Top universities integrating faith and learning

Academic achievement, spiritual and moral growth, creativity, and a desire to serve others — these best describe the outcomes of a faith-based education. Amongst graduates of all ages and Christian backgrounds, many spoke — and are grateful — of their schooling, enthusing how it shaped their lives and worldviews. 

It speaks volumes of how experiences, within and beyond the classroom walls, are some of the most effective ways to forge grit and character. Picture taking on the great outdoors, following a well-crafted curriculum, or engaging in discussion about liberal arts with experienced teachers. 

The best part? At these institutions, students immerse themselves in a diverse community of friends, teachers and clergy with the same moral base — fostering an inspiring and experiential education that combines the best of theology with issues of the contemporary world. If this is the future you’re looking for, look no further than these four universities across the globe:

Charles Sturt University

Courses at Charles Sturt University’s School of Theology combine dynamic teaching, quality research, and social engagement. Source: The School of Theology at Charles Sturt University

The School of Theology at Charles Sturt University equips individuals throughout their spiritual and intellectual journeys. It does so through an array of student-focused courses that combine teaching, quality research and social engagement. However, what truly sets it apart is its 25 years of expertise in online and hybrid education.

Thanks to a dedicated faculty of passionate, practising Christians representing diverse denominations, students of all backgrounds can study the ins and outs of theology and ministry from anywhere in the world or on one of the university’s three campuses in Canberra, Hong Kong, and North Parramatta (Sydney). Emphasis is placed on empowering women and men for roles in teaching and preaching.

The School offers a range of academic programmes — from undergraduate certificates to PhDs. The Undergraduate Certificate in Theology is designed for students without tertiary qualifications who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Bible and Christian theology. The Bachelor of Theology prepares students for Christian ministry or leadership.

At the postgraduate level, the School offers a Master of Arts (Theological Studies), which nurtures a broad, solid foundation in the Bible, Christian theology, church history, and Christian ministry and practice. While this route is ideal for those without existing theological qualifications, the Master of Theology is a better choice for those who already have a theological degree and are looking to advance their knowledge. This programme focuses on major issues in contemporary theology while developing advanced critical knowledge and skills in the theological disciplines. It also uniquely offers students a choice between research-focused and coursework-focused streams.

Regardless of which pathway students choose, they are guaranteed the full Charles Sturt University experience, which unlocks access to a wide range of resources and support, including scholarships, cutting-edge technology, and tailored learning skills. Indeed, students here have everything they need to strengthen their faith while broadening their intellectual horizons.

Chang Jung Christian University

Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU) was established with the traditions and cultural features of Taiwan’s Presbyterian Church. Source: Chang Jung Christian University/Facebook

For more than a century, Chang Jung Christian University (CJCU) has been offering students a chance to better themselves and the world around them. In line with Presbyterian beliefs, CJCU is committed to developing each young learner’s God-given gifts and abilities with love, respect, and service. 

CJCU offers 62 bachelor’s and 17 master’s programmes as well as one doctoral programme on campus. Each is designed to empower students to discover their talent and find their purpose. What sets them apart is their Christ-centred ethos and excellent teaching — the kind that equips students with the skills, integrity and a sense of purpose that glorifies God and distinguishes them in the workplace and the world.

The comprehensive academic programme is complemented by a beautiful, well-resourced campus located near the Erren River and a supportive community atmosphere. It is also a genuinely international institution, with CJCU having 164 international partner schools, making it easy for students who want to participate in various global opportunities.   

While academics are highly valued at CJCU, they are considered just one part of student life, so students also heavily engage in artistic, athletic and moral pursuits.

International Christian University

International Christian University

The International Christian University is Japan’s first university to include the word “international” in its name. Source: International Christian University/Facebook

Since its inception, the International Christian University (ICU) has focused on providing an education based on Christian ideals that nurture students to be self-aware of their place in society. Here, 2,944 students from 53 countries thrive in a close-knit community and are empowered to reach their full potential. 

This is evident through the high academic standards laid in ICU’s undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning studies. Classes embrace interactive discussions and dialogues rather than one-way lectures. “Tablet-style” chairs enable students to move around the classroom, encouraging group discussions.

What’s more, ICU adopts a major system that enables students to identify and pursue their genuine academic interests. A trimester system involving six rounds of course selection in the first two years enables them to cycle through a wide range of subjects. Students then choose their majors before starting their third year of studies. 

Beyond the classroom, extra-curricular activities in the arts, sports, academics and social fields offer ample opportunities for character development and spiritual formation. Events on campus include the ICU Festival, Christian and International Weeks and the Dorm Festival, which are planned and carried out by student groups.

Grace Theological College

GTC’s practical Bible-based training equips the next generation of pastors and church leaders to present Christ in all their serving, leading, teaching, and guiding. Source: Grace Theological College/Facebook

At Grace Theological College (GTC), students thrive academically, socially, and spiritually. As New Zealand’s only evangelical and reformed theological college, GTC has nurtured graduates that make real-world impact.

Here, GTC’s practical Bible-based training equips the next generation of pastors and church leaders to present Christ in all their serving, leading, teaching, and guiding. It broadens their perspective and is a source of great personal growth as well as spiritual development — ideal for those who want to serve God and others more thoughtfully, more faithfully, and more whole-heartedly.

Courses are designed to be flexible, accessible, and affordable. Students have the flexibility to study full-time or part-time. For those who can’t make it to Manurewa, Auckland the college links students up with online video streaming that enables them to see and hear the classroom and also ask questions live. 

A theological education here sets students up to see that all of life is ministry, and the mission-field is wherever God places you. They’re ready to follow in the footsteps of past graduates of GTC, who are today serving as pastors, church-planters, missionaries, university workers, doctors, farmers, lawyers, IT specialists, builders, and many other jobs. 

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International