Frequently Asked Questions about the Academy
What are some of the benefits of dual-enrollment through the Academy?
Dual-enrollment can be used to accomplish many different goals. We encourage students to allow dual-enrollment to help them reach a level of academic excellence and college preparedness previously unavailable to them. We also know dual-enrollment can help students and families limit college debt by reducing the number of semesters or years students attend a traditional, four-year university. Further, dual-enrollment can allow students to advance their university studies beyond what most can achieve in four years.
The Benefits of Dual-Enrollment at HBU
- transferable college credit earned while still in high school
- unique two-semester courses designed specifically for the Academy
- a flexible yet rigorous curriculum founded on great works of Western civilization offering college credit in English, History, Philosophy, and more
- interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes holistic understanding of the past and present
- a decidedly Classical approach to learning using the Oxbridge model of education, which combines discussion-based learning with contextual lectures
- dedicated Christian faculty committed to the interdisciplinary curriculum
- intentionally small classes designed to promote scholarly discussion and foster relationships among students and faculty
- a community of friends and mentors built around mutual love of Christ and a life of learning
- the opportunity to enroll in select traditional university classes at HCU at the low Academy tuition rate (typically reserved for juniors and seniors and subject to dean’s approval)
- automatic acceptance into HCU’s Honors College upon admission to HCU, with Academy faculty recommendation
- cultivation of skills such as reading, writing, and critical thinking that transcend academic disciplines and are both applicable and necessary for all college major and career paths
What is distinctive about the Academy curriculum?
The Academy approach is straightforward, yet challenging. Each class is designed to immerse students in an essential era or theme in western history, literature, philosophy and culture through reading original texts that shaped the world. Our students are trained to learn directly from the text at hand, using class time to engage with their professor and classmates towards increased understanding of the subject.
The Academy curriculum is written entirely by Academy faculty and consists of five essential teaching elements:
1.Reading: We read a robust, interdisciplinary selection of great works chronologically, in their entirety, and from a diverse set of cultures and disciplines. This approach is echoed throughout the subjects our students take.
2.Discussion: We devote the entirety of our class time in the Academy to discussing what we have read and taking seriously the ideas that we have encountered. It is particularly through discussion that our students become active, contributing members of their classrooms, earning their education and refining their beliefs. This is opposed to the passive approach to education wherein students are meant merely to receive information and try their best to remember it. In accordance with the Oxbridge model of education, professors or students may offer brief contextual lectures as an aid to discussion.
3.Writing: Students turn in regular reading reflections and prepare a single essay for each course each semester. Their work must argue for a strong position on a book or topic they have read or discussed. Whenever possible, professors return unsatisfactory work to students as incomplete, expecting the students to rework or rewrite the assignments until both professors and students are satisfied. Students receive extensive feedback on all written work.
4.Presentation and Defense: In each course, students create presentations, defend papers, conduct experiments, demonstrate proofs, and/or develop and display creative work in order to show their academic progress to the broader university community. Preparing and delivering presentations assists students in developing their public speaking skills and academic confidence.
5.Evaluation and Feedback: Students in humanities courses end each semester by participating in oral examinations with an Academy faculty panel. Oral examinations provide students the opportunity to express and defend the ideas that have caught hold of their minds and imaginations during the course of the semester.
Although high school students of all ages and grade levels are eligible to enroll in any Academy course, we suggest that students enroll in Academy courses in this order:
Great Books I – English 1313: Composition and Literature I (Greeks, Romans, and Early Christianity)
Great Books II – History 2311: Western Civilization (Western Civilization and the Foundations of Europe)
Great Books III – Philosophy 1313: Introduction to Philosophy (Skepticism, Politics, and the Imagination)
Great Books IV – English 1323: Composition and Literature II (The Moderns)
Prerequisite: ENGL 1313. Please note, this course can only be taken after Great Books I or upon submission of a college transcript showing successful completion of Freshman Composition I.
The Academy also regularly offers courses in U.S. History, Spanish, Cinema, Art, and more.
For a detailed overview of current courses offered, see here.
For current reading lists, including ISBNs, see here.
Who teaches in the Academy?
Academy faculty represent a variety of departments and disciplines at Houston Christian University. All Academy faculty are committed to the rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum centered on great works of western civilization.
For a current list of Academy faculty, see here.
How much does Academy tuition cost?
Tuition at the Academy is kept intentionally low – about one third of the cost of undergraduate tuition at HCU. For 2021-2021, tuition is $1000 per each two-semester, three-credit course. This tuition rate also applies to high school juniors and seniors who enroll in traditional one-semester, three-credit undergraduate courses.
In addition to tuition, each student will be responsible for a yearly $50 registration fee. Each family (even if more than one member is enrolled in the Academy) is responsible for a yearly $100 technology fee.
Are there any GPA requirements to apply to the Academy?
No. Any high school student is invited to apply to the Academy. Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis for potential student success. Students who typically perform well in Academy courses have demonstrated the ability to keep up with a rigorous reading schedule and regular writing assignments.
How do I apply to the Academy?
You can access the Academy application here.
Once you have been accepted to the Academy, you can pre-register for classes here.
PLEASE NOTE: Meningitis vaccines must be administered ten days before your student can attend class. Proof must be submitted before the student can attend.
Original, notarized, hard copy exemption forms may be ordered from the state and must be turned in by the first day of class. See the Texas Department of State Health Services website to apply.
Where and when do Academy classes meet?
The Academy offers classes on the campus of Houston Christian University. For 2021-2022, classes will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For class meeting times of specific courses, see here. Juniors and seniors in high school who enroll in traditional undergraduate courses at HCU may meet on other days.
The Academy also offers classes on the campuses of our partner schools. These classes are limited to students enrolled at those schools. If you are interested in developing a partnership with the Academy at your school, please email us at TheAcademy@hbu.edu.
My high school junior or senior is interested in enrolling in a traditional undergraduate course. Where can I find out more information about available courses?
You can check the HCU course catalog here. Once you find a course that your student is interested in, please email us at TheAcademy@hbu.edu for class availability and dean’s approval.
How can I schedule a campus tour or find out more information about the Academy?
To schedule a campus tour, observe a class, or find out more information about the Academy, please contact us via phone or email.