2015-2016 Academic Catalog

All Catalogs > 2015-2016 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology (School of Intercultural Studies)

Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology (School of Intercultural Studies)


The School of Intercultural Studies’ Center for Missiological Research (CMR) contributes to the ministry and witness of the global church by equipping men and women from around the world for faithful leadership in missiological education and practice. The Center for Missiological Research provides an exemplary doctoral-level missiological program centered on a community of scholars drawn from around the world and equipped to address the seminal missiological issues facing the global church in this century. The Center offers two advanced degree programs: the Master of Theology (ThM) in Intercultural Studies and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Intercultural Studies.


The Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies (PhD ICS)represents the highest level of academic certification, and is designed to contribute to the development of missiological scholarship and prepare a person to teach at university and graduate levels. The flexible tutorial-based structure of the program is designed to support students in the pursuit of a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives and topics while also ensuring that a core commitment and relevance to missiology is maintained.

Students in the PhD in Intercultural Studies program are assigneda mentor at the time of admission to the program who helps to guide and frame the course of their study plan. Additionally, upon successful completion of theInitial Research Proposal Evaluation (at the end of the first year of study)the student is assigned a Guidance Committee of one or two additional faculty members to help further develop their study program.
Student Learning Outcomes
In accordance with our commitment to provide the highest level of educational effectiveness possible through a healthy culture of assessment, and in alignment with the Fuller Institutional Student Learning Outcomes, thisprogram offers the following learning outcomes:

  • Graduates demonstrate ability to think integratively about their subject area and its relationship with corresponding/related disciplines.
  • Graduates are equipped to engage in academic debate and critique work (theirs and others) for the benefit of the community of faith and scholarship.
  • Graduates demonstrate ability to engage in significant missiological research and writing appropriate for their discipline and relevant to their context.
  • Graduates demonstrate ability to apply research and missiological reflection to specific situations in the future (in their context).
  • Graduates demonstrate an integrated lifelong learning posture,applicable to personal, professional, and spiritual growth.
  • Graduates are equipped to contribute to learning and have the potential to exert influential leadership within their particular sphere of endeavor.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the PhD in Intercultural Studies program must:

  • Complete an Application for Admission
  • Submit official transcripts of all postsecondary schools attended, showing a master’s degree from an accredited institution with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher
  • Demonstrate successful completion of the following prerequisite coursework:
    • Theology: 40 quarter units (27 semester units). These units cannot include biblical languages or “ministry” courses (i.e. preaching, homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc.). Note that 16 of the 40 quarter units may be taken at the undergraduate level.
    •  Missiology: 40 quarter units (27 semester units), including at least 20 quarter units (toital) of mission theology, global history of Christianity, and cultural anthropology or other social sciences.
  • Submit three references: one pastoral and  two academic.
  • Submit a 1-2 page Statement of Purpose (download guidelines here). Note: A match between interests of the applicant and strengths of our current Fuller faculty is a critical factor in admission decisions.  
  • Submit a 15-30 page writing sample in English.
  • Applicants to the PhD ICS program who have not completed an English-based master’s program will be required to submit an official score from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 600 (paper), or 250 (computer), or 100  (internet) taken within the past two years, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic Format, with a minimum score of 7.0, taken within the past two years.


The curriculum of the PhD is comprised of six tutorials, five methods classes, four comprehensive exams and a dissertation (64 units total). Each of these components is customizable to meet the specific research interests of the student under the guidance of their faculty mentor and guidance committee.

The School of Intercultural Studies PhD curriculum is based on aset of flexible tutorials and methods classes that begins after the completion of a structured series of classes to be finished by the end of the first year:

  • MI803 Advanced Missiological Research 1 (2 units)
  • MI804A/B/C Missiology as a Discipline (8 units)
  • Initial Literature Review (8 units)
  • MI806 Advanced Missiological Research 2 (2 units)

After the first year, students generally register for 16-20 units per year while completing the remaining requirements:

  • four tutorials (8 units each)
  • three research methods classes (4 units each)
  • dissertation (0 units)

The program also requires that the student successfully completes each of the following checkpoints at specified times throughout the program:

  • Initial Research Proposal evaluation (end of first year);
  • research proposal defense (after fourth tutorial);
  • comprehensive examinations  (after completion of the sixth tutorial)
  • dissertation defense (after completion of dissertation)

While in residence, students are also required to participate in regular faculty and peer presentations and critiques, called CMR Colloquia.

Residency Requirements. Students are required to spend approximately 18 months on campus in total. Nine months of their first year in the program must be spent on the Pasadena campus. The remainder of the total residency requirement does not need to be continuous, and details are worked out with the student’s mentor. In addition to the first year, students should plan to be on campus  for:

  • their research proposal defense, which takes place between the end of the fourth and before the sixth tutorial, and
  • the last quarter(s) when a student is completing and defending his or her dissertation, making post-defense changes, and final editing.

Transfer Credit. Transfer credit is not accepted for this degree.

Distance Learning. While significant portions of this doctoral program, including field research, can be done away from the Fuller campus, this degree program is not considered a distance learning degree program. Students are expected to be in regular contact with their mentor and tutors for each part of the program. Online and other distance learning classes are not available.

Time Limits. The PhD in Intercultural Studies is designed to be completed in three to five years. However, in exceptional situations permission may be granted to extend the program to as many as eight years. Coursework is expected to be completed in the quarter in which it is registered. Students who do not register for new tutorials or methods classes for eight quarters or more will be placed on inactive status. Students who register for but do not complete their dissertations within eight quarters will also be placed on inactive status. Students who do not reactivate their programs within four quarters of being moved to inactive status may be dropped from the program.

Reinstatement. A student on inactive status may reactivate their program with a petition to the Doctoral Committee, including a plan for completion of their program and a brief reapplication form.Their progress will be closely monitored to see that they make steady progress.


The Master of Theology in Intercultural Studies (ThM ICS) is a degree which equips pastors and mission and denominational leaders to meet the challenge of ministering in an increasingly complex, multiethnic, multinational world. The ThM in Intercultural Studies provides students who have already earned the Master of Divinity degree (or a Master of Arts degree of a sufficiently theological nature) the missiological framework for research and reflection by building on the biblical, theological,and historical studies gained through their previous work. The program enables practitioners to pursue concentrated coursework in one area of missiological study, culminating in a reflective and research-based thesis.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  • gain a missiological framework for research and reflection building on biblical,theological, and historical understandings gained through previous studies;
  • achieve advanced understanding of a specialized area of intercultural studies;
  •  have a foundational understanding of missiological research necessary for a thesis;and
  •  demonstrate the ability to plan and execute advanced research in missiology, culminating in a thesis.

Admission Requirements

Students may begin the ThM in Intercultural Studies in any quarter, but students wishing to complete the degree in one year of study should plan to begin in Summer quarter and must already have completed at least 12 quarter units of graduate-level missiology (see Curriculum below) .Application deadlines are posted online.

Applicants must submit:

  • an application for admission;
  • official transcripts of all postsecondary schools attended, showing possession of an ATS-approved Master of Divinity or its equivalent,or a Master of Arts ofa theological nature of at least 96 quarter units (60 semester units), with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or above, and the completion of no less than 60 quarter units (40 semester units) of graduate-level theological studies prior to beginning the ThM program (contact the Admissions Office with questions relating to these requirements or for a transcript evaluation);
  • three references (two academic and one pastoral);
  • a 4,000-6,000 word (15-25 page) sample research paper that demonstrates ability to cite sources and write in a scholarly fashion in English;
  • for those applicants whose first language is not English or the medium of instruction for all their secondary and postsecondary education is not English, an official score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic Format. Please go to http://www.fuller.edu/admissions/apply/english-language-req.aspxfor minimum required scores.


The ThM in Intercultural Studies requires the successful completion of 48 units in the School of Intercultural Studies:

  • MI804A/B/C Missiology as a Discipline sequence (8 units)
  • research courses (800-level, 8 units)
  • specialization/elective courses (500-level, 24 units)
  • thesis (800-level, 8 units)

The ThM in Intercultural Studies can be completed in one calendar year, but can be extended by students desiring to attend part-time. The Missiology as a Discipline sequence (MI804 A, B, and C) begins in the Summer quarter each year,and continues during Fall and Winter quarters. Students may begin this sequence once they have completed at least 12 units of missiology, either as part of the ThM program or in prior master’s-level coursework.

Residency Requirements

The Missiology as a Discipline sequence must be completed on the Pasadena campus (Summer, Fall, Winter). While in residence,  students are also expected to attend all Colloquia offered by the Center for Missiological Research (currently held four times per quarter.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not available for this program.


The ThM thesis is designed to demonstrate the student’s competence in his or her area of specialization. The normal length of the thesis is 50–100 pages of double-spaced text, inclusive of notes and bibliography. The guidelines and expectations for the thesis will be covered inthe Thesis Design course, which must be completed prior to beginning the thesis.

Time Limit for Completion of Degree

The requirements for the ThM degree must be completed within six years, dated from the first quarter of enrollment with the program.

Relationship to the PhD ICS

Aspects of the ThM ICS coursework are designed to mirror the first year of the PhD ICS program. As a result, the ThM can provide an excellent means of preparing an application for the PhD. Students who are admitted to the PhD prior to completing the ThM may be permitted to use some of their coursework toward the PhD. Contact the Admissions Office for more details on this possibility.

All Catalogs > 2015-2016 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology (School of Intercultural Studies)