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Doctor of Intercultural Studies

Doctor of Intercultural Studies

The Doctor of Intercultural Studies is an advanced professional degree, designed to equip Christian leaders and missions workers for increased skill and effectiveness while serving in pluralistic and multi-ethnic contexts. This in-service program is designed for ministers who are already involved in cross-cultural work, so that professors and colleagues from around the world can connect at interactive class modules with a minimum of interruption to life. The training culminates in the research, writing, and defense of a dissertation that explores a major topic of mission and how the student can advance that work. 




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Graduate in as little as three years



Minimum 6 credits of on-campus intensives required (exceptions may be made for international students)



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What Sets Our Intercultural Studies Apart?

  • Designed for cross-cultural practitioners wanting to apply their training to their current ministry context. 
  • Most courses can be taken via web conference, except for two week-long intensives at our Portland campus.
  • The residency requirements may be waived for international students and internationally-based students who can't travel to campus.
  • Visiting and resident faculty are actively engaged in cross-cultural ministry around the world.
  • Flexible scheduling allows you to customize your program to fit your needs.
  • Students may specialize the focus of their training by choosing electives from our Master of Theology (ThM) or Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programs.

The uniqueness of our program is the strong integration of academic excellence and research with a student's current ministry and career goals.

Enoch Wan

Enoch Wan, PhD
Director of Doctor of Intercultural Studies



Course List

Required Courses: 24 credits
IS701 Intercultural Education 3
IS702 Cultural Anthropology 3
IS703 Proposal and Research Design 3
IS704 Intercultural Leadership and Mentorship 3
IS706 Foundations and History of Missions 3
IS707 Theology of Missions 3
IS709 Contextualization and Leadership 3
IS710 Integrated Research Methodology 3
Elective Courses: 6 credits
Students will choose electives in an area of specialization in consultation with the program director. (6)
Dissertation and Comprehensive Exam: 6+ credits
IS790 Proposal and Comprehensive Exam 1
IS791 Dissertation Research and Writing  5+
Total: 36+ credits

Minimal Residency Requirements

We make it possible for you to earn your degree without leaving the ministry that God has already called you to. Of the 36 credits required for the DIS, 6 credits must be taken in-person at Western’s Portland campus. This means that students must attend at least two, week-long intensives in person during their degree program. (Possible exceptions can be made for international students and internationally-located students.) 

Intercultural Studies Education That Keeps Debt Down

Ministry work can bring limited financial reward. That's why we encourage wise financial stewardship as you pay for school. It might surprise you to learn that a minority of our students utilize loans, with most choosing instead to pay out of pocket, with scholarships, or via a monthly payment plan. Look into your options for financial aid.

Admission Requirements

In addition to a completed application for admission and the submission of all related admissions materials, applicants must present:

  • A Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree, MDiv equivalent degree, or intercultural studies-focused master’s degree from an ATS-accredited school
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in any of the above degrees
  • At least three years of experience in ministry and demonstrated capacity in the area of intercultural studies 

If you do not meet one of these requirements, please explore our detailed admission requirements and exception policies. As always, contact an Admissions Counselor if you’ve got further questions.


 Note: The Doctor of Intercultural Studies was formerly the Doctor of Missiology (DMiss) program 

Transformation Stories

Meet our students and alumni, and hear how gospel-centered education is transforming lives and ministries around the world.