The Difference Between Seminary and Bible College

If you want to prepare for a future role in ministry, you’ll need to get properly accredited. In fact, you’re probably wondering whether to choose a seminary or Bible college. But what’s the difference?

In today’s post, we’ll explain the difference between Bible college and seminary school.

 

Seminary School

Seminaries are graduate-level programs that train students for priesthood and ministry. Bible colleges prepare students for a service or leadership position in their local church.

 

Bible College

Bible colleges offer undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs. They are often a cheaper alternative than traditional four-year public institutions and are also cheaper than seminary schools.

 

Students Have Different Reasons for Attending

Students who want a college experience, while being in an environment that will help support and nourish their spiritual beliefs, will often choose the route of Bible college.

Seminary school is for students who solely wish to pursue a career in ministry and not much else.

In seminary, you’ll find the curriculum focuses fully on the study of biblical Scripture and theology. Bible college curricula, on the other hand, incorporate additional topics related to the broader areas of the humanities, liberal arts, and sciences.

 

Different Degree Programs, Study Tracks, and Outcomes

While both seminary schools and Bible colleges do provide graduates with theology degrees, seminaries are wholly dedicated to teaching Scripture for the purpose of preparing students for a career in ministry, offering a narrow track of course options.

With regard to study tracks and programs, the difference between seminaries and Bible colleges lies in the depth of study provided. There is some overlap in terms of what courses and principles are taught:

  • Hermeneutics
  • Pneumatology
  • Theory and methodology
  • Apologetics
  • Biblical languages
  • Research and writing

 

Due to the broader scope of education offered, having a degree from a Bible college can lead to a variety of alternative career options outside of ministry. Graduates might wish to move into a career in general business, sales, marketing, or something else.

 

Broader and Narrower Career Options Post-Graduation

Graduates from seminary schools, however, are left with fewer options since the education track is tightly geared toward preparing for a future role as a deacon, priest, pastor, or lay pastor.

Many Bible colleges, like Global University, offer education pathways that focus very deeply on scriptural knowledge, providing close to the same level of in-depth study offered by seminary schools.

An undergraduate degree — typically one that you would get from a Bible college — is often required to attend seminary. Seminaries only offer degrees at a master’s and doctorate level. Some seminaries require that you have an undergraduate degree in theology or a related discipline — this depends on the school in particular.

Sometimes Bible colleges will offer both seminary school and a general college. These tracks aren’t related, and students are admitted to either one or the other but never both.

 

Denominational Differences

There are denominational differences. Bible colleges are interdenominational, focusing on the shared history and facts of Scripture rather than individual church traditions.

Seminaries are almost always rooted in a specific denomination. There are some exceptions to this, however.

 

How do I Choose Between the Two?

The first question you should ask yourself when deciding between attending seminary school and Bible college is, “What are my career goals?”

It’s important to know what your short-term and long-term goals are in your academic and professional career. If you’re called to pursue a career in the church, whether it be in ministry, youth group leadership, or something adjacent, consider an accredited Bible college like Global University.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in strictly pursuing a career in ministry, typically after having completed a Bible-based undergraduate education, choose an accredited seminary school.

 

Alternatives to Seminary School

You do not need formal training to become a pastor. There are plenty of preachers who have not attended Bible college or seminary school.

Moreover, for those interested in becoming ministers with the Assemblies of God (AG) church, we offer a fast-track program toward accreditation and licensed ordination for this role in particular.

If you’re interested in serving as a pastor with the AoG, consider applying at our School for Ministry Development rather than seminary school.

 

Enroll with Global University Today

Find opportunities to pursue your calling for ministry, church leadership, or church service today. Contact us for more information on enrollment and academics.