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M.A. in Intercultural Studies

Overview

Due to the closure of the Cook School of Intercultural Studies (effective at the end of the 2023–24 academic year), this program will be housed within Talbot School of Theology at Biola University starting Fall 2024. For details regarding the closure, please refer to the university’s official announcement.

Biola’s Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in cross-cultural and multicultural work environments and ministries. Students will gain a solid understanding of the dynamics of living, working and communicating the gospel in cultures different from their own, and how to apply that knowledge to their respective ministries and professions.

For more than 100 years, Biola University has been committed to developing godly leaders who will carry out the Great Commission in life, work, and ministry. Biola’s M.A. in Intercultural Studies will give you the resources to understand, connect and communicate with others in cultures different from your own, and clearly impart the gospel in a variety of cross-cultural and multicultural contexts. As a student of this program, you will:

  • Become Effective. As you refine your skills in cross-cultural work, your effectiveness in your work and ministry will increase and inspire others to grow deeper in their faith and relationships with others.
  • Sharpen Your Focus. A wide variety of elective courses affords you the opportunity to sharpen your focus of study on specific areas of cross-cultural work and ministries such as church planting, community development, TESOL and translation.
  • Learn at Your Own Pace. The program is designed to give you the flexibility to complete your program in-person, online or a combination of both. This model will allow you to continue to work in your field while you focus on taking your education to the next level.
  • Elevate Academically. Your research and writing skills will be refined as you dive deeper into your courses and learn how to thoughtfully analyze a variety of cross-cultural issues
  • Transform Spiritually. Cultivating your spiritual growth is an integral part of this program. In order to increase the effectiveness of your spiritual leadership, you will be challenged to strengthen your godly character, elevate your personal standards of integrity and morality, and foster your passion for human rights, justice, and the reconciliation of humanity with their Creator.

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Global Learning Center

The global learning center provides students the unique opportunity to earn credits while taking courses in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Learn More About the Global Learning Center


Specializations

  • Community Development
  • Intercultural Education
  • Intercultural Studies
  • Missiology
  • Peace and Conflict Transformation

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Courses

What will I study as a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies student?

The M.A. in Intercultural Studies can be completed in 18 months (full-time) — 12 months if completing the accelerated program — or spread over the course of several years, allowing you the flexibility to continue to work and serve in ministry. You will also have the opportunity to add specializations to your degree such as Missiology, Community Development, Intercultural Education and Peace and Conflict Transformation. Regardless of the specialization you choose, you can look forward to engaging in core courses like:

  • History of the World Christian Movement
  • Theology of Missions
  • Economic Anthropology
  • Cross-Cultural Leadership
  • Culture Change

Career Outlook and Preparation

What can you do with a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies?

Graduates of this program have gone on to work for mission agencies, universities, churches and international businesses. While a degree in intercultural studies can open up many avenues, here are a few possible career paths to consider:

  • Intercultural or Multicultural Business Leader
  • Missionary
  • Cross-Cultural Church Leader
  • Mission Administrator
  • Community Development Worker
  • Missions Pastor
  • Youth Minister
  • English Ministries Pastor in Multi-Ethnic Churches

Admissions & Deadlines

As a Christian institution, Biola seeks to admit applicants whose backgrounds clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, and a positive service-oriented motivation toward their field of study. Biola does not discriminate on the basis of the applicant's race, color, sex, socio-economic status, disability, or national or ethnic origin.

Education and GPA Requirements

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the time you plan to start coursework at Biola, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at graduate.admissions@biola.edu. If you are an international student, contact grad.international@biola.edu.

English Proficiency Requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. See “English Proficiency” in the application steps section below.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • General: July 1
    • International Students: June 1
  • Spring Semester
    • General: November 1
    • International Students: October 1

Visit Biola

Explore our sunny Southern California campus in person or virtually. Learn more about your program of interest and the admissions process by scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor.

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Meet Your Admissions Counselor

If you have more questions about the program, admissions process or Biola in general, schedule a phone call or send an email to your admissions counselor.

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Photo of Amy Finn
Amy Finn

Email: amanda.finn@biola.edu
Text or Call: (562) 573-1206
Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

International Graduate Admissions Counselor

The Office of International Admissions serves students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Email: grad.international@biola.edu
Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

Application Steps

  1. Complete and submit the online application

  2. Submit a non-refundable $65 application fee

  3. Submit supplemental application materials through your online application portal:

  4. Official Transcripts

    • Submit all official transcripts from previous academic institutions.
      • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
      • If enrolled at the time the application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
      • Transcripts will be considered official only when a) mailed directly from the institution to Biola, b) sent electronically through an approved vendor or c) physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.
        • Mail transcripts to:
          Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions
          13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639
    • Note for International Students: All international transcripts need U.S. grade equivalencies noted (i.e. GPA on a 4.0 scale). If your transcripts do not show U.S. grade equivalencies, you must have them evaluated by a credential evaluation agency like SpanTran (Biola Discount), World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services (FIS). Be sure to choose "course by course report" and have SpanTran/WES/FIS send them directly to Biola University via online portal or post (13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639) in order to be considered official.

    Two Reference Letters

    • Note: Forms will be supplied by the admissions office.

    One Essay

    • Vocational objectives
      • Applicants must submit a 1–2 page statement outlining vocational objectives, how the degree will relate to those objectives and a possible dissertation topic.

    English Proficiency (required for non-native English speakers)

    • Evidence of English proficiency is required for all students to support student success. Proficiency must be shown through one of the methods described below:
      • Minimum test score on a qualifying standardized test
        • TOEFL: minimum score of 100 iBT
        • IELTS: minimum score of 7.5
        • Duolingo: minimum score of 125
      • A degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) issued by an institution where English is the medium of instruction.
        • Official written communication from the institution (Registrar, Controller of Examinations Office, or Undergraduate College)
        • Official degree statements or transcripts may be accepted given English is stated as the medium of instruction
        • Official catalog verification
        • Note: For universities from non-Anglophone countries, further language assessment may be required.
      • Completion of the English Language Scholars (ELS) with passing status on the ELS's final exit exam, which must be approved by the ELS Director in collaboration with the academic program committee. An updated TOEFL or IELTS score may be used at the end of a term to test directly into the graduate program for the following term.
      • Qualify for English Language Scholars (ELS), which allows students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores to still enroll in their graduate degree program. Students would be taking academic English courses concurrently with the graduate degree program courses. 
        • Students eligible for ELS will be assessed by the ELS Director to determine the total number of academic English courses to take while enrolled in their graduate program courses. The following are the scores needed to qualify for ELS: TOEFL iBT 90 / IELTS 7.0 / Duolingo 110–124.
        • Note: Students must be admitted to the graduate program first to be considered for ELS.

     

    Things to Note

    • Track your application status at any time. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. When you apply, to guarantee confidentiality, you will be asked to create a user name and a password, and will receive a personalized identification number. Track your application status by logging in to the online application.
    • Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.
    • International students who will be studying on campus are required to apply for an F-1 student visa. For more information, visit biola.edu/international/admitted-students.

Accelerated Learning Placement

Earn your M.A. in Intercultural Studies in as little as 12 months with the "4+1" plan.

Explore the Accelerated Master's Program

Tuition and Financial Aid

Biola is committed to help make your studies affordable — each school offers different scholarship, grant and loan opportunities to help finance your education.

Cost Per Credit (2024‑25) $704
Full-time Tuition Per Term (Estimated) Based on 9 credit courseload$6,336
Part-time Tuition Per Term (Estimated) Based on 3 credit courseload$2,112
Total Program Tuition (Estimated) Based on total program credits and 2024‑25 cost per credit$27,456

Faculty


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Doctor of Intercultural Studies

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Ph.D. in Intercultural Education

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Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies

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Format

On Campus: You'll study in person at Biola University's campus in Southern California.

Online: You'll take coursework fully online.

Hybrid (On Campus and Online): This program includes a blend of course formats, including online and in person at Biola University's Southern California campus.

Total Credits

Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.

Cost per Credit

This is the cost per credit; total tuition costs for each term will differ for part-time and full-time students.

Standard Completion Time

This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.

Accreditation

Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.