YWAM DTS vs Christian University [Free Quiz]

ywam dts student praying for man. college classroom full of students.

"Even if you’re barely 51% sure what that next step is, God’s goodness is worth stepping out in faith." - Dan Baumann

You have a burning passion for Jesus and spreading His story of love and forgiveness, whether that’s across the globe, at Walmart, or to your unsaved friend.


In short, you want to use your passions to change the world.


But you don't know how to get started. And the options as you enter adulthood seem endless and are overwhelming at times.


A YWAM DTS or a Christian University are two of the ways to get started. They each have a unique purpose and God can use either one to equip you to advance the Gospel.


But how do you know which is the right one for you?


That’s a great question. That's what this post is for; to break down 10 differences between a YWAM DTS (Discipleship Training School) and a Christian University / Bible College.


In the next three minutes, the decision for what you’re going to do next will be a little bit easier.

Here are those 10 distinctions:

  • Purpose of the school
  • How that purpose is achieved
  • Type and amount of homework
  • Type of discipleship
  • How is it graded
  • Opportunities to apply what you’re learning
  • What you can do with your studies after graduation
  • Accreditation
  • Length of time
  • Pricing

Christian University (Bible College, Seminary etc)

  1. Primary purpose is a thorough understanding of Biblical doctrine
  2. Achieved through a systematic academic approach like a traditional college or university.
  3. Written assignments, projects, assigned reading for homework, regular testing.
  4. The opportunity for discipleship is primarily through the initiative of the professor or a weekly Bible study (or a classmate if they’re willing).
  5. Letter graded like traditional college.
  6. Focus is on academic, intellectual growth
  7. You can become ordained for ministry, become a professor, pursue a specialized degree for counseling, etc.
  8. Some are accredited throughout the US.
  9. 2-6 year process
  10. (Not specific to Christian colleges) In the 2020-2021 school year, the average cost for higher education was $41,411 at private colleges, $11,171 for state residents at public colleges, and $26,809 for out-of-state students at state schools.


  1. Primary purpose is to transform your relationship with Jesus through missions training that will help you use your passions to change the world.
  2. Achieved through 5 months of relational discipleship and training: 3 months of weekly modular teaching during campus phase + 2 months of an overseas missions experience.
  3. 2-4 assigned books for reading with book reports, New Testament reading, and scripture memorization (5hrs homework / week).
  4. Intentional discipleship from full-time missionaries that pursue a missional lifestyle.
  5. Pass / fail grading.
  6. Emphasis on hands-on practice and application of what you’re learning (ie - practicing preaching the Gospel downtown during campus phase, personal quiet time devotionals every morning, overseas missions experience to directly apply what you’ve learned etc)
  7. The 5-month DTS sets you up to effectively advance the Gospel in any context or vocation. You can also pursue various degrees in YWAM’s University of the Nations after completing the DTS.
  8. Not all universities or colleges will accept a YWAM degree for further education. (however, Liberty University in Virginia and many Australian universities have accepted YWAM credits in recent history.)
  9. 5-months long
  10. Most DTS’s in the United States range anywhere from $5000-$9000.


In short, YWAM DTS offers missionary training to effectively advance the Gospel in any context and vocation while a Christian University emphasizes a degree track through academic, in-depth studies.


If you still feel a bit overwhelmed, ask yourself this:


Do you want to pursue a calling as a pastor or Bible teacher?




Are you not sure yet what your ‘calling’ is or what vocation to commit to?


If your answer to the first one was yes, then a Christian University or Bible College is an excellent choice. This avenue will academically equip you for that calling and can ordain you for ministry.


But if your answer to the second question was yes, do a Discipleship Training School. You don’t need to know your calling to start using your passions to change the world. Practically speaking, it’s a fraction of the price of a multiple year college program and only a 5-6 month time commitment.


If you’re still unsure at the end of the day, God will use either decision for both His glory and your growth towards Jesus. (If you have 2 more minutes, this online quiz will also help you decide between these two options.)


Remember! You’re trying to choose between 2 excellent choices. There’s no need to lose sleep.


We know people who have done Bible college both before and after their DTS and they thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.


We want you to be obedient and simply follow God’s leading. Even if you’re barely 51% sure what that next step is, God’s goodness is worth stepping out in faith.


The choice is yours.


Submit your contact info below. A DTS Coach will get in touch with you soon.

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Author Bio

Written in collaboration with YWAM Louisville.

As a family of missionaries they are multiplying,

equipping and launching faithful leaders

who actively fulfill the Great Commission.