Southwestern Assemblies of God University recently introduced a new bachelorís degree program in ancient studies, which will include a hands-on archeology project.†

The program was approved by the board of regents in May. SAGU is the only Assemblies of God school to offer such a degree. The program will be implemented this fall.

The ancient studies program is designed to provide specialized, biblically integrated education and prepare students to engage in advanced study concerning the ancient biblical world.

Graduates of the program will be qualified to work in marketplace and professional employment such as government positions, museums and historic sites, and research and culture-related fields, as well as being qualified for graduate study in law school or various masterís programs in fields such as history, church history, archaeology or Bible.

There is versatility within the program. With 15 hours for a minor, plus nine hours in electives, ancient studies students have an opportunity to choose a 24-hour focus in another area to give them even broader academic preparation.

According to Dr. Loyd Uglow, Social Studies Department chair, ďFor those interested in pastoral ministries or theological academic positions, for example, it offers a tremendous potential for producing high quality Old Testament preachers and teachers, who will have not only extensive biblical training, but also strong academic background in the historical and archaeological context of the ancient world.†

ďThat kind of well-rounded minister will certainly be well equipped to defend and advance the gospel in this world of increasing attacks on the veracity of scripture and the intellectual underpinnings of Christianity,Ē he said.

Several archeology courses are being added to SAGUís curriculum to provide for the new program, including introduction to archaeology, archaeological methodology, pre-classical Mediterranean, ancient ships and harbors and a hands-on archaeology field project.

Dr. Ralph Pedersen recently joined the SAGU faculty and will lead the program.† Pedersen earned his masterís and doctoral degrees in nautical archeology from Texas A&M University.

He has been involved in several underwater explorations. In September, Pedersen and a colleague looked for underwater ruins off the coast of Turkey.†