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Learning Formats

Our students, whether they’re pursuing a Master of Arts with a focus in Christian Apologetics or a focus in Science and Religion, come from a variety of backgrounds and locations with the desire to further their knowledge and experience. Most of our students are working, involved in ministry, and are balancing family responsibilities. In order to accommodate our busy students, we offer both 39-credit degrees in a distance-learning format, and the M.A. Christian Apologetics is also available in a traditional on-campus format.

Distance Learning Format

Our unique distance Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics and Master of Arts – Science and Religion programs present premier academic training in a flexible, distance learning format to committed Christians worldwide. Students take a combination of fully online courses and hybrid residency courses to complete their degree.

Online Courses (19 credits)

Students will complete 19 of the program’s credits through online courses. These courses have no in person component and typically require: weekly discussion online, reading assignments, tests, and essays. Faculty lead discussions, grade coursework, and provide general course guidance. A few courses are based on audio lectures students listen to at their own pace within a given semester and arranged courses, such as directed studies, thesis projects, and internships are available.

Hybrid Residency Courses (20 credits)

Students who enroll in either the Master of Arts – Christian Apologetics or Master of Arts – Science and Religion will complete 20 credits of their degree in a three-part hybrid residency course model. These hybrid courses have online interaction and coursework during the spring and fall, with corresponding lectures in the summer. Each class typically has three scheduled days of residency lecture and your time on campus will depend on how many classes you take. Your residency time can be accomplished in as little as two 2-week trips or spread out over several years. The following is an outline of the coursework:

  • Part One: Online Coursework (Spring Semester)
    Students begin their courses in the spring semester, completely online. All reading, online discussions and assignments will take place and will be completed online using our Canvas Online Learning Platform.
  • Part Two: Summer Residency (Summer Semester)
    Following the online spring semester, students are expected to attend related course lectures during the Summer Residency. During this two week time, students register for a designated number of days for each course. A student’s stay for the Summer Residency may be as short as three days, or as long as the full two weeks.
  • Part Three: Online Coursework (Fall Semester)
    After students finish their Summer Residency, they will complete the remainder of their coursework during the fall semester, completely online.

Summer Residency Highlights

Summer Residency is the on-campus lecture portion of our three-part hybrid residency courses. Lecturers are hosted at Biola University for two weeks in June. Residency is the highlight of the academic year for our students, with stimulating lectures, as well as the opportunity to network with our top-ranked faculty and fellow students. Summer Residency is flexible for the busy student; it can be accomplished in as few as two summers or split up over several years.

  • Benefit from dynamic, in-person lectures and discussions.
  • Learn from the faculty and connect through special activities and meals.
  • Build community with fellow students from around the world.
  • Enjoy Biola’s beautiful Southern California campus.
  • Participate in fun activities including a banquet, apologetics networking night, game night, faculty panel lunches, and student-led BBQs. In addition, many students will coordinate trips to popular destinations like Disneyland, Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, the beach, and more!

Summer Residency FAQs

  • What will my schedule be like during residency?
    Lecture sessions generally take place between 8:30 am – 4:00 pm with regular breaks. Our special topics evening lectures occur Monday - Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Sunday is a free day.
  • Are housing and meal options available for purchase?
    Yes! Affordable Biola apartment housing and meal plans are available during your time at Biola.
  • Can I bring my family?
    Yes! Families are welcome to join us! Limited housing is available for families, and lectures are open for family members to join.

Weekend Seminars

Weekend Seminars are specialty elective courses offered on Biola’s campus. These classes generally meet for sixteen hours over a Friday and Saturday. Christian Apologetics students can attend Weekend Seminars on campus to fulfill a portion of their residency requirement. Most of the weekend seminar elective courses have a fully online version of the course, available with live streaming video for students looking for a distance elective. Past lecturers have included:

  • Greg Koukl
  • J.P. Moreland
  • J. Warner Wallace
  • Paul Copan
  • Jerry Root

On Campus Learning Format

Christian Apologetics

Students pursuing the Master of Arts with a focus in Christian Apologetics have the option to complete the program on campus. There are a variety of courses available during the daytime, evening and weekends. Local students can have the best of both worlds by taking on-campus courses as well as online and hybrid courses. Many electives are available in select course formats (online, hybrid, weekend seminars) and not available as traditional on-campus courses. In addition, select classes are offered during the summer term.

On-campus students are also able to enjoy our beautiful Southern California campus and have full access to Biola facilities year round. Take a look at these helpful links to learn more:

International Students

On-campus international students on a student visa must be full-time with 9 credits a semester (6 of which must be on-campus courses). It is not recommended for international students to begin in the summer because of limited course selection.

Graduate Housing 

Housing is limited and only available for full time students with 9 units of on-campus courses each semester.


Science and Religion

The Master of Arts – Science and Religion is only available in the distance learning format outlined above.

There are a limited number of courses available on campus for students who live in the Southern California area. Local students looking to take some courses on campus have the opportunity to take some of the religious studies core and elective courses on campus, but will complete their philosophy and science & religion core classes in the hybrid residency format.