Master of Arts in Muslim-Christian Relations



30 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 10 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Understand Half the World — Earn your MA in Muslim-Christian Relations in 10 months

Half of the world’s population claims to be either Muslim or Christian. In world history, Muslims and Christians have fought in wars and remain at a place of mutual misunderstanding. From a Christian perspective, the Muslim world continues to be one of the most least reached areas for the gospel.

The Master of Arts in Muslim-Christian Relations allows you to understand and engage half the world’s population. You will learn about the history, philosophy and theology of Islam as well as the history of how Muslims and Christians have interacted. For Christians, you will understand the Christian faith by comparing it to what Muslims believe, and you will be better equipped to understand and engage with Muslims in a missional way.

We welcome you to join us face-to-face on our beautiful campus in Columbia, South Carolina and complete the program in one academic year. If you can't move to Columbia, no problem. We’ll bring the program to you in a cutting-edge, interactive online format. Each online course is 8 weeks in length and is designed to work around your schedule. You’ll study in a cohort with other students and be taught by a recognized expert in the field. 

You’ll take courses in Introduction to Islam, the Life of Muhammad, Islamic Theology, The Spirit World of Muslims, Christian Approaches to Muslims and a History of Muslim-Christian relations. You will study with recognized scholars who have lived for many years in the Muslim world.

Next online class starts March 13, 2023

Why Choose Columbia International University for the MA in Muslim-Christian relations degree?

For over twenty years, CIU has hosted the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, a study center for understanding Islam and engaging Muslims. CIU’s resident faculty and Zwemer fellows are recognized scholars on Islam and have lived and served around the Muslim world in North Africa, the Middle East and Central and South Asia. You’ll study with faculty who have lived and continue to live what they are teaching.


Overall Benefits of the MA in Muslim-Christian Relations degree

The MA in Muslim-Christian Relations provides training for those working and serving in the Muslim world. Graduates from this program are equipped to work and serve in various spheres including:

  • Mission Service: Missionaries in cross-cultural service across the Muslim world; mission agency office support personnel; mission mobilizer
  • Governmental Service: Diplomatic positions in U.S. embassies overseas.
  • Nongovernmental Work: Serve in a nongovernmental organization in the Muslim world or among Muslim immigrants to other countries
  • Development and Relief Work: Some of the poorest, most underdeveloped and war-torn nations in the world are predominantly Muslim countries. Serve in development and relief with significant understanding of the Muslim context.
  • Peacemaking: Serve as an advocate for peace where there is conflict among Muslims themselves and between Muslims and people of other faiths
  • Academic Careers: Ph.D. work leading to careers in college, seminary and university-level teaching, both in the United States and abroad.

Featured Faculty

Course of Study (30)

Concentration (21)

  • ICS 5020 — Introduction to Islam Credits: 3
  • ICS 6024 — Understanding Cultures & Worldviews Credits: 3
  • ICS 6071 — Approaches to Muslims Credits: 3
  • ICS XXXX — Choose four Muslim Studies courses Credits: 12

Capstone Courses (6)

  • RES 7962 — Integrative Research Seminar Credits: 3

Choose one of the following courses:

  • INT 6920 — Global Internship Credits: 3


  • RES 7972 — Thesis Credits: 3

Free Elective (3)

New York City Option

In partnership with the New York City International Project, CIU students can complete much or all of the MA in Intercultural or Muslim-Christian Relations while serving in a church planting internship in New York City. Students may earn six hours of internship credit for this experience while enrolling full or part-time in CIU’s online studies.

Course Descriptions

  • ICS 5020 Introduction to Islam

    This overview of Muslim faith and practice with an emphasis on comparisons with Christianity will help you develop a better understanding of Islam and learn to explain the gospel to Muslims with greater passion and sensitivity.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 6024 Understanding Cultures & Worldviews

    This course will enable you to understand the worldview assumptions that are foundational to a person's belief systems and behavior patterns. You will analyze the culture and worldview of an ethno-linguistic or socio-economic grouping of people from a biblical worldview perspective. You will also consider elements of biblical contextualization.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 6071 Approaches to Muslims

    In this course, you will analyze and evaluate ways Christian witness relates to conversion, discipleship, and church planting among Muslims. Special attention will be given to what message your lifestyle and public behavior communicate to Muslims. You will learn to respond to Muslim concerns and objections, clarify their points of confusion, and help them see Jesus as Lord and Savior.

    3.00 credit hours
  • INT 6920 Global Internship

    As a capstone experience in your degree, you will spend a minimum of 250 hours in a context of intercultural or Muslim ministry under the supervision of a qualified mentor in the field. Your location, plan for ministry, and field mentor must be approved by your advisor before registration.

    3.00 credit hours

Admission Requirements

  • Completed application
  • Official transcripts for highest earned degree and any master’s degree work
  • Church leader reference
  • Application Essay (800 words total, typed)
  • Minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA

​​​​​​Career Path Opportunities

  • Cross-cultural Mission Service
  • Government Service
  • Non-Government Service
  • Non-Profit Work
  • Refugee Resettlement
  • Academic Careers

Top FAQs

How much does the program cost?

Tuition and fees for this 30-credit-hour program run around $17,000. Please check the tuition and fees page for the most up-to-date information. There are certain discounts and benefits given for military status and to employees and family members of our partner organizations. Our financial aid counselors will help you determine the best way to finance this important investment in your future career earnings. For more detailed information, check our financial aid page and select the option for online students. 

How long does the program take?

If you are taking two online classes per 8-week term, then you will finish within 10 months. If you take one class per 8-week term, then you will finish in 18 months. If you are on campus, then you may take 5 courses per semester (Fall and Spring), allowing you to finish in 10 months.

When can I start?

There are six 8-week terms within a calendar year (Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2) so you may begin at any of these start dates in August, October, January, March, May or July.

How do online classes work?

When you open the Canvas site, you will see that a week begins on Monday morning and ends on Saturday night at 11:59 p.m. Each week when you open the course, you will have readings, pre-recorded lectures and assignments. Most assignments are due on Wednesday or Saturday night of each week. You will discuss the readings and lectures each week in online forums with your classmates and instructor. Though there are no required class meetings since students are often spread across the world in different time zones, your professor may invite you to a voluntary Zoom meeting. You can also schedule a consultation with your professor over Zoom.

How much time does a single class take?

You should plan on about 15 hours per week for one online class.

Do I need to come to campus?

For online students, there is no requirement to come to campus, but we are always happy to see you for a visit or when you come for graduation.

What can I do with this program?

There are a number of career paths including cross-cultural mission service, government service, non-government service, non-profit work, refugee resettlement and academic careers.


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