Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies



120 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 36 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Become Equipped to Live and Work in Multicultural Settings with a BS in Intercultural Studies 

CIU’s Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies will prepare you with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate a rapidly changing multicultural world. CIU’s thorough and complete program of study equips you for cross-cultural mission work, urban church planting, the non-profit sector, as well as military or international business. Because cultural understanding is becoming more important than ever, CIU’s focus on attaining cultural intelligence, will teach you to communicate effectively across cultures and develop a deeper understanding of cultural complexities, all from a gospel-centered biblical worldview. Throughout the program, you will take courses in a range of subjects, including understanding cultures and worldviews, world religions, biblical theology of mission and cross-cultural communication. Additionally, you will have the option to take specialized electives in subjects such as church planting, Islam and the history of global Christianity, allowing you to tailor your education to your specific interests and career goals. By the time you graduate, you will be well-prepared to enter the workforce, equipped with a deep understanding of cultures and the ability to effectively navigate diverse settings. 

Why Choose Columbia International University

At CIU, the Intercultural Studies program is taught by experienced faculty members who have served in various capacities across the world. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom, gained from personal experience rather than just textbook learning. These professors have been involved in international business development, spreading the gospel in Muslim nations and other cross-cultural settings. They will work closely with you to help develop your skills in interpreting culture and relating to people from different backgrounds, as well as providing you with the strategies necessary to thrive in cross-cultural settings. You will have the opportunity to learn from their experiences and ask questions to gain insight into how to navigate the complexities of cross-cultural communication. With their guidance, you will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of cultural intelligence and how it can be applied in real-world situations. 

Overall Benefits of the Degree

As a graduate of the Intercultural Studies program, you will have a wide range of career possibilities that can take you all over the world. Here are some potential career paths you can pursue with this degree: 

  • Government: You can work in diplomatic positions at U.S. embassies overseas, representing the United States and promoting understanding between cultures. 
  • Military: As a chaplain, you can provide religious and moral support to military personnel and their families, regardless of their faith tradition. 
  • Church: With a strong foundation in cross-cultural communication and mission work, you can serve as a mission pastor or outreach coordinator, helping your church to engage in meaningful and effective cross-cultural outreach. 
  • Missions: This degree prepares you for a wide variety of positions in mission work, from short-term to long-term missions in any cross-cultural setting anywhere in the world. You can serve as a mission agency office support, a mission mobilizer, a Bible teacher, a church planter, a discipler, an evangelist, a Bible translator or a linguist. 
  • Business: With a focus on understanding and working in diverse cultural contexts, you can pursue entry-level positions in non-governmental organizations or transnational corporations. You can also use your business skills as a tentmaker or in a business as mission capacity overseas. 
  • International Community Development: This degree equips you with the skills necessary to work in community development organizations, using your understanding of diverse cultures to help promote sustainable development and social justice. 

Featured Faculty

Edward L. Smither

Dean, College of Intercultural Studies, Professor of Intercultural Studies and History of Global Christianity

Michelle L. K. Raven

Adjunct Professor of Intercultural Studies, International Community Development, and Disaster Relief and Emergency Management

What Will I Study?

  • BIB 1116 Old Testament Survey

    In this course, you will become familiar with the basic contents of each book of the Old Testament and the broad historical framework of Old Testament events. You will pay special attention to key passages and prominent themes of the Old Testament. You will read the Old Testament with a view to using it for spiritual formation and discipleship.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 1120 New Testament Survey

    This course is an overview of the books of the New Testament and the historical circumstances surrounding these writings. You will focus on the background, content, message, and personal application of each book in the New Testament. You will also examine the process by which the New Testament canon was formed and the New Testament was transmitted through the history of the Church.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 3420 Principles of Bible Interpretation

    This course will guide you through the hermeneutical principles basic to interpreting Scripture. Many of these principles are common to language and literature, while others apply uniquely to the Bible. All of them are based on the way in which the Bible interprets itself. You will begin to lay a foundation of cognitive understanding, with an emphasis on practice in applying the principles.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 3616 Romans

    Within the framework of an exegetical study, you will focus on the New Testament's most organized, thorough exposition of the Christian faith and its relation to human history and implications for Christian living. Giving special attention to the personal application of the message, you will apply principles of biblical interpretation to the study of this book.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 4310 Progress of Redemption

    In this course, you will explore God's plan of redemption as it progressively unfolds in the Bible. You will trace the basic historical revelation in the Old and New Testaments to see what God is doing and by what method. You will consider the spoken revelations as you observe the progress of doctrine.

    3.00 credit hours
  • THE 3310 Christian Theology

    This course provides a study of the theological truths of the Bible, during which you will focus on the basic doctrines necessary for a Christian worldview: Scripture, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, sin and salvation, church, and future events. You will examine the doctrinal teaching of the Bible, supplemented with insights from the theological reflections of the church throughout its history and from contemporary theological discussions.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ENG 1110 Composition and Research

    This course provides you an introduction to reaching well-reasoned conclusions based upon the most credible evidence available, skills fundamental to college writing but also for life as an educated adult. You will develop your abilities with modern academic library resources as evidenced through an annotated working bibliography, among other assignments. You will spend the majority of the course drafting and revising papers which demonstrate the effective use of secondary resources.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ENG 1111 Literature and Research

    This second writing course is designed to foster an appreciation of literature, use literary texts as a platform for strengthening skills in reading, writing, and analysis, and continue to emphasize foundational skills in library research. Texts and genres (such as short fiction, poetry, and drama) will vary.

    3.00 credit hours
  • PHI 2110 Introduction to Philosophy

    In this course, you will explore some of the fundamental issues that must be addressed by anyone attempting to formulate a comprehensive understanding of things (worldview), and will examine primary texts in order to observe some of the very best thinking regarding these fundamental issues.

    3.00 credit hours
  • PHI 4140 Seminar in Ethics

    In this capstone course, you will integrate Scripture, theology, and philosophy as they relate to who we are, what we should do, and living well. You will develop a Christian framework for ethical thinking and decision-making based on the Christian understanding of human nature as bearing the Image of God. Course limited to students classified as seniors.

    3.00 credit hours
  • PSY 2110 General Psychology

    In this survey of scientific psychology, you will focus on historical roots, human development, and the physiological basis of behavior, learning, motivation, perception, emotions, personality, socialization, and pathology. You will learn how to filter psychological data through biblical principles to help produce a biblically-consistent model of human psychology which can then be used in both Christian and non-Christian environments.

    3.00 credit hours
  • MAT 1110 College Algebra

    This course covers standard college algebra such as functions and expressions, linear, quadratic and rational expressions, and financial formulas. The course will also include real numbers, equations and inequalities, linear and quadratic functions, exponential and logarithmic functions. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • MAT 2100 Introduction to Statistics

    This course provides an elementary overview of probability and statistics that will prepare students to conduct and interpret research in a variety of scientific fields. The content will include descriptive statistics; probability; discrete and continuous random variables; binomial, normal, and student-t distributions; methods for conducting inference, including confidence intervals and hypothesis tests; and linear correlation and regression. (3 semester hours)

    3.00 credit hours
  • PHI 2610 Introduction to Logic

    This is an introduction of the science of reasoning in both formal and informal logic, so that you can begin to accurately apply the logic/ mathematical properties of validity, satisfiability, consistency, logical truth, and logical equivalence.

    3.00 credit hours
  • HIS 1110 Introduction to World History

    This course gives an overview of the major trends in global history that have created our modern world. The course will explore the major chronology of world history, focusing on the changes, continuities, and connections between major world regions during this period focusing on Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The course will examine the cultural, technological, political, economic, religious and social transformations which shaped the societies. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • HIS 2310 United States History and Government

    In this survey from colonial America to the present, you will examine the enduring issues and themes of American history. While the course is structured around historical events, particular effort is made to understand the paradox of American unity through diverse social, economic, political, and cultural factors.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ART 2110 Art Appreciation

    This course introduces students to the fine arts in their various media and period styles, with the goal of developing students' understanding and experience of the role of the arts in life. An ongoing focus on the relationship between art and the Bible will encourage students to develop a theology of art.

    3.00 credit hours
  • MUS 2110 Music Appreciation

    This course will introduce the student to the place that music traditionally held as one of the seven liberal arts as an apologetic to the study and enjoyment of music. The goal of the class is to enhance critical listening skills and to develop a working vocabulary of music that is meaningful to the non-musician. The course will introduce the basic elements of music and a brief overview of the history of Western classical music, American Jazz, World, and Pop music. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIO 2113 General Biology

    In this course, you will explore the concepts of biology, emphasizing the structure, function, and cellular organization of living organisms. Following an introduction to the general nature of science, the scientific method, and the nature of biology, you will focus on cellular biology, botany, zoology, and human biology.

    3.00 credit hours
  • NTR 2110 Introduction to Nutrition

    This course is designed to provide a foundational knowledge about nutrition as health science that discusses the nutrients essential for human life. Students will begin to learn and better understand the biochemical composition, metabolic action, requirements, and food sources of the nutrients studied. Students will also learn scientific basis for promoting health and quality of life. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • PHE 2120 Health Science & Personal Wellness

    This course provides an introduction to health science and personal wellness concepts. You will have the opportunity to build a foundation of knowledge that will help you actively pursue a healthy and well lifestyle. An introduction to and application of the foundations of physical, aerobic, and muscular fitness will be included. Strategies to maintain personal health and wellness, including weight control through nutrients and physical activity, will be covered. You will gain an understanding of the impact physical activity has on personal wellness as well as the broad spectrum of health science issues. This course provides information and experiences that will enable you to make informed decisions by incorporating healthy solutions as they relate to quality of life and longevity.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CSL 0101 Christian Service Learning I

    Having identified a local church during your first semester experience, you will now faithfully attend that church and volunteer at least 20 clock hours of service at that church or within a ministry in the community that is approved by the CSL Director. This service must be documented and approved by the CSL Director and a record submitted to the CSL office. No credit will be given, but completion of the service hours is a graduation requirement. Lack of faithfulness in attending or participating in a local church is an issue related to Christian character; failure to demonstrate faithfulness will be addressed by the Student Life office. (0)

    0.00 credit hours
  • CSL 0201 Christian Service Learning II

    Having identified a local church during your first semester experience, you will now faithfully attend that church and volunteer at least 30 clock hours of service at that church or within a ministry in the community that is approved by the CSL Director. This service must be documented and approved by the CSL Director and a record submitted to the CSL office. No credit will be given, but completion of the service hours is a graduation requirement. Lack of faithfulness in attending or participating in a local church is an issue related to Christian character; failure to demonstrate faithfulness will be addressed by the Student Life office. (0)

    0.00 credit hours
  • CSL 0202 Christian Service Learning III

    Having identified a local church during your first semester experience, you will now faithfully attend that church and volunteer at least 30 clock hours of service at that church or within a ministry in the community that is approved by the CSL Director. This service must be documented and approved by the CSL Director and a record submitted to the CSL office. No credit will be given, but completion of the service hours is a graduation requirement. Lack of faithfulness in attending or participating in a local church is an issue related to Christian character; failure to demonstrate faithfulness will be addressed by the Student Life office. (0)

    0.00 credit hours
  • ICS 1210 Discovering the Mission of God

    This course is designed to help you develop world-Christian characteristics. You will explore the Christian's heritage in the history of the church and missions, begin to develop a scriptural perspective on the purpose of the gospel in confronting ideologies, religions and spiritual needs of the world, and discuss current strategies for identifying and reaching the lost.

    3.00 credit hours
  • MSD 1110 Encountering Spiritual Formation

    This course is designed to introduce the student to the foundational principles of spiritual formation for effective life, ministry, and vocation. The process of the student's spiritual formation includes their relationship with God, their biblical self-image, their relationship with the Body of Christ, their personal relationships, and their relationship with the world. Students are invited into a multiple-year journey of encountering spiritual formation in community. The goal of this course is to help students build a foundation for continued spiritual formation at and beyond their time at CIU.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 3613 Acts

    This course is a historical study of the continued ministry of the risen Christ by the Holy Spirit through the early Christian church as God's instrument for witnessing to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will focus on New Testament principles and methods for evangelization and church growth, with attention being given to historical backgrounds and interpretive problems. This course may serve as a New Testament exegetical book study.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 3110 Introduction to World Religions

    This course is an introduction to the broad historical development, philosophical structures, and worldviews of the non-Christian religions. You will explore primal religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese and Japanese religions, and Islam, as well as some of their folk expressions.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 3140 Cultural Anthropology

    In this course, you will study cultural anthropology for the purpose of equipping followers of Christ to be competent interpreters of culture in 21st Century global contexts.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 3220 History of God's Mission

    In this course, you will survey the expansion of Christianity with an emphasis on the cultural and strategic dimensions of its growth. Special attention will be given to factors arising during the post-Reformation era which have influenced the development of Christian missions.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 3300 Biblical Theology of Mission

    You will engage in a comprehensive study of the biblical foundation for mission as it relates to the church's missionary obligation before God to the world in both word and deed. Special attention will be given to exposing you to important issues within evangelical missiology today.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 4110 Intercultural Internship Preparations

    This course is required of Intercultural Studies majors in the semester before the ICS 4930. You will prepare for your internship spiritually, mentally, and logistically. (Approval and registration are required in advance of the internship experience.)

    0.00 credit hours
  • ICS 4720 Contemporary Issues in Missions

    This capstone course in the ICS undergraduate program draws upon visiting speakers on various subjects related to how to effectively live, work, and serve in multicultural settings.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 4930 Intercultural Internship

    This internship is required of Intercultural Studies majors, usually following the junior year (90 hours of course work). During this internship you will integrate guided study and field experience in cross-cultural ministry under an approved program and a CIU faculty mentor. (Approval and registration are required in advance of the internship experience.)

    3.00 credit hours
  • LNG 4475 Introduction to Language Learning

    This course is designed to equip you for success in the independent learning of a language and culture. You will go through a language learning cycle, including: Developing language learning resources, meeting with a language partner, and recording observatons on language, culture, and social interaction. You will also begin to explore linguistics by being introduced to principles involved in the study and analysis of phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics of any language, with practical application relating to L2 acquisition.

    3.00 credit hours
  • MSD 1210 Foundations for Calling and Work

    In this course, you will explore the biblical and theological foundations for vocation with an eye toward your own future career interests. You will reflect on your chosen major and, as you begin that degree, make a plan toward your future career placement (3).

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 3820 Bible for Teachers

    In this course, you will develop a philosophy of Bible teaching and learn to follow a preparation procedure that will ensure that the purpose for which Scripture was given will be accomplished in your own teaching. You will focus specifically on how to plan a Bible curriculum with courses of study, units, and daily lessons, following the pattern of biblical revelation and teaching the biblical material with integrity.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BUS 3800 International Business Practices

    This course will explore the international dimensions of business, including globalization, developing and implementing strategies for international settings, cross-cultural human resource management, governmental relationships and laws, and unique ethical, cultural and legal considerations in international settings. You will learn practical skills necessary to conduct business internationally. International trade, antitrust, and the impact of economic free trade zones will also be studied. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • ENG 3530 Literature and Intercultural Studies

    In this course, you will study and practice engaging literature as a tool for effective cross-cultural communication. You will read translated works from other cultures and gain ability in discerning the world-view and values of the culture to which the works belong. You must complete an annotated working bibliography and do an analysis of a significant work from another culture to receive credit.

    3.00 credit hours

Accreditation and Accolades

ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education)
SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Top FAQs

What is Intercultural Studies?

Because we live in a globalized, multicultural world, our home culture is just one of many. It’s not “us” and “them” only “us.” We strive to understand and engage with people from other cultures. Intercultural Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that looks at Bible, theology, history of the global church, cultures and worldviews and practical strategies for engaging cross-culturally.

What types of classes do I take in Intercultural Studies?

Because intercultural studies is interdisciplinary, we offer courses in biblical theology of Christian mission, global theology, the history of Christian mission and the global church, understanding cultures and worldviews, cross-cultural communication, world religions and practical courses in evangelism and church planting.

Is Intercultural Studies a missions degree?

Historically, the Intercultural Studies degree trained students for global missions and it still does. However, today the career paths for this degree are broader. Our graduates serve in multicultural environments such as the military, in law enforcement, in business, as teachers in urban and multicultural settings, in nonprofit organizations.

What career opportunities are available to graduates of this program?

Graduates of this program can work in a variety of fields including government, military, church, missions, business and international community development. They can also become mission pastors, outreach coordinators, chaplains, Bible teachers, church planters, linguists and more.

What sets CIU’s Intercultural Studies program apart from other similar programs?

CIU’s Intercultural Studies program is unique because of its faculty who have extensive personal experience serving in cross-cultural settings all over the world. They will help you develop the skills necessary to relate to people cross-culturally and flourish in cross-cultural settings.

What is the typical length of this program?

The Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies degree is typically a four-year program, although the length of the program may vary depending on factors such as course load and transfer credits.

Can I pursue a double major with this program?

Yes, you can pursue a double major by combining this program with another related major such as Bible, communication, English, psychology, sport management, teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), youth ministry or another area of interest.

What are the admission requirements for this program?

To be admitted to this program, you must meet the general admission requirements of CIU and also demonstrate a commitment to serving in cross-cultural settings.

Can I pursue a graduate degree in a related field after completing this program?

Yes, the Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies prepares you for graduate studies in a wide range of fields, including intercultural studies, business, healthcare administration, chaplaincy, ministry, and more.


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