Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies

Pursue advanced research and leadership skills for use in cross-cultural work and ministry.

Program at a Glance

  • Program Credits:

    51-60 semester credits

  • Class Formats:

    • Modular (2 weekend formats)
    • Online (some classes)
    • On campus intensive (2 weeks in July)
    • Extension site intensive (2 weeks in January)
  • Average Completion Time:

    4.5-5.5 years

  • Accreditation:

    WSCUC

  • Location:

    La Mirada, Calif., and up to half the credits in Chiang Mai, Thailand or Saint-Légier-La Chiésaz, Switzerland

Tuition & Financial Aid

Find information about tuition and financial aid opportunities.

Learn More

Carrying out the Great Commission in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the outermost parts of the world is what Jesus called all of his followers to do and Cook ICS is doing just that by training up the next generation of servant leaders to make a difference for the cause of Christ.

DJ Crawford, Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies Current Student

Overview

This academic doctoral degree further equips experienced, intercultural professionals by deepening their understanding and application of relevant theoretical missiological constructs. Graduates of this program often teach in higher education and lead international or intercultural institutions. Up to 21 credits of the coursework for this Ph.D. program can be completed at our Chiang Mai extension site. The remaining coursework can be completed during two-week modulars on Biola’s La Mirada campus.

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants to the Ph.D. in Intercultural Education program must possess a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average.

  2. An accredited master's degree or its equivalent appropriate to the Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies is required for admission. Students must have a GPA of 3.30 in their previous graduate studies.

  3. Three years of cross-cultural experience plus proficiency in a second language is expected of students pursuing the intercultural emphasis. Three years of teaching experience in a multicultural setting or its equivalent is expected of students pursuing the multicultural emphasis.

  4. Those without intercultural/missions or Bible/theology may have additional coursework added to their program.

  5. Writing: Applicants must submit a one-two page statement outlining their vocational objectives and how the degree will relate to those objectives, with possible dissertation topic included. Submit a writing sample in the form of an essay or research paper. Applicants should attach written statements to the application.

  6. Three letters of references on forms supplied by the school are required.

  7. Official transcripts for all previous schools attended are required.

  8. Conduct an oral interview with either the program director or his designate (may be completed over the phone).

  9. Application and all required materials must be submitted for Fall by January 31, for Spring by August 30. Applications may be submitted after deadlines, along with an application fee of $65, but will only be considered if space and time allow. Late applications may be postponed to later terms.

Note: Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student's academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.

Program Requirements

The Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies program requires a minimum of 60 credits past the appropriate master's degree, with 48 semester hours of course work and 12 semester hours of dissertation research.

The 48 credit component of the program contains a 15 credit education core requirement, a 9 credits sequence of education research requirements and 9 credits of theological reflection and integration. This allows the student to select an emphasis from the remaining 15 required credits from a wide variety of courses offered across the University curriculum.

If a student has completed a master's degree that does not contain the background necessary for the Ph.D. in Intercultural Education program, the total program will be longer than 60 credits, as determined by the program director. A faculty advisor will guide each student in planning a program of study to serve his or her career needs. The degree offers an emphasis in either intercultural or multicultural education. Students are expected to choose the emphasis most appropriate to their research interest.

Below are some of the courses you’ll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Note: This list is intended to give you a quick glimpse into the program’s academic offerings, and should not be used as a guide for course selection or academic advising. For official program requirements see catalog for details.

Foundational Courses (12 credits)

ISAN 761 Culture & Transformation 3
ISCL 709 Intercultural Communication 3
ISCL 742 History of the World Christian Movement 3
ISCL 765 Crosscultural Leadership 3
ISCL 703 Curriculum Design for Intercultural Contexts 3

Intercultural Studies Core Courses (12 credits)

ISCL 853 Theoretical Issues in Cross-cultural Engagement 3
ISCL 852 Contemporary Issues in Cognitive Anthropology and Worldview Studies 3
ISAN 751 Social Anthropology 3
ISCL 801 Method & Theory in Cross-cultural Studies 3

Specialization Courses (9 Credits)

A total of 9 credits must be taken in Education/ICS electives and/or ISCL 873 Tutorial (ISCL 873 should be taken for 3 credits each time it is taken. ISCL 873 may be taken repeatedly to fulfill this requirement.)

Research Courses (6 Credits)

ISCL 803 Qualitative Research 3
ISCL 879 Research Design 3

Bible/Theology Courses (9 Credits)

Students in the Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies program may select Bible/theology courses from a wide range of courses taught by the faculty at Talbot School of Theology, or from among the theological integration courses offered by qualified faculty within the School of Intercultural Studies. Students with no formal biblical/theological training prior to entering the program must have the selection approved by the program director.

Dissertation Writing (12 Credits)

ISCL 872 Foundations of Doctoral Research 3
ISCL 890 Ph.D. Dissertation Field Research
ISCL 890 is to be taken for at least 6 credits
3
ISCL 891 Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal 3

Time Limit for Degree Completion

All course and academic requirements for the Ph.D. in Intercultural Education degree should be completed within seven years, beginning on the date of the student's first registration. Petitions for extension beyond seven years will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students. At times students may need to interrupt their programs for a semester or more for a variety of personal or work-related reasons. This may be done with the consent of their respective PhD Program Director. Students must be continuously enrolled unless on an official Leave of Absence. Students who fail to register in any given semester without a Leave of Absence will be dropped from their respective doctoral program. Also students on Leave of Absence beyond two consecutive semesters must reapply to their respective doctoral programs.

Withdrawal & Re-admission Procedures

A student who must drop out of school must go through the formal withdrawal process. To return to active status the student should contact the program director and file a readmission form with the Office of Admissions.

Leave of Absence

Inactive students are those who have requested and been granted Leave of Absence from the program. A Leave of Absence may be granted upon petition for change of status if there is deemed sufficient reason for interrupting the program and intention to return to the program.

A Leave of Absence must be renewed by petition each semester and may not exceed two consecutive semesters. A Leave of Absence longer than two semesters will require withdrawal from the program and a petition for readmission if the student later wishes to regain active status. Each leave of absence must receive the approval of the student’s program advisor and the Dean of the school. Students on leave are required to register for ISCL 893 Leave of Absence each term.

A Leave of Absence may be granted upon petition for change of status if there is deemed sufficient reason for interrupting the program and intention to return to the program. Inactive students are those who have requested and been granted Leave of Absence from the program. A Leave of Absence must be renewed by petition each semester and may not exceed two consecutive semesters. A Leave of Absence longer than two semesters will require withdrawal from the program and a petition for readmission if the student later wishes to regain active status. Each Leave of Absence must receive the approval of the Program Advisor and the Dean of CSICS. Students on leave are required to register for ISCL 893 Leave of Absence each term.

Portfolios

The Cook School of Intercultural Studies (CSICS) at Biola University has chosen to utilize a Portfolio Assessment System for its PhD programs effective Fall 2012-2013.  This system is designed as a means to help monitor student progress in developing as a scholar.  Before the end of the first semester at CSICS, students must create an e-portfolio on Canvas called "CSICS program portfolio" and send the link (URL) for that portfolio to csicsgrad@biola.edu.  Students should upload or link the required components to their "CSICS program portfolio" on Canvas by January 21st for fall semester work and by June 21st for spring semester work.  For detailed instructions on how to upload work to the ePortfolio, click here.  For a detailed list of work that must be uploaded, plus the deadlines for students to upload that work, click here.   
 

Oral Interview & Admission to Doctoral Study

All students are required to participate in an oral interview with a committee of the faculty to evaluate their progress and potential for successful completion of the doctoral program. The interview is scheduled after one semester in residence. Submission of at least one significant piece of written work demonstrating the student’s capacity to produce satisfactory doctoral research and writing is required prior to the interview. If needed, an oral interview with a faculty committee may be held to evaluate a student’s progress and potential for successful completion of the doctoral program. The interview will be scheduled after at least one significant piece of written work demonstrating the student’s skill in research writing is completed. The result of the interview will determine the student’s status within the program.

Qualifying Examinations

Doctoral students are required to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of their field of study by examination. The content of the written qualifying exams includes material from the core areas of the curriculum and the student's particular specialization. These exams are normally taken at the conclusion of all the coursework.

Admission to Candidacy

Official PhD candidacy indicates that students have completed all of the preliminary requirements and are now qualified to undertake original research contributing to scholarship in their respective fields through their doctoral dissertations.

To achieve candidacy, students must successfully complete the following: 1. Required coursework and the Graduation Procedures Check (or grad check); 2. Portfolio, approved by the doctoral committee; 3. Qualifying examinations; and 4. Defense of the dissertation proposal.

It is the responsibility of students to contact their advisors in order to ensure all candidacy requirements have been met. Upon completion of the requirements, students will be notified of their acceptance to candidacy. Candidates will select a chairperson from the graduate faculty to guide their dissertation research. Upon achieving candidacy, students may implement their proposed research plans under the supervision of the approved doctoral chairperson. Students enrolled in ISCL 890 Dissertation Field Research or ISCL 891 Dissertation Proposal are considered full-time students if they enroll for at least 2 credits per semester. During the dissertation phase, doctoral students are considered full time for a maximum of two years. If doctoral candidates have not defended their dissertations by the time all required dissertation credits are completed, they must enroll continuously in ISCL 892 PhD Continuous Research each semester until the successful defense of the dissertation. This enrollment carries no academic credit but maintains the students’ continuous registration. Students who fail to achieve candidacy may be offered a terminal M.A. degree and dropped from the Ph.D. program.

Dissertation

The dissertation process officially begins with the successful defense of a candidate’s proposal before one’s doctoral committee prior to beginning the student’s field research.

The doctoral dissertation is based upon research grounded in theory appropriate to the candidate’s concentration and conducted in some aspect of intercultural studies.

Dissertation Defense

The final examination is an oral defense of the dissertation before the doctoral committee and other invited professionals. Successful defense of the dissertation completes the candidate’s responsibilities for the degree which is conferred in the scheduled graduation ceremony immediately following the defense.

Graduation Requirements

All students must present an acceptable dissertation, have satisfactorily passed their qualifying exam and completed all required course work with a minimum 3.3 GPA to qualify for graduation. Students must meet with their department advisor and contact Graduate Graduation Counselor in the Office of the Registrar one year prior to graduation to declare intent to graduate. (See Graduate Graduation Check description in Admissions, Registration & Graduation Requirements section).

Residency Requirement

CSICS Ph.D. students taking coursework at Biola's CSICS extension centers must take at least 50% (24 credits) of the coursework at Biola's main campus.

 

Careers COOK SICS grads have entered with a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies:

  • Professor at a university in the US
  • Professor at seminary in the US
  • Missionary
  • Pastor
  • Educator at a foreign university
  • Seminary professor at a foreign university

 

Distribution of career types for COOK SICS grads with a Ph.D. in ICS*:

Career Typs Graph

*Data on 12 of 12 grads since 2009

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000