Bible College and Seminary

What is the difference between a Bible College and a Seminary?

First, we need to define our terms:  Theological Seminary is an institution whose primary purpose is to educate and equip students to become leaders in ministry.  The areas of attention are in Church Leadership, Missions, Church Planting, Counselors and other areas specifically within the Church environment.  A Seminary will have core curriculum centered on the study of Theology and understanding of Scripture; it will also include in-depth study of sacred writings, commentators and church history.

Bible College, while degrees are available in theology and other areas of ministry, are not singularly focused on Church (or related) ministry as the field that graduates will enter.  Bible colleges offer undergraduate degrees in a broader scope of studies, including (but not limited to) biblical languages, Old and New Testament as literature and history and other areas specifically related to the Bible.

What are the admission requirements for Bible college?

Typically, Bible college admission is similar to secular college in terms of required academics.  A High School Diploma and standardized test scores (e.g. SAT or ACT) are evaluated as part of the admission process, as are letters of reference from credible sources (former teachers, pastor, etc.).  Financial accountability is usually reviewed as well; since not all Bible colleges are accredited by a federally recognized oversight board, federal student financial aid may not be available at all Bible colleges.  This must be included in your research before you apply.

Why do students go to Bible college if they are not considering Ministry?

Bible colleges are presented as a regular college offering degrees in many of the same programs as their secular counterparts, albeit with a biblical foundation.  There is a benefit to studying Scripture and using Biblical principles to guide your education.  Accepting the Bible as God’s Word and sufficient for all elements of human life is paramount to the fundamental principles of Bible college.  Additionally, a Bible college will not have the same degree of distractions on campus (compared to a secular State school); students can study their courses under Biblical principles without opposition to their religious beliefs or temptations to get involved in unprofitable activities.

Does a Bible college degree lead to Seminary?

Bible college can be a step toward Seminary; several Bible colleges are part of a dual institution: Bible College and Seminary.  It is not a definite path, but a Bible college degree can certainly prepare a student for Seminary.  Check out our ranking for more information about the best Bible colleges to continue your preparations.

Are my degree choices limited in Bible college?

Degree programs will vary from school to school, and there are few professional degree programs (e.g. Law, Engineering or Pre-Med) available.  But many schools offer good programs in Education, Counseling and Social Services, Business and Music to name a few.

Once you determine your chosen field of study, Bible college may fit your desire better than you would have thought.  For an academic environment based on Biblical principles, a social environment that isn’t hostile to your personal religious convictions and the opportunity to build your faith within a field of study, Bible college is a valid option.