This question was recently posed to us and Greg Moore answers it:
Q: I am fairly far along in my bachelors degree but have decided not to go into the field that I'm training for. I want to do a theological degree, but I'm currently majoring in business. If I switch to a theological degree I'll lose most of my credits and if I transfer it'll almost be like starting over. Should I just finish this degree or switch to what I think the Lord wants be to do?
A: Great question. In most cases, if you're past your sophomore year, you'd probably be better off finishing the degree and then going for a masters. A masters in a theological field will take you 1 1/2 to 2 years if you're doing a Master of Arts. However, not having a background in Bible or Theology, I'd recommend you do a Master of Divinity degree, which is 3 years of full-time study. Still, though, you'd come out better as you'd have a masters by the end of it and it wouldn't be such a morale drainer (starting at the beginning would be quite depressing I'm sure).
This would be true if it was the other way around too - if you were doing theology and wanted to go into business. In that case, you would finish your Bible or Theology degree and go into a Master of Business Administration degree (a longer-than-average professional degree like the M.Div.). I've known plenty that have done both. I'd also say that many pastors I've spoken with realize that they don't know as much about the management of a non-profit organization (ie. their church) as they need to - especially in the beginning of their ministry. I think finishing the one and then going to the other on a masters-level will actually be beneficial to your future ministry and perhaps even open some job opportunities while you do your M.Div.
Mark Stevens is a former seminary student himself and currently researches and teaches in the area of theological studies.