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Courses | B.A. in Intercultural Studies

Below are some of the courses you’ll have an opportunity to take as a student in this program. Take a look at the list below to get an idea of the types of available courses. Also, be sure to review core curriculum requirements and the official program requirements in the Biola University catalog.

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.

Major Courses

The nature of people in culture; worldview and perception; culture change; a study of the subsystems of cultures, including social organization, religion, language and related topics. Includes practical applications to global problems such as AIDS, human rights, etc. Notes: Approved for Core Curriculum Behavioral Science credit. Grade Mode: A.
This course is a holistic approach to language that addresses the interdependence of language and culture in society. It examines the relationship between cognition and behavior to language in communities worldwide. Topics include the structure of language and interaction, symbols and metaphors, language and identity, language and cognition, classification of experience, and language and power. Grade Mode: A.

Study of God's redemptive acts in Scripture on behalf of mankind, with application to the mission of the church today. Grade Mode: A.

Senior level capstone seminar in which the student will search the Bible and the literature dealing with the topic(s) under discussion in the course leading to the discovery of means whereby the subject area may be 'integrated' with Biblical truth. The results of the research will be incorporated in a paper or project which will be critiqued by the seminar members and by the professor. Core Curriculum: Approved for Core - Biblical and Theological Studies.

Exploration of foundational issues related to international and intercultural ministry, including foundational models of global Christian witness, mission formation, contextualization, and an overview of various global realities (poverty; international development; Islam; unreached peoples; urbanization; globalization; and peace, security and conflict) from a Biblical perspective. Career tracks in intercultural and global service are explored.

Introduction to the basic concepts in the scientific study of language, major areas of linguistic analysis, and several subareas of the field, including language in society. Material from English and a variety of other languages is used to provide a broad perspective. Grade Mode: A.

Techniques and activities to help a person be a more successful learner of a new language and gain insights into the host culture. Practical experience in language and culture learning in a non-English-speaking community.

Exploration of the cross-cultural transition process, focusing on healthy adjustment as a sojourner in a new culture. Attention given to understanding and applying grace to oneself and others, discerning cultural values, conflict styles, social stratification and celebration.

Field internship provides an opportunity to develop cross-cultural confidence and competence in a field environment while exploring specific geographical, cultural and career areas of interest. Preparation for field internship, 352 is taken in spring semester; and 354, actual field experience and portfolio, are completed in fall semester.

Field internship provides an opportunity to develop crosscultural confidence and competence in a field environment while exploring specific geographical, cultural and career areas of interest. Notes: Required for all concentrations. Preparation for field internship, 352 is taken in the Spring semester; the actual field experience is done in the summer between the Junior and Senior year, and 354 and the portfolio are completed in the Fall semester after the internship. Also available for CPLE. This course may not be taken in conjunction with a semester abroad study program. Grade Mode: A.

A study of the centrality of God's redemptive acts on behalf of mankind from both the Old and New Testaments, as well as theological issues related to the mission of the Church in modern times. Notes: See BBST 458. Grade Mode: A.

The use of social science research techniques to learn about the people, needs and opportunities for living, working, and serving in the city. Special attention is given to researching people groups and the adaptations they make to urban contexts.

Analysis of the cultural institutions and values in tribal, peasant and newly emerging economies, with special consideration as to their openness or resistance to change. Grade Mode: A.



A personalized interdisciplinary program may be designed by the student and the student’s advisor. Popular fields include: International Business, Cross-cultural Family Studies, Intercultural Journalism, and Psychology, among others.

Cultural Anthropology

9 total credits; see catalog for details

A treatment of conceptions of the supernatural, the functions of religion in society, religion and social control, the nature of religious ritual and paraphernalia, sacred places and religious practitioners. Grade Mode: A.
A cross-cultural comparison of the oral traditions of cultures including an examination of major themes, cultural uses of myth, and the anthropological analysis and interpretation of folk literature in society. Grade Mode: A.
An introduction to major themes and issues in the anthropological study of social justice and human rights. Common human rights violations will be considered from an anthropological perspective and in the light of Scripture. Various tools for engaging in social activism and advocacy, rescuing the oppressed and undertaking social justice and human rights interventions will be considered. Grade Mode: A.
Examination of a variety of anthropological issues from either a theoretical or applied perspective including: marriage customs, leadership patterns, political relations, indigenous movements, culture change, worldview, etc. Notes: May be taken multiple times for credit with different course content. Grade Mode: A.
Cross-cultural study of leadership including diverse patterns of authority, legitimacy, public support, leadership recruitment, and training as they affect communication, national and international development. Grade Mode: A.
Cross-cultural study of the basic human groups of family, kin and community, examining marriage patterns and gender roles within families. Grade Mode: A.
Exploration of theory and methods for the study of economic and social relations as they impact human values, with emphasis on analytic tools for comparative research and cross-cultural application. Grade Mode: A.
An exploration of approaches, methods and theory in the interrelated fields of semiotics, symbolic anthropology and structural anthropology. Focus on ways in which anthropologists examine social and psychological structures, mental entities and lived experience, and symbolic contrasts and correspondences. Grade Mode: A.
Explores the 'roots and fruits' of aggression, violence and conflict from an anthropological perspective. Examination of biological, ecological and other materialistic explanations for these phenomena, as well as patterns in learning, symbol using and structuring of society as they relate to conflict and its transformation. Consideration of violence, aggression and warfare in small-scale societies, ethnic conflict, cross-cultural case studies, and techniques for conflict mediation and intervention. Grade Mode: A.
A survey of theoretical, methodological and ethnographic topics geared toward developing a deeper anthropological understanding of cross-cultural experiences related to both normal and 'altered' states of consciousness. We will explore topics including the neurophysiology of spiritual experience; trance; possession, shamanistic and mediumistic states; glossolalia; mystical traditions and a number of other 'extraordinary' experiences, as well as develop a thoroughly Christian, cross-culturally valid approach to various ethnophilosophies of mind, soul and spirit. Grade Mode: A.
Exploration of the contributions of anthropology and/or other academic disciplines to human rights and/or social justice considerations. Anthropological topics may include critical ethnography, cross-cultural approaches to developing international human rights standards, various forms of trafficking (human, organ, cultural heritage, etc.), genocide and ethnocide, anthropological ethics, representation and subjectivity in human rights and social justice contexts, universalism and relativism, anthropology of post-liberalism and neo-liberalism, cultural legitimacy, narrative approaches to transformational change, etc. Grade Mode: A.
Analysis of the cultural institutions and values in tribal, peasant and newly emerging economies, with special consideration as to their openness or resistance to change. Grade Mode: A.

International and Community Development

9 total credits; see catalog for details

Key theories, models and macro concerns in development, and historic overview of the practice of relief and development. Exploration of topics such as poverty, gender, human rights, debt, nationalism and economic development, globalization, and transformational/holistic development. Provides a broad survey of development concepts, trends, and challenges.

This course deals with micro issues in relief and development such as sustainable agriculture, HIV/AIDS and other health issues, literacy, the environment, food security, micro-enterprise development, gender, migration issues, internally displaced persons (IDP's), refugee response and the role of NGO's and faith-based organizations/agencies in working with complex humanitarian emergencies. Grade Mode: A.
Exposure to various models for engagement in development projects and practice, assessment of participatory learning and action approaches, examination of the role of expatriates in community development, analysis of the complexities of community participation, exploration of the role of transformational development practitioners in sustainable economic development and community organizing. Grade Mode: A.
Examination of the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation/assessment of a development project. Special emphasis on project funding and support, project supervision, project partnership issues, governmental and non-governmental relationships, and participatory evaluation methods. Students will gain practical/hands-on experience through evaluating a local development project. Grade Mode: A.


9 total credits; see catalog for details

A study of non-Caucasian ethnic groups in America in light of their historical and socio-cultural background. Practical field experience in an ethnic community. Grade Mode: A.
A study of specific cultural areas with an emphasis on customs, social structures, religion, arts, and history. Areas of specialty may include:
An introduction to the contemporary worldwide Christian movement, focusing on social, cultural and missiological issues; the translatability of the gospel; and non-Western missions and religious movements. Grade Mode: A.
Preparation to effectively lead a short-term mission team (STM) and program, including team training and preparation, models of STM service, spiritual and cultural issues, analysis of the STM paradigm, and assessment of STM effectiveness. Grade Mode: A.
This course utilizes the uniquely Evangelical genre of missionary biography to explore the lives and legacies of a number of important missionaries. The course will exegete their lives to more critically understand issues such as missionary call, mission formation and strategy, contextualization, field struggles, missionary family lives, and their lasting legacy. At its heart, the course is an exploration of the faithfulness of God in the lives of these individuals and the lasting impact Christ made through them. Grade Mode: A.
The study of historical and contemporary worldview beliefs in the existence and activity of spiritual beings or forces. The course establishes for the cross-cultural worker biblical, theoretical, and practical guidelines in dealing with spirit beliefs and conflicts. Grade Mode: A.
Designed to integrate principles of cross-cultural communication and theology and strategy of missions within a total conceptual framework to aid the local church in mission involvement, including approaches to mission education, mobilization, organization, and leadership; disciple making, prayer, and member care; partnerships, church-based teams, and responding to contemporary global issues. Grade Mode: A.
The historical development and spread of the Christian faith from the apostolic period until today. Emphasis is given to the modern era, especially growth dynamics in the Global South (non-Western world). Grade Mode: A.
Studies in selected issues pertaining to effective ministry among international sojourners in North America due to economic migration, forced resettlement, political service, academic pursuits, or professional advancement. Topics may include sojourner adjustment; transnational identity; ethnicity and ethnic conflict; diaspora missiology; or studies focusing on immigrants, international students, church- and campus-based strategies, and ministry without borders. Notes: May be taken multiple times for credit with different content. Grade Mode: A.
A basic understanding of evangelism and church growth concepts as related both to local congregations and to the task of worldwide evangelization. Attention is given to identifying receptive peoples, bringing them to faith, incorporating them into the church and multiplying more churches. Grade Mode: A.
The distinctive features of the historical ethnic religions, with special emphasis on their comparison and encounter with Christianity and their bearings upon missionary strategies. Grade Mode: A.
The dynamics of women in missions and cross-cultural ministry; historical, social, cultural, psychological, physical, and spiritual issues. Special focus on challenges and opportunities in the contemporary world. Grade Mode: A.

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