Nearly 80% of adults who live in North Dakota identify as Christian. Among them, 28% are mainline Protestants, 26% are Catholics, and 22% are evangelical Protestants. Additionally, 64% of adults in the state reported that they believe in God with absolute certainty, while more than half say religion is "very important" in their life. A third of the population attends religious services at least once a week, while an additional third attend church a few times each year.
Nearly 80% of adults who live in North Dakota identify as Christian. Pew Research Center
Despite the state's sizeable population of active Christians, there are only a few Christian colleges in North Dakota. These include Trinity Bible College, which is a small Bible college and graduate school, and the University of Mary, which is a Benedictine university that welcomes students of all denominations. Although the Christian colleges in North Dakota have small enrollments, their size fosters an intimate sense of community and low student-to-faculty ratios. These schools also offer a variety of programming, from associate to doctoral degrees, allowing students of any level to pursue a Christian-based education. Students at Christian colleges in North Dakota receive a Christ-focused education while connecting with like-minded students and deepening their faith.
Online Christian colleges also tend to be less expensive than traditional on-campus programs. In addition to lower tuition rates, online learners may save money on a variety of peripheral costs, including on-campus housing, dining, and parking. Distance learners also save on transportation and campus fees. Most significantly, students enrolled at Christian online colleges can usually enroll part-time and continue working in order to help finance their education.
Students interested in attending a Christian college in North Dakota should consider a variety of factors, such as a school's size, location, campus culture, and program offerings. Of the Christian colleges in North Dakota, one offers a rural campus in the very small town of Ellendale, while the other boasts a campus in the more populous city of Bismarck. Students should decide whether they want to live in a rural or urban environment. Prospective learners should also look into their school's surrounding community. While online learners do not necessarily need to worry about their school's campus, students considering online Christian colleges should look into the resources available to distance learners. Does their target school provide academic, IT, and faith support? And does it offer online tutoring, faith counseling, or access to digital libraries?
Individuals should research each school's curriculum and decide whether programming aligns with their academic and career goals.
Students should also evaluate the type of culture and values a school promotes. Some schools, especially smaller Bible colleges, require students to attend chapel every week or log a certain number of service hours. Learners should understand and feel willing to meet their school's lifestyle expectations, such as curfews or abstaining from certain activities. Individuals should also research each school's curriculum and decide whether programming aligns with their academic and career goals. Does a school offer a liberal arts-based education or is it more focused on the Bible/ministry? Students who plan to enter a seminary or become church leaders may want the latter, while students interested in working outside the church may benefit from the former.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Although seminary schools and Bible colleges both provide a Christian-based education, they differ fundamentally. Most significantly, seminaries specifically prepare students for careers in church leadership and ministry, while Bible colleges prepare students for a variety of careers. Seminaries confer graduate-level degrees that qualify students to work as ministers, religious counselors, or church leaders, whereas Bible schools typically award associate or bachelor's degrees, although some may also offer master's or doctoral diplomas.
Seminaries specifically prepare students for careers in church leadership and ministry, while Bible colleges prepare students for a variety of careers.
Because Bible colleges offer some Christian-centered majors, like youth ministry, Bible studies, and pastoral ministry, students sometimes use Bible college as a stepping stone on the way to enrolling in a seminary school. However, Bible colleges also offer traditional majors, such as business administration, elementary education, and general studies; these institutions allow students who plan to pursue a career outside the church to study scripture and earn a Bible-focused education. Regardless of where students choose to earn their degree, they should make sure their school is accredited.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
Students should always check that their school is properly accredited. Accreditation means that a qualified external agency has examined a school's programs and determined they meet a certain standard of quality. Accreditation protects students from attending an underperforming or fraudulent academic institution. There are two types of institutional accreditation: regional and national. Of these, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Students who take classes at a regionally accredited institution can typically transfer these credits to another school. Alternatively, not all institutions recognize credits earned at a nationally accredited institution. Some scholarships and financial aid sources may also not be applicable for tuition at nationally accredited schools. Specialized accreditation is a third type of accreditation that applies to specific programs within a larger institution or trade schools. For instance, many seminary schools boast specialized accreditation.
The main regional accrediting agency for Christian colleges in North Dakota is The Higher Learning Commission. Alternatively, the main national accrediting agency for these schools is the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Students can determine whether a Christian college in North Dakota is properly accredited by consulting the U.S. Department of Education's database of accredited schools and programs.
Students studying at Christian colleges in North Dakota should understand the economic landscape they will enter upon graduation. As of February 2018, North Dakota's unemployment rate of 2.6% was significantly lower than the national unemployment rate (4.1%) and has hovered at or below 3.0% for the past five years. The mean annual wage for all occupations in North Dakota is $48,130, and the mean hourly wage is $23.14.
North Dakota has an abundance of natural resources that stimulate economic activity.
North Dakota faces a few challenges when it comes to economic growth. In addition to its isolated location, the state lacks large, populated metropolitan areas. However, North Dakota has an abundance of natural resources that stimulate economic activity. Between 2010 and 2020, the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation projects that the fastest growing industries will include natural resources (namely oil and gas) followed by management, professional and technical services, construction, agriculture, and transportation. Due to an aging population of Baby Boomers, North Dakota should also experience an increase in jobs related to healthcare and social services. Students interested in pursuing a career in community or social services -- jobs commonly held by graduates of Christian colleges in North Dakota -- can consult the table of occupational wages below.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||300||$25.81||$53,680|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||130||$22.42||$46,640|
|Mental Health Counselors||70||$23.93||$49,780|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||710||$25.30||$52,630|
|Healthcare Social Workers||340||$24.19||$50,320|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||1,470||$16.84||$35,030|
|Directors, Religious Activities and Education||40||$20.50||$42,650|
Students interested in Christian colleges in North Dakota can access scholarships intended for learners at Christian institutions as well as awards specifically designed for students living in the state. Some are awarded based on academic merit, while others target certain groups based on their identity, career pursuits, or background.
National Presbyterian College Scholarship Up to $2,500
American Baptist Home Mission Societies Scholarships Varies
FTE Fellowships for Latino/a, Asian, and First Nations Doctoral Students $20,000/year
Mary E. Bivins Religious Scholarship Program $2,500-3,500/semester
Ruth K. Jacobs Memorial Scholarship Up to $1,500/year
Scholarships for North Dakota Residents
North Dakota State Student Incentive Program Up to $975/semester
North Dakota Scholars Program Full tuition
Audrey Doyle Scholarship Varies
Donald B. Sass Memorial Scholarship Varies
Ronald D. Liudahl Scholarship Varies
Find a Church in Your Community
Students at North Dakota Christian colleges looking for a church near their school's campus can consult Church Finder or USA Churches. Both websites feature user-friendly church directories. Students can search for nearby churches based on a church's location, congregation size, and style of worship.
Christian networking sites help students attending Christian online colleges, as well as recent graduates and established professionals, build a sense of community among like-minded people from around the world. Membership can lead to job opportunities, the chance to attend conferences, and spiritual support.
- The Christian Business Network The CBN brings together Christian business owners and professionals. Members can connect with one another based on their region, college, industry, church, and/or company.
- Christian Coaches Network International The CCNI connects Christian coaches from around the world. It offers online training, webinars, mentorships, and professional support.
- Christian Association for Psychological Studies CAPS provides a community among Christian mental health professionals and serves as a platform for new ideas in the field. It offers publications, conferences, and regional fellowship-building activities.
Find Christian Ministries
Many Christian universities come with a high price tag. Fortunately, students who cannot afford to pay for a private education at a Christian college in North Dakota can still connect with other Christians by joining a secular school with a campus ministry. Most public, non-Christian universities in North Dakota have at least one of the campus ministries listed below.
- Campus Crusade for Christ Also called Cru, this organization connects Christian students on school campuses across the country and around the world. Students can participate in internships, volunteer opportunities, and mission trips.
- Chi Alpha Chi Alpha brings together Christian students who want to incorporate Christ into their everyday lives. It regularly sends students on international mission trips and creates a community of disciples.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students The IFES connects and builds disciples on college campuses, encouraging student leadership and fostering global conversations about faith.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes Through the medium of sports, the FCA brings student athletes, coaches, and sports fans closer to Christ. It offers camps, international trips, internships, and volunteer opportunities.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA supports Catholic ministers on college campuses, providing access to research, data, and networking tools to help campus ministers spread the word of Christ.
- Lutheran Student Movement USA The LSM-USA is comprised of a student-led network of Lutheran ministries across the country. It hosts an annual national gathering where students can take workshops, network with peers, and deepen their connection to the church.
- Reformed University Fellowship The RUF operates ministries around the world, helping students connect Christ to their everyday lives on campus.
- UKirk UKirk serves Presbyterian students and campus ministers. It builds connections between ministries and supports campus ministry engagement by providing education, advocacy, and resources.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCM Life leads and connects Baptist students on college campuses, building disciples and bringing students closer to Christ. It operates ministries across the U.S.
Public Universities in North Dakota with Christian Ministries
- University of North Dakota: Located in Grand Forks, UND offers a variety of campus ministries, including Cru, Chi Alpha, InterVarsity, and LSM-USA.
- North Dakota State University: NDSU offers several campus ministries on its Fargo campus, including Chi Alpha, Cru, Fellowship of Catholic University Students, and Lutheran Student Fellowship.
- Valley City State University: VCSU offers FCA and Cru ministries, which work together to provide Bible study sessions, group speakers, game nights, and group discussions.