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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






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What Sets Our Intercultural Studies Apart?

  • Visiting and resident faculty are actively engaged in cross-cultural ministry around the world, bringing current findings and experiences into the classroom.
  • A non-residential program configuration means students can complete their training with minimal travel to the Portland campus—and no need to move away from home.
  • Students may specialize the focus of their training by choosing electives from our Master of Theology (ThM) or Doctor of Ministry (DMin) programs.



See a list of courses

Gateway Courses: 6 credits
IS702 Cultural Anthropology 3
IS703 Proposal and Research Design 3
Required Courses: 18 credits
IS701 Intercultural Education 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

Accessible Scheduling

The Doctor of Intercultural Studies program may be completed in two years’ time by enrolling in two intensive one-week seminars offered back-to-back at Western Seminary Portland campus each semester. This unique scheduling design means students can complete their studies without leaving family, career, or ministry behind. This level of academic research requires students to have ready access to a theological library in their region.

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