Seminary and theology schools may offer distance learning courses within a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies to train Christian professionals for intercultural missions and ministries. Most programs with an online component also require students to complete on-campus and practicum courses. Master's degree programs in intercultural studies typically take two years to complete at full-time status, including all on-campus, distance learning and practicum coursework.
Students interested in applying to an online master's program in intercultural studies must have bachelor's degrees to be eligible. Schools may require students to provide written statements regarding their religious activities and goals in addition to recommendation letters from professionals or religious leaders.
Alternatively, interested students may enroll in a similar Master of Arts in Theological and Cultural Anthropology program. While rare, these graduate-level programs give students the opportunity to complete all coursework online.
Masters in Intercultural Studies
Distance learning courses in intercultural studies master's degree programs prepare students for cross-cultural missions, ministry positions or further research opportunities. Interdisciplinary in nature, intercultural programs of study include the fields of psychology, theology, history and anthropology.
- Cultural understanding
- Globalization and Christianity
- Missiological integration
- Modern church history
- Spiritual conflict
- Theology and world development
Students have opportunities to take online elective courses in specialty areas such as children at risk, international development, Islamic studies and the urban mission. Some intercultural studies distance learning programs require students to pass comprehensive exams prior to graduation, while others require students to write and defend theses.
Schools use online course management systems to organize and maintain course materials in distance learning programs. Students can log on to these Web-based classrooms to retrieve assignments and lectures in addition to interacting with peers or instructors.
Graduates of distance learning intercultural studies programs are prepared to work as international Christian missionaries and outreach workers in multicultural neighborhoods. With the appropriate theological training, graduates with intercultural studies master's degrees also work in the ministry.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that directors of religious activities employment will grow four percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the BLS also reported that the average annual wage for directors of religious activities was $45,160. In addition to salaries, members of the clergy and missionaries may receive additional benefits and in-kind payments, including housing and board.
It might be beneficial for Christian missionaries who will be working with various cultural groups to have advanced theological training, cultural understanding and comprehension of contemporary church history, among other topics. This training can be gained through hybrid intercultural studies programs or a comparable fully online program such as theological and cultural anthropology.