Master of Arts in Global Migration Studies



30 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 10 months


Regionally Accredited by SACSCOC

Become Equipped to Serve People on the Move — Earn your MA in Global Migration in 10 months

The Master of Arts in Global Migration Studies equips you to minister, serve and work in a world where millions of people are on the move and cultures and cultural identities are rapidly changing.

People migrate from their countries of origin for business, to study or to find work. Many flee their homelands because of war, oppression or famine. Presently 1 in 78 people on earth are internally or externally displaced. This reality changes the way we think about global mission. 

Are you serving in ministry among refugees, international students or immigrants? We will bring this 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 understanding cultures, worldviews, world religions, mission and migration, the history and politics of migration, as well as practical courses in ministering to refugees and international students.

The Master of Arts in Global Migration Studies provides students with an understanding of global migration and the cultural, economic and spiritual impact on people on the move. This program further equips students to minister to refugees, asylum seekers, international students and other immigrants.


Featuring Jessie Udall

Why Choose Columbia International University for your MA in Global Migrations?

At CIU, you’ll study with professors who are scholars of global migration and serve among refugees, international students and other immigrants. Our faculty have served all over the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America). You’ll study with faculty who have lived and continue to live what they are teaching. 

Overall Benefits of the MA in Global Migration Studies

The MA in Global Migration Studies provides training for those working and serving among refugees, international students, and other immigrants. Graduates from this program are equipped to work and serve in various spheres including:

  • Mission Service: Missionaries in cross-cultural service across the world; mission agency office support personnel; mission mobilizer.
  • International Student Ministry: Serve among international students on university campuses in North America or around the world.
  • Corporate Chaplaincy: Serve among international business people in the global marketplace.
  • Refugee Resettlement: Serve with a refugee resettlement office or ministry.
  • Urban Ministry: Church planting, youth ministry and other ministries in urban centers in North America and around the world.
  • Church Ministry: Mission pastors; immigrant outreach coordinators.
  • Non-Profit Sector: Serve in faith-based and other non-profit entities in multi-cultural contexts.
  • Academic Careers: Ph.D. work leading to careers in college, seminary and university-level teaching, both in the United States and abroad.

Featured Faculty

Edward L. Smither

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

What Will I Study?

  • ICS 5830 Biblical Theology of Mission

    You will engage in a comprehensive study of the biblical foundation for missions 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 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 5200 History and Politics of Migration

    In this course, you will grasp the history of migration and the various reasons for it. Further, you will explore how governments and the United Nations have responded to and developed laws and resolutions regarding people on the move. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 5440 Transnational Identities

    In this course, your will explore the anthropology of migration. Specifically, how does one's cultural identity develop and change because of migration. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • CHP 6112 Crisis Response and Trauma Care

    In this course, you will engage in a comprehensive overview of the field of psychological trauma and the way in which trauma affects individuals and systems, grief reactions, and traumatic stress. You will explore such topics as post-traumatic growth, moral injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, vicarious traumatization, and complicated grief. You will learn essential crisis response and trauma care skills and how to employ them in your own ministry setting.

    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
  • RES 7972 Thesis

    Building on an approved thesis proposal, you will research and write on a topic in your field under the guidance of one faculty member who will critique your work as you proceed.

    3.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

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

Accreditation and Accolades

SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities

  • Cross-cultural Mission 
  • International Student Ministry
  • Corporate Chaplaincy
  • Urban Church Planting 
  • Local Church Ministry
  • 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, international student ministry, corporate chaplaincy, urban church planting, local church ministry, non-profit work, refugee resettlement and academic careers.

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