This ranking contains simply the best of the best in overall education programs that we reviewed this year. Each school is fully accredited and each has unique features that make it stand out among the field of Christian colleges. This list is the top tier of Christian college programs in terms of quality, value and overall education experience.
The methodology behind this ranking began with schools that are members or member eligible of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). We then collected publicly available data for these schools in the following categories: 1) Number of undergraduate and graduate education degrees, 2) Faculty-to-student ratio, 3) Percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid, 4) Selectivity, 5) Overall retention rate and 6) Overall graduation rate. The number of degree programs category received a slightly higher weight with all other categories receiving equal weight in calculating the final ranking.
Bethel College is a private, coeducational, Christian liberal arts institution located in Mishawaka, Indiana. Established in 1947, Bethel began as the vision of Mennonite Brethren in Christ (MBC) founder, Daniel Brenneman who first called for a training institute in 1893. This vision was further carried by J.A. Huffman who pressed the case for establishing a Christian liberal arts college; it was Huffman who suggested the name Bethel, which means “house of God.” It was not until 1944 that the church gave its formal approval and land for the college was purchased. Bethel is affiliated with the Missionary Church (previously known as MBC) and defines itself as a “community of learners dedicated to building lives of commitment for leadership in the Church and the world.” Bethel has a total enrollment of more than 18,000 and is situated on an urban campus that is close to a wide range of recreational opportunities.
Bethel College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and offers more than 50 areas of study. Bethel offers eight education programs at the undergraduate level, including Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English, Social Studies, and more, as well as two Master of Education programs. In addition, graduate programs in Special education, Transition to Teaching, and a School Administration Licensure are also available – the latter offered both on campus and online as is Bethel’s Master of Education program. Bethel College’s Education Degree program provides students with a supportive environment that challenges and excites. An experiential-based teacher education program, education students broaden their learning by being involved outside of Bethel’s classroom, serving as an Education Ambassador; volunteering in community reading programs; tutoring; or teaching Sunday School. Taught within the context of a biblical worldview, the mission of Bethel’s Educational Department is to prepare students who will serve as “wise decision makers and school leaders in professional roles.”
- Early Childhood
- Health/Physical Education
- Social Studies
- Master of Education
- Master of Education School Administration
Trinity Christian College is a private, four-year, liberal arts college located in Palos Heights, Illinois. Established in 1959, the school was founded by a group of Chicago businessmen interested in creating a college that would provide students with a quality Christian higher education taught in the Reformed tradition. Situated on a suburban campus of 130 acres, Trinity Christian College is located just 30 miles outside of Chicago where internships, cultural experiences, and career and service opportunities abound. Continually ranked in the top tier among Regional Colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, Trinity Christian College is made up of a diverse student body of more than 1,400 students and offers what many students describe as a real sense of community. The school’s mission is clearly stated and has not deviated from its founder’s wishes, which is to “provide Biblically informed liberal arts education in the Reformed tradition.”
Trinity Christian College offers more than 70 programs of study in a variety of fields and majors. A Trinity education has this distinction – 100% of students participate in either field education or internships. This aspect of a Trinity education helps students to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice and causes students to be more thoroughly equipped and prepared for continued graduate study and the professional world. Trinity Christian College offers a variety of programs and degrees in the area of education, including programs in Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education, Special Education (offered as both a bachelor degree and a Master of Arts degree), Physical Education, Educational Technology, and more. Trinity’s teacher education programs lead to several teaching certificates for the state of Illinois; students enrolled in Trinity’s education program also participate in field experiences in a variety of settings and grade levels in an effort to prepare future teachers for the realities of their chosen profession.
- Art Education
- Biology Education
- Business Education
- Chemistry Education
- Elementary Education
- Middle Grades Education
- Special Education
- Spanish Education
- Physical Education
- Secondary Education
- Educational Technology
- ESL/Bilingual Education
- Mathematics Education
- History Education
- M.A. Special Education
Houston Baptist University (HBU) is a private Christian institution located in Houston, Texas. Situated on an urban campus of 100 acres, HBU is located minutes away from Houston’s thriving downtown district, providing ample opportunities for jobs, internships, as well as fun. Established in 1960, the college was founded by the Baptist General Convention of Texas for the purpose of providing “a learning experience that instills students a passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence as a result of our central confession, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’” HBU offers an intimate college environment with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1 and an enrollment figure of more than 2,500 students. HBU’s student body is diverse, with people coming from all ethnic backgrounds and even several walks of faith. As a Christian institution, HBU requires that all students seeking an undergraduate degree complete 80 Community Life and Worship (CLW) credits – of which, a minimum of 50 CLW credits must be earned through attendance at Convocation.
Houston Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is made up of multiple colleges and schools, including: the Archie W. Dunham College of Business; College of Education & Behavior Sciences; College of Science & Mathematics; School of Christian Thought; School of Fine Arts; School of Humanities; School of Nursing & Allied Health; and HBU’s Honors College. HBU’s College of Education and Behavior Sciences (COEBS) is home to the university’s distinguished teacher education program and features small classes that are taught by university professors. The mission of the COEBS is to prepare students who will be “effective citizens and professional educators, administrators, counselors, and researchers who reflect Christ in their work and service.” Nearly two dozen education programs are available, ranging from Bachelor of Science degrees in Elementary Education, Mathematical Studies, English Language Arts and more, to a Doctor of Education in Executive Educational Leadership.
- Elementary Education (BS)
- Spanish with EC-12 Teacher Certification (BS)
- Composite Science (4-8) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Composite Social Studies (4-8) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- English, Language Arts, and Reading (4-8) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Mathematical Studies (4-8) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Composite Science (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Composite Social Studies (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- English Language Arts (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- History (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Life Science (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Mathematical Studies (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Physical Science (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Speech Communication (7-12) with Teacher Certification (BS)
- Kinesiology with All Level Teacher Certification (BA)
- Spanish with EC-12 Teacher Certification (BS)
- Teacher Certification, All Level (EC-12) (BS)
- Master of Education (MEd) with Specialization in Counselor Education
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Doctor of Education (EdD) in Executive Educational Leadership
Anderson University is a private Christian liberal arts institution located in Anderson, Indiana. Established in 1917 as the Anderson Bible Training School originally, the school was founded by the Church of God movement. Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1946, Anderson has received top recognitions from The Princeton Review, U.S. News & World Report, and Forbes. Built upon five pillars of Integrity, Excellence, Servant Leadership, Responsibility, and Generosity, Anderson University’s mission is to “educate for a life of faith and service in the church and society.” Service and ministry are close to the heart of Anderson’s students and faculty and students volunteer as many as 24,000 hours annually. Anderson University sits on a 100-acre suburban campus and has a total enrollment of over 2,000 students – nearly all of which are undergraduates.
Anderson offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and awards Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music degrees. Of these 60-plus undergraduate majors, at least a dozen are focused on educational studies with programs such as Elementary Education, Language Arts, Music (K-12), and more. In addition, Anderson offers a number of Master and Doctoral degree programs, including a Master of Music Education. A number of Anderson’s educational degree programs include licensing as a part of the program; in addition a variety of minors and concentration in education are also available to students. One of Anderson University’s educational programs, Transition to Teaching, provides individuals with an alternate route to obtaining an Indiana teaching license. This program has been carefully designed for the purpose of recruiting, preparing, and licensing talented individuals who have already obtained a four-year baccalaureate degree and to prepare them for teaching.
- Biology Secondary Education
- Chemistry Secondary Education
- Elementary Education
- Language Arts
- Music (K-12)
- Physical Education (K-12)
- Physics Secondary Education
- Science Secondary Education
- Social Studies Secondary Education
- Master of Music Education
Roberts Wesleyan College is a private, coeducational, Christian liberal arts college located in Rochester, New York. Founded in 1866, Roberts holds the distinction of being the first educational institution to be established under the Free Methodist denomination in North America. The school originally began as Chili Seminary, founded by Benjamin Titus Roberts, a social activist who opposed slavery, the oppression of the poor, and supported women’s rights. He founded the school in an effort to train young people to become servant leaders who would possess a strong moral character. Character continues to be central to Robert Wesleyan College’s vision and the school’s mission statement declares their commitment to preparing “thoughtful, spiritually mature, service-oriented people who will help transform society.” The school has a total enrollment figure of nearly 2,000 students and is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Roberts Wesleyan College boasts more than 60 majors and programs for undergraduate students as well as eight online programs, more than a dozen graduate programs, and four degree completion programs. Of these programs, nearly twenty are devoted to preparing individuals to serve as teachers and educators. These programs range from undergraduate to master’s and include programs such as Adolescent & Special Education; English to Speakers of Other Languages; Childhood & Special Education; Music Education; Master of Education in Literacy Education; and several more. Many Robert Wesleyan College’s education degrees are available with concentrations in a number of areas and lead to initial certification. Robert’s Degree Completion program, a Pathway to Teaching, Bachelor of Science, is especially designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective teachers and provides training to equip teachers to meet Common Core standards through active engagement in small classes as well as classroom simulations, field experience, and student teaching.
- Adolescent & Special Ed.
- English to Speakers of Other Languages
- Childhood & Special Ed.
- Music Education (K-12)
- Early Childhood & Special Ed.
- Physical Education (K-12)
- Adolescent Education in Biology
- Adolescent Education in Chemistry
- Adolescent Education in Physics
- Adolescent Education in Social Studies
- Adolescent Education in English
- Adolescent Education in Spanish
- Adolescence Education in Mathematics
- B.S. Pathway to Teaching
- M.Ed. Initial Adolescence & Special Education
- M.Ed. Initial Childhood & Special Education
- M.Ed. Literacy Education
- M.Ed. Special Education
Howard Payne University is a private Christian liberal arts institution located in Brownwood, Texas. Established in June of 1889, the school was named after Edward Howard Payne, the brother-in-law of the college’s founder, John David Robnett, who gave the lead monetary gift to start the university. Founded for the purpose of preparing students for Christian ministry, Howard Payne University has remained dedicated to honoring Christ in providing students with an educational experience that integrates faith and learning. The school sits on a beautiful eighty-acre, tree-line campus in Brownwood, on the northern side of the Texas Hill Country. Howard Payne’s enrollment figure reaches over 1,100 and students enjoy many off-campus visits to the nearby Lake Brownwood. Many students also participate in Howard Payne’s intramural sporting competitions; the school is a member of the American Southwest Conference and boasts a dozen men’s and women’s teams.
A top ranking institution, Howard Payne University offers more than 100 majors, minors and pre-professional degree programs through its seven schools: Business, Christian Studies, Education, Humanities, Music and Fine Arts, Nursing, and Science and Mathematics. Howard Payne University’s School of Education offers an impressive number of educational degrees with 30 major areas of study. The majority of these programs lead to either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree and include programs such as, Elementary Education, English Language Arts & Reading, Middle School Education, and more. In addition, Howard Payne offers two graduate-level programs – a Master of Education in Instructional Leadership and a Master of Education in Sport and Wellness Leadership. Howard Payne University is accredited by the State Board for Educator Certification and the University’s teacher education program maintains a well-equipped technology lab as well as a smart classroom that includes an interactive whiteboard.
- B.A. in Art – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- B.A. in Business Education – High School Education (Grades 6-12)
- B.A. in Elementary Education (Early Childhood to Grad 6)
- B.A. in English Language Arts & Reading – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in History – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in Life Science – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in Mathematics – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in Middle School Education (Grades 4-8)
- B.A. in Physical Science – High School Education (Grades 6-12)
- B.A. in Social Studies Composite – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in Spanish – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- B.A. in Speech Communication – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.A. in Technology Applications – High School Education (Grades 8-12)
- B.A. in Theatre Arts – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- Bachelor of Music in Music Education – Choral – – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- Bachelor of Music in Music Education – Instrumental – – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- B.S. in Art – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- B.S. in Business Education – High School Education (Grades 6-12)
- B.S. in Elementary Education (Early Childhood to Grade 6)
- B.S. in English Language Arts & Reading- High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in History – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in Life Science – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in Mathematics – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in Middle School Education (Grades 4-8)
- B.S. in Physical Education – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- B.S. in Physical Science – High School Education (Grades 6-12)
- B.s. in Social Studies Composite – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in Speech Communication – High School Education (Grades 7-12)
- B.S. in Technology Applications – High School Education (Grades 8-12)
- B.S. in Theatre Arts – All-Level Education (Early Childhood-Grade 12)
- M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership
- M.Ed. in Sport and Wellness Leadership
Taylor University is a private, coeducational, interdenominational Christian liberal arts college located in Upland, Indiana. The university sits on a 952 acre campus located five miles east of I-69, fifty miles south of Fort Wayne, and seventy miles north of Indianapolis. Taylor University has received several notable accolades and recognitions from names such as U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1846, the university is named after Bishop William Taylor (1821-1902) and operates with the mission to “develop servant leaders marked with a passion to minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth to a world in need.” Taylor University’s total enrollment includes nearly 2,000 students with representatives from nearly all fifty states and more than 30 foreign nations. Student satisfaction with Taylor University ranks high with approximately 90% of alumni indicating that they would attend Taylor again, according to the 2014 NSSE Student Survey.
Taylor University offers more than 115 degree programs at the undergraduate level, including more than 100 majors in the Arts and Sciences. More than 10 educational majors are available at Taylor with programs such as Educational Studies, Elementary Education, Christian Educational Ministries, and more. In addition, Taylor offers a Master of Arts in Higher Education (MAHE) as well as a graduate-level Transition to Teaching program and Special Education Licensure Program. The MAHE program is designed to prepare students as leaders and educators and may be completed in four semesters. Taylor University Online also offers a Transition to Teaching program; this online program is self-paced, allowing for greater flexibility, and allows students to progress toward Indian state licensure. Taylor’s online program can be taken in either four month terms or 15-week semesters, depending on financing. Taylor University’s academic programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
- Art Education
- Biology Science Education
- Chemistry Education
- Christian Educational Ministries
- Educational Studies
- Elementary Education
- English Education
- Mathematics Education
- Music Education
- Physics Science Education
- Physics/Mathematics Education
- Social Studies Education
- Spanish Education
- M.A. in Higher Education
Union University is a private, Christian, four-year, coeducational, liberal arts-based institution. Located in Jackson, Tennessee, Union sits on a 290 acre urban campus approximately 80 miles east of Memphis and 120 miles west of Nashville. In addition, Union also operates extension campuses in Germantown and Henderson, Tennessee. Union University’s mission is to provide a “Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society.” The university’s total enrollment figure reaches approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students with nearly all fifty states and more than 30 foreign nations represented in the student body. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Union has received a number of major recognitions from names such as U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and has been ranked in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, among others. Affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention and established in 1823, Union holds the distinction of being the oldest Southern Baptist-affiliated institution.
Union University offers more than 100 programs of study across a broad range of academic fields. Union University’s College of Education and Human Studies is home to a diverse group of academic disciplines and has achieved three important national accreditations: Educator Preparation – The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); Social Work – The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); and Athletic Training – The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Union offers a number of educational majors, including Education: Interdisciplinary Studies and Teaching and Learning, as well as several graduate-level degrees, such as Master of Arts in Education, and Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership. Union’s education programs are designed for individuals who wish to pursue a career in teaching and are passionate about engaging students and helping them to reach their full positional. In secondary education, 21 academic area endorsements are available.
- Education: Interdisciplinary Studies
- Special Education
- Teaching and Learning
- Teacher Licensure, K-12 and Secondary Areas
- M.A. in Education
- Master of Education
- Master of Urban Education
- Education Specialist in Educational Leadership
- Ed.D. in Educational Leadership
College of the Ozarks (commonly referred to as C of O) is a private, Christian liberal arts institution located on a 1,000 acre campus in Point Lookout, Missouri. Nicknamed “Hard Work U”, C of O from its very beginning in 1907 has adopted and followed a highly unique practice of having students work rather than pay tuition from the very beginning. Indeed, through the combination of state grants, scholarships and the school’s on-campus work program students are charged a grand total of $0 in tuition costs. Placing a strong emphasis on “character” education, C of O is committed to providing students with a quality Christian education, especially those students who are found worthy but lack the means to obtain such an education. C of O openly discourages debt and does not participate in any federal, state or private loan programs; the university further leads by example and has no institutional debt of any kind.
In addition to the real-world work experience the school’s tuition program provides, the College of the Ozarks offers a range of academic programs with more than 40 majors, 36 minors, and several pre-professional programs. In the area of education, C of O offers more than a dozen programs which lead to either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts Degree. In addition to approved elementary and secondary fields, C of O also offers a number of certification endorsements available in Agriculture Grades 5-9; Early Childhood Birth-Grade 3; Language Arts Grade 5-9; Mathematics Grade 5-9; Science Grades 5-9; and Social Studies Grades 5-9. C of O’s education degree programs do lead to certification in the state of Missouri. C of O’s vision for their Teacher Education Program is, through “innovative technique, academic rigor, clinical experience and ministry opportunities to commission faithful educators who will fulfill their calling.”
- Elementary Education Grades 1-6
- Art K-12
- Music-Instrumental K-12
- Music-Vocal K-12
- Physical Education K-12
- Social Science (History)
- Speech & Theatre
- World Language (Spanish) K-12
Located in Wilmore, Kentucky, Asbury University is a private, four-year, Christian institution. Asbury University was established in 1890 by John Wesley Hughes and was originally called the Kentucky Holiness College before changing its name to honor Bishop Francis Asbury, a circuit-riding evangelist who is known the “Father of American Methodism”. Though founded in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, today the university is nondenominational and welcomes students and faculty from all Christian walks and traditions. Asbury is situated on a suburban campus of 65 acres and is located approximately twenty minutes southwest of Lexington. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled and represent over forty states and more than two dozen foreign countries. Asbury boasts more than 22,000 living alumni who are located all over the world, serving and leading in every state in the Union and at least 80 foreign nations.
Asbury University is made up of more than two dozen academic departments and offers more than 50 majors as well as an adult degree completion program called Adult Professional Studies. More than twelve these undergraduate majors are offered in the area of education; the Asbury School of Education offers two majors – one in Elementary School Grades P-5 and the other in Middle School Grades 5-9 – with several more education majors that are housed in other departments. In addition, Asbury’s School of Education offers a wide variety of Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs, including Learning And Behavior Disorders, Teacher As Leader, Middle School 5-8, and many more. These programs are designed for students who are seeking their initial certification or for certified teachers who seek additional certification or rank change. All of Asbury’s MAT programs are able to be completed via an alternative certification or through a traditional route in which coursework is followed by a full semester of student teaching.
- Elementary School Grades P-5
- Middle School Grades 5-9
- Art Grades P-12
- Biological Science Grades 8-12
- Chemistry Grades 8-12
- English Grades 8-12
- French Grades P-12
- Health Education & Physical Education Grades P-12
- Latin Education P-12
- Mathematics Grades 8-12
- Music Education P-12
- Social Studies Grades 8-12
- Spanish Grades P-12
- M.A. in Learning And Behavior Disorders
- M.A. in Literacy Specialist P-12
- M.A. in Teacher As Leader
- M.A.T. in Biological Science 8-12
- M.A.T. in Chemistry 8-12
- M.A.T. in English 8-12
- M.A.T. in Mathematics 8-12
- M.A.T. in Social Studies 8-12
- M.A.T. in French P-12
- M.A.T. in Latin P-12
- M.A.T. in Spanish P-12
- M.A.T. in Middle School 5-8
- M.A.T. in English As A Second Language
- M.A.T. in Learning And Behavior Disorders