Course Descriptions

The Intercultural Studies major prepares students for many types of cross-cultural ministry. Students combine a core of foundational courses with their selected concentration. Listed below are the required courses and course descriptions.

For further questions regarding concentration options and courses offered, please contact the Intercultural Studies Office.
Phone 865-251-2418

Email uses JavaScript to defend against SPAM.
You must enable JavaScript to contact me.


This course presents a comprehensive and dynamic view of the mandate for Christian missionary activity. The student will be challenged to a growing awareness that world evangelism is four dimensional: biblical, historical, cultural and strategic. A special emphasis is given to issues revolving around cultural and cross-cultural communication, along with how sensitivity in these areas can help further realize God’s global purpose. (3 credits)

Cross-Cultural Communications

This course examines the unique problems and strategies for communicating the gospel effectively in cross-cultural contexts. Special attention is given to the student’s personal role in intercultural communication, including language, behavior, and sensitivities needed to bridge cultural boundaries. (3 credits)

Foundations of Ministering Cross-Culturally

Students explore the dynamics of cross-cultural ministry, fundamental team building, and issues of attending to personal and familial spiritual growth during ministry in a cross-cultural setting. Special emphasis is given to avoidance of placing children in at risk situations due to the ministry of the parents. (3 credits)

Cross-Cultural Church Planting and Growth

This course introduces the process of planting and growing a network of biblically and culturally relevant faith communities in their setting. Building upon biblical methods, students explore the implications of contextualization in message formulation and the resulting communities of faith. (3 credits)

Introduction to Linguistics

This course introduces the process of language analysis with the goal of enhancing the student’s ability to learn language. Students gain a framework for understanding and identifying the sound systems and grammatical structures of different languages (3 credits)

Missiological Anthropology

This course introduces cultural anthropology with special attention to the application of an anthropological perspective to Christian mission. Students learn to examine the framework of beliefs, assumptions, values, and behaviors that shape peoples’ lives, in order to be more effective in ministry (3 credits)

Second Language and Culture Acquisition

This course introduces students to the process of language and cultural acquisition among people served on the field. An array of tools and practices are introduced. (3 credits)

International Community Development

This course explores issues of poverty, primary health care, and microfinance for grassroots initiatives, as well as educational, economic, medical, and physical needs for community development. (3 credits)

Mission Theology

This course introduces students to principles and processes for developing a theology of mission for the context in which they serve. Emphasis is placed on biblical precedent and a practical approach to the local context. (3 credits)

The Gospel and Culture

This course explores the intersection of God’s Word, the cultural context, and the local faith community as they come together to develop a healthy church in context. The inspiration of Scripture, how God’s Word is perceived, and how God’s Word enters a context are addressed. (3 credits)

Area Studies

This research course enables students to develop a deeper understanding of a chosen area of the world. Special attention is given to the dominant religions of the area, cultural differences, significant barriers to the gospel, and channels for creative access to accomplish missional goals. (3 credits)


Under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, students engage in a field context experience that integrates practice and theory related to missionary life, work, and growth