Practical Theology (BA)
“Go therefore, and teach all nations…” ~Matthew 28:19
Those who wish to develop and hone their skills in the practice of ministry in a local church context will enjoy the Practical Theology major or minor in the Department of Theology. Building on the core elements of biblical and theological knowledge, these programs emphasize the practice of ministry to embody this truth to a broken world. This degree is especially appropriate for those who want to serve the body of Christ in a teaching and preaching role as a minister in a church, a missionary, as someone in parachurch ministry, or in whatever setting God calls you.
The Practical Theology major is 38 credit hours long, with 17 hours of core classes, 12 hours of Practical Theology classes, 6 hours of electives, and 3 hours of language. The core courses for the major are New Testament Theology, Old Testament Theology, History of Christianity, Hermeneutics, Systematic Theology, and the Senior Seminar. We also offer a wide variety of Practical Theology classes which allow you to tailor your studies to your interests, such as the Christian Vocation, Homiletics, Spiritual Formation, Christian Ethics, and Worship. You will also take the course, Biblical Languages for Ministry, which will introduce you to the basics of Greek and Hebrew.
This program will give you a solid foundation in the Bible and prepare you for a variety of ministries. It will also prepare you for graduate studies such as in our Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS), Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL), or a Master of Divinity (MDiv).
HBU offers several types of scholarships to help our incoming students. Our students will especially want to be aware of these scholarships.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas funds scholarships for our Southern Baptist students who are pursuing ministry as a vocation. The BGCT scholarship amount is currently $50 per credit hour for freshmen and sophomores, and $75 per credit hour for juniors and seniors. In addition to the denominational eligibility requirements, students must take two classes during their time at HBU: the Christian Vocation and Baptist History.
The BGCT also supports students financially with the Mary Hill Davis Ethnic/Minority Scholarship. It currently provides $800/semester (for full-time students) who are from a non-Anglo background and are part of a BGCT church that is representative of their ethnic/minority heritage. Note: the scholarship application should be submitted directly to the Mary Hill Davis Scholarship Office [not to HBU] no later than April 15.
The purpose of the Covenant Fellows Program is to give students called to Christian ministry financial, personal and professional support as they further their undergraduate development into competent and holistically educated ministers/professors/missionaries. HBU covenants with our students and with local churches to provide education and professional experiences that will prove beneficial to both those studying in the program and those churches supporting and employing our ministerial students. One of the benefits of the program is that participants may receive scholarship money during their junior and senior years, per meeting the requirements of the program. Click to learn more about Covenant Fellows.
Further Graduate Studies: Seminary and Other Options
Most students preparing for ministry pursue some type of graduate degree to help them further prepare for ministry. Traditionally, the Master of Divinity (MDiv) has been the standard degree, as it provides the most well-rounded and robust training for ministry. Our 72-hour MDiv prepares you, not just for Bible study and academic knowledge, but it focuses on your personal development as a Christian and a minister to the church through practical experience. Similar to the MDiv, we offer a 36-hour Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL) designed to meet the needs of those preparing for vocational or lay ministry, or who just want to further their own personal development. For students who wish to pursue a more academically focused and shorter degree, we offer a 36-hour Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) that gives the core foundation desired by churches, but provides you more flexibility in course selection.
There are a variety of ways to engage the Department of Theology: we’re on Facebook, we have a community blog, we offer an annual Theology Conference, and we have regular lectures by preeminent scholars as part of the A.O. Collins Lecture Series.