Program at a Glance

  • Program Credits

    130 credits
    • General Education: 52
    • Bible/Theology: 30
    • Major/Concentration: 36
    • Support/Electives: 12
  • Standard Completion Time

    4 years
  • Accreditation



  • Applied Linguistics and Bible Translation
  • The applied linguistics and Bible translation concentration helps students to more effectively learn languages and address other language-related human problems in the United States and abroad, such as language teaching, literacy, social aspects of language use, and translation.

  • Church Planting
  • The church planting concentration equips students to understand principles of church multiplication, church planting models, and evangelism and church growth.
  • Cross-Cultural Health Care
  • The cross-cultural health care concentration enables students to understand global health needs and priorities, and to provide basic health care services and instruction in various cultural contexts.

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • The cultural anthropology concentration explores various conceptions of family, religion, rituals and economic relations in different cultural contexts.
  • 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.

  • International Development
  • The international development concentration explores how relief and development efforts can address such issues as poverty, human rights violations, debt, hunger, HIV/AIDS and other health concerns, literacy and the environment.
  • Islamic Studies
  • The Islamic studies concentration examines Islamic theology and culture, Middle Eastern history and effective approaches for living and serving as a Christian within Muslim communities.

  • Local Missions and Cross-Cultural Ministry
  • The local missions and cross-cultural ministry concentration gives students an understanding of the role of the local church in missions, how to most effective engage in short-term missions and how to minister to immigrants and international sojourners within the United States.

  • Missiology
  • The missiology concentration gives students an understanding of various approaches to missions, the history of the worldwide Christian movement and the experiences, struggles and legacies of Christian missionaries.

  • Pioneer Missions
  • The pioneer missions concentration examines efforts to reach "unreached people groups," including historical background, practical guidelines and cultural dynamics.
  • Religious Studies
  • The religious studies concentration examines world religions, new religious movements and various understandings of rituals, sacred places and supernatural activity.

  • The TESOL concentration prepares students to teach English to speakers of other languages, whether in international settings or to immigrants, refugees and international students in North America.

  • Urban Ministry
  • The urban ministry concentration offers a study of the city as the center of religion, economics, politics and social life for all major cultures, and gives students tools to understand and address the needs of people in urban contexts.

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.

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

View Courses

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:

  • Director of church missions
  • Public affairs executive
  • Administrator of international education
  • Political analyst
  • Ethnic and urban ministry director
  • Cultural anthropologist
  • International news correspondant
  • Diplomat
  • English language educator

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.

Maria Andrievskaya
Intercultural Studies, B.A. '18

ICS has taught me not only about cultures, but also how to love and adjust to them. It has equipped me to impact the world holistically for Christ, and how to remain faithful in every area of life and the planet.”

Meet the Faculty

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