Master of Divinity in Muslim-Christian Relations



75 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 36 months


Nationally Accredited by ATS

Deepen Your Knowledge and Learn to Engage with Effectiveness — CIU’s Master of Divinity in Muslim-Christian Relations 

Columbia International University’s Master of Divinity in Muslim-Christian Relations will provide you with a comprehensive range of biblical-theological knowledge and practical skills for ministry leadership in a variety of contexts. You will also 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 better 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. 

Half of the world’s population claims to be Muslim or Christian. Sadly, in world history, Muslims and Christians have fought in wars and remained 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. 

As a Master of Divinity student you will learn to: 

Analyze and synthesize the basic content, context, and themes of the Old and New Testaments, with an emphasis on God’s historical-redemptive mission, as revealed through Scripture’s metanarrative and exemplified in the Great Commission. 

Practice sound exegesis and exposition of the biblical text in its original languages, with an emphasis on how passages speak to contemporary issues in individual and corporate contexts. 

Engage contemporary global challenges to orthodox belief and practice based on support from key biblical passages that undergird foundational doctrines, applying insights from the history of global Christianity to 21st century issues, needs and challenges.

Analyze cultures and worldviews from a biblical perspective as the basis for effective, biblically-contextualized ministry that equips and encourages others to grow as disciples and disciple-makers in the church, mission field and/or marketplace.

Apply biblical principles, techniques and paradigms to the practice of leadership, pastoring, preaching, teaching and counseling. 

Demonstrate proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills and attitudes gained through MDiv studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. 

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.  

CIU’s easy-to-use, interactive online format allows you to pursue an MDiv from anywhere in the world. Each online course is eight weeks in length and is designed to work around your schedule. You will study in a cohort with other students and be taught by a recognized expert in the field.  

Your coursework will include 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. 

Why Choose Columbia Biblical Seminary

The Columbia Biblical Seminary is known around the world for solid, practical theological training that prepares students to effectively step in to ministry. Additionally, for over 20 years, CIU has hosted the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies to assist in the understanding of 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 will study with faculty who have lived and continue to live what they are teaching. 

Overall Benefits of the Degree

The MDiv 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 person; 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

Melina Rabon

Assistant Dean, Professor of Ministry Studies, Director of Internships

What Will I Study?

In addition to the Master of Divinity core, you will take courses such as:

  • INT 6110 Foundations of Internships

    This course is intended as a prerequisite for other INT courses. You will prepare for an internship by establishing a clear plan for learning and understanding the expectations, responsibilities, and activities associated with your internship experience. You must complete this course before you begin your internship. You do not need to secure an internship before enrolling in this course.

    0.00 credit hours
  • INT 6217 Focused Internship I

    In this course, you will enhane your proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained through your studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. Each course involves at least 120 hours of direct ministry experience. (1.5)

    1.50 credit hours
  • INT 6218 Focused Internship II

    In this course, you will enhane your proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained through your studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. Each course involves at least 120 hours of direct ministry experience. (1.5)

    1.50 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
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • completed application
  • affirmation that you are a Christian and agree with CIU’s Statement of Faith
  • official transcript(s) for completed bachelor’s degree(s) * +
  • official transcript(s) for any graduate-level coursework +
  • essay (approximately 800 words)
  • church leader reference
  • * If you have not completed an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, you can still potentially apply for admission in accordance with CIU’s Non-Baccalaureate Policy.
  • + If you have attended a school outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts validated through World Education Services.

International applicants also need:

  • submitted test scores for one of the following standardized tests for the English language:
  • completed educational background form (provided after application submission)
  • financial certification of funds form (provided after application submission)

Accreditation and Accolades

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

Career Path Opportunities

  • Cross-Cultural Mission Service 
  • Government Service 
  • Non-Government Service 
  • Nonprofit Work 
  • Refugee Resettlement 
  • Academic Careers 
What career opportunities are available with an MDiv in Muslim-Christian Relations?
  • Cross-Cultural Mission Service
  • Government Service
  • Non-Government Service
  • Nonprofit Work
  • Refugee Resettlement
  • Academic Careers
Can I take this program residentially, online or both?

CIU’s MDiv in Muslim-Christian Relations is fully available either residentially or online. All its required courses are offered in both formats.

As a residential student, you will benefit from close interaction with professors and other students, building relationships that can support you for a lifetime of ministry. Classes are designed around block schedules, which gives you flexibility if you are working or serving in ministry while taking courses. Residential students have the option to take courses online if they wish.

As an online student, you will benefit from courses that foster your learning within the context of an intentional learning community. We recognize that not everyone can uproot themselves and move to seminary. For this reason, all our courses are asynchronous. This allows you to continue working and serving where you are located while taking courses. At the same time, you will be provided with opportunities to have regular live online meetings with your professors and classmates, if you so desire.

How long does it take?

Residential courses follow a 16-week semester format, with two semesters per calendar year (Fall and Spring). Thus, residential students can complete this program in about three years (full time, taking three courses per semester) or in about five years (part time, taking two courses per semester).

Online courses follow an eight-week term format, with six terms per calendar year (Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2, Fall 1, Fall 2). Online students can complete this program in about two years (full time, taking two courses per online term) or in about four years (part time, taking one course per online term). Hybrid students can complete this program in about three years.

When can I start this program?

Residential courses follow a 16-week semester format and have two starts every year. The spring semester begins in January and the fall semester begins in August, with a break for summer in between semesters.

Online courses follow an eight-week term format and have six starts every year. Every eight weeks is a new start, meaning there are two online terms offered each spring, summer and fall.

How much does it cost?

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 here.

Is Bible software provided to me as a student? 

Yes, upon enrolling in your first course, you will receive a professional-level copy of Accordance Bible Software customized for your studies at Columbia Biblical Seminary. You may keep this this software upon graduation. 

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 you are welcome to visit and encouraged to come for graduation.


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