Master of Arts in Apologetics (MA)
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Online Program Description
The mission of the 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 Master of Arts in Apologetics degree is intended to provide students with interdisciplinary training in apologetics 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 MA in Apologetics is set apart from other apologetics programs by its interdisciplinary nature and its engagement with culture and the arts and humanities. Furthermore, the program includes a strong component of coursework in writing and communication in apologetics, designed to help students achieve excellence in writing, speaking, and other forms of apologetics 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 MA in Apologetics is designed to serve all parts of the body of Christ, and welcomes Catholic and Orthodox as well as Protestant students.
Distinctives of the MA in Apologetics
The MA in Apologetics offers both a Cultural Apologetics track and a Philosophical Apologetics track. The tracks share a core of Apologetics Communication and Classical Apologetics. The Cultural Apologetics track focuses on integrating imaginative and rational apologetics, studying a range of issues in philosophy, literature and the arts, and cultural issues in order to analyze and engage with culture for apologetics at both the intellectual and popular level (including creative work). The Philosophical track takes the classical propositional apologetics approach, and goes in-depth into the philosophical issues of apologetics. Students in either track of the MAA have the option to take electives from the other track.
Distinctives of the Cultural Apologetics track:
- Dr. Holly Ordway talks about the interdisciplinary focus
- Dr. Michael Ward explains the “rich mix” of rational and imaginative apologetics
Contact Dr. Phil Tallon if you are interested in the Philosophical Apologetics track of the MAA.
What Is the Online Experience Like?
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 presented in an intensive 8-week term. 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 class and having class discussion. 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 of the MAA program, 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 both in knowledge and in communication skills as you go forward. You’ll interact with your professor through the online discussion boards, through your writing assignments and the feedback you receive on them, and through email, on-campus meetings (when possible) and/or Skype 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, of course, welcome to travel to HBU as visitors to come to events such as conferences, and to meet our faculty in person, if they would like to, but the degree is designed to be completed exclusively online.
Online and Residential Degree Options
The MA in Apologetics has both a residential program (Houston) and this online option.
This 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 will have Dr. Michael Ward, who is based in Oxford, as their faculty advisor.
Advantages and Opportunities
Students in the MA in Apologetics 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 the Baylor University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of St. Andrews, Northwestern University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The MA in Apologetics program is committed to mentoring graduate students and developing the program as a spiritually, as well as 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 in apologetics, designed to help students achieve excellence in writing, speaking, and other forms of apologetics engagement. HBU’s engagement with the larger apologetics community through apologetics conferences, faculty scholarship, cultural and arts programs, and local engagement means that students in the MA Apologetics program will have opportunities to gain further experience in the practical aspect of apologetics 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.
Students are excited about their experience in the Master of Arts in Apologetics online program:
“At HBU, the professors genuinely care about their students; they reach out, and they pray for them.”
– Karise Gilliland
“In some ways, my online classes have been more rigorous than my brick-and-mortar classes because of the increased opportunities to participate. I got a lot out of — and contributed a lot into — my online classes. To say ‘I was satisfied’ is an understatement.” – D.R. Asperheim
“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. The online course work is no less rigorous than its on-campus equivalent, but these courses allow me to structure my participation to accommodate competing professional and personal responsibilities.”
– Leigh McLeroy
Graduates of the MA in Apologetics program will be equipped for a variety of opportunities. The MA in Apologetics 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 MAA curriculum comprises 36 units (see below for details on the courses). All students take a General Core of courses in Apologetics Communication and Classical Apologetics. In these courses, students develop writing and communication skills for graduate-level academic writing as well as practical apologetics and ministry work, and gain a foundation in philosophy, theology and Scripture as applied to apologetics.
Cultural Apologetics students take required courses that establish a strong, interdisciplinary foundation for an integrated approach to cultural apologetics. In the Imaginative Apologetics courses, students learn how to use imaginative as well as rational approaches to apologetics for an integrated approach to apologetics, 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 apologetics engagement.
Philosophical Apologetics students take required courses in philosophical engagement with apologetics 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 apologetics 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.
View the Scholarships available.
Philip Tallon, PhD, Chair of the Apologetics Department
Holly Ordway, PhD, Director of Master of Arts in Apologetics
Joshua Farris, PhD
Jeffrey Green, PhD
Bruce Gordon, PhD
Mike Licona, PhD
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.
Please direct all inquiries about the MA in Apologetics program to the Director of the MAA, Dr. Holly Ordway.
Master of Arts in Apologetics: Application Requirements
Recommended Degree Plans