2019-2020 Academic Catalog

All Catalogs > 2019-2020 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Intercultural Studies

Doctor of Intercultural Studies

The Doctor of Intercultural Studies program specifically equips leaders to integrate theory and practical research to develop an applied research dissertation which includes an individually-tailored action plan to effect change in their service context. Guided by experienced School of Intercultural Studies faculty and studying with a consistent cohort of peers who encourage, sharpen, and support one another, students grow holistically as missional leaders and change agents.

This cohort-based doctoral program is designed for leaders with five or more years of mission or ministry experience who desire:

  • To develop ministry effectiveness without leaving their service context
  • To affect concrete change in their context
  • To grow holistically as a leader

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Doctor of Intercultural Studies program in the School of Intercultural Studies must:

  • Complete an Application for Admission, which includes a Ministry Experience Statement as related to the proposed DIS project, and a Focus Statement describing the issue or opportunity arising within the applicant’s context of ministry that they seek to address through the DIS program.
  • Submit official transcripts of all postsecondary schools attended (both undergraduate and graduate coursework). Graduate transcripts should include a balance of theology and/or missiology coursework totaling a minimum of 36 quarter units (27 semester units) and include the following minimum prerequisite coursework:
      • Theology: 12 quarter units (9 semester units). Note that 8 of the 12 quarter units may be taken at the undergraduate level.
      • Missiology: 12 quarter units (9 semester units)
      • The remaining 12 quarter graduate-level units may be in Missiology and/or Theology and/or in fields related to the area of program focus (subject to the Admission Committee’s discretion)
      • Note: Graduates of Fuller’s MA in Global Leadership (MAGL) degree are deemed to have met these requirements
      • Applicants who hold an accredited master’s degree but do not meet the above prerequisite coursework requirements may still be considered for admission under Preparatory Status.
  • Provide transcript evidence of having earned a master’s degree from an accredited institution with a cumulative grade point average of 3.4 or higher.
  • Submit a writing sample of work in English that is 15-30 pages in length and demonstrates graduate-level writing competence, using appropriate citations and bibliography; the ability to sustain an argument or discussion, critique relevant literature, and suggest conclusions; and the ability to reflect on the missiological and theological relevance of the chosen topic.
  • Show evidence of personal maturity as communicated through three references, including one academic reference and one pastoral/ministry reference
  • If English is not the applicant’s native language, or if the applicant has not completed an English-based master’s program, submit either an official 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.

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, this program offers the following Learning Outcomes:

  • Graduates will demonstrate abilities to integrate missiological disciplines as related to the subject areas of their research.
  • Graduates will demonstrate sensitivity to contextual diversity in its myriad forms as they engage in missiological research in their unique settings.
  • Graduates will demonstrate abilities to analyze and evaluate their organizations, ministries, or churches in order to catalyze change in their spheres of endeavor.
  • Graduates will demonstrate abilities to apply research and missiological reflections to specific situations in their ministry contexts.
  • Graduates will participate in communities of practice that embody spiritual formation in both its personal and communal dimensions.


The Doctor of Intercultural Studies degree is a 48-unit program consisting of four annual 9-month modules of 12 units each. Students apply missiological and theological principles to a specific need for change in their context, engaging in research that culminates in a practically-applied dissertation that includes a robust action plan. The overall layout of the program is as follows:

Module One: Missiology and Program Design
Module Two: Contextualization and Field Research
Module Three: Leadership and Change Dynamics
Module Four: Integration and Dissertation Writing

  1. Each module is structured as a 12-unit block, comprised of an eight-unit seminar and a four-unit methods course.
  2. Each module occurs within a 9-month term. The first 3 modules revolve around a two-week intensive; the final module, a one-week intensive. Modules include pre-intensive reading and online interaction and post-intensive assignments with online connection and peer interaction.
  3. Each cohort is comprised of approximately 6 to 12 participants, with 2 to 4 dedicated faculty facilitating the modules and mentoring the cohort.
  4. Each module is designed to be completed within the 9-month term, with students journeying with their cohort through each of the four modules and the dissertation.

Program Distinctives

The DIS program offers students:

  • An individually tailored program so that research is customized to accomplish change in their specific context
  • A collaborative, missional learning community of faculty and peers to help stretch, support and sharpen one another
  • An opportunity for holistic formation, to grow as a leader academically, personally, socially and spiritually
  • An accessible format of online study, so that practitioners can continue in their context of service

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

Time Limits. There is a six-year limit for completion of this degree. The program is designed to be completed in 4 years. Students may continue until they have either completed their dissertation, or have reached their 6-year limit for degree completion, whichever occurs first.

Korean Doctor of Intercultural Studies Program. The School of Intercultural Studies offers a specialized Doctor of Intercultural Studies program for Korean-American and Korean ministers based on instruction in the Korean language. For further information on this program, including course descriptions and schedules, please contact the Korean Studies Center at (626) 396-6011.

All Catalogs > 2019-2020 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Intercultural Studies