Where can this degree take me?
The Doctor of Philosophy (Intercultural Studies) seeks to develop the ministry and research skills of leaders involved in a wide variety of missional, cross-cultural, and educational ministries. Focus is upon deepening our understanding of human diversity, contextual realities, and culture change in ways that inform redemptive, gospel-centered ministry in the contemporary world. Theological, historical and social scientific disciplines are integrated at the highest academic level and brought to bear on the global and local mission of the church.
As an academic PhD program, students will strengthen their foundations in theory as the basis for original research and writing to advance missiological understanding and effective leadership. Our mission is to cultivate academic excellence, cultural insight, and spiritual depth enhancing the personal and professional development of program participants. Persons benefiting most from the program are typically engaged at home or abroad in ministries such as cross-cultural missions, multiethnic ministry, missional movement and organizational leadership, higher education, and evangelism. Additionally, our optional focus of Mission in Western Contexts equips today’s leaders through a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding contemporary cultures.
With a combination of intensive coursework, mentoring, and research students can craft a stimulating, flexible, and individualized course of study suited to their professional goals and life situation. Many of Trinity’s PhD/ICS students participate in the program during sabbatical or other educational leaves from churches, Christian mission organizations, colleges, and seminaries. Some complete the program by commuting to campus from longer distances for modular, intensive courses. Participation in the program links students with a diverse, broad-based international community of scholars and provides tools to promote lifelong learning.
The PhD/ICS program is committed to the full authority of Scripture and the centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ. These core convictions must guide the church’s mission as it engages an increasingly complex world of rapid social change, religious pluralism, human diversity, and globalization. We thus believe that effective and faithful ministry demands more than ever the best integration of deep theological reflection, keen social scientific insight, and broad historical perspective. The ICS faculty represents a wide range of backgrounds, ministry experience, and academic expertise dedicated to working collaboratively with students in a stimulating and holistic learning community. The goal is not knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but academic excellence that addresses contemporary challenges for the greater glory of God and the advancement of his kingdom.
Intercultural Studies defined
Intercultural studies represents a broad category of scholarly inquiries related to the interface of human diversity and transformative gospel ministry. Human commonalities are understood to be based on the oneness of humankind, and differences are understood to be the outgrowth of historical, geographic, and sociopolitical variability. The scholarly task in this field of doctoral studies is to grasp with knowledge and wisdom those matters of diversity that impinge on human relationships and various understandings of reality and to evaluate these in the light of biblical teaching. Globalization, migration, religious pluralism and other features of contemporary societies add to the complexity of human experience and increase the challenges and opportunities of Christian ministry and gospel faithfulness. Intercultural studies is thus of critical importance not only in the context of historic cross-cultural mission work, but also in virtually every context including North America.
Socioanthropological inquiry is used to help understand the nature of intercultural relationships and to develop substantial cultural awareness, knowledge of the skills of analysis and interpretation, and theoretical comprehension of the nature and consequences of sociocultural diversity. Such insight must inform the missional practice of the church. Effective human relationships, communication, Christ-centered personal and social transformation, contextualization of ministry, and engagement with persons of other faiths all require an understanding of culture and social dynamics. The foundation of the program is biblically faithful theology, which provides the basis for the evaluation of the interaction between a given culture, the gospel and the people of God.
What will I study?
The PhD (Intercultural Studies) Program is designed as a program of three to four academic years, requiring two years (four semesters) of classroom and seminar studies followed by one to two years of comprehensive examinations and dissertation research. The length of the program can be reduced by enrolling in full-time study during all three semesters (fall, spring, and summer). Part-time students need considerably longer to complete the program. The minimum number of courses and seminars, comprehensive exam and dissertation credit, is 60 semester hours. A full-time student takes 9 to 12 semester hours. The program operates on a year-round basis, with full-load enrollment available in fall, spring and summer semesters. Program courses are available in a variety of term-length and modular formats, making study accessible to students who do not relocate to Deerfield. To insure that students not residing locally participate in the broader learning community, attendance at ICS fellowship meetings, academic hearings, and other community events while present on campus for coursework is expected.
Seminars you’ll take include the following: