Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Education


Program Overview

Western Seminary's Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Education degree is an advanced, academically oriented degree that prepares people for theologically and interculturally related vocations of teaching and research in theological schools, colleges, and universities or in other settings appropriate to the degree.

The program emphasizes the integration of the paradigm of relational interactionism with theoretical formulation and intercultural educational application within the student's ministry context.

Program Learning Outcomes

The Ph.D. Program Learning Outcomes conform to the fulfill Western Seminary's Mission Statement: "Western Seminary serves as a catalyst and resource for spiritual transformation by working with and for the church to equip men and women for strategic ministry roles."

Program learning outcomes:

  • Students demonstrate a theological understanding of the issues and practices of intercultural educational ministry.
  • Students demonstrate original research and writing that advances theological and intercultural understanding for the academy and for communities of faith; and demonstrate capacities for the vocation of theological scholarship in research, teaching and learning, and formation.
  • Students exhibit evidence of gaining a comprehensive knowledge of related disciplines in intercultural education.
  • Students display the ability to teach and research in theological schools, colleges, and universities or in other settings.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to engage in Gospel-Centered intercultural education in accordance with the institutional mission statement of Western Seminary i.e. "Gospel-Centered Transformation."

Admission Requirements

In addition to the standard application process, applicants for the Ph.D. must possess an Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited Master of Divinity or comparable MA degree in appropriate education, theological, and cross-cultural disciplines with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. They must also have at least two years of effective intercultural ministry experience relevant to the proposed Ph.D. program focus.

A Ph.D. is considered a terminal degree. Therefore, applicants must provide writing samples that include a strong research component. Applicants must also have an interview with the Director of the Ph.D. program to demonstrate attitude, discipline, motivation, and the ability to complete theoretical research.

Residence Requirements

Of the 60 credits required for the Ph.D., a minimum of 6 credits should be taken in residence study at Western's Portland campus through intensive modules. (Exceptions are made for international students.)

Degree Requirements

Research Focus: The program focus expresses the student's specific area of research in intercultural education. Students in the Ph.D. program should identify educational challenges or ministry opportunities within an intercultural educational context be the research focus, guiding him/her throughout the program in research and dissertation completion.

Competency Modules: Doctoral courses are designed around lectures, seminar presentations, practical assignments, and fieldwork. In addition to core courses, each student chooses a specific educational area for specialization by using twelve credits of electives.

General Education and Specialization Studies: All students are required to receive general education in intercultural education by earning 39 credits. Each student will be guided by his/her research focus throughout the Ph.D. program. Development in an area of specialization is facilitated by twelve credits of electives, nine credits of research methodology, and nine credits of dissertation research.

Comprehensive Examination: The written comprehensive examination is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding and application of intercultural and educational insights to their program focus.

Dissertation: The Ph.D. dissertation is the result of reading, research, and reflection centered around the research focus. It contains recognition and clarification of a major topic in intercultural education and a process to research the topic at hand, leading to implementation in ministry and career advancement. The dissertation brings together work done in the competency models and the refining of thought through interaction with faculty and integration of research findings.

Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Education Curriculum Plan

Core Courses: 18 credits
PH801 Intercultural Education 3
PH802 Cultural Anthropology 3
PH803 Proposal and Research Design 3
PH804 Intercultural Leadership & Mentorship 3
PH805 Intercultural Communication for Education 3
PH806 History, Philosophy, and Theology of Intercultural Education 3
PH807 Learning, Teaching, and Technology in Intercultural Education 3
PH808 Transformational Change and Intercultural Discipleship 3
PH809 Contextualization 3
PH810 Integrated Research Methodology and Dissertation Writing 3
PH811 Orality & Interculteriality 3
PH812 Ethnicity and Interculturality 3
PH813 Qualitative and Quantitative Research & Methods 3
Specialization Modules: 12 credits

Students will choose electives in an area of specialization in consultation with the program director.

PH8XX Elective Courses 6
PH8XX Individualized Study for Specialization 6
Dissertation and Comprehensive Examination: 9 credits
PH890 Dissertation Proposal and Comprehensive Exam 2
PH891 Dissertation Research and Writing 7
Total 60 credits