About the Program
Why did you name the program "science and religion"? Why not "Christianity and science"?
The secular academic world uses the label “science and religion” for interdisciplinary programs they offer which are similar to ours. To aid in degree recognition of the program, we felt it wise to use an established category for the title of our degree instead of creating a new one. Certainly the emphasis in our program is on the interaction between Christianity and science.
However, in today's pluralistic secular society it is important to be aware of how other world religions interact with the sciences. Consequently, this is also covered as a part of our academic program.
Will the program take a "young-earth" or "recent-creation" position?
While the young-earth model is a popular contemporary view on creation, it is not the only view held by conservative evangelicals. The science and religion program will attempt to represent fairly the range of evangelical positions on issues like the age of the earth and the time intervals involved in creation.
Since the challenges from naturalistically based interpretations often take aim at creationist models in general, there is plenty of common ground for evangelicals of various persuasions to work together to develop effective responses to these secular arguments. The program seeks to foster such a spirit of cooperation.
Biola University and its faculty hold to the full inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture, but we recognize that our interpretation of Scripture may not be absolutely certain at all points. We expect there to be harmony between the data from nature and the words (data) of Scripture, but we realize that apparent conflicts can arise when we interpret and integrate these data. One goal of this program is to identify, minimize and resolve those apparent conflicts.
As a Christian school, don't you have an obvious bias that makes it impossible for you to teach this material objectively?
One of the most serious oversights in studying an interdisciplinary field like science and religion is to forget that everyone — both scientists and theologians — has biases. Thus, to presume that one can be completely objective in this field, while dismissing everyone else as biased, is naive.
For example, to deny the possibility of supernatural action because it is not a scientific explanation, because it is not a repeatable event, or because it violates the laws of nature, reflects an obvious bias towards naturalism. One of the major goals of this program is to make students aware of the biases and presuppositions that influence the interpretation of scientific and scriptural data.
To be candid, our own "bias" is that "all truth is God's truth," and we seek to construct models of reality that fully incorporate the data from Scripture with what we know about the created world.
What type of science background is required for this program?
A bachelor's degree in any field from an accredited university and a 3.0 GPA is all that is required for admission into our program. However, we generally recommend that students have studied some area of natural science. Additionally, Master of Arts – Science and Religion applicants must answer three short essay questions as a part of their application.
Many of the courses offered in this program will be available as electives through Biola's existing apologetics program. If a student does not have the appropriate science background, they are encouraged to participate in the program through that route.
What are the short essay questions required for the Master of Arts – Science and Religion application?
- Why do you desire to participate in the Master of Arts – Science and Religion program, and what do you hope to gain from your studies? How does this relate to your vocational objectives?
- List two or three books you have recently read in the area of science and religion, give a one paragraph assessment of each.
- Please list any background that is relevant to the Master of Arts – Science and Religion program (e.g. past/current employment, research, etc.).
Is it possible to complete both the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics and Master of Arts – Science and Religion degrees?
Yes — but they cannot be taken simultaneously. Students who finish one degree can automatically transfer 15 credits into the second, reducing the second degree to 24 credits.
What are the admissions requirements for the program?
To be eligible for admission to the Master of Arts – Science and Religion, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) from an accredited institution
- Grade point average equivalent to a 3.0 “B” average or higher. (Applicants with a lower GPA can still apply, and are considered on a case by case basis).*
- Be an evangelical believer, and be in agreement with Biola University’s Doctrinal Statement
- GRE is not required
It is not a requirement that this bachelor’s degree be in Bible, theology, or a related discipline.
Master of Arts – Science and Religion applicants must also write three short essays and should have a degree/background in the sciences,** or be well versed in key topics.
*Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 can still apply and be accepted, but will need to answer additional questions regarding their GPA as part of their application.
**A background in a field of natural science is highly recommended.
When can I begin the program?
New students can begin in the fall, spring or summer semesters, and may apply at any time.
It is recommended (but not required) that students should apply by November 1 to begin in the spring, April 1 to begin in the summer and July 1 to begin in the fall.
How long does it take to complete the degree?
For full-time students, it is possible to complete the curriculum requirements for the degree in four or five intensive semesters.
For part-time students who work elsewhere, it usually takes six to ten semesters.
How many credits are required to be full-time?
Nine credits or more per semester.
Is this program accredited?
Yes — Biola University is accredited through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), an accreditation body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Biola’s Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics and Master of Arts – Science & Religion are part of the Talbot School of Theology and are also accredited by ATS (Association of Theological Schools).
What is the cost of tuition?
The tuition rate for the 2018–19 school year is $621/credit. Additional costs for some courses include textbooks or material fees.
Do you accept transfer credits from other accredited degree programs?
Yes — upon acceptance, your transcripts will be evaluated for potential transfer credits (maximum of 15) and waivers (replace requirements with equivalent electives).
Are scholarships and financial aid available?
Does Biola accept military benefits?
Yes — Biola does accept military aid.
Our program continues to attract many active duty, reserves, and veteran military. Some military aid requires a student to be full time (nine credits a semester). In this case, it is recommended that you begin the degree in the spring semester. This would allow the student to finish the 39-credit program in two years (four semesters) and prevent them from having to pay for a fifth semester out of pocket. View Biola’s military benefits page for more details.
If I can’t pursue the master's program, is there a certificate I could do instead?
Yes — we offer an Online Certificate in Christian Apologetics which is very flexible, affordable and can be done anywhere, anytime. The certificate can also earn you future credits (six credits towards the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics or two credits towards the Master of Arts – Science and Religion), which can help you ease into either program should you decide to pursue it in the future.
Learning Formats (Distance and On-Campus)
How much time does a distance learning student need to be on campus?
Our distance students typically come to campus for a two-week residency for two summers, in June. Work is done from home during the spring semester in preparation for this summer session, and work done from home during the fall serves as a “wrap up” to the spring-summer-fall series.
Our distance students are also welcome (but not required) to participate in special weekend courses that occur multiple times throughout the year. These courses could serve as a way to reduce the number of three-part hybrid residency courses needed, as well as time spent at Biola for Summer Residency.
What system do you use for online classes?
The Canvas Learning Management System hosts Biola’s online courses, and is utilized for student/faculty interaction, accessing course materials and submitting course work.
Where are your students from?
We have students from almost every state in the United States, and from over 20 countries around the world!
I heard residents from Alabama, Arkansas and Maryland aren’t allowed to be distance students for the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics. Is that true?
Alabama, Arkansas and Maryland are the only states that have not authorized Biola to offer online education. Residents from those states are not allowed to participate as a distance student in either master's degree program, but can do the Online Certificate in Christian Apologetics program. You can learn more about the state law and its implications on higher education distance learning on our online programs policy page.
Can I take a combination both distance and on-campus courses?
Yes, Master of Arts – Science and Religion students can take a combination of both distance and on-campus courses.
Classes are designed for the busy student. Science & religion and philosophy core classes are only offered in a three-part hybrid residency format, but many from the biblical studies core and electives can be taken as on-campus courses.
Is Biola's campus safe?
Biola is located in La Mirada, California, which ranks as one of the safest communities in the region. Campus Safety officers are on duty 24 hours a day, video cameras are installed across campus and entrance gatehouses are staffed at night and during business hours.
In the event of a major emergency on campus, Biola utilizes a notification system to alert students via text message. The Biola University annual security and fire safety report can be downloaded for your reference.
Do the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics and Master of Arts – Science and Religion programs have many international students?
Yes — and we are getting more interest internationally each year! We have students from over 20 countries around the world!
What additional application items are required for international students?
In addition to the regular application items, a copy of your passport, affidavit of financial support and proof of English proficiency are required.
Do I need to take the TOEFL?
The TOEFL is required if your native language is not English. If that is the case, a minimum TOEFL (English proficiency) of 100 is required for admission. This requirement can be waived if you completed junior high and high school in the United States or an English-speaking nation.
What is the available funding that I must guarantee for my studies?
Residential students who are accepted must submit evidence to adequate financial resource to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses for one full year of study at Biola University. A Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) will not be issued without this documentation.
Do distance students need a visa?
Yes — it is against the law to study in the United States without the correct visa and paperwork. Studying in the United States is required for distance students who will attend two weeks of summer residency for two summers. Those without a visa will apply for a F-1 Student Visa. Each visa has different requirements and may or may not allow for incidental study.
If you have a current visa, check to see if it allows you to be a student.
Do my transcripts have to be evaluated by the World Education Services (WES)?
In many cases, Biola is able to evaluate international transcripts without going through WES. Request official transcripts from your institution and have them sent to Biola for review. Please contact your Graduate Admissions Counselor for more details.
Is financial aid available for international students?
Can I work while being an on-campus student?
With an F-1 visa, students are eligible to work part-time on-campus, but not off-campus.
How do I navigate time zones and internet limitations?
Internet access is required, though high speed internet is not necessary. Students may log in at their convenience to complete work, but deadlines and due dates are based on Pacific Standard Time (PST).
What if I am unable to do the master's degree program, but still want to study apologetics through Biola University?
We offer an Online Certificate in Christian Apologetics which is very flexible, affordable and can be done anywhere, anytime. The certificate can also earn you future credits (6 credits towards the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics or two credits towards the Master of Arts – Science and Religion), which can help you ease into either program should you decide to pursue it in the future.