Master of Arts in Apologetics

Program Description

The mission of the Master of Arts in Apologetics 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.

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 have the additional benefit of HBU’s C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, England, and 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.

Tthe 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.


36 units.

Required classes:

Philosophy of Religion: Faith and Reason
Ancient Philosophy and Culture
Medieval Philosophy and Culture
Modern and Post-Modern Culture
Literature and Apologetics
C.S. Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics
Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics
“Mere Christian” Theology and Apologetics Implications
Scripture and Apologetics Implications
Apologetics Research and Writing
Apologetics Communication
Spiritual Formation I- IV (these courses are practical in nature, are zero units, and are graded on a pass/fail basis.)


Science and Faith
World Religions
Eastern Philosophy and Culture

Students may also take electives in the Philosophy, Theology, Classics and Biblical Languages, and Fine Arts programs with advisor approval.


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


Holly Ordway, Ph.D., Chair of the Apologetics Department
Mary Jo Sharp, M.A.
Michael Ward, Ph.D.
John Mark Reynolds, Ph.D.
Jerry Walls, Ph.D.
Mike Licona, Ph.D.
Nancy Pearcey, M.A.
Lee Strobel, M.S.L.

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 Chair of the Department, Dr. Holly Ordway, at

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

Master of Arts in Apologetics: Application Requirements

Complete online application

Submit Official Transcripts - Official transcripts should be sent directly to The Graduate School from the college or university that awarded your bachelor's degree and any additional coursework taken since that time.

Submit Two Recommendatiion Forms - Download Recommendation Letter. Recommenders should submit the completed forms directly to the Graduate School via mail, fax, or email.

Provide a Current Resume - Mail or email your resume to the Graduate School.

International applicants may be required to submit some additional documents. Contact the Graduate School or Dr. Holly Ordway, chair,, with questions.

Course Descriptions

APOL 5050 Spiritual Formation I
A practical course cultivating a holistic relationship with God, learning to love God with one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength, focusing especially on traditional spiritual disciplines such as solitude, silence, spiritual reading, contemplative prayer, etc.

APOL 5060 Spiritual Formation II
A study of the nature of the traditional theological virtues of faith, hope, and love; and a practical exploration of the spiritual practices which help cultivate those virtues and help deal with the doubt, despair, and pride.

APOL 5310 Apologetics Research and Writing
A practical course to develop effective research and writing skills for graduate-level academic work. The course will cover topics such as developing an effective writing and revising process; using primary and secondary source materials; writing abstracts, book reviews, conference presentations, and research papers; and clarity and precision of language.

APOL 5320 Philosophy of Religion: Faith and Reason
This course will deal with basic issues in philosophy of religion, such as: theistic arguments, the problem of evil, the relationship between faith and reason, miracles, and life after death.  Cross listed with PHIL 5320

APOL 5330 Ancient Philosophy and Culture
Christianity was shaped by Jewish, Roman, and Greek cultural forces. This class will examine the Classical heritage of the faith. The class will survey ancient philosophy, theater, and poetry. Course will survey texts such as Theogony, Odyssey, Bacchae, Frogs, Republic, Aeneid, and Metamorphosis to examine the roots of contemporary Western Christian faith.

APOL 5340 Medieval Philosophy and Culture
A survey of the ideas, cultural developments, and literature of Medieval Europe, from the Fall of Rome to the beginning of the Renaissance. The course will cover topics such as the medieval Christian contribution to science, philosophy, art, and education; the rise of Islam and the Christian response; and the integration of faith and reason as expressed in medieval literature, art, and philosophy.

APOL 5350 Modern and Post-Modern Philosophy and Culture
A survey and evaluation of ideas and cultural developments from the 16th Century to the present, focusing especially on the Enlightenment project and the apologetic challenges and opportunities presented by its failure.

APOL 5360 Film, the Visual Arts, and Apologetics
An exploration of the potential of film and visual art for use in apologetics, focusing on the principles of interpreting artworks, especially with regard to discerning the worldviews embodied in particular artworks and using artworks to foster dialogue on apologetics issues.

APOL 5370 C.S. Lewis and Imaginative Apologetics
C.S. Lewis is the most influential public apologist of the 20th century, and his influence continues to grow. This course will explore Lewis’s thought as expressed in his fiction, poetry, apologetics, and/or academic works, and assess his contribution to the work of imaginative apologetics.

APOL 5380 “Mere Christian” Theology and Apologetics Implications
An examination of the rational coherence of core Christian doctrines, including the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Resurrection.  Other topics may include Christian exclusivism, substitutionary atonement, Heaven and Hell, etc.

APOL 6050 Spiritual Formation III
A course in the cultivation of a life of prayer, exploring a variety of prayer styles and practices from the Christian tradition such as praying the psalms, the Jesus prayer, Ignatian prayer, listening prayer, corporate prayer, etc.

APOL 6060 Spiritual Formation IV
A course in the practice of spiritual autobiography in the tradition of Augustine’s Confessions, exploring the role of writing and self-reflection in spiritual growth.

APOL 6310 Apologetics Communication
A practical course designed to develop techniques used in interpersonal, group, public, social media and other mass communication settings.  The focus will be on developing individual ability to communicate Christian thought for effective engagement with culture.

APOL 6320 Science and Faith
This course will explore the history of the relationship between science and religion, including the alleged hostility between the two.  It will examine various accounts of the compatibility between the two and ways they can be understood as mutually enriching.  Other topics in the philosophy of science and how they interact with theism may be considered.  Cross listed with PHIL 6320 Science and Faith.

APOL 6330 World Religions
A course exploring world religions and the Christian response to them.  Particular emphasis will be on the way in which one can engage participants in non-Christian religions and communicate Christian thought in various cultures.

APOL 6340 Eastern Philosophy and Culture
A course exploring Eastern philosophy and culture and the Christian response to them.  Particular emphasis will be on the way in which one can engage participants in non-Christian religions and communicate Christian thought in various cultures.

APOL 6370 Literature and Apologetics
An exploration of the use of literature in apologetics, focusing on the theory and application of imagination as a mode of knowing and of communicating truth. Theoretical perspectives will include the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Malcolm Guite; other texts will include a range of literary and popular poetry and fiction, both Christian and non-Christian.

APOL 6380 Scripture and Apologetics Implications
A survey and evaluation of contemporary methods of biblical criticism and their implications for the authority of scripture, the historical reliability of scriptural narratives, and the doctrine of inspiration.

APOL 6390 Thesis
This course, which should be taken in the final semester of the program as a culminating project, focuses on independent research and writing to produce a thesis. The course is designed for students who intend to go on to a doctoral program or do academic research and publication in the field of apologetics.

Related Information: