $52,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
The state's five fastest growing industries include education and health services, trade, transportation, and utilities, government, manufacturing, and construction. Across all occupations, Minnesotans earn a mean hourly wage of $25.35 and an annual salary of $52,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Their pay is slightly higher than the nationwide $24.34 mean hourly pay and $50,620 annual salary. Wages are highest in the Twin Cities area and in Rochester, home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic.
The table below highlights employment and average hourly and annual wages for students interested in community and social service-related careers after graduation. The table includes 10 occupations -- including counselors and clergy members -- that graduates of Christian colleges in Minnesota can pursue.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||2,420||$22.43||$46,650|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||1,080||$23.76||$49,420|
|Mental Health Counselors||4,140||$23.46||$48,790|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||7,210||$26.44||$55,000|
|Healthcare Social Workers||3,110||$27.59||$57,390|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||13,820||$16.53||$34,380|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||340||$23.28||$48,430|
|Religious Workers, all other||100||$16.88||$35,100|
Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students active in their Christian faith are eligible for many national, state, and local scholarships. Funding opportunities are available to students who belong to several different denominations. Some Christian colleges in Minnesota also provide scholarships to incoming students. Additionally, students can benefit from a pool of private scholarships and grants offered to all Minnesota residents.
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry General Scholarship $500 to $1,000
InFaith Community Foundation Scholarship $5,000
Catholic Financial Life College Scholarship $1,000
Herbert W. and Corinne Chilstrom Scholarship $1,000
National Presbyterian College Scholarship $2,500
Scholarships for Minnesota Residents
Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program $4,000
Minnesota Masonic Charities Undergraduate Scholarship $6,000
Page Grants $1,000 to $2,500
The Salvation Army Pearl Linden Scholarship $1,500 to $3,000
Vernetta Wilson Memorial Scholarship $1,000 to $2,500
Find a Church in Your Community
Students don't need to stop attending religious services just because they start college. Most Christian colleges have a chapel on campus, and it's easy to find off-campus churches near most colleges. Students can quickly locate Minnesota churches through online services such as Church Finder and USA Churches.
During college, students can connect with like-minded Christian professionals in their area of speciality through professional associations and networking websites. These groups often provide training resources, mentorships, and job listings.
- Christian Business Network CBN is dedicated to business and ministry professionals. It boasts an array of membership services such as collaboration opportunities, private content management, special interest groups, and promotional services. CBN also creates private online groups for colleges.
- Christian Women Business Organization CWBO includes professional Christian women who are ministry founders or executives, own businesses, and work for corporations and in sales. It has active chapters in six states, including Minnesota. Chapter membership includes access to mentoring, inspirational speakers and business training, and a prayer team.
- Minnesota Association of Christian Counselors MACC provides mental health professionals with biblical training, support and encouragement, and networking opportunities. Its members have access to a statewide therapist listing, training, seminars, and employment listings.
Find Christian Ministries
Christian colleges are generally private institutions, which are often more expensive than public universities. Not all students can afford to attend a Christian school, and as a result, there are other options that allow students to develop their faith while enrolled in a public university in Minnesota. Several active, national campus ministry organizations are listed below.
- Campus Crusade for Christ Known as "Cru," Campus Crusade for Christ International has 2,300 U.S. campus ministries with 101,000 student and faculty members. Cru's campus ministry offers regional faith-building weekends and mission trips during spring break and summer vacation.
- Chi Alpha Chi Alpha is a network of Christian ministries located on college campuses. Its mission is to "reconcile students to Christ" by providing communities based on prayer, worship, fellowship, and discipleship.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES is an international network of more than 160 evangelical Christian student movements. Its U.S. movement, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, includes 909 groups on 590 campuses.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA engages with coaches and athletes at the professional, college, high school, and youth level. It offers resources to help athletes grow as Christian competitors, such as Bible study groups and Bible-reading plans.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association CCMA is a professional organization dedicated to Catholic campus ministers. It holds an annual convention, publishes a magazine, offers a professional certification program, and produces a podcast and webinars. Its website also includes a job board.
- Lutheran Student Movement U.S.A. LSM U.S.A. identifies as a pan-Lutheran organization that is open to all Lutheran students. It encourages students to grow in their relationships with God through fellowship and service learning.
- Reformed University Fellowship RUF is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America. Its campus ministries offer large group meetings for teaching, worship, and fellowship, small Bible group studies, service opportunities, and regional and national conferences.
- UKirk UKirk is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It provides professional support and connection opportunities for campus ministers. UKirk's website includes a list of service and mission opportunities in every state, as well as a list of ministries in each state. It also has an interactive job board.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife is a network of Baptist campus ministries. Its mission is to lead college students and other campus community members to faith in Jesus Christ. Its website provides a missions job board, a collegiate ministry job board, and a collegiate ministry directory.
Public Universities in Minnesota with Christian Ministries
- University of Minnesota The state's largest university located in the Twin Cities has more than 80 religious affiliated student groups, including Cru, Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, and the Reformed University Fellowship.
- St. Cloud State University This state college offers several Christian student ministries, including Cru, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, UKirk Ministries, and the Catholic Student Community.
- Minnesota State University, Mankato Located in southern Minnesota, MSUM includes many Christian student groups for all denominations, including Cru, FCA, Lutheran Campus Ministry, and the St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center.