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Master of Divinity
Master of Arts in
spacerChristian Ministries

Master of Arts in

sMaster of Arts in
spacerIntercultural Studies

sMaster of Arts in
spacerTheological Studies

Master of Theology
Continuing Education
Doctor of Ministry
Doctor of Applied
spacerIntercultural Studies
PhD in Intercultural
PhD in Biblical
spacerInterpretation and

Admission Information
AGTS Profile
Course Descriptions
Financial Information
Academic Policies and Procedures
Student Life and


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Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies

“Spirit-Driven Scholar-Practitioners Communicating Christ in a Complex World”

The AGTS Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies (PhD/ICS) facilitates the development and academic certification of vocations in missiological and intercultural teaching and scholarship by:

  • providing an environment and essential tools that enable research and theological reflection;
  • creating a unique learning experience customized to each student’s call, gifts and academic interest;
  • equipping missiologists for research, teaching and missional praxis in an increasingly complex multicultural world; and
  • giving credible voice to scholar practitioner missionaries and national leaders before the academy and the church.

The PhD/ICS recognizes the priority of the Holy Spirit’s person and power in accomplishing the mission of God (Missio Dei) and creates an environment in which students can experience the kind of learning that connects them more deeply to the Spirit’s work in mission and allows them to focus their program and research on the application of integrative learning in missional praxis.

The PhD/ICS consists of 60 credits earned in 11 modules, three dissertation research courses, and a research dissertation, and is built around several components:

  • Pentecostal perspective: Distinctive emphasis on Spirit-empowered mission in a global context.
  • Passionate Scholarly Research: The discipline of scholarly research and writing is embraced as a tool of spiritual and missiological discernment and prophetic voice.
  • Lifestyle fit: Relocating to Springfield is not necessary; in fact the PhD/ICS requires only five visits to AGTS over the course of the program.
  • Cohort experience: Learning and growth occur through the bonds formed with other career missionaries in a diverse small group setting.
  • Modular convenience: Courses are taught in two, one to two week blocks scheduled back-to-back allowing two classes on one airfare.
  • Contextualized study: Area studies, special study with an approved educational provider and/or tutelage offer field-based training.

Curricular Design

Following a sequence of core classes, the PhD/ICS offers tracks in Missiological Studies (MS) and Christian Relief and Development (RD), additional elective courses, dissertation research courses and culminates in the writing of a research dissertation.

Program Goals

The program seeks to contribute to the discipline of intercultural studies by enriching research, teaching and the practice of those involved in the field. To that end and in accordance with our commitment to provide the highest level of learning effectiveness and foster a robust culture of assessment, at the completion of the PhD program, graduates will be able to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in theological and religious studies and other academic disciplines, and a comprehensive knowledge of the disciplines that comprise missiology and intercultural studies;
  • competently innovate, defend and critique scholarly work and missional practice for the benefit of the academy and the broader community of faith;
  • demonstrate ability to engage in original missiological intercultural research and writing that contribute to the discipline and to their research context for the sake of their tradition, the church and the academy;
  • make decisions, live and serve according to revealed truth and the will of God in a continuing integrated commitment to learning, spiritual formation, and personal and professional growth;
  • demonstrate the ability to utilize research and theological/missiological reflection in specific contexts; and
  • commit to the vocation of theological, missiological and intercultural scholarship in its dimensions of teaching, learning and research.

Program Schedule

A modular format requires five trips to AGTS over three years (all in July and December). Two courses are taken during each two to three-week resident session. Participants earn their 60 credits in:

  • 5 Core courses
  • 3 Track courses (Missiological Studies or Christian Relief and Development)
  • 3 Elective courses
  • 3 Dissertation research courses
  • Dissertation

All modular courses consist of three components:

  1. An on-site residential seminar presented by the professor of record for the subject that allows the student to engage in academic dialogue with the professor during class hours and presents the student with the opportunity to utilize the library research facilities after class hours.
  2. Pre-residential seminar assignments that differ from course to course but generally include pre- reading assignments, processing audio-visual or online resources, and/or engaging the student in online dialogues with his/ her colleagues.
  3. Post-residential seminar assignments that differ from course to course but that generally include the submission of a major research project and could also include online dialogue with colleagues on the assignment.

In order to enhance research opportunities and community development, the modules will be scheduled back-to-back. In addition to the course modules the student will be required to attend three Value Added Weeks (VAWs) during the course of the program. VAW elements include student research presentations with peer critique, onsite interviews with a mentor and guidance committee, peer and faculty interaction, and video conferencing with field experts. Another component of the course work (eight credits) may involve studies completed through directed research and doctoral-level study in a cooperating educational institution located near the student’s field work or at the AGTS main campus. An additional 12 credits of dissertation research tutorial courses will focus and develop the research for the dissertation. A final four credits are earned through the satisfactory completion and oral defense of the dissertation.

Admission Requirements

  1. Academic: An MA in an appropriate theological or missiological discipline from an acceptable school with a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Experience: Not less than two years of appropriate intercultural ministry experience.
  3. English: For applicants whose primary language is other than English, a TOEFL score of 585 or equivalent.
  4. Writing: Submission and approval of a writing sample that demonstrates graduate-level research skills.
  5. Language: Second language proficiency. The program requires research proficiency in English as the primary research language of the disciplines of intercultural studies and a second modern language in the field of the research topic. Additional ancient and modern languages may be required as needed for the completion of dissertation research. In exceptional cases, the second modern language requirement may be substituted by petition. When a request for language waiver is submitted, the Committee may require six credits of relevant studies in the applicant’s area of research. This will be implemented at the discretion of the Committee in a case-by-case situation based on transcripts and experience.
  6. Endorsement: Official approval of administrative superiors (e.g., missions board or agency if applicable).
  7. Technology: Acceptable computer and internet competencies.

These are the minimal requirements. The Admissions Committee selects applicants with the strongest qualifications. Candidates who only meet minimal requirements in some areas but are exceptional in others may be accepted. The overall combination of strengths that the applicant brings to the program is assessed in the admissions process.


In cases in which candidates for admission are considered to have insufficient background in biblical, theological or missiological disciplines, the seminary may require them to complete 15 credits of missiology foundation courses or 15 credits of theological foundation courses, or both as a co-requisite.

Application Procedure

To apply for admission:

  1. Submit a pre-application (download from the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Admissions web page) to the IDS Coordinator for evaluation and orientation in order to receive a full application.
  2. Submit a completed full application with a $75 non-refundable application fee or a $125 non- refundable online application fee ($15 for readmissions), a recent photograph, academic writing sample and evidence of second language competency (e.g., language school transcript).
  3. Request that official transcripts of all post-secondary institutions attended be sent to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Office at AGTS.
  4. Distribute academic, ministerial and personal recommendation forms and request those filling them out to return these documents within ten days to the AGTS Intercultural Doctoral Studies Office.
  5. Request that written documentation of administrative approval be sent to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Office. Email is acceptable.

Application Deadline

Individuals desiring admittance into the program should have their completed application files submitted no later than May 1 for consideration in the July cohort and October 1 for the December cohort. Under extenuating circumstances these deadlines may be extended.

Acceptance into the Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies Program

Applicants will be evaluated by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee and referred to the Admissions Committee for consideration. Subsequently, they will be notified in writing regarding the status of their acceptance into the PhD/ICS program.

Academic Policies and Procedures

Academic Status

Participants will remain in good academic standing in the PhD/ICS program as long as they maintain a 3.0 grade point average, meet all financial obligations to the seminary, and conduct their personal lives with spiritual, moral, and professional integrity, maintaining fitness for ministry. The administration reserves the right to dismiss any participant whose integrity in any of these areas is deemed unacceptable.


AGTS uses a 4-point grading scale.
Grade points per credit and definition for PhD/ICS participants:

A Superior 4.0
A-   3.7
B+   3.3
B Satisfactory 3.0
B-   2.7
C+   2.3
C Poor 2.0
C-   1.7
F Failure 0.0*
AU Audit 0.0
IP In Process 0.0
I Incomplete 0.0*
N No Credit 0.0
S Satisfactory 0.0
U Unsatisfactory 0.0
W Withdrawn 0.0
WP Withdrawn Passing 0.0
WF Withdrawn Failing 0.0*


*Affects grade point average

Incomplete Grades

Students are expected to complete all course work in a timely fashion as specified by the instructor in the course syllabus. A grade of “IP” (In Process) will be issued if the professor’s due date falls after the AGTS semester ending date. Due dates of doctoral modular courses are at the discretion of the professor but will be considered IP until the first day of the next module or set of modules. A grade of failure may be issued if the work is not submitted by the first day of the next module(s) unless the student has requested an extension. If the student requests additional time, an incomplete “I” grade may be given at the discretion of the instructor for a 90-day extension. In the event the instructor grants a grade of incomplete, he or she will have the option of lowering the final grade for the course one letter grade lower than it would have been had the work been submitted on time. A grade of failure may be issued if the work is not submitted before the expiration of the 90-day extension. [Exception: Doctoral participants in the Dissertation phase.] No student will be permitted to begin credit courses in a new semester if carrying more than two IP or I courses. Note: A $50 fee will be charged to the student’s account for every extension granted and a $30 fee applies to every grade change even if the instructor has approved an extension for completing the work.

Probation & Dismissal

A student making one “C” in the four core courses is placed on probation and should retake the course. A student will be dismissed upon making two “C’s.”

Graduation Requirements

  1. Satisfactorily complete all PhD/ICS program requirements. This includes completion of 60 credits of course work (20 from Core courses, 12 from Track courses, 12 from Elective courses, 12 from Dissertation Research courses and four from the Dissertation phase) and three Value Added Weeks.
  2. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, including no more than one C.
  3. Be in good standing at the seminary (see Academic Status).
  4. Have passed the PhD/ICS Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations.
  5. Complete an acceptable and approved PhD/ICS dissertation.
  6. Make an acceptable oral defense of the PhD/ICS dissertation.
  7. Students are required to register for graduation as follows: Those who wish to graduate in the fall semester of the same year must submit a graduation application on the student portal by October 31. Those who wish to graduate in the spring or summer semester must submit their graduation application on the student portal by January 30 of the same year. Those who miss these deadlines will have to wait until the following October to file for graduation.    
  8. Receive approval to graduate from the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee, Academic Affairs Committee and Faculty.
  9. Attend the Commencement exercises. (Approval to be absent must be secured from the Academic Affairs Committee through the Registrar by April 1.)

Research Dissertation

Participants write a research dissertation that advances knowledge in the field of study and enables the participant to integrate and apply his or her learning in an intercultural ministry context.

Program Duration

A typical PhD/ICS participant will finish the program in approximately five years.

Transfer Credits

An individual may transfer in a total of eight advanced standing doctoral credits. If a person holds an earned doctorate in a related field (e.g. Doctor of Ministry), a maximum of 12 credits may be transferred. Individual appeals for transfer credits will be evaluated based upon the following considerations:

  1. Transfer credits must be from appropriately accredited institutions or those recognized by an approved foreign accrediting body.
  2. Student must have earned a passing grade of “B” or higher (3.0 on a 4.0 scale)
  3. Transfer credits must be relevant to the PhD/ICS program.
  4. Recent time frame of courses taken will be reviewed. Extenuating circumstances of the participant will be considered (e.g., missionary in a situation that makes it difficult to take courses in a timely fashion.)

To request transfer credit, official transcripts must be reviewed by the Registrar’s Office before consideration for doctoral credit will be given. (Any exception to the standard policy must be recommended by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee and approved by the Academic Affairs Committee.)

Note: The transfer of credits does not waive/change the Program Fee.

Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies Courses Open to Unclassified Doctoral-Level Students

A limited number of non-degree, post-MA persons who are not pursuing a PhD/ICS degree at AGTS may be allowed to take PhD/ICS courses if they satisfy admission requirements for the PhD/ICS program. Contact the Intercultural Doctoral Studies office for more information.

Audit Policy

Graduates of AGTS doctoral programs are eligible for one free masters or doctoral-level audit (3-4 credits) per academic year, on a space-available basis.

Financial Information

Program Fee

There is one Program Fee of $42,000* to be paid in 15 equal installments over five years. The program fee covers tuition for 60 credit, dissertation fees and graduation fees. This fee does not cover the application fee, textbooks, costs of travel, housing and meals incurred while on campus, editing, directed research fees, continuation fees, extension fees or tuition for courses taken at other institutions. Because AGWM contributes significant economic resources to the program, AGWM and AGUSM appointed missionaries are eligible for a discounted fee of $29,400. Missionaries appointed by AG sister churches will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The program fee (*subject to change each fall) is payable in three installments per year. (AGTS accepts cash, checks, Visa, American Express, MasterCard and Discover as payment.) The first installment is due on the first day of class. All subsequent installments are due on the first day of the months of regularly scheduled courses (July and December). The fees are non-refundable.

*Applicable for the 2016–2017 academic year and is subject to change thereafter for new participants.

Promissory Note

Participants are required to sign a promissory note at their initial registration indicating their commitment to paying the Program Fee in a timely fashion and in its entirely. This is standard procedure required of all AGTS participants. The promissory note will outline the installment due dates for the participant. The 15 installments outlined are to be paid consecutively and are still due at the assigned date, even if the participant for any reason skips a class session.

Financial Aid

PhD/ICS participants are eligible for loan deferment. The program does qualify for VA benefits and private student loans. However, grants and scholarships for PhD/ICS study are normally not available. This program is not eligible for Title IV federal aid. Contact the Financial Aid office for more information.

Miscellaneous Fees

  1. Overdue Dissertation Fee: participants who exceed critical dissertation deadlines will be charged a $500 fee.
  2. Readmission Financial Policy: if a participant withdraws from the program and later desires to return, his/her financial obligations will be as follows:
    • The program fee current at the time of readmission will apply and the student will sign a new promissory note.
    • All payments made under the previous promissory note would be applied toward the current program fee. Participants would be required to pay the difference between the current program fee and what he/she actually paid under the previous program fee.
  3. Unclassified Student Course Fee: the fee for doctoral students from outside the AGTS program taking our elective classes will be charged at 115% of the current single fee payment.
  4. Unclassified Student Audit Fee: the fee for doctoral students from outside the AGTS program auditing our classes will be charged at 25% of the current single fee payment.
  5. Program Continuation Fee: if a participant extends the program into a seventh or eighth year, a $500 continuation fee per year will be charged.
  6. Program Extension Fee: if a participant extends the program into a ninth year or beyond, a $1500 extension fee per year will be charged. Extensions will not normally be granted past the ninth year.

Lodging, Meals, Transportation

It is up to the student to make their own travel and living arrangements while attending classes.

Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies Program Design

Core Courses (20 credits)

MS 901 - Core 1 - Leaders in a Global Context (4 credits)
This course will orient participants to the unique dynamics, the research process and the requirements of Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies education, highlighting issues that will impact their lives and ministries; provide an overview of the Tracks and courses, with special focus on missiological research; guide participants in missiological reflection in light of their ministries and global issues; and introduce the student to the process of developing a research dissertation.

MH 902 -Core 2 - Missio Dei and the Contemporary World (4 credits)
An examination of Missio Dei from biblical and Pentecostal theological perspectives. This interdisciplinary study integrates theory and praxis, preparing the student to reflect theologically on missiological praxis and develop strategies for accomplishing the mission of God in diverse cultural milieus.

MC 903- Core 3 - Intercultural Communication and Missions Anthropology (4 credits)
Studies in the literature of intercultural communication, focusing on cultural contexts and barriers, with implications for Christian witness, lifestyle, and relationships. Cultural anthropological issues will be examined to determine their application to a Christian view of intercultural ministry.

MC 904 - Core 4 - Theological Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies (4 credits)
A course to enable students to respond to theological issues encountered in intercultural contexts, such as Trinitarian concerns, bibliology, local theologies, syncretism, and Pentecostalism. Students will work with personally relevant area-specific case studies, and the principles of “doing theology” in another context will be analyzed.

MS 905 - Core 5 - Methods of Intercultural and Missiological Research (4 credits)
A course to prepare the student to develop his or her dissertation proposal and research tutorials. The relationships among theological inquiry, socio-anthropological inquiry, and missions praxis will be examined. Attention will be given to each of the major components of a dissertation proposal: problem formulation, review of the literature, research methodologies, presentation of findings, and conclusions. Development of a research design, bibliography, and database for intercultural research will be emphasized. The student will also develop the framework for three research tutorials that will inform the major components of his or her dissertation.

Track Courses (12 credits)

Following their Core courses, PhD/ICS students will choose between two tracks: Missiological Studies or Christian Relief and Development. Each track involves 12 credits (three courses) of study in a specialized area.

Missiological Studies Track: 12 credits

MH 910 The History of Christianity in Missiological Perspective
A study of selected missiological paradigms throughout the expansion of Christianity from Pentecost to the present. Writings of mission theorists will be studied for understanding the advance or decline at key historical junctures, as well as the assessing of current missiology.

MC 911 Missiological Engagement with World Religions
The process of engaging followers of other religions is examined with the purpose of facilitating effective communication of the gospel. Representatives serving in diverse religious contexts explore unique opportunities and challenges presented by various historical and contemporary religious environments.

MC 911 Encountering Non-Christian Religions
A focus on the biblical and theological understanding of non-Christian religions. Participants will examine critical issues facing the church in light of biblical teaching and current conflicting ideas and theories in pluralistic societies. Attention will be given to diversity, truth and salvation in religions.

MS 912 Evangelizing, Discipling and Church Planting
An exploration of biblical principles, contemporary models, and effective strategies for evangelizing non-believers, discipling converts, and planting healthy churches. Global challenges of the urban context and assimilation will be considered. Case studies will be examined.

Relief and Developmpment Track: 12 credits

MC 920 Biblical Perspectives on Issues of Social Justice
An investigation of biblical perspectives on social justice and the formulation of a scriptural foundation for the Church’s response to human suffering with holistic ministries. Special attention will be given to racial injustice and global poverty. (Prerequisite for Relief and Development Track.)

MS 921 Relief and Development in Mission: Theories and Strategies
This course facilitates the articulation of a Christian response to global relief and development. Classical and modern theories of economic development and poverty eradication will be examined from a Christian perspective. Community development within a Christian worldview will be informed by the role of the developer on a personal, local, regional and global level.

MS 922 Contemporary Social Issues in Mission
This course will identify the major global issues of injustice that impact women, children and minority people groups, such as human sexual trafficking, children at risk and human rights abuses. It will explore issues that impact on development such as AIDS and other international health crises, urbanization trends, global economic threats, wars and refugees and environmental issues. It will provide a critical overview of best practice interventions by international agencies and Christian relief and development organizations who address these global issues of social injustice.

Elective Courses (12 credits)

Students will select three classes from the available Elective courses to deepen their study of specific topics. One elective course in Area Studies is required.

MS 900 Special Studies: Tutelage
A track elective taken under the tutelage of an assigned professor of record. (In order to take course the student must secure the approval of his or her Program Adviser.)

MC 929 Encountering Non-Christian Religions
A focus on the biblical and theological understanding of non-Christian religions. Participants will examine critical issues facing the church in light of biblical teaching and current conflicting ideas and theories in pluralistic societies. Attention will be given to diversity, truth and salvation in religions.

MS 930 Alternative Approaches to Education
An analysis of the principles of traditional and nontraditional education, both formal and informal, with emphasis given to ministry formation. Selected educational systems such as theological education by extension (TEE), distance education, in-service training, will be evaluated as to contextual suitability and effectiveness. Participants will engage in creative application of the principles presented and innovative modes of delivery systems.

MS 931 Leading the Christian Non-Profit Organization
The critical role of the faith-based organization (FBO) has been universally acknowledged by the development community in its war on poverty. This course will trace the FBO’s road to recognition in both the United States and internationally and examine the unique contribution of the FBO in community development. It will explore international legislation governing the establishment of non-governmental organization's (NGO's), examine legal requirements for registration, and identify the financial management and project reporting requirements that are expected of an accountable and transparent organization. It will further provide the student with the skills to create a community development profile, strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats (SWOT) analysis and strategic plan to assist a church community to mobilize for action. Finally the student will be prepared in the skills of creating a viable business plan and the identification of potential funding resources for FBO activities.

MC 932 Contextualized Leadership Training
A study to facilitate leadership development vision by analyzing leadership selection processes, authority patterns and spiritual formation in a particular setting. Participants will be encouraged to develop culturally appropriate principles, strategies and methods of leadership training including church-based, institutional and non-formal approaches. Emphasis will be given to designing resources and building team concepts for long-term reproducible models.

MS 933 HIV/AIDS in a Global Context
The course will explore the global HIV/AIDS pandemic from various perspectives. It will look at the medical issues that the disease raises and its contribution to global poverty. It will explore the political, economic, social and security issues that its spread has created in Africa, and project future trajectories for the spread of the disease. The course will also attempt to formulate a Christian perspective on the proposed role of the church to prevent the spread of the pandemic, to provide services to minimize its affects and to minister to those infected and affected by the disease. The underlying assumption of these strategies will be to create interventions that are sustainable and community-based and have as their focal point the centrality of the local church in the areas that are most affected.

MS 934 Contemporary Missions: Issues and Strategies
A study of current issues and strategies in missions. Topics such as collaboration, short-term and career commitments, non-residential missions, the “business as missions” movement, theological education, training church leaders/planters, missionary lifestyle, interfaith dialogue and holism/international development will be considered.

MS 935 Area Studies Elective (required)

Specialized study in a particular area or region of the world. These studies may be taken as a dissertation tutorial or through course work in government-approved universities around the world. (In order to take
this required elective course, the student must petition and secure the approval of his or her Program Adviser.)

MS 939 Special Studies with an Approved Educational Provider
A track elective taken with an approved educational provider that facilitates the development of competencies germane to the major applied dissertation. (In order to take this course, the student must secure the approval of his/her Program Advisor.)

Dissertation Research Courses (12 credits)

MC 907, MC 908, MC 909 Dissertation Research
In preparation for the dissertation the student will enroll in three four-credit dissertation research tutorial courses designed to facilitate the research required for the proposed dissertation. The dissertation proposal will identify where each dissertation research course corresponds within the research design of the proposal. The tutorials will focus either on a review of the literature to provide the theoretical or theological foundation for the proposed research or after a brief review of precedent literature, the substance of the tutorial will be the student’s own primary research and analysis. For each course the student will present a research tutorial contract proposal to the assigned mentor for approval which includes research objectives, a literature review and research methodology. Once the research tutorial contract proposal is approved, the student will execute the research and report the findings in a format similar to a dissertation. The content of the dissertation research courses should reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of intercultural studies. (An approved dissertation proposal is required in order to enroll in these courses.)

Dissertation Course (4 credits)

MC 999 Dissertation Development
Upon the completion, acceptance and successful oral defense of a written research dissertation that advances knowledge in intercultural studies integrating theory and praxis, four credits will be recorded on the transcript. All participants working on the dissertation phase will maintain a continued registration in the program.

Field Research Course (0 credit)

MC 000 Doctoral Field Research
This course facilitates and contributes to research in the student’s specific context that will culminate in a dissertation that advances knowledge in the field of study and enables the participant to integrate and apply his or her learning in an intercultural context.

Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is intended to demonstrate an acceptable level of competency in missiology and the ability to apply the literature to a set of circumstances. The student is required to submit to the qualifying exam within a three-year period of the start of his or her first course and is eligible to take the examination upon successful completion of the following core courses:

Core 1 – Leaders in a Global Context
Core 2 – Missio Dei and the Contemporary World
Core 3 – Intercultural Communication and Missions Anthropology
Core 4 – Theological Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies

A list of recommended readings to support competencies developed in the core courses will be provided at the beginning of the program.

The qualifying examination is composed of two exams. One exam is based on the missiological content and disciplines of study introduced in the core courses MS/MSS 901 Leaders in a Global Context and MH/MHT 902 Missio Dei and the Contemporary World; the second is based on MC/MCC 903 Intercultural Comm. and Missions Anthropology and MC/MCC 904 Theo. Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies. Each exam will be comprised of two questions . One question will be selected from two summative questions developed and approved by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee, one for each core course ; and the second question will be a context specific question selected by the committee from questions submitted by the student.

The student will submit to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee two summative context -specific questions for each exam (a total of four questions, one for each core course listed above) which seek to integrate and apply the content of the courses to the student’s specific missional environment. If the questions are not approved, they will be returned to the student with suggestions for resubmission. If approved, the committee will select one question for each exam. The questions for each of the two exams will be sent electronically to a preapproved proctor.

The student will make arrangements with the proctor to schedule and take the exams in an appropriate context on a computer that is not connected to the Internet and contains no files related to the exams. For each exam the proctor will present the two selected questions to the student who will write a response to each. Each exam should be minimally 2000 words (1000 words per question1) referencing the appropriate literature (author only, bibliographic reference not required). Four hours will be allowed for each exam. The two exams are to be taken within a two -week period. Upon completion of each exam the proctor will email the student’s response in electronic format to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee, retain one copy as a backup and  provide one copy to the student (e.g. by email, thumb drive). Each exam will be graded by a specialist in the field and by a generalist according to the following classifications: Superior, Satisfactory, Marginal or Unsatisfactory. Any grade of unsatisfactory by either grader or marginal by both will require retesting in that discipline/course. A marginal or unsatisfactory score by either grader on the retest will result in disqualification from the program.

1 The average exam response is between 2800 and 3800 words (1400-1900 words per question).

Dissertation Proposal

At the conclusion of Core 5, Methods of Intercultural and Missiological Research, a formal dissertation proposal must be presented to and approved by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Program Committee. The proposal should include dissertation title, a problem statement or thesis, research questions or hypothesis an annotated bibliography literature review related to the research, methodology to be employed, a description of how track, elective and dissertation research courses will be integrated in the research design, an explanation of how the findings will be reported, categories for the conclusions and recommendations, and a preliminary outline of the dissertation. With the successful completion of the qualifying exam and the approval of the dissertation proposal, the student will be assigned a guidance committee comprised of a faculty mentor and two faculty advisers whose research expertise is directly related to the projected research identified in the proposal in order to develop the study program.

Advancement to Candidacy

When the student posts an acceptable grade for all seated course work (i.e., coursework except the Area Studies and Dissertation Research courses), passes the qualifying exam, and receives approval of the dissertation proposal, he or she advances to being a Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies candidate.

Comprehensive Examination

At any point after the completion of all required course work and the data-gathering (i.e., field research) phase of the student’s study, the student will submit to the comprehensive examination. This examination will be based entirely on the student’s tutorial research.

The comprehensive examination may be satisfied by one of the following two options:

  1. Written examinations covering the content of all three tutorials (four hours each); covering the content of all three tutorials (12 hours of testing).
  2. A formal journal article which synthesizes the tutorial research findings and defend it before students and professors during a value added week.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination the student may register for the dissertation itself (MC 999: Dissertation Development).


A research dissertation advances knowledge in the field of study and enables the participant to integrate and apply his or her learning in an intercultural ministry context. Upon the completion, acceptance and successful oral defense of a written dissertation which makes a scholarly contribution to the discipline and practice of intercultural ministry, four credits will be recorded on the transcript.

Oral Defense

When the student’s dissertation mentor (supervisor) confirms that the dissertation is ready for review, the student must submit a copy of the dissertation to each member of his or her dissertation committee and the outside reader appointed by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee. When the dissertation committee and the outside reader deem that the student’s dissertation meets the standards of the academy, his or her oral defense will be scheduled at a time most convenient for both the student and the committee. Often the defense will be during a value-added week, but the defense can also be conducted via a long-distance (i.e., Skype) conference phone call. The student’s defense will be open to the academy if conducted in person.

If the student’s dissertation defense is successful, the dissertation committee members and outside reader will approve the dissertation by signing the approval page. The dissertation will then be submitted to the IDS copy editor, who will work with the student as he or she corrects any content and formatting errors. The dissertation is not officially accepted by the Seminary until approved by the IDS copy editor.

Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:50 PM


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