Master of Arts in Apologetics Degree (MAA)
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Degree Program Description
The mission of the Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA) program is to develop students who are capable of serving their community and the Church successfully in a variety of vocations, including academic, parachurch, and ecclesiastical professions. The degree is intended to provide students with interdisciplinary training so that they understand and engage with contemporary worldviews and culture in order to transform the world for Christ, as academics, as apologists, and as followers of Christ.
HBU’s MAA is set apart from other programs by its interdisciplinary nature and its engagement with culture, and the arts and humanities. Furthermore, the apologetics study includes coursework 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.
Distinctives of the Degree at HBU
The MAA offers both a Cultural track and a Philosophical track. The tracks share a core of Apologetics Communication and Classical Apologetics. The Cultural track focuses on integrating imaginative and rational defense of the faith, 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). The Philosophical track takes the classical propositional approach, and goes in-depth into the philosophical issues. Students in either track of the MAA have the option to take electives from the other track. Listen to Dr. Michael Ward explain the “rich mix” of rational and imaginative integration.
Online and Residential Degree Options
The MAA has both a residential (Houston) and an online option. The online program is 100% online with no residency requirement. It has the same curriculum as the residential program and features the same small, seminar-style classes with our excellent faculty.
UK students in the online program have the additional benefit of having Dr. Michael Ward, who is based in Oxford, as their faculty advisor.
Advantages and Opportunities
Students in the MAA program 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 Baylor University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of St. Andrews, Northwestern University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The program is committed to mentoring graduate students and developing the program as a spiritually, as well as intellectually, strengthening experience. It includes a strong component of coursework in writing and communication designed to help students achieve excellence in writing, speaking, and other forms of engagement with the larger community through conferences, faculty scholarship, cultural and arts programs. Local engagement means that students in the program have opportunities to gain further experience in the practical aspect of defending the faith.
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.
Students are excited about their experience in the MAA program:
“At HBU, the professors genuinely care about their students; they reach out, and they pray for them.”
– Karise Gilliland
“This is the program I’ve been waiting for — a strong blend of rational and imaginative apologetics with a world-class faculty — plus the flexibility of selecting a mix of on-campus and online classes — even within the same semester.”
– Leigh McLeroy
Opportunities After Graduation
Graduates of the MAA program will be equipped for a variety of opportunities. The MAA can provide the educational framework needed for parachurch ministry and teaching opportunities. In addition, graduates may choose to pursue further education at the PhD level.
The MA in apologetics study curriculum comprises 36 units (see below for details on the courses). All students take a General Core of courses in Communication and Classical Apologetics. 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 faith.
Cultural track students take required courses that establish a strong, interdisciplinary foundation for an integrated approach to cultural engagement. In the Imaginative Apologetics courses, students learn how to use imaginative as well as rational approaches to form an integrated approach to defending the faith, 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.
Philosophical track students take required courses in philosophical engagement with relevant issues, including Science and Faith, Philosophy of History and the Resurrection, and Philosophical Theology.
Both tracks are completed by a selection of electives, which can include a thesis.
Students also have the option to enrich their studies by taking one-unit elective classes in Houston on special topics, such as philosophical topics with William Lane Craig and an Apologetics in Oxford class that runs in the summer in Oxford, England.
(See also the individual course descriptions below)
Marybeth Baggett, Department Chair
William Lane Craig, PhD, DTheol, DLitt
Bruce Gordon, PhD
Mike Licona, PhD
Nancy Pearcey, MA
Mary Jo Sharp, MA
Jerry Walls, PhD
Michael Ward, PhD
Students will also benefit from classes taught by faculty from the Departments of Theology and Philosophy.
Contact the Graduate School with questions.