2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Dec 02, 2022  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Intercultural Studies, PhD

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The College of Intercultural Studies Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program is designed to equip global scholars with a terminal academic degree in Intercultural Studies that may be completed non-residentially or on campus. Building upon Columbia International University’s core value of World Evangelization and a commitment to the study and practice of Christian mission, students are prepared to produce original research at the highest level of missiological training. With the final product of the Ph.D. being a dissertation that is an original work of academic research (80,000-100,000 words), students may focus their research in any of the areas of Intercultural Studies including Theology of Mission, History of Mission, Cultural and Worldview studies, Mission Strategy, as well as Islamic studies.


The Ph.D. program strives to produce academically trained missiologists who will engage in global theological education, university teaching, mission leadership, non-governmental (NGO) work, and pastoral ministry among others.


Upon successfully completing the Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies, students will:

  • Demonstrate skill in appropriate research methods in the field of Intercultural Studies.
  • Evaluate precedent literature in the student’s focus area in Intercultural Studies.
  • Produce original research at the highest academic level in the field of Intercultural Studies.

These competencies will be evaluated through the student’s original work through their dissertation, which will be supervised and directed by a faculty specialist in the student’s chosen area of study.

Admission Requirements

  • Online application
  • Application fee
  • Affirm to be a Christian and agree with CIU’s Doctrinal Standard
  • Official transcript for highest earned degree and any master’s level credits earned
    • A minimum 3.25 GPA for the most recent degree obtained.
    • A Master’s degree (M.A., M.Div., Th.M.) from an accredited university or seminary that provides a relevant foundation (in biblical, theological, cultural, and missiological studies) for doctoral studies in Intercultural Studies. At least 18 hours of graduate work must have been completed in Intercultural Studies.
  • Essay (2000 words total)
  • A Master’s thesis in Intercultural Studies or a 30-40 page academic writing sample if the student has not completed a Master’s thesis.
  • Church Leader Reference
  • Two Academic References
  • 3 years of cross-cultural ministry experience preferred.

Residency and Transfer Policies

A student is not required to study in residence. The two required seminars are offered online and the dissertation writing experience is an independent research experience with a specialist in the student’s field of study.

Up to 12 hours may be transferred in to the program if the student has demonstrated the equivalent of the research methods and dissertation proposal seminars (ICS 9600 and ICS 9900). In certain limited cases, advanced Masters level work may be considered for transfer.

Time Limitation

The time limit for completing the program is ten years, from the student’s first seminar to dissertation defense and graduation. In extenuating circumstances, a student may petition for additional time to complete the dissertation.

For Three Year Accelerated students, if the dissertation is not ready to be defended by the end of year three of the program, then the student will pay a continuation fee each semester to remain in the program. For Five Year students, if the dissertation is not ready for defense by the end of year five, then they will pay a continuation fee each semester to remain in the program.

Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of Research Methods and Dissertation Proposal Seminars.
  • Successful oral defense before a defense committee of CIU Intercultural Studies faculty.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale), with no grade below “B-” applicable to the degree. (Transfer grades are not calculated in the cumulative GPA.)
  • If a student does not successfully pass the oral defense or if they successfully complete 30 credit hours of study in the program but are unable to continue, they may be awarded a Master of Arts in Research  .

Program Design

The Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies consists of 48 semester hours of study and it may be completed in three years or five years.

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