Why study Psychology at CIU?

Got a heart for people? Is your passion to walk beside them through a rough season of life? Is it to help free victims from abusive situations? Or, is it to help hurting individuals overcome their own mental and emotional disorders? Columbia International University provides a Psychology program that is biblically consistent, scientifically credible, and clinically powerful.


Why minor in Philosophy at CIU?

Critical thinking skills and an understanding of the modern world are necessary for any career in the 21st century. A minor in Philosophy assists you in developing a solid biblical worldview, and the lifelong ability to compare it to the ideas and beliefs of men and societies. Electives are flexible, allowing you to study topics of greatest interest to you.

Your Future

International Community Development

Why minor in International Community Development (ICD)?

In this unique program, you will experience what it is like to live in a needy society. You will live in a simulated developing world village learning problem solving and coping skills that prepare you for life in a developing country. Areas of training include Sustainable Agriculture, Spiritual Development, Small Animal Husbandry, Food Technology, Appropriate Technology, Primary Health and Cross-Cultural Communication & Community Development.

Digital Media & Cinema

Why Study Digital Media & Cinema at CIU?

At Columbia International University, you can literally get your hands on the latest in media technology and use it to “Communicate Christ Creatively” – the motto of the CIU Communication program. In the Digital Media & Cinema major, you can follow your interests and passions as you learn to produce films, videos and documentaries that will make an impact on your world.   


Why Study English at CIU?

If you look into the educational backgrounds of many corporate CEOs, you will discover that many of these men and women began their careers with a degree in English.  That’s because English majors can do exactly what employers need and value: read and analyze texts, communicate effectively in writing, think critically and independently, and use research properly.  Studying the English language equips graduates for effective use of the written word in mission and marketplace ministries.

Jim Brown

Psychology Professor

B.A., Belhaven College; M.Div., Covenant Theological Seminary; M.A., Columbia International University

Mr. Brown has his own practice as a professional counselor for individuals, couples, families, children, adolescents and group therapy. He specializes in addictions. He teaches several courses on the undergraduate level as an adjunct professor. You may learn more at his website

B.A. in Christian Ministries, Belhaven College, Jackson, MS; Master of Divinity, Degree in Pastoral Counseling, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO; M.A. in Counseling, Columbia International University, Columbia, SC; Served as Assistant Pastor working with Youth, College age and Families in Hattiesburg, MS; St. Louis, MO; Miami, FL and Irmo, SC; Presently in private practice for the past 10 plus years as a professional counselor and supervisor of LPC Interns; teaching, preaching, training and consulting in various settings.


Karen Close

Karen Close, Director of Christian Service Learning at CIU
Director of Christian Service Learning
(803) 807-5465

B.A. (Ministry) Western Christian College, Canada; M.A. & M.A.C.E., Columbia International University; D.Min., Palmer Theological Seminary, Philadelphia

Karen grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She dropped out of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas to marry Jack Close, who was a Doctoral student at the University of Texas, a Canadian, and widower with a son, Allen. Jack and Karen moved to South Carolina after serving in ministry for over 30 years with Western Christian high school and college in Canada. While in Canada she was heavily involved in church and community volunteer activities.

Karen is passionate about the church and helping to make it a safe place for people to receive help and spiritual guidance. In addition to her role at CIU, she serves as a counselor, with an emphasis in family systems, at the Lexington Church of Christ where she also teaches ladies Bible classes and marriage and family classes. She says that her most meaningful accomplishment is her long marriage to the love of her life, her three married children and eight grandchildren.

2004-2007 Adjunct Professor , Western Christian College, Canada; 2007 - present, Board of Directors, Western Christian College, Canada; 2004-present, Counselor, Lexington Church of Christ.


Chris Essig

Guitar Instructor

M.M. in Guitar Performance, University of South Carolina under the instruction of Christopher Berg; B.A. in Guitar Performance, Geneva College

Chris Essig has been teaching guitar for over nine years and enjoys teaching and performing in the Columbia area. Mr. Essig has given recitals at the University of South Carolina (USC), the Columbia Guitar Society, Geneva College, Columbia International University (CIU), and various weddings and events. Mr. Essig specializes in classical guitar and contemporary/traditional worship styles. His philosophy in teaching the guitar is to help students reach an in-depth understanding of the blessing and power of music through the study of guitar technique, music theory, interpretation, repertoire, and musicianship.

M.M. in guitar performance from the University of South Carolina (USC) under the instruction of Christopher Berg; B.A. in Guitar Performance from Geneva College. Guitar teacher, Carolina Music Academy (2004-present); adjunct faculty guitarist, Columbia International University (2007-present); guitar teacher, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (2004-present); Worship Coordinator, Columbia Crossroads Northeast Church (2008-present); Worship Leader New Kirk Presbyterian church (2004-2008).


Alison Branham

Voice Instructor

B.Mus., Columbia College; M.Mus., University of South Carolina; doctoral candidate, University of South Carolina

Lee Branham performs extensively around the Columbia area, and has in the past, performed international opera and oratorio through the University of South Carolina. She actively works to keep her students performing at the standards of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, and she looks forward to introducing new vocal programming at CIU in the future. Outside of her singing career, she raises a family, participates extensively in her church choir and other local choir programs, enjoys reading, composing children's songs, and volunteers her musical abilities at nursing homes in the community.

B. M. in Vocal Performance and Sacred Music, Columbia College; M. M. in Vocal and Opera Performance, University of South Carolina. Mrs. Branham is in the process of pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education from Columbia International University; private studio teacher and music faculty: Riverland Hills Music Academy, 2005-2008; Carolina Music Academy, 2006-2007; private studio teacher, 1996-present; Adjunct Professor in voice, Columbia International University, 2008-present.



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