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The Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS) degree is designed primarily to further equip leaders engaged in cultural ministry by deepening their understanding and application of lessons from intercultural communication, contextualization, socio-cultural dynamics, biblical theology, missional trends and analysis, and intercultural research. The degree fits well for leaders called to service as missionaries or evangelists who have intercultural experience in either western or non-western contexts. The goal of the program is to cultivate academic excellence, socio-cultural insight, and a sharpened understanding of biblical missions and evangelism which will enhance the personal and professional development of program participants. The DIS is an in-service 48-quarter hour program that allows participants to complete the program while remaining in fulltime ministry. The DIS Program Director serves as the initial advisor for all participants. Many DIS courses may be taken online but are offered also in a hybrid format involving week-long resident seminars. Normally, students enrolled in the DIS are required to attend a minimum of two modular (week-long) resident courses on campus at some point during the program. In order to remain active in the program, a minimum of three courses must be completed during any twelve-month period. The general curriculum may be modified, but only with permission from the director of the program.

The degree is open to applicants who hold an accredited master’s degree or its substantive equivalent. An equivalent degree must reflect a minimum of 36 semester or 54 quarter hours of graduate study in a field related to Christian ministry with a minimum GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. The applicant also should possess extensive full-time missionary, pastoral, or chaplaincy leadership experience (a minimum of five years), and meet all other admission requirements. Applications will be considered when the following have been received:

  1. Completed application form (including signature);
  2. Two recommendations (clergy and personal) attesting to the applicant’s commitment to Christ, leadership and decision making ability, emotional stability, and facility in interpersonal relationships;
  3. Official transcripts confirming baccalaureate degree and graduate degree (or substantive equivalent) from an accredited institution; and, if relevant, official transcripts from institutions documenting postgraduate coursework that may be considered for transfer credit;
  4. Autobiographical essay (maximum 5 pages typed) that discusses the applicant’s conversion and call to ministry, past ministry experience, current ministry placement, goals for personal and professional development, and ways the program will help in achieving those goals;
  5. Copy of valid government-issued photo ID with signature (e.g., driver license or passport);
  6. A substantive academic paper (12 – 20 pages) that fully demonstrates the applicant’s ability to do research and write at the doctoral level (or successful completion of AT 7565 Advanced Research and Writing); and
  7. Acceptable TOEFL or IELTS score if English is not the applicant’s primary language.


  1. Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in theological and socio-cultural disciplines that relate to intercultural studies;
  2. Demonstrate awareness of how differences in worldview and culture shape perspectives and practice for intercultural leadership;
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop effective strategies and cast vision in a global and intercultural context;
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of current issues and trends in missional thought;
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of how to disciple and create leaders who are both theologically equipped and aware of socio-cultural dynamics; and
  6. Demonstrate the ability to research and write in the disciplines associated with intercultural, global/missional studies.

Click here to view the full program requirements in the academic catalog.