Calvin’s Online Seminary Programs
The Benefits of Online Seminary Schools
What if learning in community didn't have to mean leaving your community?
Imagine having breakfast at home while you share your latest Bible study insights with fellow seminarians. Or reading the work of 17th century theologians while you wait for your dentist appointment. Or completing your contextual learning placement through your current ministry role.
These are just some pictures of what online seminary can look like at Calvin, where distance learning programs are designed to work within your existing commitments and schedule.
If you’ve been searching for an online ministry degree or online theological degree, distance learning at Calvin offers a robust seminary experience—delivered to you, wherever you find yourself. Our flexible model is designed to give you fully online and hybrid options that work best for you, while offering a structure that helps you reach your goals on your timeline.
Here’s how distance learning serves Calvin students in practical, effective ways:
Though our courses include interactive discussion forums, you won’t be required to be available for live online meetings, allowing you to complete your reading, writing, and discussion posts when it works in your schedule.
Structure and accountability
Regular due dates for assignments throughout the semester keep you accountable in your progress and ensure that online discussions are interactive. Students can take classes year round, with terms starting in September, February, and June.
The course requirements for our distance and residential programs are the same, meaning that students are free to conveniently switch from one format to another during their program.
Our Online Seminary Programs
Calvin Theological Seminary is world renowned for its academic excellence and spiritual formation—elements that are consistent across our in-person and online seminary degrees. In a variety of seminary programs, you are free to choose between in-person, online, or hybrid distance learning—or a combination of these options.
These hybrid degrees and programs are mostly online, with the exception of two required, on-campus intensive weeks each year.
All hybrid students are required to travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the residential intensive weeks (one week in October and one week in March). See our visa and immigration process for more information about securing immigration documents.
Our fully remote, online seminary degrees and programs open your world to new ways of learning and growing as a leader, with no on-campus requirements.
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Our most popular program, the Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in ministry. Popular roles for graduates of this program include pastors (including youth and worship pastors) and leaders in parachurch organizations, denominational ministries, and nonprofits. Alternatively, some recipients of this degree can also go on to become school administrators, teachers, writers, artists, chaplains, or any number of other occupations. The MDiv program requires 87 credit hours to complete and can be obtained in 3–4 years, either on campus or through a hybrid option. Learn More
Master of Arts in Bible and Theology (MABT)
This degree offers a streamlined yet flexible program that will empower students to gain a deeper understanding of Scripture, church history, and ministry skills. Courses will cover the Old and New Testaments, biblical interpretation for ministry, and digital Bible tools for teaching and preaching. Online, hybrid, and on-campus programs are available. Students are able to complete the 39 credit hours required for the degree within 2–3 years. Learn More
Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL)
This degree offers another great program for students looking to grow their understanding of Christianity and the Bible while developing their leadership skills. Master of Arts in Christian Leadership offers eight tailored concentrations, including advanced urban ministry, organizational management and administration, discipleship and faith formation, and missional ministry. Courses will cover great books in ministry, biblical interpretation, and a contextual ministry internship. Students will also work with the Vocational Formation Office to gain on-the-ground experience. This 39-credit-hour program can be completed in 2–3 years, and is available both in hybrid and online formats, as well as on campus. Learn More
Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MCMHC)
The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MCMHC) is a professional and theologically grounded degree consisting of coursework in religious and theological foundations, clinical counseling, and clinical practice. Graduates will be proficient in the scholarship and clinical skills required to pass the National Counselors Exam (NCE) and/or prospectively qualify to apply for state licensure, which varies for each state. It is available online for all students, and available as a hybrid or on-campus program for US students. Students are able to complete the 60 credit hours required for the degree in three years. Learn More
Master of Theological Studies (MTS)
Through the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) program, Calvin students will further develop an academic understanding of the Christian faith and Scripture. Students will perform in-depth studies of the Old and New Testaments, Greek and Hebrew, Christian theology, and apologetics. This 55-credit-hour course will take 2–3 years to complete. In addition to in-person, this program also has a hybrid and online option. Learn More
Master of Theology (ThM)
The Master of Theology Program is ideal for students looking to enter a doctoral-level program or specialized field of study. Participants in this program will be able to choose from one of many concentrations, including ancient Near Eastern language and literature, the Old and New Testaments, philosophy and moral theology, evangelism, pastoral care, educational ministry, and more. Students will showcase their newly gained knowledge with a final thesis or major paper. This degree is available to on-campus students as well as through a synchronous online format. It's 24 credit hours can be completed in 1-2 years. Learn More
DOCTOR OF MINISTRY (DMIN)
Calvin’s Doctor of Ministry degree is specifically designed to further develop the skills of pastoral leaders while also fitting into their careers. Its flexible approach empowers students to bring their own diverse backgrounds and experiences to the program while creating space for them to explore the learning opportunities of their choice. This program is only available through a hybrid-learning program, and its 36 credit hours are completed between 3–5 years. Learn More
Certificate in Christian Leadership
Calvin’s Certificate in Christian Leadership program is all about flexibility and allowing students to choose the concentration and field of study that aligns with their career goals. It is available in either online or hybrid formats, and also in-person for US students, and its 15 credit hours take between 2–3 years to complete. Learn More
How Calvin Helps You Be Successful
True learning happens best in community with others. We help our distance students to form a personal learning network that will challenge and support them throughout their program. This consists of:
Build Relationships with One Week in Person
Hybrid learning intensive weeks take place at our campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. On-campus intensives are currently required for the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program. Attending intensives is encouraged, but not required, for certificate and Master of Arts students. Find specific dates for our on-campus intensives in our academic calendar.
Fall and spring
Calvin Seminary hosts a week of face-to-face classroom time for our master’s level students every year in October and March. Twice a year, distance learners benefit from these in-person class sessions, along with community worship, meals, and informal time outside of class to help to build on the relationships and learning established online.
Winter and summer
Our Doctor of Ministry (DMin) on-campus intensives are required and held twice a year in June and January.
Financial Aid for Online Seminary Students
Students in our distance programs are eligible to receive scholarships that are renewable each year. Discover how seminary is possible when you explore our approach to cost, financial aid, and affordability.
Admissions Eligibility for Online Seminary Degrees
U.S. and Canadian citizens and residents are eligible for all online and hybrid programs. International students are eligible for all online programs, and the following hybrid programs:
Eligibility by Location
Calvin Theological Seminary is approved for a Comprehensive Distance Education Program by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). See our application page for information on academic eligibility.
In order to travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the Residential Weeks, international students must secure the necessary immigration documents. See our international student page for more information about this process.
Online Seminary Student Stories
From the east cost to the west coast and everywhere in between. Students who attend Calvin Seminary can do so from the comfort of their home thanks to our distance learning program.
Watch the Video
Read the Stories
MA in Ministry Leadership student
Pastoral Leadership concentration
Sioux Center, Iowa
For many students, the choice between seminaries is a difficult one. Not for Gail Ashmore.
“It was an easy decision,” she says. “Calvin immediately partnered with me and affirmed my gifts, calling, and dreams.”
As Calvin’s first fully online student in her program, she experienced the seminary’s personal dedication firsthand.
“It was a big leap of faith to begin seminary,” Gail says. “Calvin not only took a personal interest in what God was doing in my life, but they had the desire to walk alongside me in the journey.”
Gail’s passion, as she will enthusiastically tell you, is to shepherd people through pastoral care and the truth of God's Word.
She serves with her husband, Sam, in campus ministries at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa. The pair hope to someday plant and pastor a church together.
As Gail provides pastoral care on campus and partners in raising two young children, she is grateful for the opportunity to plan out her seminary coursework around an already busy schedule.
“As a mom of two young children, my time and availability are quite limited. I often questioned if it was the right time to do school,” says Gail.
Because of the distance learning program, she feels at ease communicating with professors, staying on top of coursework, and connecting with classmates through Zoom meetings.
In an average week, you might find Gail volunteering at her church, having coffee with a Dordt student, speaking at a local event, and attending a play group for moms. Does this look like the average life of a seminary student? Today, perhaps it should.
Seminary students like Gail deserve a program that is radically accessible where they are.
MA in Ministry Leadership student
Education, Youth, and Family concentration
Sioux Center, Iowa
Helen Joung is on a mission.
“My calling is to serve students and families in public schools,” she says.
As the assistant superintendent of a public school district in the Pacific Northwest, Helen knows her ministry will impact all spheres of her life.
Not only will her Master’s in Ministry Leadership further strengthen her role as an educational administrator, it will also serve her in her goal of creating unity between various ministries in her church, where she serves as youth pastor.
It was at church that Helen first discovered Calvin Seminary.
“Calvin was highly recommended by my head pastor,” says Helen. As an alumnus himself, the pastor encouraged her to apply. If it hadn’t been for distance learning, Helen says she would have rejected the notion.
“Distance learning made it possible for me to pursue theological education,” Helen, a mom of three, explains. “The flexible schedule also allows me to have a full time job in addition to my ministry work.”
It was important to Helen to find a substantive program, in terms of both content and community. At Calvin, she found what she was hoping for.
“Distance learning at Calvin is so much more than online learning,” she explains. “I believe that my program really values authentic engagement and innovative ways to interact with the professors as well as my peers. The content and structure of each class encourages making connections with others.”
In addition to peer support, Helen felt the encouragement of Calvin faculty and staff.
“When you enroll here at the seminary, you immediately have this network of people who are cheering for you to start and finish strong,” she reflects.
“I also appreciate how each professor encourages their students to take a teaching and learning stance. They frame learning experiences to remind you that you have something very valuable to teach and contribute as well as learn.”
Meet Mario Perez Jr.: fisherman, foodie, and youth director.
He has served the River Christian Reformed Church in Redlands, California, since 2012. It was his desire to keep growing in his ministry role that brought him to Calvin Seminary.
“One of my ministry goals is to become a more equipped leader for the community God has me in,” he says. “I chose Calvin Seminary because of their desire to create and equip Christian leaders using a Reformed lens in a world that so desperately needs the gospel.”
Through distance learning, Mario can remain involved in his SoCal community, where he appreciates the diversity of his congregation and neighbors.
“My community is made up of people of all nations,” he says. “It’s a very beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God!”
Mario says his ultimate vocational goal is “to serve selflessly in a community needing to hear the goodness of Jesus.”
Through theological training and hands-on ministry experience in his church, Mario continues his ongoing journey of ministry and service.
Lea Wilkening holds many roles, including: actor and improv artist, former accountant and current hockey fan, preacher and writer, member of church and Christian school leadership, spouse and parent.
She is rooted in her community and intentional about the commitments she makes. That’s why distance learning at Calvin Seminary makes sense as she pursues a calling in parish ministry.
“I have been able to work, continue serving in my community and my family can continue in their school and work environments,” says Lea. “Pursuing full time ministry is a commitment of the entire family and allowing them to stay in one place during seminary has lessened the burden on us all.”
She’s also been able to continue experiencing the diversity of Toronto while interacting with fellow MDiv students from around the globe.
“As the Greater Toronto Area has grown into one of the most diverse communities in the world, the world is coming to Toronto,” she explains. “The distance program has allowed me to learn about my community and invited me into learning conversations with a rich diversity of faith communities and cultures.”
“My favorite part of the distance program has been the practical projects which allow me to study, learn from, and prepare to serve the community in which I am currently called.”
For polymath Lea, it has also been encouraging to see experience ministry formation firsthand—formation that goes beyond the transactional aspects of some programs and sets Calvin Seminary apart.
“I appreciated Calvin’s approach to forming the whole person for ministry,” Lea said. “Not simply the particular tasks of preaching and pastoral care, but also my formation for the ministry.”
Earn Your Online Theology Degree with Calvin
Join Calvin Seminary’s rich online community through our distance learning programs. Take the first step and apply today!
Have a question? Reach out to our admissions team, and we will help you find the answers you’re looking for.