Houston Baptist University Catalog


School of Fine Arts

Undergraduate Programs

School of Fine Arts

The School of Fine Arts is founded on the belief that our God is the great Artist. We worship God when we create art from the patterns he created. Whether these artistic expressions are literary, dramatic, musical, visual, or even in the field of New Media, we understand that we were made to create in imitation of our creator.

The School of Fine Arts believes that Art is integral to the living of a full life. Towards that end, we offer courses and degrees in visual arts, music, creative writing, theater, and new media. Furthermore, our degree in Journalism and Mass Communications prepares students to tell honest stories explore the new world of contemporary, multi-media journalism.

Undergraduate Programs

Department of Visual Arts

HBU offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a degree with a major in art. The art program is designed to help the student develop a personal, critical attitude toward his/her life situation through creative involvement. The beginner is offered a variety of courses that provide technical training, historical background and professional competence while maintaining the dignity of individual opinion and direction. These studies are designed to generate interest and promote understanding of art, which comes in part through analysis of creative works of past and present. A Senior Seminar provides an opportunity for the student’s area of specialization to be the central theme in a final project.

The School of Art offers instruction in five basic studio areas:  Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, and Printmaking.  The members of the art faculty bring a wealth of professional experience to their studios and their students.  Students in the studio areas have the unique opportunity of receiving feedback in both individual and group critique sessions.  The goal of the art faculty is to nurture and encourage students of all levels of experience in finding their visual voices and developing their own visual language.

Advanced Placement

Advanced Placement (AP) in Art may be awarded for incoming students provided that the following criteria are met:
  1. The student arranges for official AP scores to be sent from high school to the HBU Registrar’s Office.
  2. The student presents the AP portfolio compiled through the high school art program to the HBU Art Faculty for evaluation.
  3. The student receives written approval from the School of Art Director to accept the scores and portfolio in lieu of a lower level art course(s).

Each evaluation will be made on a case-by-case basis. No more than six (6) semester hours may be awarded for AP credit.

Special Requirements

Art majors are required to participate in annual student exhibitions and other exhibits, programs, and lectures. The University reserves the right to retain permanently one (1) work from each student in each class. The art faculty will decide the disposition of these works. Other works may be held temporarily for use in specific exhibitions. These will be available to owners no later than two (2) years after the lending date.

Student Exhibition Experiences

Art majors must participate in at least one (1) approved exhibition during both junior and senior years. These opportunities must be approved by the department chair and mentored by a member of the Art faculty. Art majors are also expected to participate in the organization and presentation of the annual Student Art Exhibition (Spring Semester).

Exit Exam in Art

The exit exam in Art is presented in the form of a formal portfolio review juried by a committee of Art faculty. The review is offered in the final week of Fall and Spring Semesters, and should be scheduled by the student in the semester of graduation.


This plan allows the student to have a major in art and another unrelated discipline. An Art major with an unrelated major has a studio emphasis for the production of art.

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

In college art in America, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio is the top undergraduate offering and is considered the professional degree.

The BFA, Bachelor of Fine Arts, is an excellent choice of degrees for those wishing to attend graduate school for a Master of Fine Arts. 

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBFA Art Major Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentStudio Art Major Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentStudio Art Minor Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentArt History Minor Requirements PDF

Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Creative Writing, and Theater

Journalism and Mass Communication

Journalism & Mass Communication offers a unique curriculum combining Houston Baptist University’s strong liberal arts foundation with cutting edge media skills in communication technology. We are now training tomorrow’s leaders in journalism and mass media.

The instruction merges traditional media practices with the latest in wireless broadband multimedia. Critical thinking, visual communication, writing, interviewing, and multi-platform content distribution are emphasized throughout the curriculum and will prepare you for a career in the heart of the information age.  

The courses evenly balance skills subjects in writing, reporting, audio-video production, and Internet multimedia, with critical thinking subjects like media and society, law and ethics, and new communication technologies. Discussions focus on local applications as well as the latest trends around the world. You’ll be prepared for careers as on-air reporter, editor/writer, producer, radio-TV journalist, social media coordinator, media consultant, and related positions.

There are a number of ways for students to get involved in campus media-related activities. You can write or help produce The Collegian, HBU’s award-winning campus newspaper, or work with any number of online media currently being produced by HBU.    

Your professors are respected leaders in their fields and recognized for their contributions to teaching, service, and published research. They continue to gain regional, national, and global prominence for their work in journalism and mass media.

We believe this is one of the most exciting times and places to be involved in journalism and mass communication education. We invite you to join us and be a part of it!

Journalism and Mass Communication Portfolio

All majors must successfully complete a professional quality portfolio, which will be judged by the full-time Journalism and Mass Communication faculty, in order to graduate. A more detailed description and deadlines for submission are available in the Department of Communication and Rhetoric.

Journalism and Mass Communication Internships

Internships in Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC 4373, 4374, 4375) provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in the media related fields. The department places students at the local, state, and national level. Students must complete at least two internships. Prior to the semester in which the student will do an internship, the students must 1) apply and receive permission of instructor during the semester prior to the beginning of the course, 2) submit a professional resume, 3) submit goals and objectives for the internship, and 4) arrange for an internship with the help of the instructor.

Journalism and Mass Communication Opportunities on Campus

In order to prepare for future entry level jobs in mass communication, students are encouraged to participate in one or more of the following areas: student newspaper, student yearbook, and HBU broadcast journalism.

Departmental Honors in Journalism and Mass Communication

Completing the honors program in Journalism and Mass Communication permits students to enrich their educational experience and to receive academic recognition for electing the additional challenging course work. To qualify for the honors program the students must have complete 64 semester hours for credit (at least 32 hours at HBU); have completed JMC 1313, JMC 1324, JMC 2303, and JMC 3314; have a least a cumulative 3.25 GPA and a 3.5 GPA for journalism and mass communication; have a desire to pursue further studies in the subject; have good research skills and the ability to complete self-directed work; and be accepted by the departmental honors committee. To complete the program students must maintain a cumulative 3.25 GPA and a 3.5 GPA for journalism and mass communication classes; complete contract work at HBU in two 3000 and/or 4000 level journalism and mass communication classes; and complete HONR 4399 Honors Thesis and the oral thesis defense.  Upon successful completion of the program, the student’s bound Honors Thesis will be placed in the HBU library and the honors program will be noted on the student’s transcript.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentJournalism and Mass Communications Major Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentJournalism and Mass Comunications Minor Requirements PDF


The Creative Writing program prepares students to explore the creative potential of the written word. Like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, we understand the act of writing as an act of sub-creation in which the writer worships God the artist in the writing of original work. Students take intensive writing workshops in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and playwriting with well published writers in these fields. Furthermore, through this program students connect with the rich opportunities the writing community of Houston offers such as publication experiences, professional writing internships, writing conferences, and readings from world famous writers. A Major and a Minor are offered.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentWriting Minor Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentWriting Major Requirements PDF

Cinema and New Media Arts

The Cinema & New Media Arts major provides a challenging creative environment for students to develop their artistic abilities and prepare for future work in multimedia production. Taking advantage of developing technology, the curriculum is uniquely focused on new opportunities available to filmmakers and media producers in the twenty-first century. The major offers students ample opportunities for practical, hands-on experience coupled with mentorship from experienced faculty members. All of this is designed to prepare students for a variety of pursuits, from small-budget independent work to large studio productions and everything in-between.
The major requires a total of 52 credit hours, which are divided into three basic categories: Artistic Training, Practical Application, and Media Studies. These three types of classes ensure that students are well-trained in their craft, have ample time to exercise and sharpen their talents, and are historically grounded in a rich artistic foundation.
While two and three-year tracks are available, the major is ideally taken over four years. As freshmen, students are given an introduction to the medium as well as an overview of art, aesthetics, collaboration, and core cinematic principles. Sophomore year, students begin to specialize with training in specific disciplines. Junior year is focused on practical application, experience, and apprenticeships in the students’ chosen disciplines. Finally senior year, students complete a two-semester-long capstone experience to prepare for work after college.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentCinema and New Media Arts Major Requirements PDF

Department of Music

Houston Baptist University’s Department of Music is committed to offering a world class music education where student artists expand their creative gifts, and ultimately contribute their talents to the Western classical music heritage. Designed to provide a broad aesthetic experience for both the music major and the general student, the program introduces undergraduates to the fine arts along with the theories that underlie them, and offers opportunities for creative involvement and enrichment in various ensembles. With the campus’ location so near Houston’s cultural center, students also regularly enjoy outstanding artists, lecturers, theater, and other renowned musical performances.

The music curricula provide the specialization and depth of study necessary for performance (voice, piano, organ, band instruments) and teacher certification. Qualified non-majors may enroll in music electives and participate in one of the performing ensembles. Students who wish to major in music must apply for acceptance to a degree program that leads to a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music, a Bachelor of Music (BM) (performance—voice, piano,or organ), or a Bachelor of Music Education (BME) (teacher certification).

Entrance Exams in Music

Freshmen and Transfer Students

A. Incoming freshman, transfer students, and other currently enrolled students who wish to major in music must audition (demonstrate their talent for performance) for the faculty in their major applied area before being admitted to the school. Three or four auditions are held each year between January and August.

B. Also at the audition, incoming freshman, transfer students, and other currently enrolled students who wish to major in music must pass a music theory placement exam in order to be fully admitted to the Department of Music. Those who do not pass this exam will be required to enroll in a Fundamentals of Music Theory course (MUSI 0222). Students granted “conditional” admission will only be allowed to enroll in certain music courses. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Applied Music

Individual instruction is offered in voice, piano, organ, guitar, all band instruments, and composition. All students electing applied music for credit will be required to take a jury examination at the end of each semester. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for more specific information.

Music majors must be registered for applied music in their area of concentration until they pass the Sophomore Review (MUSI 0003) and meet any recital requirements (MUSI 3090 Performance Recital and / or MUSI 4090 Senior Recital).

All lower level applied music courses (lessons) will carry an MUSI 11XX or 12XX number and all upper level applied music courses (lessons) will carry an MUSI 31XX or 32XX number. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Music Ensembles

Any approved student who meets the audition requirements may participate in an ensemble. Music majors must participate in Schola Cantorum (MUSI 2111), University Singers (MUSI 1113), Opera Workshop Ensemble (MUSI 1119), Chamber Music Ensemble (MUSI 2112), Band (MUSI 1111) or Guitar Ensemble (MUSI 1114) each semester in residence. Keyboard majors are required to participate in one ensemble and will be assigned accompanying duties.

Choral Activities: Music majors with an emphasis in voice must participate in Schola Cantorum (MUSI 2111), University Singers (MUSI 1113), or Opera Workshop Ensemble (MUSI 1119) each semester.

Instrumental Activities: Music majors with an emphasis in instrumental music must participate in the Chamber Music Ensemble (MUSI 2112), Band (MUSI 1111), the Guitar Ensemble (MUSI 1114) or, with permission, select another ensemble each semester.

All music scholarship students must enroll in an ensemble, earn a passing grade, and remain registered as full-time students for each semester they attend Houston Baptist University. Approved non-music majors assigned to an ensemble by the Chair of the Department of Music must enroll in that ensemble, earn a passing grade, and remain registered full-time each semester in order to maintain their music grant-in-aid / scholarship. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Keyboard Proficiency

All music majors must be enrolled in keyboard studies until the minimum requirements for keyboard proficiency (MUSI 0002)  as set forth in the current Department of Music Handbook have been met and the examination has been passed. In certain instances, students who have passed a keyboard proficiency examination may be permitted to waive further keyboard studies. This examination shall be administered regularly at the end of each semester and at other times as required. The keyboard proficiency examination must be completed before student teaching, internship, or presentation of senior recital. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Sophomore Review Examination

The purpose of the Sophomore Review (MUSI 0003) is to assess the progress made by each music major during his or her first two years of study. Students will enroll in MUSI 0003 at the end of the fourth semester (after earning about 60 semester hours of applicable music credit toward their degree) and be concurrently enrolled in MUSI 2323 Theory IV and MUSI 2123 Theory IV Lab. Transfer students with 60 hours or more of transfer credit must take the Sophomore Review Examination at the end of their first semester after being admitted to the Department of Music. It consists of four parts: 1) A well-written essay re: choice of major and career path; 2) A student performance in a SoM Forum; 3) An interview with Sophomore Review Committee; 4) The Cumulative Theory Exam (covering Theory I, II, III, IV). Each student will have a maximum of two attempts to pass all sections of Sophomore Review (pass / fail grade). As the required “gateway” course to all upper level (MUSI 3000 and 4000) courses, failure to pass all four parts of MUSI 0003 after two attempts will require the student to consider an alternative major degree program with the only option of a minor in music. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Jury Examinations In Music

Every student enrolled in a private applied music course will be required to take a jury examination at the end of each semester of study. The jury will consist of the members of the faculty in the student’s major field of performance. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Student Forum And Concert Attendance Requirement

All music majors enrolled as full-time students (12 or more credit hours) must register for and pass seven semesters of  MUSI 0001, Forum Recital Attendance. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Student Recital Requirements

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music students are not required to perform a recital. The Bachelor in Music Education (BME) students are required to perform one recital of 30 minutes duration (MUSI 3090). All other Bachelor of Music students are required to perform both performance (MUSI 3090) and senior (MUSI 4090) recitals. Please refer to the current Department of Music Handbook for further details.

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentMusic Minor Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Arts (BA) in Music Requirements PDF 

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music (BM) - Organ Performance - Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music (BM) - Piano Perfor mance - Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music (BM) - Vocal Performance - Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music (BM) - Church Music - Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music (BM) - Theory / Composition - Requirements PDF

Adobe Acrobat PDF format documentBachelor of Music Education (BME) Requirements PDF

Graduate Programs

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts

In recent years Houston Baptist University is experiencing a marvelous resurrection of a liberal arts focus and a subsequent growth in the fine arts.  Since 2006, the HBU School of Art has enjoyed a flurry of creative research activity and meteoric growth while the leadership at HBU has supported a significant increase in resources for the School of Art.  The new director of the School of Art, Mr. Michael Collins, a well recognized artist and teacher has shepherded the transformation of HBU’s fledgling Department of Art into a world-class School of Art.  We also have a new Artist-in-Residence program for our finest full-time faculty, and our Visiting Artist program allows exceptional artists to work in our studios, interact with and teach our students, and form a creative synergy in the School of Art

The Artist-In-Residency program in the School of Art currently has three Artists in Residence, Michael Collins, Jim Edwards and James Busby. In addition the program has a fine Gallery directed and curated by Jim Edwards, former co curator of the Pop Exhibition at the Menil Museum and well known expert on Art of the American West and specifically Texas Art. Our lead senior faculty in the SOA is well recognized as award winning all participating in large numbers of invitational museum and top gallery exhibitions around the world. This experience in both the studio and also teaching excellence in the studio classroom favorably places our new MFA program as an excellent Christian alternative to larger programs in our nation, which have lost the focus of quality in many of the traditional areas of studio research.

Our MFA program offers focused study in Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Ceramics, Sculpture and also is supported by graduate classes in Gallery and Museum Practices. The learning objectives and outcomes for the Master of Fine Arts student include the student’s acquisition of graduate-level technical proficiency in their studio disciplines.  Additionally, the MFA student will obtain expertise about the contemporary art world, eras of art history and about gallery and museum practices.  Outcomes will include the ability to understand the creative process, develop their own artistic styles, and create art that is reflective of social and spiritual enlightenment.

Each graduate accepted is offered a studio space on campus and the chance at teaching assistantships as well as full scholarships for study in the MFA program. With both BFA and MFA programs the School of Art at HBU is housed in a very impressive new state of the Art 44,000 square foot facility, which possesses fully equipped labs in printmaking, painting, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture as well as working studios for its full time art faculty.  This fusion of artist’s faculty members making art on campus fosters a closer creative community and an opportunity for graduates to fully engage their faculty team.

Accepted graduates in the MFA program will be offered creative and teaching assistantship opportunities in Germany where our university participates in the Artz Net Werk project in Hilmsen Germany. Graduates will have professional exhibition opportunities in Germany allowing them to have this unprecedented opportunity to create and exhibit their work in Europe while in the MFA program. Our fine Visiting Artist for sculpture and ceramics Hans Molzberger is a well known Germany artist aids in our creative activities in Germany.  These opportunities for summer working and teaching abroad is yet another unique feature of our MFA program.  The professional relationships, which this direct process of cultural emersion provides often opens new thinking and creative growth for professional and student artists alike harder to witness in may MFA programs.

In the final analysis our Christian philosophic base along with our on campus lead fine art graduate faculty marks the new MFA program at HBU as a special environment for any MFA applicant seeking a critical and caring environment to complete their professional fine art training. Our creative and sharing environment between faculty and student alike along with our study and exhibition abroad program in Germany offers a unique possibility for developing the Professional skills needed for any artist seeking a life in the professional Fine Arts realm. Please see our on line examples of our fine graduate art faculty on the School of Art website.

The Program:

The HBU Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a Christian-based, two-year studio program with specialization in the areas of two-dimensional studies (painting, drawing, printmaking) and three-dimensional studies (sculpture, ceramics). The program is housed in a brand new, world-class building with 5 state of the art classroom lab spaces and 18 student studios. The MFA is a terminal degree and the primary goal of graduate education in the visual arts is professional excellence!

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