Areas of Emphasis

At Fuller, an emphasis consists of a minimum of five courses grouped around a particular area of interest. By choosing an emphasis, students will be guided to courses in the three schools taught by faculty doing research on topics relevant to the emphasis area. Some emphases have certain specific requirements, along with a variety of choices; others offer even more flexibility.

The following areas of emphasis are available for master's degrees in the School of Intercultural Studies.

  • Ancient Context of the Old Testament
  • Anglican Communion Studies
  • Children at Risk
  • Christian Ethics
  • De Pree Emphasis in Leadership
  • International Development and Urban Studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Leadership in Multicultural Latino Community
  • Recovery Ministry
  • Theology and the Arts
  • Worship and Music Ministry
  • Worship, Theology, and the Arts
  • Youth, Family, and Culture


Ancient Context of the Old Testament

The Ancient Context of the Old Testament emphasis is designed for students who want to understand the historical and cultural backgrounds of the Old Testament better, and learn Hebrew and Aramaic at a level sufficient for advanced exegesis. The program is intended to enable students to thoughtfully synthesize the fields of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, biblical studies, and theology. The emphasis requires 20 units. Normally the five courses will include the three courses below, although the student may arrange otherwise with the faculty coordinator.

  • OT583 Ancient Near Eastern History, Literature, and Culture   
  • LG525 Biblical Aramaic  
  • LG506 Advanced Hebrew Grammar 

Other approved ANE courses include:

  • OT576 Experiencing the Land of the Bible (travel/study course)  
  • LG533 Ugaritic I  Beginning Ugaritic  
  • LG534 Ugaritic II  Special Topics in Ugaritology 
  • LG535 Beginning Akkadian  
  • LG536 Advanced Akkadian 
  • LG546 Northwest Semitic Texts  

Anglican Communion Studies

The Anglican Communion Studies emphasis is designed for students who are preparing for ordination or who simply want to deepen their understanding of Anglicanism/Episcopalianism. Taught by a team of scholars from around the world, courses will emphasize the practical implications of Anglican Communion studies as well as their academic basis. The emphasis requires 24 units. All of the courses are available only online.

Required courses

  • DP516 Anglican History and Polity
  • PM546 Pastoral Theology, Ministry, and Ethics from an Anglican Perspective
  • SP526 Anglican Spirituality
  • TH560 Anglican Theology
  • TM531 Anglican Mission in Global Context
  • WS523 Anglican Liturgy and Worship

Children at Risk

The Children at Risk emphasis enables students to dialogue with a variety of disciplines for understanding, relating to, and ministering with children and youth and the cultural and at-risk contexts in which they live. Students will develop effective strategies for implementing holistic ministry with children and youth by connecting relevant theory and theology with contemporary best practices.The emphasis requires 20 units.

Required courses:

  • MD575 Childhood in Global Perspective 
  • MD543 Mission with Children at Risk

Choose three courses (12 units) from the following lists; at least one course must be from the Tools and Practices section

Tools and Practices 

  • MD553 Sexually Exploited and Street Children: Tools for Ministry
  • MD545 Ministry with Street Children
  • MD544 Ministry with Sexually Exploited and Trafficked Children 
  • MD528 Development Tools and Practices  
  • MN533 Community Organizing  
  • TM520 Church Based Urban Research 
  • TM522 Homelessness and Church Partnerships
  • FS511 Cultural and Ethnic Issues in Marital and Family Intervention
  • FL501 Family Life Education
  • FL502 Parent Education and Guidance
  • YF503 Youth Outreach and Evangelism 

Children, Youth and Family 

  • MD551 Girl Child: The Problem and Potential 
  • MD555 Learning with Children 
  • PI519 Community and Caring for Children at Risk 
  • YF500 Foundation of Youth Ministry  
  • YF502 Leadership in Youth Ministry
  • YF504 Introduction to Family Ministry  
  • FS500 Family Systems Dynamics
  • FS505 Child and Family Development
  • FI540 Narrative and Family Life

Other Approved Courses 

  • MD524 Advocacy for Social Justice
  • MD546 Relief, Refugees and Conflict
  • MD525 Poverty and Development 
  • MD540 Theology of Poverty and Development
  • MN520 Encountering the City
  • MN534 Complex Urban Environments
  • EV514 Urban Evangelism
  • ML500 Teamwork and Leadership 
  • MM568 Self Care in Mission  
  • TC511 Theology and Hip Hop Culture   

Christian Ethics

The Christian Ethics emphasis enables students to develop deeper knowledge and skills in Christian ethics as they relate to practices in churches and in the world. Within Christian ethics courses, and with courses focusing on church renewal students are prepared for leading church renewal through deeper Christian discipleship, or for service in citizen organizations.This emphasis requires 20 units.

  • ET501 Christian Ethics (as part of degree core requirement)
  • Choose any three ethics courses (ET prefix)
  • Choose any one philosophy/philosophical theology course (PH prefix)
  • Choose one of the following courses:
    • Church Renewal
      • MC500 Church and Mission in a Global Context  
      • MC520 Church Planting
      • MC532 Evangelizing Nominal Christians
      • MP520 Transforming Contemporary Culture
    • Youth Ministry or Global Ministry
      • YF502 Leadership in Youth Ministry
      • YF503 Youth Outreach and Evangelism
      • MD500 Globalization, the Poor and Christian Mission  
      • MD524 Advocacy for Social Justice   
      • MD525 Poverty and Development 
      • MD546 Relief, Refugees, and Conflict 
      • GM518 Introduction to Urban Studies

De Pree Emphasis in Leadership

The De Pree Emphasis in Leadership is designed to embody Fuller Seminary's commitment to practicing leadership in line with the values of Max De Pree. Working off of Max De Pree's understanding that "belief precedes behavior," students learn not only practices for leadership, but also values that stand behind those practices.

To complete the De Pree Emphasis in Leadership, as student must pass courses in four of the five course areas and complete an internship, for a total of 20 units.

Area 1: The Leader as Person (Self-Awareness, Reflection, Self-Discipline, Spiritual Formation, Character Development)

  • CF526 Congregation as Learning Community
  • CF565 Empowering the People of God
  • ML530 Lifelong Leadership Development
  • ML568 Leading Self, People, and Organizations

Area 2: Management (Boards, Budgets, Meetings, Volunteers, Finance, Fund-Raising, Personnel, Planning, Evaluation, Legal)

  • ML531 Managing Organizations

Area 3: Introduction to Leadership (Organizational Behavior, Authority, Power, Frames, Mission/Vision, Change, Conflict)

  •  GM522 Leadership in Context

Area 4: Organizational Dynamics (Organizational Culture, Systems Theory, Teams, Organizational Life Cycle, Emotional Intelligence)

  • ML565 Organic Organizations and Churches

Area 5: Topics in Advanced Leadership 

  • ML538 Crosscultural Leadership
  • ML584 Crosscultural Dynamics of Global Leadership
  • PM514 Missional Church and Leadership
  • Any other advanced course

Internship Requirement 

  • Students must complete an internship that includes participation in a Theological or Missiological Reflection Group.

International Development and Urban Studies

The International Development and Urban Studies emphasis is intended to equip students in the theory and practice of working for holistic transformation with the poor and oppressed internationally and in U.S. urban settings. Students substantively engage with the impact of a globalizing and urbanizing world and the impact of both on the poor.The emphasis requires a total of 20 units.


  • MD525 Poverty and Development
Choose one:
  • MN520 Encountering the City
  • MN534 Complex Urban Environments
  • GM518 Introduction to Urban Studies
Choose one:
  • MN533 Organizing Urban Communities
  • MD528 Development Tools and Practice

Choose 2 courses (8 units) from the following: 

  • International Development
    • MD500 Globalization, the Poor and Christian Mission 
    • MD528 Development Tools and Practice
    • MD546 Relief, Refugees and Conflict  
    • MD540 Theology of Poverty and Development  
    • MD524 Advocacy and Social Justice  
    • Other Children at Risk courses
  • Urban Studies
    • GM518 Introduction to Urban Studies  
    • EV514 Urban Evangelism  
    • TM520 Church-Based Urban Research 
    • MN534 Complex Urban Environments  
    • MN533 Organizing Urban Communities for Transformation
    • MN576 Incarnation and Mission among the World's Urban Poor  
    • TM522 Homelessness, Congregations and Church Partnerships
    • TC511 Theology and Hip Hop Culture
    • SP504 Spirituality and Urban Mission
  • Other Courses
    • PG504 Community and Caring for Children at Risk
    • TM521 Congregations in the World 

Islamic Studies

The Islamic Studies emphasis equips students to pursue intercultural work and to engage globally and more thoughtfully with Islam and Muslims. Students will gain an overview of Muslim faith and practice, with special attention to comparisons with Christianity and varieties of expressions and survey and analyze Muslim-Christian relations throughout history and in modern day.

This emphasis requires six specific courses, for a total of 24 units:

  • MR550 Introduction to Islam 
  • MR552 History of the Muslim-Christian Encounter  
  • MR554 Models of Witness in Muslim Contexts 
  • MR555 Popular Islamic Piety
  • MR556 Current Trends in Islam  
  • MR574 Muslim Peoples: A Sociological Approach  

Recommended Electives

  • MR575 Arabic Reading
  • MR557 Women and the Family in Islam

Leadership in Multicultural Latino Community

The Leadership in Multicultural Latino Community emphasis offers students the opportunity to link a deeper biblical, theological and ministry understanding with tools for understanding the complexities of ministry in the US Hispanic context. Courses are taught by pastors and professors involved in the Hispanic community who address the challenges out of their own life and ministry experiences.This emphasis requires a total of 20 units.

  • ST 555 Teología Latina en contexto (Hispanic Theology In Context)   
  • GM 574: Iglesia Evangélica Latina (Hispanic Protestant Church) 
  • Choose two courses (8 units): Any courses with a MIN attribute on the quarterly schedule taught through el Centro Latino (the Hispanic Center) 
  • Capstone Course: Leadership in Practice 

Recovery Ministry

The Recovery Ministry emphasis is designed to prepare students to creatively engage in the development of ministries to people struggling with addiction and/or abuse. Addiction and abuse are systemic problems that complicate and reinforce most other social problems—everything from traffic safety to criminality. The Recovery Ministry emphasis is designed to help students become well informed about these difficult issues and prepared to be part of the solution.A total of 20 units is required.  


  • CN520 Pastoral Counseling
  • EV532 Recovery Ministry in a Local Church
  • CN558 Pastoral Care and Sexuality

Choose one:

  • CN553 Pastoral Care/Sex Abuse/Family
  • CN557 Pastoral Care and Addictions

Choose one:

  • CN504 Family Therapy and Pastoral Counseling
  • FS500 Introduction to Family Systems Theory

Theology and the Arts

The Theology and the Arts emphasis is for students with an academic interest in culture, art, and theology, and for practicing artists who want a theological and biblical foundation for their work. Students prepare to be theological interpreters of culture and/or artists able to bring art and culture into conversation with theology. The emphasis requires 24 units.

  • TC581 Worship, Theology and the Arts Touchstone Course
  • TC591 Theology and the Arts Capstone Cohort
  • TC592A/B Theology and the Arts Project Cohort
  • Choose three other Theology and Culture (TC prefix) classes

Worship and Music Ministry

The Worship and Music Ministry emphasis is a practical degree designed to address the learning needs of students currently in musical worship leadership or to prepare those intending to work in such contexts, particularly within the local church. Students will incorporate biblical and theological studies, practical theology, and cultural literacy, in addition to specialized studies in worship and music ministry.The emphasis requires 24 units.

  • TC581 Worship, Theology and the Arts Touchstone Course
  • WS514 Music in Worship
  • WS518 Worship Ministry on the Lord's Day 
  • WS521 Music and Theology
  • WS522 Music for the Church Year and Occasional Services (2 units)
  • WS515 Music Leadership Practicum (6 units)  

Worship, Theology, and the Arts

The Worship, Theology, and the Arts emphasis is for students interested in ministries relating to worship and the arts. Students incorporate biblical, historical, theological, and cultural foundations of worship and the use of the arts in ministry. Students have the opportunity to choose a more specific focus under the this emphasis. A total of 24 units is required.


  • TC581: Worship, Theology and the Arts Touchstone Course
  • Choose any five courses from the following:
    • Worship Studies (WS prefix)
    • Theology and Culture (TC prefix)
    • Communication (ME prefix - School of Intercultural Studies)

Recommended Electives 

  • TC591: Theology and the Arts Capstone Cohort  
  • TC592a/b: Theology and the Arts Project Cohort  

Youth, Family, and Culture

The Youth, Family, and Culture emphasis is designed to enable the student to design a flexible, well-rounded and comprehensive curricular experience that can be shaped to address their cultural and contextual ministry interest and calling.

  • Choose any three Youth, Family, and Culture courses (YF prefix)
  • Choose two courses from the following departments
    • Christian Formation and Discipleship (CF prefix)
    • Pastoral Counseling (CN prefix)
    • Family Studies (FS prefix - School of Psychology)
    • Theology and Culture (TC prefix)
    • Holistic Ministries (MD prefix - School of Intercultural Studies)

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