Some cross-cultural studies programs can be found in secular schools, but a large number are available at bible colleges and seminaries as preparation for evangelistic or missionary work. These programs are available as associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs.
A two-year associate's curriculum covers world religions, church planning, interpersonal relationships between cultures, U.S. minorities and personal leadership dynamics.
Bachelor's students receive help developing a personal at-home or abroad ministry that is mindful of cultural differences. That considered, many courses discuss various elements of mission-work, including the methods, practices, principles and history of missions and it's relation to anthropology. Pupils can also choose a concentration in a supplementary area, like linguistics, foreign language or education.
A high school diploma or equivalent and standardized test scores are needed for enrollment at the undergraduate level.
Master's programs tend to be more secular and centralized on providing students with the skills needed to bridge cultural gaps. Class topics include intellectual and cultural property rights, the contributions and roles of indigenous insight, diversity and cross-cultural families. Direct experience is gained through internships and/or mission trips. Admission to these programs requires a bachelor's degree, two years of relevant experience and acceptable GRE scores.
Associate's Degree in Cross-Cultural Studies
Depending on the institution and program focus, associate's-level studies can have 2-8 required core courses. These classes discuss the ministry's role in culture as a whole and how it can function for the benefit of those living in other parts of the world. Additionally, students learn about different cultures they may eventually be exposed to during missions so they can make the adjustment easier for both parties involved.
Course topics typically address:
- Cross-cultural ministry
- Cultural anthropology
- Hispanic and Latino American culture
- Discipleship and evangelism
- Interpersonal relationships between cultures
Bachelor's Degree in Cross-Cultural Studies
Much of the coursework between associate's and bachelor's cross-cultural studies curricula intersect. However, students enrolled in a bachelor's program gain a deeper understanding of foreign cultures and how ministries are developed. Students also learn how the sacred text addresses the purpose of international mission efforts.
Course topics featured in a bachelor's program include:
- Biblical basis for cross-cultural ministries
- Cross-cultural literature
- Culture and language
- Dimensions of missions
- International missions practicum
Master's Degree in Cross-Cultural Studies
A unique aspect of cross-cultural studies at this level is that some of the coursework teaches students how to help preserve the culture they are investigating and educate others about it. The curriculum also focuses on how culture impacts major societal functions and how intervention can change that process.
Topics discussed in classes generally include:
- Awareness and culture
- Cross-cultural organization
- Documenting knowledge of indigenous peoples
- Ecological systems and traditional knowledge
- Impact of cultural processes on education
Popular Career Options
Graduates are eligible for employment as church counselors, youth pastors and missionaries, among other roles. Some individuals work in the fields of remedial education and adult literacy, language translating and postsecondary teaching. Master's degree holders have access to positions such as:
- Social service worker
- Human resources specialist
- Cross-cultural consultant
- Education counselor
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for human resources specialists and postsecondary teachers is predicted to grow at a rate of 5% and 13% over the 2014-2024 decade, respectively. The average salary for human resources specialists was $63,710 as of May 2015, while post secondary educators in ethnic and cultural studies earned an average annual salary of $81,700 during that time, according to the BLS. Community and social service occupation workers earned a mean income of $46,160 also as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates may further their education with advanced degrees in cultural anthropology, linguistics or in the study of a specific culture.
Most cross-cultural studies programs are found at bible colleges and seminaries and prepare individuals for future work as missionaries, post-secondary educators, and human resources specialists.