Module Overview

Your doctoral project consists of four Modules, which represent the major stages of your journey toward complete your dissertation. A Module is a term of 37 weeks and will begin around the same time of year for each subsequent module. On campus intensives may rotate each year to give you optimal pre- and/or post- intensive work time. Click here to see your cohort schedule.

An oversimplified way to look at the progression through the program would be to say

  • Module 1: Researching what has been done; honing in on what you will address that has not yet been addressed and the missiological implications therefor; anticipated issues.
  • Module 2: Researching a particular context; gathering data to best understand the context and then how to best address issues surfaced (anticipated and unanticipated).
  • Module 3: Researching the "change agent"; analyzing your organization/church context and making recommendations on what it can do to address that which surfaced from your data in Module 2.
  • Module 4: Pulling it all together in a Contextualized Applied Research Dissertation

At the end of four years, you will have a 200-250 page paper (Contextualized Applied Research Dissertation) that represents your research, reflection, and response to make an impact on a significant issue in your context. Click on the Modules below to learn more:

Module 1

Courses: Research Design (MB769) and Missiological Foundations (MI770)

The focus of the first year is to understand missiological principles as they relate to students' program foci. Missiological reflection will provide students with the impetus to design research plans that will seek out theories and models appropriate to research interests. An SIS faculty member will convene the cohort in this module and serve as the mentor throughout the life of the cohort.

Major Assignments: For this module you will complete a Research Design Paper that outlines your methodology and plan for your research. You will also complete a Literature Critique of the major works and resources relevant to your topic of research.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives: Develop the elements of research design and be able to present it to module faculty and cohort peers; demonstrate ability to think missiologically as you reflect on and critique the literature as it pertains to your research project interests.


Module 2

Courses: Studying Contexts (MB774) and Issues of Context (MB775)

Students will review precedent literature appropriate to the relevant theory and contemporary contexts with the intent of establishing areas that lack sufficient attention in the literature in order to identify lines of inquiry that will be pursued by field research. Emphasis will be placed on relevant theory so that students will be able to apply it to the development of a methodological approach that will enable effective collection and analysis of data.

Major Assignments: For this module you will complete a Research Proposal Paper that describes your methodology for research. The HSR Proposal is an important step that needs to be submitted to the DMiss HSR Committee before beginning the data collection process. The collection of data will result in the write-up of your Field Research and Analysis Paper.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives: Formulate a methodological approach commensurate with the sub-discipline and the desired findings of the research project; apply the methodology to the collection of data that will enable you to discover new findings.


Module 3

Courses: Change Dynamics (ML778) and Leadership Change (ML776)

The focus of this third module is understanding the nature of leadership as it impacts the missiological response to the students' research finding. The seminar will focus on the nature of leadership within the context, including the current practices and structures of leadership within the ministries represented in the cohort. Building on the leadership issues, the methods course will emphasize the dynamics of change as they impact the necessary restructuring or development of leaders in response to the findings of the research at this point in the study. Students will look at relevant leadership theories of both individual and organizational leadership.

Major assignments: For this module you will complete a personal and organizational profile with the Organizational Analysis Paper and Leadership Analysis Paper. You will also write a Change Plan that represents the proposed application of your research and findings to your context to begin moving your organization towards a "desired future state."

Learning Outcomes and Objectives: Analyze and evaluate your organization, ministry or church in order to influence leadership change in your sphere of endeavor; present a profile of the current leadership structure that will enable you to produce a corporate ministry report or other tool to meet the organization, topical, or regional requirements of assessing leadership dynamics within the contexts of your needs and objectives; identify the organizational and ministry dynamics that must be addressed to implement the missiological changes to more effectively impact the contextual issues identified in the research.


Module 4

Courses: Missiological Integration [MI772] and Dissertation [MI790]

The focus of Module 4 serves to integrate learning in the previous three modules. The faculty mentor for the cohort will lead this module with the intent of facilitating the integration of theory, research,leadership and change dynamics to the students' research interests and settings. The significance of the research can then be presented in the form of applications to effective ministry that meets the purpose and goals of students in the writing of a Contextualized Applied Research Dissertation (CARD).

The module will include a tutorial in Moodle that helps prepare you with the style and formatting for your dissertation. You will then work with your mentor to write your dissertation, which is generally done over a number of drafts.

You will defend your CARD (Contextualized Applied Research Dissertation) to your peers and the professors of your dissertation committee at the defense. Once content is given final approval by the committee, you will need to edit and format the paper according to the standards of the School of Intercultural Studies before your degree is completed.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives: apply research and missiological reflections to specific situation in your ministry contexts; construct a dissertation outline commensurate with the reading, research, and writing accomplished during the previous three modules; integrate the three previous modules in the creation of a 50,000 word (200 pages) Contextualized Applied Research Dissertation (CARD).

Note the Continuation Policy for students who have not defended and completed their CARD's by the end of the term.


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