2019-2020 Academic Catalog

All Catalogs > 2019-2020 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology

Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology

Center for Missiological Research

The School of Intercultural Studies’ Center for Missiological Research (CMR) draws a community of scholars from around the world to address seminal missiological issues through leading research, organizing colloquia and the annual missiology lectures, hosting international scholars, and equipping students for faithful leadership in missiological education and practice. CMR oversees two advanced degree programs: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Intercultural Studies and the Master of Theology (ThM) in Intercultural Studies.

Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies

The Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies (PhD ICS) represents the highest academic credential in the study of Christian mission. The PhD ICS program at Fuller provides exceptional candidates with the opportunity to design, develop, and complete a customized research plan in consultation with faculty advisors through a tutorial-driven process that integrates a wide range of academic disciplines. PhD ICS graduates make an original contribution to missiology and are well-trained scholars prepared to teach at the university and seminary level.

At the time of admission each student is assigned to a mentor whose expertise is relevant to the student’s main research interest. This mentor becomes the primary consultant who helps the student determine the feasibility and scholarly credibility of their project. Further, students work with other scholars in tutorials and courses, and are required to invite one or two additional professors to serve on their advisory committee.

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.

Upon completion of the program, PhD in Intercultural Studies students should be able to:

  • Provide a clear, original contribution to missiological theory and knowledge
  • Make a practical contribution to the mission of the church
  • Demonstrate critical and constructive capacity in one or more principal disciplines that contribute to missiology
  • Demonstrate the ability to do effective and critical research in intercultural studies
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically and constructively about missiology as a discipline.

In keeping with the Learning Outcomes of the PhD program and in support of the goals of the School of Intercultural Studies and the seminary, the School of Intercultural Studies Portfolio provides opportunity for:

  • Supervised teaching experience at the graduate level
  • Significant engagement activities of the Center for Missiological Research community of scholars
  • Attention to integrating spiritual formation and academic life.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for a PhD in Intercultural Studies, applicants will have achieved a master’s degree and have completed graduate-level coursework of a theological nature that includes some missiology.

Application is through an online form, including transcripts and references, together with a statement of the proposed area of research for the dissertation.

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: 24 quarter units (16 semester units). These units cannot include biblical languages or “ministry” courses (i.e. preaching, homiletics, pastoral counseling, etc.).
    • Missiology: 36 quarter units (24 semester units), including at least 4 quarter units (each) of mission theology, global history of Christianity, and cultural anthropology or other social sciences.
  • Submit three references: one pastoral and two academic.
  • Submit a 15-30 page academic writing sample in English.
  • Submit a 250-300 word Proposed Research Interest Statement (PRIS) Outline (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.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide an official record of all scores earned on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. Only test scores earned within two years preceding the submission date of the applicant’s current PhD application will be acceptable. TOEFL overall scores of at least 100 (internet-based) or 600 (paper), or IELTS overall scores of 7.0 meet the minimum English language entrance requirements. Applicants who have previously completed a regionally-accredited master’s level degree in English may submit a 300-400 word letter requesting a waiver of this requirement.

Questions about admission should be addressed to Joel Short at joel@fuller.edu for consideration by the Center for Missiological Research.

Curriculum

The curriculum of the PhD in Intercultural Studies is comprised of three first-year seminars, six tutorials, three methods classes, four comprehensive exams and a dissertation of around 75,000 words (64 units total). Each of these components is customizable to meet the specific research interests of the students under the guidance of their faculty mentor and guidance committee. With relatively little classroom-based instruction in this program, a much higher premium is placed on rigorous faculty-supervised academic reading and writing.

Through a carefully designed process, students will develop their own research project. Core areas in which current students and mentors focus include the following: anthropology, Bible and mission, children at risk, history of world Christianity, international development, Islamic studies, leadership, migration studies, mission theology, missional church, church and society. However, research topics will vary depending on student preference and faculty expertise.

The first-year seminar-style courses––Advanced Missiological Research I and II, and Missiology as a Discipline––enable students to create a distinctive research proposal that is methodologically viable, undergirded with a strong theological and historical foundation, and aware of current missiological literature and issues. Through taking these seminars in cohort and participating in the activities of the Center for Missiological Research, students become members of its lively and diverse research community and benefit from critical peer and faculty interaction.

The purpose of the three methods courses is to learn about and refine data collection and analysis methodologies within the academic disciplines most relevant to the student’s interest. The six tutorials represent the bulk of the coursework in the PhD in Intercultural Studies. The first tutorial, the Initial Literature Review, is completed in the first year of the program. Each tutorial provides a supervised opportunity for a student to conduct research that will contribute to the final dissertation.

Students are helped toward successful completion of an original research project in several stages. The Initial Research Proposal Evaluation is held at the end of the first year. The research proposal is then further refined for the Research Proposal Defense. Next, students take their comprehensive exams before beginning the dissertation writing process. The completed dissertation is then subjected to a rigorous review by the student’s advisory committee and an outside reader as a final check on the quality of their work.

Residency Requirements. Students are required to spend at least the first calendar year (starting in August) in residency at Fuller’s Pasadena campus, where they study together as a cohort. After that, students customize their own program including tutorials, courses, library research, and in most cases, fieldwork. Fulfillment of the second year is at the Pasadena campus or, as approved by their mentor, at other approved locations such as relevant fieldwork sites. Regular colloquia, as well as other academic and vocational activities, are arranged through the Center for Missiological Research. The student’s program may also include formally assigned teaching, research, or instructional training assistantships in Pasadena, at another Fuller campus, or online.

Transfer Credit/Advanced Standing. Transfer credit is not accepted for this degree. PhD-level work will be considered for advanced standing on a case-by-case basis.

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 generally not available.

Time Limits. The PhD in Intercultural Studies is designed to be completed in four 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 work or a continuation of some kind in Fall, Winter, or Spring quarters will be moved to inactive status. Students who remain inactive for another quarter after being moved to inactive status are subject to dismissal from the program.

Reinstatement. Students on inactive status may reactivate their program with a petition to the Doctoral Committee, including a brief essay describing the circumstances around their failure to register, 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.

Master of Theology in Intercultural Studies

The Master of Theology in Intercultural Studies (ThM ICS) equips pastors, mission and denominational leaders to meet the challenge of ministering in an increasingly complex, multiethnic, multinational world. Fuller’s ThM in Intercultural Studies also provides students who already have a master’s degree in a theological discipline with a missiological framework for further research and reflection. The program enables practitioners to pursue concentrated coursework in one area of missiological study, culminating in a reflective and research-based thesis.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the ThM ICS, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively frame and pursue research in intercultural studies
  • Demonstrate critical capacity in one discipline associated with their research area
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically about missiology as a discipline.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for a ThM in Intercultural Studies, applicants will normally have earned a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree or its educational equivalent. This program can be completed in one calendar year, but can be extended by students desiring to attend part-time. Students may begin in any quarter but, for logistical reasons, international applicants (who need a US student visa for ThM ICS study) are strongly encouraged to apply to the Spring or Summer Quarter. Application is through an online form, including transcripts and references, together with a writing sample and a statement of the proposed area of research for the thesis.

Applicants to the ThM in Intercultural Studies must submit:

  • an application for admission
  • official transcripts of all post-secondary schools attended (undergraduate and graduate coursework), including an ATS-approved Master of Divinity or its equivalent, or an accredited Master of Arts of a theological nature of at least 80 quarter units (54 semester units) and the completion of no less than 48 quarter units (32 semester units) of graduate-level theological studies prior to beginning the ThM program, with a cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.3 or above
  • three references (two academic and one pastoral)
  • a 15-20 page academic writing sample in English
  • a 250-300 word Proposed Research Interest Statement (PRIS) Outline (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.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must provide an official record of all scores earned on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. Only test scores earned within two years preceding the submission date of the applicant’s current PhD application will be acceptable. TOEFL overall scores of at least 100 (internet-based) or 600 (paper), or IELTS overall scores of 7.0 meet the minimum English language entrance requirements. (Applicants who have previously completed a regionally-accredited master’s level degree in English may submit a 300-400 word letter requesting a waiver of this requirement.)

Curriculum

The ThM in Intercultural Studies degree, offered through Fuller’s Center for Missiological Research (CMR), requires the successful completion of 32 units of coursework and the successful passing of a missiology comprehensive exam and a ThM thesis.

The ThM ICS program is designed for students who have already earned a Master of Divinity degree (or its educational equivalent). Candidates may be pastors, or mission and denominational leaders, who wish to be equipped with a missiological framework to meet the challenge of ministering in an increasingly complex, multiethnic, multinational world. The ThM ICS builds on the student’s prior biblical, theological, and historical studies and enables practitioners to pursue concentrated coursework culminating in a reflective and research-based thesis.

Upon completion of the ThM ICS program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively frame and pursue research in intercultural studies
  • Demonstrate critical capacity in one discipline associated with their research area
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically about missiology as a discipline.

Based on their expressed research interest, students are assigned an SIS faculty member as an advisor for their program. Students select 12 units of 500-level courses (which must be taken in English) to extend their basic missiological knowledge and competency, providing a foundation for the thesis topic. In order to encourage breadth and to utilize the rich diversity of the seminary’s course offerings, ThM students may be given permission to take classes from either the School of Theology or the School of Psychology in fulfillment of their 500-level specialization coursework. Students also complete 20 units at the 800-level, including MI803 Advanced Missiological Research, MI804 Missiology as a Discipline, MI807 Thesis Design, and the thesis.

Residency Requirements

More than half of all required coursework for the ThM is taken in seminars and/or classes on the Pasadena campus. These include the Advanced Missiological Research I course (Summer) as well as the Missiology as a Discipline sequence (Fall, Winter, Spring). Thesis design, thesis, independent studies and directed readings are not counted toward this requirement. In addition to the thesis design and thesis units, no more than one (4-unit) online course may count toward the required 32 units. While in residence in Pasadena, students also attend the colloquia and special lectures offered by the Center for Missiological Research.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is not available for this program.

Thesis

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 50–75 pages of double-spaced text, inclusive of notes and bibliography. The guidelines and expectations for the thesis will be covered in the Thesis Design course, which must be completed prior to beginning the thesis.

Time Limit for Completion of Degree

The ThM is designed as a one-year, self-contained degree program. It may be taken at a slower pace but 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 program. 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 > 2019-2020 > School of Intercultural Studies > Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Theology