Master of Arts (Apologetics)

Degree Overview

Vocational Calling

To serve as a teacher, researcher, and/or writer in the field of Christian apologetics. This is an advanced degree, and students are expected either to have a baccalaureate degree in religion or philosophy or significant coursework in religious studies or philosophy before entering the program. This degree is suitable preparation for entry into the PhD program. It can be earned through residential and non- residential study with limited trips to the main campus.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate their understanding of and ability to communicate biblical, theological, and historical truth in settings that require a defense of the Christian faith.

  2. Students will demonstrate critical and constructive thought processes in cultural and apologetic engagement.

  3. Students will demonstrate personal and spiritual maturity as Christian apologists.

  4. Students will demonstrate effective skills in research and writing.

For further information, please contact:

  • Dr. Lloyd A. Harsch (Curriculum Coordinator)

  • Dr. Robert Stewart (Concentration Advisor)

Program Requirements

Basic Ministerial Competency Component (29 hours)

Biblical Studies Component (12 hours)

Course

Hours

Greek Exegesis courses

6

Hebrew Exegesis courses

6

Students with elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew credits at the collegiate level are able to go directly into advanced Greek and Hebrew exegesis courses. Applicants who cannot earn credit in elementary and intermediate Greek and Hebrew through the Accelerated MDiv Program must earn these credits as a condition of graduation.

Historical Studies Component (5 hours)

course

hours

History of Christianity: Early-Medieval 

3

History of Christianity: Reformation-Modern 

2

NOBTS, SBC, and the Cooperative Program

*

Theological Studies Component (6 hours)

course

hours

Systematic Theology 1 

3

Systematic Theology 2 

3

Philosophical/Ethical Studies Component (6 hours)

course

hours

Philosophy of Religion 

3

Christian Ethics*
OR
Biblical Ethics 

3

Apologetics Core and Electives Component (18 hours)

Apologetics Core (9 hours)

course

hours

Christian Apologetics 

3

The Problem of Evil 

3

Logic 

3

Apologetic Electives (9 hours)
Note
: Electives may be taken from the following categories within the Theological and Historical Studies Division: Islamic Studies, Philosophy of Religion and Apologetics.

Summative Evaluation Component (3 hours)

course

hours

Theological Research and Writing Seminar

3

Note: Only students within 18 hours of graduation may register for this course. Those with concentrations in theological or historical studies may request approval to adapt their summative writing assignment into a formal thesis. Further information about adapting the summative writing assignment into a formal thesis is addressed in the seminar.

Total Required: 50 hours

Academic Requirements

The 50-hour course requirement of the MA (Apologetics) degree is in- tended to introduce students to a broad range of theological disciplines necessary for further studies in apologetics research. Students in the degree must maintain a 3.5 GPA. Those who do not maintain this standard will be on academic probation after the first semester that their GPA drops below 3.5 and will be dismissed after the second consecutive semester below a 3.5 average.

PhD Eligibility

Students who complete the MA (Apologetics) are eligible to apply for the PhD at NOBTS. Students should, however, refer to all current admission requirements for Research Doctoral Programs to ensure the MA (Apologetics) meets the criteria for specific majors.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MA (Apologetics) degree must fulfill all the normal admission requirements for NOBTS, including the admission form, tran- script, church endorsement, statement of call, medical clearance, TOEFL for international students, etc. Admission to the MA (Apologetics) program requires additional approval by the Theological and Historical Studies Division. The following criteria will be used in reviewing applications for the MA (Apologetics) program:

  • Applicants must have earned a baccalaureate degree, normally with at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale, from an institution accredited by a regional accreditation agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or holding membership in the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada, or the educational equivalent.

  • Applicants must have completed a total of at least 15 transcripted credit hours with a grade of “B” or above in biblical studies, theology, historical studies, philosophy, and/or ethics.

  • Applicants must submit a research paper on a topic in some area of theological studies for consideration by the Theological and Historical Studies Division. In some cases the division may require a personal interview with the applicant.

  • Students should evidence the interests, aptitudes, and personal qualities necessary for the particular application of this degree.

  • The Theological and Historical Studies Division, in consultation with the Registrar, shall determine the applicant’s suitability for admission and admit qualified candidates into the MA (Apologetics) program. Upon admission to the MA (Apologetics) program, the Theological and Historical Studies Division will tailor a program of study for each student. Students with weak undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be required to take introductory courses or, in some cases, remedial work to insure minimum competency in that discipline. Students with strong undergraduate preparation in a discipline may be eligible for advanced standing and may therefore take advanced electives in that discipline rather than the introductory courses in that discipline.

Academic Requirements

The 50-hour course requirement of the MA (Apologetics) degree (as delineated above) is intended to introduce students to a broad range of theological disciplines necessary for further studies in theological research or interdisciplinary studies related to theology. Students in the MA (Apologetics) must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA to remain in the program. Those who do not maintain a 3.25 GPA will go on probation status after the first semester, and will be dismissed after the second consecutive semester below a 3.25 average.

*All graduate students must take this course during orientation in their first semester; however, students will not receive a credit hour or be charged for the course.

The faculty recommends strongly that apologetics students attend the January Defend conference, which features some of the nation’s top apologists. Students can earn up to six hours of course credit toward this degree each year through the Defend conference.