Online Christian Colleges in Missouri

Overall, Missouri is a welcoming state for Christians looking to advance their education. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 77% of adults in the state identify as Christian. More than half of adults say that religion is very important in their lives, and 37% attend religious services at least once per week.

More than half of adults say that religion is very important in their lives, and 37% attend religious services at least once per week Pew Research Center

Because of the central role faith plays in the lives of many Missourians, the state is home to a relatively large number of Christian colleges. As such, students have many options when choosing a school. For instance, students interested in a large Christian school may research Columbia College. Columbia is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and serves more than 29,000 students annually. Alternatively, students may prefer the smaller, intimate environment offered by one of the many rural Bible colleges in missouri.

Students also have their pick of denominations and courses of study. Missouri boasts colleges founded by Baptists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and members of the Assemblies of God. Many schools are independent, offering a Christian education without adherence to a particular denomination. While some Missouri Christian colleges work exclusively with undergraduate students, many offer graduate and seminary programs as well.

Online Christian Colleges in Missouri

Online Christian colleges can be a great option for many students. Online programs, when delivered asynchronously, allow students to watch lectures, complete coursework, and take exams whenever and wherever is most convenient for them. This kind of format can help students continue their education while still tending to other obligations such as caring for a child, volunteering at church, or working.

Missouri's Christian online colleges are usually more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. Distance learners can live at home, thereby avoiding the costs of commuting to campus or paying for room and board. Some schools may also exempt online students from certain fees such as campus athletic facilities.

Finally, many Christian schools demonstrate a deep commitment to their online students' academic and spiritual well-being. Students at Christian online colleges receive the same faith-based curriculum as their on-campus peers, with classes often led by the same faculty members. Through the use of technology, online students can also access spiritual counseling services, join virtual discussion groups, and stream sermons and worship services taking place on campus.

Still, online programs require a great deal of self-discipline, and you should think carefully about whether you feel ready to take on the responsibility of directing your own learning.

Missouri's Best Online Christian Schools

Central Methodist University - College of Graduate and Extended Studies

CMU is a liberal arts college located in Fayette. The school, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, educates 1,100 students on campus and 4,000 more through programs administered by the College of Graduate and Extended Studies. Prospective students interested in distance learning choose from comprehensive options through CMU online.

The bachelor's programs span various disciplines, including business degrees in accounting, business, and applied science in management. Students interested in the social sciences earn degrees in child development, psychology, and sociology. CMU's teacher preparation programs lead to Missouri teacher certification in early childhood, elementary, or special education. CMU, one of the best online Christian Colleges in Missouri, offers two graduate degrees for distance learners: an MS in math and MS in nursing.

All CMU students pay affordable tuition and receive access to career development, counseling, and writing assistance.

CMU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Calvary University

Calvary's 50 degrees incorporate the Bible as a keystone in each program. Calvary, a nondenominational college located in Kansas City, records almost all classes so that on-campus and virtual learners may access them asynchronously through the e-campus. Students choose from associate degrees in biblical studies, ministry studies, worship arts, children's ministry, and information technology.

Calvary maintains its standing as one of the most comprehensive online Christian colleges in Missouri by offering baccalaureate degrees in fields as diverse as Bible counseling, business administration, education, children's ministry, and intercultural studies. Graduate students also pursue degrees online in education, worship arts, and organizational development.

Calvary boasts a reputation as one of the most affordable schools in the nation with low student debt for graduates. The school further adds value with steep tuition discounts for military and full-time ministry workers.

Calvary holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Drury University

Founded by Congregationalist missionaries, DU offers academic programs rooted in the liberal arts tradition. DU, which maintains religious affiliation with the United Church of Christ, delivers online associate degrees in business administration, emergency management, and criminal justice. Students at the Springfield-based school may apply these associate degrees to the college's online bachelor's programs in the same majors.

Students may also pursue bachelor's degrees in fields such as health services management, human services, psychology, sociology, or Spanish. DU's associate and bachelor's degrees in general studies provide online learners with flexible curriculum they can design to meet educational and career goals. The bachelor's in general studies offers a track that allows students to transfer in an associate degree in a technical field.

At DU, one of the most affordable Christian colleges and universities in Missouri, students pay the same online tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

DU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Saint Louis University

One of the nation's oldest Catholic colleges, SLU emphasizes

world-class academics, research, and faith and service. The Jesuit college offers a portfolio of online baccalaureate and master's degrees. Learners interested in a degree that intersects the business and IT fields enroll in the BS in organizational leadership and technology.

SLC offers degrees focused exclusively on IT, including a BS in computer information systems with concentrations in cybersecurity and data analytics. The college also offers majors in project management, general studies, and nursing. Graduate students explore more limited options with master's degrees in applied analytics, cybersecurity, strategic intelligence, and leadership and organizational development.

One of the most affordable Christian colleges in Missouri, SLU delivers online programs that cost half the tuition of traditional degrees. Furthermore, active military personnel, veterans, and first-responders receive tuition discounts. SLU offers programs during six terms per year.

SLU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Hannibal-LaGrange University

Established in 1858, HLGU continues a long tradition of Christian higher education with diverse academic programs. The school, which affiliates with the Missouri Baptist Convention (Southern Baptist), enrolls 1,000 students who learn in classrooms with a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Learners with transferable college credits can earn a bachelor's degree online at HLGU in business management or criminal justice in as little as 18 months.

Registered nurses with a diploma or associate degree in nursing complete the online RN-to-BSN in as little as 12 months. The college rounds out distance learning options with master's degrees that cater to working professionals. Students committed to an intense study pace can earn master's degrees in education, leadership, or education administration in 50 weeks.

One of the best Christian colleges in Missouri, HLGU provides online learners with access to free tutorial services to boost academic deficiencies.

HLGU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Lindenwood University

For more than 200 years, Lindenwood has provided learners with an education steeped in Judeo-Christian values. The St. Charles school affiliates with the Presbyterian Church and operates two campuses and a virtual college. Online learners at Lindenwood enjoy flexibility, convenience, and affordability. The school offers a robust catalog of online degrees, including accelerated options.

The school's baccalaureate degrees include a bachelor of fine arts in art and design with emphasis areas in graphic design, digital art, photography, and web and user experience. Business students choose one of several emphasis areas offered in the BA or BS in business administration, including marketing and management. Lindenwood offers other undergraduate concentrations in fields as diverse as finance, game design, and criminology and criminal justice.

Lindenwood is among the Christian colleges and universities in Missouri offering a variety of master's programs in fields such as education, business administration, health sciences, and public administration.

Lindenwood holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Missouri Baptist University

MBU, located in St. Louis, enrolls 5,500 students who benefit from the school's diverse learning options. In addition to day, evening, and extension site classes, students can earn degrees through MBU's online programs. A progressive liberal arts college, MBU online offers nine undergraduate and 13 graduate programs. Undergraduate students choose from majors in fields such as applied management, business administration, information technology, and organizational leadership.

A bachelor's in general studies, meanwhile, provides a customizable degree plan to accomodate students' ambitions. Graduate students choose from master's programs in fields like criminal justice, educational specialist, sports management, and corporate security leadership. MBU boasts a generous transfer policy that allows learners to transfer up to 96 credits into a baccalaureate degree.

All online learners pay the same tuition regardless of residency, making MBU one of the most affordable Christian colleges and universities in Missouri.

MBU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Avila University

Founded 100 years ago, AU is a Catholic college located in Kansas city. The school aligns programming with the values of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet — the school's founders. AU offers 60 degrees, five of which learners can earn online in healthcare management, business administration, hospitality management, psychology, and human resources. Learners complete these degrees on their own terms and choose an eight-week online, hybrid, or weekend-intensive format.

The school also offers one graduate program online: the MA in management: project management. Students develop teamwork, leadership, and communication skills as they cultivate managerial and project management proficiencies.

Students in need of academic assistance receive help through the college's certified tutoring program. A four-year graduation guarantee and tuition protection help make AU one of the best Christian colleges in Missouri for affordability.

AU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Culver-Stockton College

Students at C-SC study on a 140-acre campus overlooking the Mississippi River. The Canton school, which was founded by the Disciples of Christ Church, offers a suite of online bachelor's degrees in business concentrations like accountancy, business administration, marketing, and sports management.

Learners interested in a law enforcement degree choose from one of three options: criminal justice, criminal justice administration, and criminal justice with a forensics accounting emphasis. The criminal justice administration degree especially suits learners with experience in the military, corrections, or law enforcement. Through this program, students can receive academic credit for their experience and use it to accelerate degree completion.

At C-SC students pay the same tuition regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency. Ninety-seven percent of students receive some form of financial aid, making C-SC an affordable choice and one of the top online Christian colleges in Missouri.

C-SC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Southwest Baptist University

SBU is a private college located in Bolivar with campuses in Springfield, Salem, and Mountain View. SBU boasts many points of pride, including consistent ranking as one of the nation's best Christian colleges. The evangelical college's 80 academic areas of study include online programs in healthcare and graduate education. Learners can begin their education with an associate degree in applied sciences or health sciences.

At the bachelor's level, SBU offers two options: a BS in nursing and BS in health sciences. The school offers three master's degrees: MS in education - curriculum and instruction, MS in education - instructional technology leadership, and MS in nursing. The school delivers these programs in a fully online or hybrid format for flexible learning. One of the best Christian colleges and universities in Missouri, SBU also offers independent study online. This feature gives learners the option to complete a course at their own pace within four months, with an extension available.

SBU holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Fontbonne University

Founded to provide women with access to higher education, Fontbonne evolved into a co-ed Catholic college that enrolls about 1,400 students today. Fontbonne Online offers two bachelor's degrees. The BS in business administration utilizes real-world case studies to advance learners' knowledge of business principles and offers concentrations in accounting, management, finance, and social entrepreneurship.

The BS in cybersecurity requires coursework that blends computer science and mathematics. Students study topics such as cryptography, mobile forensics, and wireless security while honing their skills in the school's cybersecurity lab.

Both bachelor's programs give students hands-on experience through internships at top firms in the St. Louis area. Fontbonne, one of the best online Christian colleges in Missouri, offers graduate students a variety of online degrees in fields such as teaching, business administration, family and consumer sciences, and supply chain management.

Fontbonne holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Evangel University

Evangel provides learners with a liberal arts education in an environment that affirms their Christian faith. The Springfield school, affiliated with the Assemblies of God, offers 70 academic programs that include online degrees. Students can earn an associate degree at Evengel in business management or general studies. The school's adult studies program provides nontraditional learners with bachelor's degrees in behavioral health, business management, general studies, and computer information systems.

One of the best Christian colleges in Missouri, Evangel offers a BS in church ministries to cultivate servant leaders for positions like pastor or lay leader. The program develops students' preaching, teaching, and leadership skills as they learn from instructors with significant ministry experience.

Evangel also offers master's programs in fields such as education for Missouri licensing, organizational leadership, and theology. Evangel boasts affordability by offering the same tuition rate for all adult studies programs.

Evangel holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Missouri Valley College

MVC is a four-year liberal arts college located in Marshall. Situated not too far from Kansas City and Columbia, MVC offers 90 undergraduate degrees taught in classrooms with a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school, affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, offers two online degrees.

The bachelor's degree in management provides a strong business core that cultivates skills transferable across industries. Students take courses in subjects like accounting, marketing, and business law. Learners can customize the degree with one of three concentrations: administration, entrepreneurship, or sports management.

MVC, one of the best Christian colleges in Missouri, also offers a bachelor's degree in psychology that utilizes a scientific approach in the examination of behavior and mental processes. In addition to coursework in areas such as experimental, developmental, and abnormal psychology, students can engage in independent study and/or complete internships and research opportunities.

Both programs offer eight-week courses to accelerate degree completion and save students money.

MVC holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

Missouri's Best Online Seminaries

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

MBTS, located in Kansas City, educates the next generation of church leaders. The school, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, provides distance learners with the opportunity to join their ranks with few or no on-campus visits. The school's online programs include bachelor's degrees in church ministry, church ministry and divinity, church ministry and business, and biblical studies.

Graduate students choose from a suite of options leading to a master of divinity in biblical languages, church planting, Christian education, leadership, or youth ministry.

Students interested in counseling careers can pursue an MA in counseling. Learning at MBTS features many benefits not always available for online learners at Christian colleges in Missouri. This includes the opportunity to participate in on-campus symposiums with peers and faculty, practicums with a local field supervisor, and contextualized assignments useful in real-life ministry.

Faculty deliver these programs using eight-week terms for accelerated degree completion.

MBPTS holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

What Christian Colleges are in Missouri?

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Finding the Right Christian College

Choosing one of the Christian colleges in Missouri can be a difficult decision. You may spend up to four years at your chosen institution, and so it is important to carefully consider all elements of your educational experience. You should make sure to research the available programs thoroughly and find one that is the right fit for you.

Two important factors are location and campus size. Smaller rural schools often foster a tight-knit Christian community among students and faculty. Larger schools in more densely populated areas allow students to find worship services, internships, or volunteer opportunities nearby. Larger schools may also have more resources. You should consider safety of the surrounding area as well.

Does the school only provide degrees in areas like biblical history and the Christian ministry, or does it also provide a liberal arts education from a Christian perspective?

You should also research each school's theological values. Some Christian colleges may prohibit the use of drugs or alcohol on campus. Others restrict co-ed housing or require students to attend religious services in addition to their classes. Not all schools share the same expectations of their students, and it is important to fully understand these requirements prior to enrolling.

Not all schools offer all programs, so you should ensure your chosen school offers your area of study. Does the school only provide degrees in areas like biblical history and the Christian ministry, or does it also provide a liberal arts education from a Christian perspective? Does the school offer coursework online? If so, how does it integrate faith into the online learning experience? Many online Christian colleges offer religious discussion boards, video conferencing with counselors, and live streams of worship services for distance learners.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Seminary schools and Bible colleges often have similar learning environments. At both colleges, students attend religious services, participate in community service, experience spiritual growth, join groups with like-minded individuals, and take classes led by Christian faculty members. However, there are significant differences between Bible colleges and seminary schools. Generally speaking, a Bible school educates students in many subjects through a Christian lens, and a seminary school specifically prepares individuals for ministry careers.

For example, a Bible college in Missouri may offer programs in biblical history or religious studies. However, it will also typically offer programs in areas like business administration, education, or information technology. All programs at a Bible college are taught from a Christian perspective, regardless of major. Bible schools usually provide associate and bachelor's degrees, but may also offer master's or doctoral degrees.

Seminary schools are usually graduate-level institutions that exclusively confer master's or doctoral degrees. These schools focus on the knowledge and skills students need to take on leadership roles in churches, religious organizations, or ministries.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Attending an accredited school is extremely important. Accreditation ensures that you will be eligible for financial aid, that you will be able to transfer your credits to another institution, and that future employers will recognize your degree. Most nonprofit, academically focused schools receive regional accreditation. Regional accreditation is considered the most prestigious form of accreditation since it requires rigorous standards and a multi-year process.

Most schools and employers prefer graduates from regionally accredited schools. Nationally accredited schools are more likely to be vocational or for-profit. Students at nationally accredited schools may not be able to transfer credits to a regionally accredited school. Program-specific accreditation may exist for a particular area of study, such as theology.

Three agencies accredit the majority of Christian colleges in Missouri. The first is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. HLC is one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The second is the Association for Biblical Higher Education, a national accrediting agency authorized by the ED. The third is the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. This specialized accrediting agency has also been recognized by the ED and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

You can check to see if your program has been regionally or nationally accredited using the ED database of postsecondary institutions.

Career and Salary Expectations

By most measures, Missouri's economy is roughly in line with the national average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Missouri's unemployment rate in March 2018 was 3.6%. This was slightly below the national unemployment rate of 4.1% at that same time.

The state's annual mean salary in 2017 was $45,520, compared to the national mean salary of $50,620. Similarly, Missouri's mean hourly wage was $21.89, compared to the national mean of $24.34. However, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the state has one of the lowest costs of living in the country. So while you may earn less, your purchasing power remains on par with the national average.

The state's annual mean salary in 2017 was $45,520, compared to the national mean salary of $50,620.

The Department of Economic Development also projects that certain industries in the state will grow faster than others. These include automotive suppliers, biosciences, energy solutions, advanced manufacturing, financial and professional services, health sciences and services, information technology, and transportation and logistics.

Many graduates of Christian colleges in Missouri choose to work in public service. The table below details some jobs in this sector, including careers in healthcare or ministry.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Missouri
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 1,810 $17.72 $36,850
Marriage and Family Therapists 430 $21.13 $43,950
Mental Health Counselors 2,860 $20.01 $41,620
Rehabilitation Counselors 2,890 $18.34 $38,150
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 8,070 $17.58 $36,560
Healthcare Social Workers 4,300 $22.42 $46,630
Social and Human Service Assistants 3,960 $13.65 $28,400
Clergy 730 $22.84 $47,500
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 90 $27.41 $57,020
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Scholarships are an excellent way to help pay for tuition and fees at a Bible college in Missouri. Many private organizations across the country offer scholarships to students attending online Christian colleges. In addition, you may be eligible to receive scholarships specifically for students in Missouri.

Christian Scholarships

National Presbyterian Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be members of the Presbyterian Church who plan to attend a Presbyterian Church college or university. Students should also have a 2.5 GPA and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Foundation for College Christian Leaders Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: To apply, students must have experience as a Christian leader, a 3.0 GPA, and a family income of less than $75,000. View Scholarship

Harvey Fellows Program $16,000

Who Can Apply: The Harvey Fellows Program is open to graduate students who demonstrate personal faith in Jesus Christ. The foundation chooses candidates based on academic achievement, leadership potential, and planned service in a field where Christians are underrepresented. View Scholarship

Kulis Educational Scholarships $5,000

Who Can Apply: Kulis Scholarships assist practicing Greek Orthodox students. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. Students who have received scholarships totaling more than 50% of their educational costs are not eligible. View Scholarship

Young Christian Leaders Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: This program is open to high school seniors and college undergraduates who possess a "profound measure of character," a commitment to public service, and financial need. Candidates must also have a 3.0 GPA. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Missouri Residents

Horatio Alger State Scholarship $10,000

Who Can Apply: To be eligible for this scholarship, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and participate in community service activities. Candidates must also demonstrate critical financial need, defined as an adjusted family gross income of $55,000 or less. View Scholarship

Marguerite Ross Barnett Memorial Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: This program is open to students who are both attending college and working at least 20 hours per week. Students cannot use this scholarship to pay for a theology degree, although they can use it to help pay for tuition at a Christian college in Missouri. View Scholarship

Access Missouri $300-$2,850

Who Can Apply: Access Missouri is a need-based grant program for full-time undergraduate students in Missouri. This award cannot finance a theology or divinity degree, but it can be used for other courses of study at Bible colleges in Missouri. View Scholarship

Bright Flight Program $3,000

Who Can Apply: To qualify for this scholarship, Missouri students must have a composite SAT or ACT score in the top 3% of all students in the state. Recipients must enroll full time at a college or university. View Scholarship

Advanced Placement Incentive Grant $500

Who Can Apply: Applicants to this grant must receive two grades of "3" or higher on Advanced Placement exams. Candidates must also meet the financial need requirements of the Access Missouri program. View Scholarship


Find a Church in Your Community

Some smaller Christian colleges in Missouri may not offer church services on campus or at times that are convenient for you. Thankfully, two websites -- Church Finder and USA Churches -- allow you to search for worship services in your area. You can search by denomination, church size, or worship style.

Get Connected

Especially for students attending Christian online colleges, professional networking is key to finding job opportunities and advancing your career. The three sites below can help connect you to fellow Christians in business, education, and law.

  • Christian Business Network CBN is an international network of Christian business professionals. Members create professional profiles and seek out individuals who can offer advice or help with job opportunities.
  • Christian Educators Association International CEAI promotes the teaching profession as a God-given calling and ministry. The association hosts over a dozen local chapters and offers a variety of resources for Christian educators.
  • Christian Legal Society CLS defends the religious liberties of all Americans. The society also encourages legal professionals to view law as a ministry and promotes justice for the poor in accordance with biblical principles.

Find Christian Ministries

Due to cost, location, or other circumstances, not all students can attend a Christian college in Missouri. However, many public and non-Christian private universities host campus ministries and religious student organizations. These groups provide students with the opportunity to engage with a Christian community even without attending a Bible college in Missouri.

  • Campus Crusade for Christ Cru spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ and creates supportive communities for Christians at colleges and universities.
  • Chi Alpha Students in Chi Alpha gather together to pray, worship, and serve as disciples to their peers.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES is a worldwide association of Christian student groups. The fellowship promotes evangelism, discipleship, and missionary activities on college campuses.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA uses sports as a vehicle to help student athletes and coaches develop Christian values, spread the gospel, and find fellowship and purpose.
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association An official arm of the Catholic Church, CCMA links ministers across the country. The association also provides resources such as guides to building ministry, webinars, job boards, and ministry grants.
  • Reformed University Fellowship RUF trains campus ministers, facilitates foreign exchange programs, and establishes churches and ministries in university towns without a nearby Presbyterian presence.
  • UKirk UKirk offers networking and professional development opportunities for Presbyterian ministers working on college campuses across the country.
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCM Life is a network of Baptist college ministries in the United States and Canada. The group hosts a directory of all affiliated campus ministries to help students find worship and service opportunities.

Public Universities in Missouri with Christian Ministries

  • Missouri State: Missouri State is home to many Christian ministries, including Catholic Campus Ministry and Campus Crusade for Christ. It is also where Chi Alpha was originally founded.
  • University of Missouri: The flagship campus of the University of Missouri system hosts more than 60 religious organizations. These groups represent denominations such as Catholicism, Lutheranism, and Orthodox Christianity.
  • Southeast Missouri State University: Located in Cape Girardeau, SEMO supports more than a dozen Christian ministries, including the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and Ignite Campus Ministry.