The ICS major is specifically designed so that students can combine it with another field of study. Twelve or more hours must be taken that will contribute to the development of a ministry skill. Fields of study may include, but are not limited to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Youth Ministry, Bible Teaching, Music, or Communication.
Regarding the skills obtained and their value, the ICS course of study is a professional major that prepares students to be effective in cross-cultural ministry, missions, and/or marketplace ventures after graduation. The use of "and/or" is significant because trends show that graduates will experience more than one of these arenas or "industries" during their working life cycle.
This applies to all CIU students, or any student seeking a higher education degree. We are aware of the challenges imposed on graduates with high levels of college loan debt. We have been fortunate to keep out tuition cost competitive in our region among comparable private universities. The CIU director of Student Financial Services is focused on addressing this issue. As in the medical and other professional fields (accounting, law, business, etc.), a graduate degree may be a part of the journey. The path may also include a post-graduate job that pays down debt, gains practical experience in the real world of the broader marketplace, and establishes key contacts and networks that lead to future opportunities. Often the recent graduate works overseas as a short-term missionary, humanitarian aid worker, or at an entry-level business position. The options vary. Again, the journey is less prescriptive but, for the CIU ICS student it can be most fulfilling and rewarding.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a course of study that prepares students to teach English in an overseas setting without the benefit of knowing the language of the culture in which one is teaching. Click here to learn about the minor in TEFL.
ICS graduates are educated and equipped to work in an increasingly multicultural world. They will recognize differing worldview assumptions and contrasting cultures. They will more effectively handle cultural clashes in their given work setting. If they work and live overseas, they are more likely to succeed, to survive culture shock, or at least recover from it. They can identify cultural misunderstandings, ethical value clashes, and more effectively solve related problems. These are marketable skills.
Take for example a recent alumnus (ICS major). His studies resulted in extensive international travel (e.g. the required international internship and other summer projects), and today he is employed as a distance learning designer. His tough decision moving forward is whether or not he should continue this track with an eye toward cross-cultural distance education, or accept a recent job offer from a large company, and with that, pursue an MBA at a major university. How did he get the business job offer? Through his contacts, experience, and reputation as a CIU ICS major. He is 23 years old, with a variety of options before him.
The career track for the ICS major is not as precise as that in other fields, such as medical or education. And the "payback" financially is not as immediate and in some cases, not as significant. But there are many excellent options available for experienced cross-cultural workers who understand and are skilled at working in multicultural teams in a variety of settings/languages, in a constantly changing world.
A six to eight week internship (earning three to six credit hours) is required. The internship must be conducted in a cross-cultural situation, usually fulfilled overseas. There are some opportunities for full-immersion ministry situations in the United States, but most students choose options outside the U.S.A.
The program includes courses on the Bible, the realities of living and ministering in a cross-cultural situation, the history of missions, cultural anthropology, religions of the world, Bible teaching, and electives that focus on a ministry specialty.
Businesses and mission agencies have learned through the years that not everyone is able to thrive in a cross-cultural environment. Our mission is to equip our ICS students to not only survive, but thrive in these work and ministry settings. Of course, their ultimate focus is to use their work arena for the glory of God and the accomplishment of His mission on earth.
Students may choose to study a foreign language as a part of their course of study, but it is not required. The program offers a course on language learning to introduce students to the task of language study. Biblical languages may be used in the ministry skills package and could include the study of Hebrew and/or Greek.