Houston Baptist University Catalog
School of Christian Thought
School of Christian Thought
The School of Christian Thought offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in apologetics, biblical languages, philosophy and theology. The mission of the School of Christian Thought is to serve and equip the Church; to provide students with foundational knowledge in philosophy, theology, and apologetics through reading and engagement with the ideas and languages of classic and biblical texts; to challenge students to display sound reasoning, to communicate clearly, and to demonstrate effective research skills; and to foster both intellectual and spiritual growth as students and faculty alike seek to glorify God in all things.
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.
Philosophy Major Requirements PDF
Philosophy Minor Requirements PDF
Department of Theology
HBU is committed to providing liberal arts undergraduate education dedicated to the view that Christian ideals and principles provide the perspective, goals, and values most essential in higher education. The implementation of this view is the responsibility of the entire University staff, but it is the province of the Department of Theology to offer the specific courses that enable students to gain an intelligent and meaningful acquaintance with the Christian religion and with the writings of the Old and New Testaments.
Nine (9) semester hours in Christianity are required for graduation in any major. These are basic courses designed for all college students and not for church vocations students alone. In addition to its support of the core curriculum, the Department of Theology offers majors in Biblical Languages and Christianity.
The mission of the Department of Theology is to provide students with a foundation in the classical theological disciplines, facilitate intellectual and spiritual growth, and equip individuals in skills essential to Christian ministry. To accomplish this mission the Department of Theology offers two majors: one in Christianity; the other in Biblical Languages. These courses of study help students achieve an intelligent and meaningful understanding of the Christian faith, its history and its practices. They are appropriate for men and women who plan to enter a vocation in Christian ministry; they are also appropriate for individuals who desire to serve in active lay ministry. Many students who complete a major in Christianity or Biblical Languages may wish to continue their studies either in our Master of Arts in Biblical Languages program or our Master of Arts in Theological Studies program.
Biblical Languages Major Requirements PDF
Biblical Languages Minor Requirements PDF
Anyone wanting to understand God’s work in the world will enjoy pursuing a Christianity major or minor in the Department of Theology. This degree is especially appropriate for those wanting to serve the body of Christ as a minister in a church, a missionary, someone in parachurch ministry, or whatever setting God calls you. We value our Baptist heritage, but our faculty and students are broadly evangelical, drawing from a variety of traditions and denominations. Thus, we welcome anyone who would wish to study with us.
Our broad program focusing on Biblical Studies, Theology, and Practical Ministry will give you a foundation for a variety of ministries and will prepare for graduate studies such as our Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) or an MDiv. The main strength and focus of our department is the study of the Bible. You will gain a strong grasp of the Old and New Testament and will learn to interpret the Scriptures for yourself, even studying them in Greek and Hebrew. Along with the study of the Bible, we give you a strong foundation in theological disciplines so that you can understand how Christian theology addresses the questions of modern culture and how your theology fits within the variety of Christian traditions and denominations over the past two millennia. In all our classes we integrate discussion about how to apply the Bible in the church, but we focus specifically on these issues in a variety of Practical Ministry classes. Since God has gifted each of you in different ways, we help you explore your gifting and the needs of the church, so you can ably share God’s love with a broken world.
There are a number of different Christianity minors in the Department of Theology, each with a different emphasis. There are minors in Biblical Studies, Christian Studies, Practical Theology or Theology.
Christianity Major Requirements PDF
Christian Biblical Studies Minor Requirements PDF
Christian Christian Studies Minor Requirements PDF
Christian Practical Theology Minor Requirements PDF
Christian Theology Minor Requirements PDF
Master of Arts in Apologetics
The mission of the Master of Arts 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 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.
The MA in Apologetics would consist of 36 hours (consistent with many other humanities programs). The curriculum is built around core courses with a limited elective component in order to provide a focused program in which the various core components support each other for an overall comprehensive education. A requirement for the entire program is that students demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of classical apologetics by the end of their first two semesters, either by successfully completing PHIL 5300, Fundamentals of Apologetics, or by passing a competency exam on the material.
Master of Arts in Apologetics Program Requirements PDF
Master of Arts in Biblical Languages
The Master of Arts in Biblical Languages (MABL) offers a concentrated and intensive program of study in biblical languages for students having an undergraduate major in biblical languages or having completed at least six semester hours of Greek and six semester hours of Hebrew (“Advanced Standing” Program – 30 hours of course work), and also for those without an undergraduate major in biblical languages or at least six semester hours of Greek and six semester hours of Hebrew (“Entering Standing” Program – 42 hours of course work).
Master of Arts in Biblical Languages Program Requirements PDF
Master of Arts in Philosophy
To earn the Master of Arts degree in Philosophy, a student must complete the following course work with no grades less than “C”.
Master of Arts in Philosophy Program Requirements PDF
Certificate in Apologetics Program Requirements PDF
Master of Arts in Theological Studies
The HBU Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) is designed to meet the needs of those planning to enter vocational or bi-vocational church ministry, of those already engaged in vocational or bi-vocational church ministry, and of those church members who wish to enhance their voluntary ministry in the church. The program is designed to enable the graduate student or graduate of this program to greater effectiveness and accomplishment in service through vocational church ministry.
The MATS is also designed to enable graduates to continue in additional graduate study or to develop programs of continuing education for personal growth in ministry. Students will study intensively in the four major areas of theological studies: biblical, historical/theological, philosophical, and practical studies.
The Academic Program
The MATS program is a seminar based program. The professor/instructor who leads the seminar will expect students to participate in extensive reading, writing, and discussion concerning the subject matter of a course. Consequently, courses are not lecture based but the professor/instructor will give input as needed to enhance the instructive force of the seminar approach to the course subject matter.
Students who have an undergraduate degree in religion, biblical studies, or Christianity, where undergraduate courses taken covered the prerequisite areas of study, will be granted advanced standing upon their acceptance into the program, and will have thirty-six (36) hours remaining to earn the MATS degree. Where their undergraduate study lacks a subject area, students will be required to take the MATS level core courses. Other students will be required to take CHRI 5300. In completing the 36 hour program, all students should take six hours of biblical studies (3 hours of Old Testament and 3 hours of New Testament), six hours of theology, and three hours of philosophy.
The student will be responsible for critical essays on the major works in subject categories, ongoing evaluations by the professor/instructor on knowledge in subject categories, a major paper, and a final exam. A course in which the student received less than a “C–” will not count toward completion of the degree. The grading scale will be the University grading scale as described in this Catalog.
To earn a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, 36 semester hours are required.
Master of Arts in Theologocal Studies Program Requirements PDF
The Accelerated MATS Degree
The Accelerated MATS program offers undergraduate Christianity majors an opportunity to begin work toward the MATS degree at the beginning of their second semester of their junior year.
In the beginning of their Junior Year (after successful completion of 60 hours) students can apply to the Accelerated MA Theological Studies program. Students must 1) have at least a 3.0 GPA in CHRI courses and overall, 2) fill out the MATS application form, 3) submit to the Dean of the School of Christian Thought, the Director of the MA in Theological Studies program and their adviser two letters of recommendation from theology professors at HBU, and 4) submit a current resume.
Accelerated MATS Requirements
Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
Undergraduate Christianity Major Courses
(CHRI 3311, 3301, 3302, 3314, 4335, 4293 and 18 hours of upper level CHRI electives)
Undergraduate Elective Hours
Graduate MATS Hours (30 hours of 5000-6000 CHRI)
Total Hours in Degree Program
A suggested hour progression for this degree plan is as follows:
32 hours Freshman
30 hours Sophomore
30 hours Junior (27 hours undergraduate, 3 hours graduate)
24 hours Senior (15 hours undergraduate, 9 hours graduate)
24 hours Fifth Year (6 hours undergraduate, 18 hours graduate)
Accellerated Master of Arts in Theologocal Studies Program Requirements PDF