School of Humanities Catalog

Undergraduate Programs
The Honors College
The Academy
Graduate Programs

The School of Humanities offers a wide range of courses and areas of study where students are exposed to some of the greatest thinkers and writers of Western Civilization. These courses encourage students to think about how people live their lives, the ethical and moral dilemmas they face, and the importance of good decision-making. Humanities majors make great employees because they are thinkers, communicators, and decision-makers.

For instance, the study of History allows students to examine why some leaders and nations succeed while others fail. The study of Government and Law confronts students with fundamental questions about freedom, equality, and order. The English and Great Texts majors invite students to consider the human experience through influential documents, literature, and poetry. The study of Communications and Sociology allows them to understand fundamental human dynamics, such as the way people communicate and interact. Furthermore, becoming bilingual in a second language like Spanish will open up a multitude of opportunities and advantages.

Undergraduate Programs

Department of English and Modern Languages

English Language and Literature

The most powerful tool we have is language. English majors at Houston Baptist University focus on exploring the artistry of words as well as developing the tools for critical thinking and writing. Whether reading a Shakespearean tragedy or a corporate report, those studying English can learn to interpret the world around them and translate their thoughts into clear language, preparing them for the workplace, graduate study, and a trajectory of lifelong learning. Our graduates enter the fields of teaching, law, professional writing, creative writing, and business as they take their ability to interpret language with them into professional and personal endeavors. English majors investigate a variety and range of authors, works, genres, movements, periods, and places of origin, all while honing their skills in oral and written communication.  Our English B.A. degree is a flexible 30-hour major.

Information about internships, teacher certification, and departmental honors for English majors is available from the department.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentEnglish Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentEnglish Minor Requirements


The course offerings in Spanish enable students to understand, speak, and write in the Spanish language. From Don Quixote to the writings of Gabriel García Márquez, exposure to the variety of literature from the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America in the original language develops reading comprehension and broadens the student’s appreciation of the beauty of the Hispanic contributions to the Western Tradition. Present throughout all of the Spanish courses is the emphasis on the role that culture plays in our understanding of the world, enabling students from all backgrounds to gain an appreciation for the diversity of the Spanish-speaking world, found in literature, music, film, and beyond. Whatever their focus, students leave the program able to use Spanish in both their professional and personal lives.

Information about internships, teacher certification, and departmental honors for Spanish majors is available from the department.  For information regarding Spanish placement exams and for Heritage Spanish Credit by Examination see

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentSpanish Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentSpanish Minor Requirements

Department of History and Great Texts


Studying the past provides students with a better understanding of the present. Examining the major events, movements, and personalities that have helped shape the modern era enriches a student’s worldview, promotes cultural literacy, and produces enlightened citizenship. History students develop skills in research and analysis, while developing proficiency in written and oral communication. The History major prepares students for graduate work in History and also prepares students for careers in law, education, business, Christian ministry, government, and archival and museum vocations.

Information about internships, teacher certification, and departmental honors for History majors is available from the department.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentHistory Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentHistory Minor Requirements

Great Texts

The Great Texts program integrates a variety of disciplines in the humanities, and it is an ideal option for those preparing for teaching or graduate studies in the humanities. The program emphasizes critical thinking and analysis of significant literary, historical, and classical texts. Each major or minor in Great Texts allows students to explore the works of Shakespeare, Classical Mythology, and other Great Texts. In addition to the degree requirements, students will be able to choose from a wide selection of courses in which to continue their studies. The optional capstone oral exam provides Great Texts Majors with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to consider great ideas and influential texts from an interdisciplinary perspective and to defend a written argument before a faculty panel. Please contact the program coordinator for further information.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentGreat Texts Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Great Texts Minor Requirements

Department of Law and Society

Criminal Justice

The HBU Criminal Justice program is designed to prepare students for vocations in the criminal justice field (local, state and federal government, police, penal system, the court system, etc.). To improve students’ understanding of crime and the criminal justice systems and familiarize them with the key concepts and terminology utilized in the field, this degree focuses on three core elements: police, courts, and corrections. The program allows students to examine individual rights protected by the Constitution and balance them against a community’s need for public safety and public order. The program highlights the complexities of the criminal justice discipline and encourages students to think critically and employ ethical reasoning by presenting real-life examples faced by criminal justice practitioners and asking the student to balance values, criminal procedures, and the law when coming up with solutions.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Criminal Justice Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Criminal Justice Minor Requirements

Family Studies

The Family Studies program is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of the essential dimensions of family life. Students will study the theories, contexts, and processes used to understand the dynamics of family interaction related to communication, sexuality, childhood, economics, and family roles. This field of study will help prepare students who are planning careers in fields such as marketing, counseling, ministry, social work, public administration and community service.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Family Studies Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Family Studies Minor Requirements

Legal Studies/Pre-Law (Major Only)

The Legal Studies program is designed to prepare students for law school or other similar graduate programs by providing a solid background in politics, philosophy, economics, and history. The program draws from several disciplines in the Humanities (Government, History, and Speech Communication) and other areas as well (Economics, Business, and Philosophy). Students in this major are introduced to topics that will help them plan for careers in law, such as business law, criminal law, and trial law. The program emphasizes our nation’s founding principles, a reliance of the rule of law, and a belief in natural law as the foundation for American jurisprudence. The Legal Studies major presents a rigorous educational program that provides the fundamentals for success in graduate or law school and the practice of law while upholding ethics and values consistent with the mission of the School of Humanities and the University.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentLegal Studies Major Requirements

Medical Humanities

A major or minor in Medical Humanities will help prepare students for any number of careers in the growing healthcare field. These undergraduate courses will introduce students to healthcare as a practice and profession from a liberal arts perspective. Students will take courses that not only provide them with a number of essential skills necessary for success help them to think and interact on a professional level in a variety of health-related environments.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMedical Humanities Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMedical Humanities Minor Requirements

Political Science

The study of political science assists students in developing reasoning and analytic skills and builds competencies in written and oral communication. The Political Science program at HBU focuses on theories of government, political institutions, government processes, and political behavior. Students are offered courses in political theory, U.S. foreign policy, national politics, American government, public policy, international relations, and law. The Political Science major prepares students for careers in law, business, public service, education, journalism, or any other field that requires strong analytic and communication skills. The major also increases political awareness and promotes active citizenship and political participation.

Political Science majors interested in pursuing internship credit for work related to their field of study should contact the department chair. Only three (3) hours of internship credit will be counted toward the major.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentPolitical Science Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentPolitical Science Minor Requirements

Sociology (Minor only)

The Sociology Minor is a course of study in the field of sociology that provides a background in culture, social interaction, and social institutions. Students will learn the context of social change, the major philosophies of psychological movements throughout history, and theoretical explanations for social experience. Sociology is a valuable liberal arts minor for students planning careers in criminology, social psychology, public administration, gerontology, ministry and market research.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentSociology Minor Requirements

Speech Communication (Minor only)

The focus of the curriculum of the Speech Communication minor is to develop the argumentation and advocacy skills that are necessary for participation in a democratic society. Since ancient Greek and Roman times, public speaking has been considered both as the foundation of a liberal arts education and as an essential skill of democratic citizenship. The speech minor is designed for students interested in argumentation and advocacy.

The Department of Law and Society features a competitive mock trial team which provides students the opportunity to hone critical thinking and persuasive skills in a competitive atmosphere. Weekly practices prepare the team for local, state, and national competition.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Speech Communication Minor Requirements

Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies Major

The Interdisciplinary Studies program is designed to offer students the opportunity to form a course of study across several disciplines.  There is a long and fruitful history of scholars exploring multiple areas in support of their projects.  The interdisciplinary degree is suited for students whose academic or personal goals require that they take courses from a number of different disciplines across the university and who are best served by not majoring in any particular field.  The classes taken are ones that are offered by the existing academic units on campus.  Students should work closely with their advisor in determining whether or not this degree is right for them and for determining what classes will best suit their goals.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format document Bachelor of Arts, Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements

Department of Philosophy


Philosophy is an underlying element of every field of study and permeates all aspects of culture and society, including matters of faith. As a result, the history of philosophy is a necessary context for understanding contemporary problems and issues. HBU’s philosophy courses are designed to help students explore the contribution of philosophy to Christian thought, and to consider Christian perspectives on philosophy. In addition, the study of philosophy helps students develop critical skills for use in all areas of life. HBU is committed to enhancing student’s abilities as they aim toward excellence. Whether one engages in Christian ministry or seeks some other professional vocation, a well-developed mind and the capacity for clear and cogent expression are essential components for effective service. The study of philosophy, tempered by a Christian worldview, aids in this goal.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentPhilosophy Major Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentPhilosophy Minor Requirements

The Honors College

The mission of the HBU Honors College is to provide students with an interdisciplinary curriculum rooted in the Christian faith that cultivates knowledge, character, and wisdom by examining the great works of Western civilization and exploring timeless questions.

The Honors College provides a unique general education core curriculum in the liberal arts, social and natural sciences for exceptional undergraduates.  It fosters curiosity and creativity, challenges students to grow intellectually, socially and spiritually, and inspires life-long learning.

Students in the Honors College examine the great works of Western civilization and hone their reading, writing and critical thinking skills through spirited discussions with their peers and distinguished faculty.  Some courses are taught by a team of professors so that students learn from various perspectives and recognize the interconnectedness of all knowledge.

Honors College classes are taught in a seminar setting and are structured to include co-curricular activities including symposia, roundtables, undergraduate research, service learning projects, and broad exposure to cultural and learning opportunities in Houston and beyond.  Honors Scholars are encouraged to participate in additional learning experiences including study abroad programs, the National Honors College convention, and others.

Admission to the Honors College is by application only. There are no minimum SAT, ACT, or GPA requirements to apply to the Honors College, but students who have been admitted to the Honors College in recent years have had an average SAT score of 1280 (which is equivalent to an average ACT score of 29) and an average high School GPA of 3.6. (The SAT score includes only the critical reading and mathematics scores.) Because the ideal Honors College candidate is a well-rounded individual who excels in a diversity of fields, strong applications to the Honors College usually include two letters of recommendation (one academic, one character) and evidence of leadership experience and service to the church and community.

Only students accepted into the Honors College may take Honors College courses.  The Honors Scholars do not take the complete complement of Liberal Arts Core Curriculum courses since the Honors College curriculum meets the general education requirements of the University.  In addition, students must complete the University mandated competencies (see below).  The Honors curriculum does not constitute a major but does provide the foundation courses for any undergraduate degree offered by the University.

Honors College students are required to complete the Honors Core (43 hours) plus all university mandated competencies.  Students who leave the Honors College prior to completing the Honors core will be required to meet the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum requirements not met by analogous courses in the Honors College core curriculum.  The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum courses do not meet the Honors College core requirements and may not be substituted for Honors classes.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentHonors College (Core Only) Requirements

The Academy

In keeping with HBU’s Ten Pillars, the Academy extends the challenges and rewards of university classes to exceptional high school students, providing them with the opportunity to earn transferable college credit through a flexible yet rigorous curriculum founded on great works of Western civilization. The Academy’s approach is straightforward yet challenging, seamlessly integrating university standards and credits into a rich and rewarding high school experience.

Academy students are trained to learn directly from primary sources, using class time to engage with their professor and classmates as they seek increased understanding of the text at hand. By emphasizing reading, writing, and critical thinking, the Academy seeks to cultivate skills that transcend academic disciplines and are both applicable and necessary for all college majors and career paths.

All Academy classes are taught by dedicated Christian faculty who value the interdisciplinary nature of the Academy’s curriculum. Class sizes are kept intentionally small in order to foster deep, lasting relationships among faculty members and students. Academy faculty invite students to approach each text from a place of Christian charity and authority.

The Academy offers classes on the campus of Houston Baptist University and on the campuses of our partner schools. Classes offered on the campuses of our partner schools are limited to students enrolled at those schools.

Additional benefits of the Academy include:

    • Unique two-semester courses designed specifically for the Academy
    • The opportunity to enroll in select traditional university classes at HBU at the low Academy tuition rate (reserved for high school juniors and seniors and subject to dean’s approval)
    • Automatic acceptance into HBU’s Honors College upon admission to HBU, with Academy faculty recommendation

Graduate Programs

Masters of Liberal Arts

The Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) offers students an interdisciplinary panorama of knowledge in art, literature, history, culture, and science. The MLA is designed for those who have completed their undergraduate education but who wish to continue intellectual enrichment in a formal academic environment. A thesis option is available.

The Master of Liberal Arts program at HBU is dedicated to training students in the classical model of education, preparing them to serve in a variety of professions and vocations. The degree is designed for students desiring a broad and deep course of study in the Liberal Arts with an emphasis on the Great Books of the Western Tradition.

Students in the MLA program represent a variety of educational backgrounds and ages. The degree is of particular interest to those in areas such as education, business, law, medicine, and engineering who desire a high-level inquiry into the liberal arts. Classes meet once each week in the evening. A selection of courses from the various liberal arts is offered each semester.

While the MLA at HBU is flexible enough to satisfy the particular interests of each student, we do not subscribe to the common “grab bag” approach to Liberal Arts. Instead, we provide a core of twelve elective courses in the Western Tradition that is both chronologically progressive and cohesive to enable students to grasp the flow and development of ideas that have shaped the modern world. Other elective courses are focused on essential figures (e.g., St. Augustine), periods (e.g., Tudor England), and topics (e.g., democracy, logic, church/state relations). Also, the MLA encourages students to craft their degree around one of three optional areas of emphasis (Classical Learning, Research, and General Liberal Arts).

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Liberal Arts Program Requirements

The Accelerated Masters of Liberal Arts

The Accelerated Master of Liberal Arts (AMLA) degree provides the opportunity for students to earn a graduate degree in five years from their matriculation as an undergraduate freshman. The AMLA is a track of study within the existing MLA program, built upon the current purpose and vision of the traditional MLA degree—to train students in classical education and prepare them for careers with a deep understanding of the liberal arts.  The AMLA is a 155-credit hour degree including the 125-credit hour undergraduate degree.

Students would begin graduate coursework toward an MLA degree during their senior year by completing up to nine MLA hours.

The AMLA has some additional requirements not found in the traditional MLA:

  1. Admission to the AMLA degree program in the second semester of their junior year (having earned at least 82 undergraduate hours upon application and 96 before beginning the AMLA). Students must also:
      • have at least a 3.0 CGPA upon admission;
      • submit two written pieces of work for consideration by the director of the MLA; and
      • pass an entrance interview with a panel of two MLA faculty.
  2. Completion of at least three (3) hours of graduate work during their undergraduate degree with a CGPA of at least 3.0.
  3. Completion of a six (6) hour MLA thesis as part of graduate coursework;
  4. Completion of a total of 30 graduate hours for the degree.

Sample Student Schedule for AMLA #1

Fall Spring Summer
Senior Year Undergraduate Coursework + 3 hour MLA course Undergraduate coursework + 3 hour MLA course 6 hours MLA
MLA Year 9 hours MLA 3 hours MLA course     6 hour MLA Thesis

Sample Student Schedule for AMLA #2

Fall Spring Summer
Senior Year Undergraduate Coursework + 3 hour MLA course Undergraduate coursework + 3 hour MLA course
MLA Year 9 hours MLA 9 hours MLA 6 hour MLA Thesis

Undergraduate = 125 hours

AMLA = 155 hours including undergraduate

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentAccelerated Master of Liberal Arts Degree Requirements

Masters of Liberal Arts with Specialization in Education

The Master of Liberal Arts with Specialization in Education degrees offer students interested in a career in classical/Christian/public education an opportunity to prepare for Texas teacher certification for 4-8 or 7-12, EC-6 Generalist, EC-12 Art, Music, Physical Education or Spanish.

A student will take 18 credit hours of MLA coursework and will register for the Alternative Certification Program to earn 18 credit hours of defined Education coursework.  Students are required to adhere to the admissions standards for both programs.  Any MLA scholarships would be applied to coursework in the Alternative Certification Program.

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Master of Liberal Arts with Specialization in Education (4-8 or 7-12)
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Liberal Arts with Specialization in Education (EC-6 Generalist)
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Liberal Arts with Specialization in Education (EC-12) (Art, Music, PE, or Spanish)

Master of Arts in History

The mission of the Master of Arts in History (MAH) is to develop students who are equipped to learn, teach, and write about history in the light of the Christian faith. The MAH degree is ideal for current teachers who want to enhance their classroom expertise in history as well as budding scholars who aim to pursue doctoral studies and a career in higher education. The course of study consists of 30 credit hours of classes on scholarly research, the philosophy of history, European and American history, and a variety of more specialized topics. A 30-hour thesis track option is available on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the Department of History and Great Texts.

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Master of Arts in History (Thesis Track) Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Arts in History (Non-Thesis Track Requirements)

Master of Arts in Philosophy

The mission of the Master of Arts in Philosophy (MAPhil) 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 MAPhil degree is intended to offer students training in the critical and philosophical skills that are useful for their further academic study and also for their growth as followers of God. MAPhil graduates may continue their education at the doctoral level.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Arts in Philosophy (with Thesis) Requirements
Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMaster of Arts in Philosophy (without Thesis) Requirements

School of Humanities Graduate Certificates

The School of Humanities Graduate Certificates provide graduate-level instruction in specific areas of interest through certificate programs. A certificate can be sought in conjunction with any Master’s degree or pursued and awarded on its own. The following Graduate Certificates are offered by the School of Humanities:

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentCertificate in Philosophy of Religion Requirements