Master of Arts in Apologetics (Online)
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This program is 100% online with no residency requirement, it has same curriculum as the residential program, and it features the same small, seminar-style classes with our excellent faculty. UK students in the online program will have Dr. Michael Ward, who is based in Oxford, as their faculty advisor.
The mission of the program is to develop students who are capable of serving their community and the Church in a variety of vocations, including academic, parachurch, and ecclesiastical professions. The MAA degree is intended to provide students with interdisciplinary training as academics, apologists, and followers of Christ so that they can understand and engage with contemporary worldviews and culture in order to transform the world for Christ.
Philosophical – This track takes the classical, propositional approach, and goes in-depth into philosophical issues of the Christian faith. Students take required courses that engage with philosophical issues, including Science and Faith, Philosophy of History and the Resurrection, and Philosophical Theology.
Cultural – This track focuses on integrating imaginative and rational approaches by studying a range of issues in philosophy, literature and the arts, and cultural issues in order to analyze and engage with culture at both the intellectual and popular level (including creative work). In the Imaginative courses, students learn how to use imaginative as well as rational approaches, with particular attention to the work of C.S. Lewis. In the Christian Thought and Worldview courses, students gain a foundation in philosophy, culture, history and literature for effective cultural analysis and engagement.
HBU’s MAA program is set apart from others by its interdisciplinary nature and engagement with culture, the arts, and humanities. The program includes a strong component of coursework in writing and communication, designed to help students achieve excellence in writing, speaking, and other forms of apologetic engagement. The degree includes a thesis option, which is ideal for students who wish to pursue further work at the doctoral level.
The “mere Christian” focus of the program and the ecumenical nature of the faculty means that the MAA is designed to serve all parts of the body of Christ, and welcomes Catholic and Orthodox as well as Protestant students.
Students will benefit from small classes with faculty committed to excellence in both teaching and scholarship. The faculty include nationally and internationally known public intellectuals with terminal degrees from universities such as the Baylor University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of St. Andrews, Northwestern University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The MAA program is committed to mentoring graduate students and developing the program as a spiritually and intellectually strengthening experience. The coursework includes a spiritual formation component, providing an element usually only found in seminary degrees.
The program includes a strong component of coursework in writing and communication designed to help students achieve excellence in writing, speaking, and other forms of engagement. HBU’s engagement with the larger apologetics community through conferences, faculty scholarship, cultural and arts programs, and local engagement means that students in the MAA program will have opportunities to gain further experience in the practical aspect of apologetic work.
The degree includes a thesis option and provides the academic foundation for further study at the PhD level, as well as for further academic work in philosophy, theology, or the humanities.
The online program is designed to provide a full graduate-school experience, but in an asynchronous format that allows for students to balance work, ministry, and/or parenting with academic study (and to have professors and classmates in multiple time zones). We use a custom designed web platform for our online classes (with full tech support). Our online courses are in an 8-week format with the same material as in a semester-long course. Each semester has two terms (including the summer). Most of our students are part-time and take two classes per semester; this format allows students to take one class in Term 1 and one class in Term 2, thus attending to one class at a time. All our online courses are seminar-style, focusing on class discussion of the readings, critical thinking, and writing assignments, or other projects on which you receive individual attention and feedback from your professor. You don’t have to log in at any specific time, but you’ll be expected to log in to the course page regularly during the week to contribute posts, and to read and respond to your classmates and professor in the discussion forums – the equivalent of attending classes. In the discussions, guided by the professors, students explore the ideas presented in readings and lectures, challenge and respond to each other, develop communication skills, and learn how to become independent thinkers.
Writing assignments are the other major part for both the online and Houston versions. Most classes do not have tests of any kind – only writing and projects. You can expect to write multiple essays in each class, with the assignments carefully designed by your professors to lead you into a greater understanding and application of the material, and mastery of the concepts and skills for that course. Since class sizes are small, you’ll always get feedback from your professor on your writing – not just a grade – so that you can grow in both knowledge and communication skills. You will interact with your professor through online discussion boards, writing assignments and the feedback you receive on them, email, on-campus meetings (when possible) and/or video conferences.
The MAA Online has no residency requirement. All classes are 100% online and there is no requirement to travel to HBU (this is particularly helpful for our international students). Students are welcome to travel to HBU to come to events such as conferences, and to meet our faculty in person,, but the degree is designed to be completed exclusively online.
The MAA curriculum comprises 36 units. All students take a General Core of courses in Communication and Classical defenses. In these courses, students develop writing and communication skills for graduate-level academic writing as well as practical and ministry work, and gain a foundation in philosophy, theology and Scripture as applied to defending the Christian faith. Students also take track-specific courses in their cultural and philosophical focuses (above). Both tracks are completed by a selection of electives, which can include a Thesis.
Students have the option to enrich their studies by taking one-unit elective classes in Houston on special topics, such as philosophical apologetics topics with William Lane Craig and an Apologetics in Oxford class that runs in the summer in Oxford, England.
See the degree plans (below) and course descriptions for more information.
Houston Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees.