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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 Criteria

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements of the university, students applying to the Ph.D. are reviewed

by a College of Intercultural Studies faculty admission panel. This panel recommends acceptance according to the

applicant’s satisfaction of the following criteria:

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.

A Master’s thesis is preferred though a 30-40 page academic writing sample may be substituted if the student has

not completed a Master’s thesis.

Command of the English language as evidenced in a writing sample that demonstrates the ability to do doctoral

research and writing.

3.25 GPA (or equivalent) at the Master’s level.

It is preferred that the student would have a minimum of 3 years of cross-cultural ministry experience.

In all cases, minimally acceptable scores and grades are no guarantee of admission. At the same time, evidence

of high potential from several parts of an applicant’s file may occasionally outweigh a low test score or GPA.

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.