A Pastor that I like once posted something on Facebook that said something along the lines of
“You don’t have to go to a seminary or have an expensive degree and be taught how to preach. You just take the fire and spread it.”
That is true for many people but the rest of us; there is a seminary. Three years of close encounters of faith, theology, and practice. We end up in Seminary to gain a deep connection to faith, to understand it inside and out. I want to go because I want to answer the questions other people will ask. There were many times I’ve had questions that people couldn’t answer. I don’t ever want that situation to arise within anyone who might look to me for answers.
I got called later than most, at 26 or 27 depending on your point of view but I’d go with 27 (which is what I am right now). When It finally became clear, I was incredibly eager and began researching places to get educated. A cold reality quickly set in, it isn’t cheap. Mind you; I have a Bachelor of Arts and I am finishing a Master of Arts currently but even at those standards – Seminary is expensive.
My two best friend’s (they’re twins) father is a recruiter for the Methodist church. He eagerly supplied me with documentation for a handful of seminaries notably SMU and Duke. Both amazing schools that I would be lucky to go to but the cost is incredible. Looking at schools outside the Methodist faith I found myself drawn to a handful of others. Breaking down the costs below (all not including financial aid).
The estimated cost of attendance Duke Divinity School-
- 1-year tuition-$22,360.00
- Books- $1,240 (amount provided by the school)
- ~$70,800 for the MDiv
The estimated cost of attendance SMU Perkins-
- 1-year tuition- $22,776
- Books- $1,000 (amount provided by the school)
- ~$71,328 for the MDiv.
The estimated cost of Dallas Theological Seminary-
- 1-year tuition- $15,450
- Books- unknown
- ~$46,350 for the MDiv.
The estimated cost of SAGU (Southwest Assembly of God University)
- 1-year tuition- $17,250
- ~$51,750 for the MDiv.
The Estimated cost of Knox Theological Seminary
- 1-year tuition- $12,300
- ~$36,900 for the Mdiv.
Not to mention they all charge a large number of various fees amounting 1k plus each year. Then you have to include housing, transportation, and food costs.
Since I was too late for admissions deadlines for 2016, I began looking for online programs where I could take some courses this year on the cheap. Here we find Knox and Liberty. Two of the cheapest accredited but well respected Seminary schools. Liberty is affordable just on an entirely different level. Liberty offers block rate classes which I had never seen offered before reviewing liberty. You can take up to 15 hours at the block rate of $2,750. That makes 30 hours a relatively cheap $5,500 per year. Which would mean:
The estimated cost of Liberty University
- 1-year tuition: $5,500
- Books: $600*
- ~$18,300 for the MDiv.
*The book rate calculated above is figured from the cost of books this semester, which was roughly $300 on Amazon.
Given Liberty also offers intensive semesters (8 week courses) it can also be completed at a high rate; if you can give it the time. I will finish my other masters in roughly one year because I did take the classes at a good rate, something I plan to continue with Liberty. I ended up settling on the Master of Arts in Christian Apologetics which should be completed at below $10,000. The degree is 36 hours- 2 semesters at 15 hours each and the remaining two classes over next summer or maybe winter intensives.
I hate to break down education in the terms of dollars and I hate even more that I’m talking about seminary in the terms of dollars. It is a reality though that its an expensive experience and that is a factor that has to be considered when you’re beginning to plan.