Apologetics in Oxford

Radcliffe Camera in summerHCU’s MA in Apologetics is pleased to offer a summer special study-abroad class in Oxford, England, the city of the Dreaming Spires and the home of the famous Inklings of Oxford, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien!

The course is a 1-unit, week-long class that takes place entirely in Oxford, led by Dr Holly Ordway, with discussions, special guest lectures, and activities, including a tour of The Kilns (C.S. Lewis’s home) and of the G.K. Chesterton Library, a day trip to London to see (among other things) the C.S. Lewis Memorial in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey. See below for a tentative 2016 schedule and further details about the course.

Students will be able to make selections among assigned readings and tailor their essay topic to fit their apologetics goals, making this suited for both Cultural and Philosophical Track students in the MA in Apologetics. Students in other MA programs at HCU are also welcome to take the course.


Westminster AbbeyCHRI 5181: Special Topics: Apologetics in Oxford

What can we learn from the Oxford Inklings and from medieval England that will help us to be more effective apologists in the modern day? This week-long study abroad course provides an examination of this question through the work of the Inklings ad associated figures. This one-week intensive course takes place in Oxford, England. (All travel arrangements are done by the student; students are responsible for arranging and paying for their own travel, lodging, entry fees, and meals. An additional fee applies, to cover curriculum-related expenses.) To prepare for the class, you will read a selection of assigned texts by authors such as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, G.K. Chesterton; after the Oxford week, you will write an essay reflecting on your reading and your Oxford experience. During the Oxford portion of the trip, you will have in-person lectures and discussions led by your professor, and you will visit important sites related to the course material.

REGISTRATION: Limited to 20 students. Paying the deposit secures your place (see below).

DATES: One week, during Summer Term 2: Monday July 11th – Friday July 15th, 2016


Main lectures by:

The KilnsDr Holly Ordway – HCU Professor of English and director of the MA in Apologetics at Houston Christian University, and the author of Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms (Ignatius Press, 2014). She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; her academic work focuses on imaginative apologetics and on the writings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, and she is the Charles Williams Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. She is currently working on a book on Tolkien and his modern sources.

Guest lectures by:

Dr Michael Ward – HCU Professor of Apologetics, and Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall in the University of Oxford, author of Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (OUP, 2008), co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (CUP, 2010), and presenter of the BBC television documentary, The Narnia Code (2009). On the fiftieth anniversary of Lewis’s death (22 November 2013), Dr Ward unveiled a permanent memorial to him in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey (which we will visit!)

Magdalen College bldgDr Eleanor Parker – an academic and writer based in Oxford. She has a doctorate from the University of Oxford and researches and teaches medieval English literature, focusing especially on historical narratives, romance, and the literature of the Vikings in England. She has written for a popular audience about medieval topics for the BBC and History Today, as well as on her blog, A Clerk of Oxford.

Dr Jason Lepojarvi – junior research fellow at St Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford, and a past president of the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. His PhD is from the University of Helsinki, with his dissertation titled God Is Love but Love Is Not God: C. S. Lewis’s Theology of Love.


Keble CollegeTENTATIVE SCHEDULE (subject to change)

Monday 11th July, 2016

Lecture – Dr Holly Ordway

Tour of The Kilns – C.S. Lewis’s home.

Picnic lunch at The Kilns

Visit to Holy Trinity Headington / Lewis’s grave


Tuesday 12th July, 2016

Lecture – Dr Jason Lepojarvi, St Benet’s Hall

Lunch at the Eagle & Child

GK Chesterton manuscripts at the GKC Library

Wednesday 13th July, 2016 – London Day.

Full-day excursion led by Dr Ordway.

Highlights include: a visit to Westminster Abbey – Poets’ Corner (including the C.S. Lewis Memorial), the National Gallery, lunch at St Martin’s in the Fields, Evensong at the Abbey, and other classic London sights.


Thursday 14th July, 2016

Lecture – Dr Michael Ward, Blackfriars Hall

Addison’s Walk / Magdalen College


Friday 15th July, 2016Eagle and Child

The Ashmolean Museum – including treasures such as the Alfred Jewel

Lecture – Dr Eleanor Parker

Tour of medieval sites in Oxford

G.K. Chesterton Library visit and tour


Other activities may include visits to:

Blackwell’s Bookshop, the Covered Market, Port Meadow, Christ Church gardens,  evensong at Christ Church, the Natural History Museum, etc.



Cost: the course itself costs $500 (tuition for a 1-credit course) plus the HCU General Fee for the summer semester ($120). Note: since this is not an online course, there is no ‘online course fee’. There is an additional supporting fee (paying this as a deposit reserves your spot; note that this fee is non-refundable).

To make your deposit: call the HCU Student Account’s office at (281) 649-3471, and let them know you are making a deposit for the Summer Oxford fee. Be sure to mentioned it is with the MAA and not the Honors College. The code is APOX.

Deposit / fee amount:

— Early Bird: before February 5th: $100

— Feb. 5-March 20: $150

— March 21 or after: $200

Travel & Lodging: Students are responsible for finding, booking, and paying for their own travel to and from Oxford, their lodging in Oxford, and the incidental expenses (food, bus fares, entry fees, etc.) in Oxford.

Suggested lodging options:

Bed & breakfast in an Oxford college: affordable (price varies by college & amenities), centrally located:


Youth Hostel: very inexpensive, basic, centrally located:


More deluxe: bed and breakfast options:

Oxford Bed and Breakfast


Travel: You will want to fly in to Heathrow and take the bus to Oxford (approx. 90 minute journey).

Class begins on Monday morning, and ends on Friday afternoon, so you should plan to arrive no later than Sunday and depart no earlier than the following Saturday. You may wish to expand your trip by coming earlier (recommended: to get over jet lag) or staying later, and spending more time in London or visiting other areas such as Stratford upon Avon (easily accessible by train).

Contact Dr Ordway if you have any questions, at hordway@HC.edu