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B.A. in Intercultural Studies

Cook School of Intercultural Studies


In today’s globalized world, the ability to understand and navigate cultural differences is an increasingly valuable skill. Biola’s intercultural studies major gives you the academic tools and training you’ll need to thrive in diverse, cross-cultural settings — whether you’re called to international development, health care, missions or any number of other careers.


  • Applied Linguistics and Bible Translation
  • Church Planting and Pioneer Missions
  • Cross-Cultural Healthcare
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Interdisciplinary

    A personalized interdisciplinary concentration may be designed by the student and the student’s advisor. Popular concentrations include: international business, teaching (elementary or secondary education), cross-cultural family studies, intercultural journalism and psychology, among others.

  • Interdisciplinary Education
  • International and Community Development
  • Islamic Studies
  • Missiology
  • Urban Ministry

Why Choose Intercultural Studies at Biola?

In addition to its strong curriculum, expert faculty members and biblical integration, Biola’s intercultural studies program offers several key advantages:

  • Every intercultural studies student is required to complete a cross-cultural or overseas learning experience, ensuring that you get valuable experience. Biola’s Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement offers a wide range of programs from which to choose.
  • Biola’s annual Missions Conference, hosted by the Student Missionary Union, is the oldest and largest student-run missions conference in the United States.
  • Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies has a strong academic reputation, bolstered by its role in publishing two academic journals.
  • Intercultural studies graduates are able to move directly into several graduate programs — including an accelerated 12-month M.A. in intercultural studies — at Biola’s Cook School of Intercultural Studies, one of the largest schools of its kind.
  • Biola’s location in Southern California — one of the world’s largest and most diverse metropolitan areas — is ideal for internships, field research and job opportunities.

What Will I Study?

Throughout the intercultural studies program, you will have numerous hands-on learning opportunities to give you deeper insight into cross-cultural communication and spreading the gospel. Coursework will focus on studying people groups and cultures, understanding linguistic and cultural diversity, and developing meaningful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds. Course highlights include:

  • The nature of people in culture
  • Subsystems of cultures, including religion and language
  • Overview of global realities
  • International and intercultural ministry issues
  • Concepts in the scientific study of language
  • Exploring the cross-cultural transition process
  • Applying grace to self and others
  • Field internship opportunities

Choose an emphasis for your degree in intercultural studies

Those who do not select the interdisciplinary concentration can select one of the following emphases:
  • Applied Linguistics and Bible Translation
  • Church Planting
  • Cross-Cultural Health Care
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • International Development
  • Islamic Studies
  • Local Missions and Cross-Cultural Ministry
  • Missiology
  • Pioneer Missions
  • Religious Studies
  • Urban Ministry

View Courses

Candice Zamora

My professors challenged me academically but many of them were also there to pray with me and meet for counseling and listening.

Community Health Outreach Coordinator
Intercultural Studies, B.A. '10
Katrina Thomas

... ISF helped expand my experience with Jesus, seeing Him as restorer, healer, seer.

Program Coordinator
Intercultural Studies, B.A. '11
Allison Case

I am daily utilizing the tools I learned, and the themes were life-changing for me.

Intercultural Studies, B.A. '09
Lisa Cohen

Going to Biola, no matter what your degree, will give you a huge opportunity to live your life holistically for Christ no matter what you do.

Training Director, National School Project
Intercultural Studies, B.A. '12
Cassie Torres

The Intercultural Studies program will help better equip you especially for cross-cultural ministry, but also for understanding and connecting with people of other cultures.

Administrative Analyst
Intercultural Studies, B.A. '11
4 years
Standard Duration
This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary by student depending on background and courseload.
Total Program Credits
Total program credits include a combination of major/concentration, Bible/theology and general education credits.
Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.

Career Paths

A degree in intercultural studies provides exceptional preparation for ministry and careers in all levels of news media, education, diplomacy and humanitarian organizations. You can expect to impact the world for Jesus Christ through professions such as:

  • Administrator of international education
  • Cross-cultural evangelist or missionary
  • Cultural anthropologist
  • Diplomat
  • Director of church missions
  • English language educator
  • Ethnic and urban ministry director
  • International news correspondent
  • Political analyst
  • Public affairs executive

What are Graduates Doing Now?

Biola graduates from the intercultural studies major have gone on to study at such distinguished graduate schools as:

Stanford University; Yale University; Vanderbilt University; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Davis; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Denver; University of Washington; Wheaton College; Fuller Seminary; Talbot School of Theology; and Dallas Theological Seminary.

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