Reasons to Attend Austin Graduate School of Theology

Six Reasons Students Choose Austin Grad

Gain Deep Biblical Literacy

– Education at Austin Grad and preparation for a life of service to the Lord is founded in disciplined Bible study, including the history and context of Scripture.

A Superior Education

– The quality of education at Austin Grad is directed by highly credentialed faculty members who are committed to your success and spiritual transformation as a student throughout the rest of your life.

Affordable Higher Education

– Our commitment to your efforts to successfully gain a degree is demonstrated in extremely affordable tuition rates. We continue to work to ensure that tuition at Austin Grad remains less than what you would expect to pay at most other seminaries.

A Community of Biblical Scholars

– You will find that a significant part of the experience at Austin Grad comes from the relationships you will make with faculty, fellow students, and staff–all supporting your education and your Christian journey.

A Faithful Institution

– Austin Grad exists to serve God through serving the church and educating the next generation of leaders. All faculty and staff at Austin Grad are active members in their local churches and students are encouraged to participate in the life of the church as well.

Preparation for Leadership

– Whether you plan to be a professional minister, pastor, teacher, or a leader within a congregation, Austin Grad will help prepare you with the knowledge and skills necessary to be an effective witness for Christ.

As you prayerfully consider pursuing a theological degree, know that Austin Grad is prepared to support you. For more information, please contact our Recruitment, Enrollment, and Marketing Department.


Austin Graduate School of Theology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Austin Graduate School of Theology.


The mission of Austin Graduate School of Theology is to promote knowledge, understanding, and practice of the Christian faith as taught in the Scriptures.


Austin Grad discharges its mission through a single focus of theological studies that is represented in its two degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies and the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, as well as through a variety of programs and activities.

Courses of study provide instruction for those preparing for service as ministers, missionaries, or other vocations, as well as for university students and other interested persons who may not wish to pursue a degree. Seminars and lecture series provide continuing education for churches and church leaders. Publications incorporating faculty research extend the services of Austin Grad to an even wider audience.

Regular occasions for community worship, such as chapel services, place all of these programs and activities in a context of commitment to the glory of God.

Theological Statement

We acknowledge one God, the Creator of heaven and earth, revealed in the Old and New Testaments as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the uniqueness and finality of God’s revelation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in the ultimate triumph of his kingdom.

We believe that the risen Christ continues his ministry to the world through his Spirit in the church; we believe that participation in the life of the church nurtures Christian faith, is essential to Christian growth, and is necessary for salvation.

We acknowledge the Bible as the only rule for Christian faith and practice. We maintain the centrality and importance of Christian preaching to the mission of the church. In continuity with the Restoration tradition of Christian faith and practice, in matters of faith we seek unity; in matters of opinion, liberty; in all things, charity.

Historical Overview

This excerpt and the following timeline are taken from the book, “A Cloud of Witnesses” by Libby Weed.

The institution known today as Austin Graduate School of Theology, or Austin Grad, was established in 1917 as an academic chair for biblical instruction in connection with the University of Texas at Austin. Through its robust history, the school experienced a period of time when, for lack of funds during a difficult era, its functions ceased temporarily, but the impulse for creating and maintaining a center where individuals could study and work together to know, understand, practice, and pass on the Christian faith never died. Once reopened, Austin Grad began a period of growth and expansion that has continued to this day, giving promise of a thriving and faithful future, through the grace of God.

Date Event Leadership
October 1917 Institution founded as a Bible Chair connected with The University of Texas under the direction of the elders of University (Avenue) Church of Christ Allen Booker (A. B.) Barret, Director (d. 1951) George Henry Pryor (G. H. P.) Showalter, Instructor (d. 1954)
1919-1927 Bible Chair continues under new leadership; Roberson continues to teach through 1927, when he leaves to become head of the Bible Department at Abilene Christian College Charles H. Roberson, Director (d. 1953)
1928-1951 Bible Chair closes as a result of financial constraints and remains closed through Great Depression and war years; in 1940, G. H. P. Showalter expresses hope to church elders for Bible Chair to be reinstated soon
September 1951 Bible Chair reopens and Director/Instructor is appointed; serves until January 1956 and moves to Abilene for work with family business Ray McGlothlin, Jr., Director and Instructor
September 1954 Instructor appointed Robert L. (Bob) Johnston, Instructor
February 1956 Director appointed; serves through June 1956 and leaves to take faculty position at Abilene Christian College Robert L. Johnston, Director (d. 2014)
September 1956 Director appointed; serves through 1959 and leaves to pursue graduate studies at the University of Edinburgh; later joins the faculty of Abilene Christian College Earle McMillan, Director and Instructor (d. 2013)
August 1959 Director appointed; continues as Instructor through 1971 when he resigns to work with Texas Youth Council as Coordinator of Chaplains (one-year sabbatical in 1969) Gene Patterson, Director and Instructor (d. 2014)
1961 Elders appoint a planning committee to explore avenues of development for the university program
1962 Bible Chair becomes known as Biblical Studies Center, including the work of both Chair and Campus Ministry
January 1964 Director/professor appointed; serves through October 1964 Ernest P. Laseter, Director (d. 2002)
May 1964 Dedication of Biblical Studies Center building at 108 E. 19th Street
April 1965 Director appointed as part-time; becomes full-time in February 1967; serves through June 1970 and leaves for a ministry position in California David Malone, Director
1965 Advisory Development Council created to engage supporters outside the UA Church in advancing the interests of the Biblical Studies Center
Summer 1969 Property at 1909 University Avenue, adjacent to UA parking lot, purchased and remodeled to become the new BSC building
August 1969 Professor appointed while Gene Patterson takes one-year sabbatical; Willis leaves for an editorial position at Sweet Publishing in May 1970 Wendell Willis, Professor
August 1970 Director appointed; serves through August 1974 when he leaves for a career in real estate Gerald Gafford, Director (d. 2018)
September 1971 Professor appointed; later named Academic Director as BSC seeks to expand and recruit teachers with PhD degrees Pat E. Harrell, Professor and Academic Director
June 1972 Professor appointed; serves through 1974 and leaves for a ministry position in Arlington, Texas Jim Reynolds, Professor
September 1972 Professor appointed; serves until his retirement in 2012 Allan McNicol, Professor
June 1974 Tower Manor at 1908 University Avenue purchased
August 1974 Professors appointed as Jim Reynolds leaves and the faculty expands; Thompson serves until 1992, when he leaves for a faculty position at Abilene Christian University; Weed serves until his retirement in 2011 James Thompson, Professor , Michael Weed, Professor
December 1974 Administrative Director appointed to administer largest Bible Chair program among the various chairs functioning on the University of Texas campus Claude Hocott, Administrative Director
July 1975 Professor appointed; serves through August 1985 and leaves for a faculty position at Abilene Christian University Tony Ash, Professor
Fall 1975 Incorporation as Institute for Christian Studies, offering upper division credit and BA degrees through Abilene Christian University
Fall 1975 First President appointed; serves in this role through 1985 Claude Hocott, President
January 1977 Pat Harrell named A. B. Cox Professor of Christian Studies Pat E. Harrell, Professor (d. 1978)
1978 Administrative and Development Board created to provide leadership and support
1978 Program in Ministry begins
August 1979 Professor appointed; served through July 1983 and leaves for a ministry position in North Carolina Paul Watson, Professor
April 1980 First issue of Christian Studies: Scholarship for the Church is published, originally titled Faculty Bulletin; publication continues to the present day
May 1982 After an inaugural session in the late 1970s, first Ministers’ Sermon Seminar held; continues annual activities and service through the present day
1983 Certification to award degrees granted to Institute for Christian Studies by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
May 1984 Professor appointed; serves through June 1987 and leaves for a faculty position at Pepperdine University Rick Marrs, Professor
1985 Candidacy status to confer degrees granted Institute for Christian Studies by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
August 1985 President and Vice President appointed; President serves through July 1992 and leaves for a faculty position at Abilene Christian University; Vice President becomes Vice Chancellor in 2001 and serves through 2014 James Thompson, President, Jack Wright, Vice President and later Vice Chancellor (d. 2016)
June 1985 Professor appointed; serves through August 1988 and leaves for a position at Emory University library Pat Graham, Professor
August 1987 Professor appointed; serves through 1992 and leaves for a missions role with Eastern European Missions Douglas Gragg, Professor
December 1987 Accreditation for Institute for Christian Studies to confer degrees granted by SACSCOC
May 1988 Bible Chair status ends following opinion by Texas Attorney General that the arrangement could violate the separation of church and state
August 1989 Professor appointed; serves through May 1996 and leaves for a position as head of the Graduate Bible Department at Lipscomb University Gary Holloway, Professor
1989 Construction begins on new three-story facility for Institute for Christian Studies at 105 E. 20th Street
May 1991 Dedication of Institute for Christian Studies building at 105 E. 20th Street
August 1992 Professor of Old Testament appointed; continues to serve through the present day Mark Shipp, Professor
1992 President appointed; serves through 2000 as President and then as Chancellor through 2017 David Worley, President
1992 Institute for Christian Studies begins offering MA degrees through Abilene Christian University
June 1993 Professor appointed; continues to serve through the present day Jeffrey Peterson, Professor
1994 Chancellor appointed; serves until his death in 2001 Claude Hocott, Chancellor (d. 2001)
1995 Independent Board of Trustees established; continues to serve to the present day
1999 Administrator appointed; named Vice President in 2001 and continues to serve to the present day Dave Arthur, Financial Officer and Vice President
2001 Chancellor appointed; serves until his death in 2017 David Worley, Chancellor (d. 2017)
2001 President appointed; serves until 2003 and leaves to work with Lifeline Chaplaincy Carson Stephens, President
2001 Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree offered by Institute for Christian Studies
2002 Name changed to Austin Graduate School of Theology
2003 President appointed; continues to serve to the present day Stan Reid, President
2008 New building acquired at 7640 Guadalupe Street
2008 Library director named; continues to present day as Librarian and Assistant Professor Todd Hall, Library Director
2012 Professors appointed as Michael Weed and Allan McNicol retire (2011 and 2012, respectively); both continue to serve to the present day Keith Stanglin, Professor – Daniel Napier, Professor
2014 Online course offerings begin
2015 Christian Studies Blog subscription service begins

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