The School of Intercultural Studies' Center for Missiological Research (CMR) contributes to the ministry and witness of the global church by equipping men and women from around the world for faithful leadership in missiological education and practice. The Center for Missiological Research provides an exemplary doctoral-level missiological program centered on a community of scholars drawn from around the world and equipped to address the seminal missiological issues facing the global church in this century. The Center offers two advanced degree programs: the Master of Theology (ThM) in Intercultural Studies and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Intercultural Studies.
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN INTERCULTURAL STUDIES
The Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies (PhD ICS)
represents the highest level of academic certification, and is designed to
contribute to the development of missiological scholarship and prepare a person
to teach at university and graduate levels. The flexible tutorial-based
structure of the program is designed to support students in the pursuit of a
wide variety of disciplinary perspectives and topics while also ensuring that a
core commitment and relevance to missiology is maintained.
Students in the PhD in Intercultural Studies program are assigned
a mentor at the time of admission to the program who helps to guide and frame
the course of their study plan. Additionally, upon successful completion of the
Initial Research Proposal Evaluation (at the end of the first year of study)
the student is assigned a Guidance Committee of one or two additional faculty
members to help further develop their study program.
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:
- Graduates demonstrate ability to think integratively about their
subject area and its relationship with corresponding/related disciplines.
- Graduates are equipped to engage in academic debate and critique
work (theirs and others) for the benefit of the community of faith and
- Graduates demonstrate ability to engage in significant
missiological research and writing appropriate for their discipline and
relevant to their context.
- Graduates demonstrate ability to apply research and missiological
reflection to specific situations in the future (in their context).
- Graduates demonstrate an integrated lifelong learning posture,
applicable to personal, professional, and spiritual growth.
- Graduates are equipped to contribute to learning and have the
potential to exert influential leadership within their particular sphere of
Furthermore, students in the PhD in Intercultural Studies achieve
the following portfolio of accomplishments:
- an original contribution to missiological theory and knowledge;
- a potentially practical contribution to God’s mission and God’s
- mastery in the discipline(s) and/or sub-discipline(s) relevant to
the research focus;
- competence in research as a craft; and
- competence in thinking missiologically.
The School of Intercultural Studies portfolio also includes three
- supervised experience
teaching at the graduate level;
- significant activities
in the CMR Community of Scholars; and
integrating spiritual formation and academic life.
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 3.7
- Demonstrate successful completion of the following
- Theology: 40 quarter units (27 semester units). Note
16 of the 40 quarter units may be taken at the undergraduate level.
40 quarter units (27 semester units) including
theology of missions and cultural anthropology
- Submit a Description of Proposed Research
a 40-50 page writing sample in English
- Submit two academic references and one pastoral reference
- Successfully pass a 3-hour PhD qualifying exam
that will test their foundational knowledge of missiology and the
specific area of their proposed doctoral research
- If English is not the student's first language, submit an official Test
of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 600 (paper),
or 250 (computer), or 100 (internet) taken within the past two years,
or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic
Format, with a minimum score of 7.0, taken within the past two years.
The School of Intercultural Studies PhD curriculum is based on a
set of flexible tutorials and methods classes that begins after the completion
of a structured series of classes to be finished by the end of the first year:
- MI803 Advanced Missiological Research (2 units)
- MI804A/B/C Missiology as a Discipline (8 units)
- primary discipline literature review (8 units)
- MI806 Initial Research Design (2 units)
Remaining requirements include:
- four tutorials (8 units each)
- three Research Methods classes (4 units each)
- dissertation (0 units)
The program also requires that the student successfully completes each of the following checkpoints at specified times throughout the program:
- initial research proposal evaluation (end of first year);
- research proposal defense (after fourth tutorial);
- comprehensive examinations (after completion of the sixth tutorial)
- dissertation defense (after completion of dissertation)
While in residence, students are also required to participate in regular faculty and peer presentations and critiques, called CMR Colloquia.
Residency Requirements. Students are required
to spend approximately 18 months on campus in total. Nine months of their first
year in the program must be spent on the Pasadena campus. The remainder of the
total residency requirement does not need to be continuous, and details are
worked out with the student's mentor. In addition to the first year, students
should plan to be on campus during quarters in which relevant methods and
tutorial seminar classes are offered, and must plan to be on campus for:
- their research plan
defense, which takes place between the end of the fourth and before the sixth
- the last quarter(s) when
a student is completing and defending their dissertation, making their post-defense
changes, and final editing.
Transfer Credit. Transfer credit is not
accepted for this degree.
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 not available.
Time Limits. The PhD in Intercultural
Studies is designed to be completed in three to five years. However, in
exceptional situations permission may be granted to extend the program to as
many as ten years. Coursework is expected to be completed in the quarters in
which it is registered. Students who have not yet completed their comprehensive
exams, and who do not register for new tutorials or methods classes for eight
quarters or more will be placed on inactive status. Students who do not
reactivate their programs within four quarters of being moved to inactive
status may be dropped from the program.
Reinstatement. A student on inactive
status may reactivate their program with a petition to the Doctoral Committee
including 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) is a degree which equips pastors, mission and
denominational leaders to meet the challenge of ministering in an increasingly
complex, multiethnic, multinational world. The ThM in Intercultural Studies
provides students who have already earned the Master of Divinity degree (or a
Master of Arts degree of a sufficiently theological nature) the missiological
framework for research and reflection by building on the biblical, theological,
and historical studies gained through their previous work. The program enables
practitioners to pursue concentrated coursework in one area of missiological
study, culminating in a reflective and research-based thesis.
a missiological framework for research and reflection building on biblical,
theological, and historical understandings gained through previous studies;
advanced understanding of a specialized area of intercultural studies;
a foundational understanding of missiological research necessary for a thesis;
the ability to plan and execute advanced research in missiology
culminating in a thesis.
Students may begin the ThM in Intercultural Studies in any
quarter, but students wishing to complete the degree in one year of study
should plan to begin in Summer (see Program Design and Duration below).
Application deadlines are posted online.
Applicants must possess:
- an ATS-approved Master of
Divinity or its equivalent,
or a Master of Arts of
a theological nature of at least 96 quarter units (60 semester units) and the
completion of no less than 60 quarter units (40 semester units) of
graduate-level theological studies prior to beginning the ThM program;
cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 for all master’s-level
- for those applicants whose first language is not English, an official score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Academic
Format. Please go to http://www.fuller.edu/admissions/apply/english-language-req.aspx for minimum required scores.
Applicants must submit:
- a completed and signed online application;
- a 15-20 page academic writing sample;
- transcripts of all postsecondary work for assessment of prior theological and missiological coursework;
- three references (two academic and one pastoral).
Program Design and Duration
The ThM in Intercultural Studies requires the successful completion of 48 units in the School of Intercultural Studies:
- MI804A/B/C Missiology as a Discipline sequence (800-level, 8 units)
- research courses (800-level, 8 units)
- specialization/elective courses (500-level, 24 units)
- thesis (800-level, 8 units)
ThM in Intercultural Studies can be completed in one calendar year, but can be
extended by students desiring to attend part-time. The Missiology as a
Discipline sequence (MI804 A, B, and C) begins in the Summer quarter each year,
and continues during Fall and Winter quarters. Students may begin this sequence
once they have completed at least 12 units of missiology, either as part of the
ThM program or in prior master’s-level coursework.
The Missiology as a Discipline
sequence must be completed on the Pasadena campus (Summer, Fall, Winter).
While in residence students are also expected to attend all Colloquia offered
by the Center for Missiological Research (currently held four times per
Transfer credit is not available for this program.
thesis is designed to demonstrate the student’s competence in his or her area
of specialization and will be guided by a mentor. The normal length of the
thesis is 50–100 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
Time Limit for Completion of Degree
requirements for the ThM degree must be completed within six years, dated from
the first quarter of enrollment with the program. This time limit may only be
extended in special circumstances by petition to the CMR administrative