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    Harding University
  Mar 06, 2021
2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Information

Degrees Offered

Harding School of Theology offers three graduate degrees and a doctoral degree: Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Divinity, and Doctor of Ministry. Requirements for academic programs are determined by the catalog that is in effect at the time of the student's in that program. Students who wish to change programs may change only to programs offered in the catalog in effect at the time the change is requested.

Master of Arts

The Master of Arts degree program prepares students for teaching and further research in their chosen area of concentration. Program emphasis is on scholarly research. The M.A. degree is designed to provide a foundational understanding of one of four areas: New Testament, Old Testament, Systematic Theology, and Historical Theology.

Master of Arts in Christian Ministry

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree is designed to equip students for leadership in some form of specialized ministry in churches or other settings such as missions, youth ministry, campus ministry, women's ministry or worship ministry.

Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity is the degree of choice for those entering preaching ministry. It lays a solid foundation for a lifetime of ministry through focus on spiritual growth, research tools and methodology. This degree provides opportunities and encouragement for personal spiritual growth, an understanding of Scripture and theology, an introduction to historical and cultural contexts of churches, and understanding of and supervised experience in major aspects of ministry.

Doctor of Ministry

The Doctor of Ministry degree advances the knowledge, skills and spiritual formation of the candidate by providing the stimulus and curriculum for increased competency in ministry and personal development. The D.Min. program focuses primarily on practical aspects of ministry and provides the candidate with opportunities to cultivate self-directed learning skills; to integrate biblical, historical and theological disciplines into ministry; to participate in peer learning; and to connect resources of the library and faculty to a specific ministry context.

Non-degree Offerings

Harding School of Theology offers a certificate program specifically designed for preachers, elders, Bible-school teachers and other active Christians who wish to increase their expertise but are not interested in completing a degree program. A college degree is required for admission. Courses must be taken for credit and completed within five years of entry into the program with at least a grade of C for successful completion of the certificate requirements.

For further information, contact the Admissions Office at the HST address or call 800-680-0809 or 901-761-1356.

Certificate in Spiritual Leadership

Specifically designed for individuals seeking to better understand the Biblical model of leadership in the church context and provide opportunities to engage scripture and academic readings to deepen knowledge and skills for spiritual leadership. Requirements for the Certificate in Spiritual Leadership are posted on the degree programs page.

Organization of Curriculum


Course offerings of the School of Theology are grouped into three divisions.

Biblical: The Old and New Testaments are approached from historical, contextual and linguistic viewpoints to prepare students to apply the message of the Bible to contemporary settings in ministry.

Theological: Focuses on historical and systematic theology, Christian thought, philosophy of religion, and apologetics to help students bridge historical and theological distances between the past and present.

Ministerial: Teaches student how to integrate theory and practical ministry. Methods are emphasized along with knowledge of the principles of working with people.


Admission Policies

Preparation: The four-year undergraduate program of the student entering Harding School of Theology should represent work in English grammar, composition, literature, history, education, psychology, natural sciences, language (particularly Greek and Hebrew), Bible and closely related subjects. Although the college graduate may be accepted as a graduate student without courses in all of these fields, the student preparing for graduate study in religion should plan his or her studies to include these fields. In some instances, a student may be required to make up deficiencies before taking graduate courses.

Reference Forms: A student must be of good character and standing. Names and addresses of four references should be furnished to the Admissions Office (see Application for Admission). No one is denied admission because of sex, race, age, creed, color or national origin.

Application Fees: The Application for Admission and application fee must be filed with the Admissions Office. The application can be obtained by contacting the Admissions Office at 800-680-0809 or downloading from



TOEFL: A score of at least 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test) or 79 (Internet-based test) is required on the TOEFL examination for all applicants whose native language is not English. Contact the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, USA. The code for Harding School of Theology is 1266.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Miller's Analogies Test (MAT): These examinations are not usually required for most programs at HST.


Transcript(s): An official college or university transcript of all previous academic work done above the high-school level indicating the student has satisfactorily completed a regular course of academic study and has been awarded a bachelor's degree by an accredited four year college must be sent to the Admissions Office of the Graduate School. No student whose college grade point average is below 2.25 will be admitted. Undergraduate students who are in the last year of work may concurrently enroll in graduate courses. See individual degree sections for details about undergraduate grade point average requirements.

Course Load and GPA: Beginning students whose undergraduate grade point average is below 3.00 are not permitted to enroll in more than twelve semester hours of course work per semester.

Program Specifications: Each degree program has specific application and admission procedures and requirements. For these specifications, refer to individual program descriptions in this catalog.

Admission/Withdrawal Procedures

Application: Students interested in attending Harding School of Theology are invited to complete and submit an application form. College seniors are encouraged to apply for admission during the first semester of their senior year. They can then be admitted contingent upon graduation.

An application is not considered complete without official transcripts from all colleges and schools of higher education previously attended. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that these are sent to the Admissions Office of HST.

Upon receipt of the application, the Admissions Office will:

  1. Send the Personal Evaluation Form to persons indicated as references on the application.
  2. Inform the applicant of any further steps needed to complete the application process. Once submitted, all applications receive prompt attention.

Admission Status

Standard Admission: A student who has been admitted and is proceeding toward a degree may enroll as a full-time or part-time student.

Full-time Student: A student who takes nine hours or more is considered a full-time student. Normally a student is permitted to enroll for a maximum of fifteen hours of work (including thesis) in any one semester.

Special Student: A special student is one who has not been admitted to a degree program. This classification embraces two categories: (1) graduate students who meet entrance requirements but who do not wish to work toward a degree, and (2) undergraduate students who are seniors wishing to enroll in graduate courses concurrently. A 3.00 GPA and senior standing is required for admission to take courses for credit.

Unclassified: This student is one whose credentials are not complete at the time of registration. Such a student must file the required credentials with the associate dean within three weeks of the beginning of the semester. Failure to comply with this regulation automatically changes the student's status to that of auditor with no refund of charges.

Auditor: A student who desires to attend classes without receiving credit may audit certain courses.

Delayed Admission: Once a student is granted admission, the admission will stand for one calendar year beyond the semester the student indicates on the admission application. For example, if a student applies for the fall semester, is admitted but does not enroll, the student can enroll no later than the following fall based solely on that application.

If an admitted student wishes to begin enrollment between one and three calendar years beyond the semester of initial admission, the student must make written request to the admissions committee for readmission. The student will be subject to the admissions policies currently in effect. If an admitted student wishes to enroll more than three calendar years beyond the semester for which the student was initially admitted, the student must submit a new application for admission.

Probation: Students admitted on probation or who go on probation after admittance must achieve a sufficient GPA to be removed from probation within 18 semester hours. Students may be put on probation if their GPAs are in the following ranges:

  At Time of Admission After Completing 12 Graduate Hours
M.Div. 2.25-2.50 below 2.50
M.A., M.A.C.M. 2.30-2.70

below 3.00 for M.A.,
below 2.70 for M.A.C.M.

D.Min. 2.70-3.00 below 3.00

Students on academic probation will not be permitted to enroll for more than nine hours of study per semester. If such students are engaged in outside employment, their maximum course load should be reduced by three semester hours for each 10 hours worked per week.

All students on probation must advise with the associate dean when registering for courses each semester. Students may retake courses in which they made a C or lower in order to raise their GPA. No course may be repeated more than once without permission of the instructor.

Students who fail to achieve the necessary GPA to remove probation within 18 hours will be prohibited from taking new courses in their program and may only retake courses in which they have received low grades. If the school administration determines that academic probation is persistent and unlikely to improve, such students will be placed in academic suspension and barred from taking further course work at HST.

Harding School of Theology restricts the number of students admitted on probation to no more than 25 percent of total enrollment.

Probation and VA Benefits: Students on academic probation for 18 hours will not be certified for VA benefits until they reach good academic standing. Veterans cannot be certified to repeat courses in which they earned grades of C or higher.

Readmission of Students: Students who wish to return to the Harding School of Theology after a leave of absence should make written request to the Admissions Committee through the associate dean. A new application for admission may be required. If students barred from taking courses at HST for academic reasons enroll in other acceptable institutions and increase their GPA to acceptable levels, they may make a written request to the admissions committee for readmission.

Academic Policies


Candidacy for Degree: By filling out and submitting the proper form to the associate dean, the student should apply for candidacy to the degree during the first week of November of the academic year in which he/she hopes to graduate. The student is responsible for notifying the associate dean if, after applying, he/she is unable to complete requirements.

Add/Drop: Should a student need to add a course after the period for web registration has ended, the student should email the associate dean to request registration, including both the course name and number. Students may drop a course by emailing the associate dean. The date of the email will be considered the official drop date.

Distance students may drop by emailing the associate dean. The date of the email will be considered the official drop date.

Students dropping courses during the first three (3) weeks of the semester will have no notation of the courses entered on individual transcripts. Students may drop a course with a W notation up to 35 days before the last day of classes for the semester. Withdrawal from a course during the last 35 calendar days of the semester may result in a failing grade. No course may be added for credit after the third class meeting.

Ordinarily students cannot change from credit to audit after the regular registration period. Exceptions to this policy will be made only at the discretion of the faculty member involved, with the consent of the student's academic adviser, and with the dean's approval.

Course Load: A student who takes nine hours or more in the fall or spring, or six hours or more in the summer, is considered a full-time student. Students are encouraged to enroll for 12 hours of work (inclusive of dissertation/thesis) in the fall and spring semesters. Students taking 12 hours of course work could reasonably engage in outside activities (including employment) up to 20 hours per week. No student may enroll in more than 15 hours without permission from the Dean.

Examinations: Examinations taken out of their regularly scheduled time, either early or late, impose an added burden on faculty and staff. Any student desiring to take an examination out of schedule must obtain permission of the instructor and make payment to the Business Office.

Grades: Students may access grades by logging onto Pipeline.  The following grade scale is used to indicate student performance in each course:

  Grade Standard Quality Points
  A superior 4
  B good 3
  C satisfactory 2
  D cannot receive graduate credit 1
  F failure 0
  S satisfactory -
  U unsatisfactory 0
  W withdrawal -

Courses in which a grade of C has been received may be repeated, and only the second grade will count. Courses in which a grade of B has been received may not be repeated. Courses in which a D or F is made will not be counted toward the degree, but will be used in figuring the GPA unless repeated and replaced. No course may be repeated more than once without permission of the instructor.

Incompletes: An incomplete is a temporary grade, given only when an emergency interrupts a student's progress in a course. It requires approval of both the professor of the course and the dean. An incomplete is changed to the appropriate letter grade at the end of the extension period; incompletes cannot be changed to W. Fall incompletes must be completed within 10 weeks after the semester ends; spring and summer incompletes must be completed within nine weeks after the semester ends. If the course is not completed by the end of the extension period, the grade becomes an F.

Incompletes will be due according to the following schedule:

  Semester Semester Ends Incompletes Due
  Fall Second Friday in December Third Friday in February
  Spring Second Friday in May Second Friday in July
  Summer Last Friday in July Last Friday in September

Statute of Limitations: Each degree program has a statute of limitations. For example, all requirements for the M.A. degree must be completed within seven years after entering the program. For any degree program, students may obtain, with their adviser's approval, a time extension of one year for each additional three-hour course successfully completed in their area of study.

Withdrawal: When withdrawing from school, the student must notify the associate dean in writing either by email or by filling out a drop card found in the dean's office, securing all signatures, and turning it in to the associate dean. The official drop date will be the date the email or drop card is received by the associate dean.

Types of Course Offerings

On ground Courses: HST offers most of its courses on ground, meeting once a week in 3-hour blocks. Most of these offerings are also available via HST LIVE (Live Interactive Video Education), so students can attend classes "virtually" and interact with students and professors in real time.

HST LIVE: Courses taken via HST LIVE (Live Interactive Video Education) are not counted against any distance learning maximum limits. Asynchronous online courses will count toward the limit.

Intensive Courses: Intensive courses are offered each semester, particularly for the benefit of those who live a great distance from the School. The courses consist of heavy reading in advance of class meetings, six to seven days of lectures and discussions on campus, and papers or projects following lectures. Courses may be applied to a degree program or serve as refreshment or retooling purposes for those involved in ministries. Registration deadline for all Intensive Courses is one month before the first meeting of the class on campus. Before purchasing airline tickets, students should contact the Dean's Office for enrollment figures (six credit students are required for classes to materialize).

Hybrid/Blended Courses: Hybrid or blended courses may integrate the traditional face-to-face classroom with distance learning technology. Students could experience a combination of synchronous, asynchronous, and on-campus class activities.

Summer School: One-week intensive courses are offered in the summer. A full-time load for summer school is six hours.

Online Courses: If a course is available on-ground and online, students living in Shelby County or the contiguous counties must take the on-ground offering unless there is a justifiable reason that they cannot. A limited number of courses are available online. A student must have access to appropriate library resources in order to enroll in a distance education course. The course instructor determines whether a student has sufficient access. In addition, online students must possess fundamental technological equipment and skills to complete course requirements.

Extension Courses: Extension courses are offered on occasion. Check with the associate dean for locations, dates and registration information. Please register one month in advance of first class session. Students wishing to apply these courses toward a degree may take no more than 49 percent of the degree at these sites.

Special Arrangement Courses: In exceptional circumstances, students may take or complete courses by special arrangements. In all such cases the student must secure permission of the appropriate professor, associate dean, and the dean.

Field Education

Central to the purpose of Harding School of Theology is preparing graduates who can function effectively in real-life situations. Opportunities in field education are provided to help the student integrate classroom instruction and actual ministry.

Field education courses are projects suited to students' interests and circumstances but are carried out with the guidance of professors who teach in the Ministerial Division. Objectives:

  1. To further the overall purpose of Harding School of Theology in training effective leadership for the church.
  2. To provide an opportunity for students to relate the theoretical and practical phases of learning through closely supervised ministry experiences.
  3. To increase students' awareness of social and cultural factors in ministry and their ability to think and act with Christian maturity as they minister to others and participate in the life and work of the church.
  4. To give an opportunity for churches to share in educational preparation for ministry by aiding in tutoring and supervising students and to serve as ministry training centers. Any student may enroll in field education courses. See course description in the Ministerial Division section of the catalog.

Individual student projects are developed by the student in consultation with the professor, following guidelines in the Field Education Manual (obtainable from the bookstore). Both experience and future plans are main considerations for the student's field project. In addition to possibilities for a field project in a church where one may already be serving, a variety of approved settings are available among Memphis-area churches, public and private schools, campus ministry, hospitals, penal institutions, and welfare agencies.

Grading is based on student performance. While the student and professor will work out criteria for the grade, the student may expect to make a monthly report, consult regularly with the professor, and offer evidence of having designed and carried out a responsible project. Grades of S and U are given for field education courses.