Master of Arts in Apologetics

Master of Arts in Apologetics

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.


What Is the Online Experience Like?

The online MA in Apologetics 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). There is no residency requirement. 
The classes are on a web-based platform (Blackboard) and are limited to 15 students per class. The courses run on the same 16-week semester schedule as our on-ground classes, and are seminar-style, focusing on extensive reading, writing, critical thinking, and in-depth discussion.
Students don’t have to be online at any specific time of day, but are expected to log in to the course page several times per week to contribute posts, and to read and respond to the contributions of classmates and professor in the discussion forums – the equivalent of attending class and having class discussion. Students interact with their professors through the online discussion boards, through writing assignments and the feedback you receive on them, and through email, on-campus meetings (when possible) and/or Skype video conferences. We never use teaching assistants, so the faculty member listed as the instructor for each class is the one who teaches the whole class, interacts with students, and does all the commenting and grading of student work.
Our online students report that after the initial period of adjustment to an online experience, there’s a real sense of community, and the discussion boards feel very much like an in-person discussion. Since class sizes are so small, students can always get one on one help from their professors.

Online and Residential Degree Options

The MA in Apologetics has both a residential (Houston) and an online option (starting Fall 2014).
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 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 University of Rochester, 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.

After Graduation

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 Ph.D. level.


The MAA is 36 units. There are eleven required courses, one elective (or thesis), and four spiritual formation courses. The required courses fit into five areas to comprise an integrated curriculum: 

Apologetics Communication: Students develop graduate-level skills for academic success as well as practical apologetics and ministry work in Apologetics Research and Writing and Apologetics Communication.

Apologetics Essentials: Students gain a solid foundation for apologetics in Philosophy of Religion: Faith and ReasonMere Christian Theology and Apologetics Implications; and Scripture and Apologetics Implications
Imaginative Apologetics: Students learn how to use imaginative as well as rational approaches to apologetics in C.S. Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics; Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics; and Literature and Apologetics.

Christian Thought and Culture: Students gain a foundation in philosophy, culture, history, and literature for effective cultural analysis and apologetics engagement in Ancient Philosophy and Culture; Medieval Philosophy and Culture; and Modern and Post-Modern Culture.

Spiritual Formation: Students meet with classmates and a faculty mentor for discussion to develop a robust connection between the life of faith and the life of the mind. Spiritual Formation I, II, III, and IV are zero-credit, pass/fail courses.


Tuition is $1,500 per three-unit course, plus fees. More details are available through the Graduate School.


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 online program to the Chair of the Department, Dr. Holly Ordway.

To request a brochure, please visit the Graduate School Brochure page.

Master of Arts in Apologetics: Application Requirements

Contact the Graduate School or Dr. Holly Ordway, chair, with questions.

Course Descriptions

APOL 5050 Spiritual Formation I

APOL 5060 Spiritual Formation II

APOL 5310 Apologetics Research and Writing

APOL 5320 Philosophy of Religion: Faith and Reason

APOL 5330 Ancient Philosophy and Culture

APOL 5340 Medieval Philosophy and Culture

APOL 5350 Modern and Post-Modern Philosophy and Culture

APOL 5360 Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics

APOL 5370 C.S. Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics

APOL 5380 “Mere Christian” Theology and Apologetics Implications

APOL 6050 Spiritual Formation III

APOL 6060 Spiritual Formation IV

APOL 6310 Apologetics Communication

APOL 6320 Science and Faith

APOL 6330 World Religions

APOL 6340 Eastern Philosophy and Culture

APOL 6370 Literature and Apologetics

APOL 6380 Scripture and Apologetics Implications

APOL 6390 Thesis

Related Information: