After high school many young Christians want to go to college, but they want a Christian degree. But what does that mean? It seems fairly obvious that to earn one you would have to go to a Christian university, but is any degree from a Christian university automatically a Christian degree, or are there other requirements for a degree to be Christian? Another question might be, does a degree have to be earned at a Christian university to be considered Christian? Are those the two most important questions to ask? The short answer is, probably not.
What is Christian College?
Christian higher education comes in two types: Liberal arts and Bible. Liberal arts schools are similar to secular four year universities – and are often accredited by both Christian and secular accrediting bodies so their degrees are recognized by both Christian and secular organizations. A degree in biology from a Christian liberal arts school will be recognized by organizations ranging from the local Christian school to government agencies. The primary differences between a secular school and a Christian one are the underlying belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the inclusion of religious classes, some of which may be part of the core curriculum, and possibly degrees in subjects like theology or missions. Christian liberal arts schools will also include many non-religious degrees like engineering or psychology and will not require students to be Christian.
Bible schools focus first and foremost on biblical studies. They are often associated with a particular denomination and may or may not have accreditation. They may have courses in non-religious topics, but usually only offer degrees or certificates in religious studies. Students usually have to agree with the core beliefs of the associated denomination and attend church. The primary purpose of a Bible college is to strengthen student’s spiritual lives and prepare them for religious vocations.
Most people will probably agree that, whatever other requirements may exist, a Christian degree can only be earned at a Christian college or university. But is any degree from a Christian school a Christian degree? That depends on how you define Christian degree, but usually the answer is no. Christian universities do not provide degrees in ‘Christian biology,’ though they may offer some degrees, like Christian counseling, that have secular counterparts.
Is My Degree Christian?
Earning a degree at a Christian university does not make it a Christian degree, but you cannot earn a Christian degree at a secular university. Christian degrees fall into one of two categories: Degrees about religion and degrees that use religion. A Bachelor of Science in Theology is a degree about religion. A degree in Christian counseling is a degree that uses religion. Students wanting to earn a Christian degree can choose to attend either a Christian liberal arts college or a Bible school. The degree possibilities will depend on the school chosen, but in general will be limited to religious fields of study. Some liberal arts colleges may offer degrees in Christian counseling or social work for students interested in those fields, but they may be master degrees or higher.