Meet the Faculty
Schedule and Syllabi

About the PhD/ICS Program

Program Design

Core Classes (20 credits)

  • Leaders in a Global Context
  • Missio Dei and the Contemporary World
  • Intercultural Communication and Missions Anthropology
  • Theological Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies
  • Methods of Missiological Research
  • Qualifying Exam

Choose One Track

Missiological Studies Track (12 credits)

  • The History of Christianity in Missiological Perspective
  • Encountering Non-Christian Religions
  • Evangelizing, Discipling and Church Planting

Relief and Development Track (12 credits)

  • Biblical Perspective on Issues of Social Justice
  • Relief and Development in Mission: Theories and Strategies
  • Contemporary Social Issues in Missions
Electives (12 credits—Choose 3 courses)
  • Areas Studies Elective (required)
  • Alternative Approaches to Education
  • Leading the Non-Profit Organization
  • Contextualized Leadership Training
  • HIV/AIDS in Global Contexts
  • Contemporary Missions: Issues and Strategies
  • Special Studies with an Approved Educational Provider
  • Special Studies: Tutelage
Dissertation (16 credits)
  • Dissertation Research (12)
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Dissertation
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Program Features

The Ph.D./ICS consists of 60 credits earned in 11 modules, three dissertation research courses and a research dissertation, and is built around several components:

  • Pentecostal perspective: Distinctive emphasis on Spirit-empowered mission in a global context.
  • Passionate Scholarly Research: The discipline of scholarly research and writing is embraced as a tool of spiritual and missiological discernment and prophetic voice.
  • Lifestyle fit: Relocating to Springfield is not necessary; in fact the Ph.D./ICS requires only five visits to AGTS over the course of the program.
  • Cohort experience: Learning and growth occur through the bonds formed with other career missionaries in a diverse small group setting.
  • Modular convenience: Courses are taught in two, one to two week blocks scheduled back-to-back allowing two classes on one airfare.
  • Contextualized study: Area studies, special study with an approved educational provider and/or tutelage offer field-based training.

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Program Goals

The program seeks to contribute to the discipline of intercultural studies by enriching research, teaching and the practice of those involved in the field. To that end and in accordance with our commitment to provide the highest level of learning effectiveness and foster a robust culture of assessment, at the completion of the Ph.D. program, graduates will be able to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in theological and religious studies and other academic disciplines, and a comprehensive knowledge of the disciplines that comprise missiology and intercultural studies;
  • competently innovate, defend and critique scholarly work and missional practice for the benefit of the academy and the broader community of faith;
  • demonstrate ability to engage in original missiological intercultural research and writing that contribute to the discipline and to their research context for the sake of their tradition, the church and the academy;
  • make decisions, live and serve according to revealed truth and the will of God in a continuing integrated commitment to learning, spiritual formation, and personal and professional growth;
  • demonstrate the ability to utilize research and theological/missiological reflection in specific contexts; and
  • commit to the vocation of theological, missiological and intercultural scholarship in its dimensions of teaching, learning and research.

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Core Courses (20 credits)

Core 1 - Leaders in a Global Context (4 credits)

This course will orient participants to the unique dynamics, the research process and the requirements of Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies education, highlighting issues that will impact their lives and ministries; provide an overview of the Tracks and courses, with special focus on missiological research; guide participants in missiological reflection in light of their ministries and global issues; and introduce the student to the process of developing a research dissertation

Core 2 - Missio Dei and the Contemporary World (4 credits)

An examination of Missio Dei from biblical and Pentecostal theological perspectives. This interdisciplinary study integrates theory and praxis, preparing the student to reflect theologically on missiological praxis and develop strategies for accomplishing the mission of God in diverse cultural milieus.

Core 3 - Intercultural Communication and Missions Anthropology (4 credits)

Studies in the literature of intercultural communication, focusing on cultural contexts and barriers, with implications for Christian witness, lifestyle, and relationships. Cultural anthropological issues will be examined to determine their application to a Christian view of intercultural ministry.

Core 4 - Theological Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies (4 credits)

A course to enable students to respond to theological issues encountered in intercultural contexts, such as Trinitarian concerns, bibliology, local theologies, syncretism, and Pentecostalism. Students will work with personally relevant area-specific case studies, and the principles of “doing theology” in another context will be analyzed.

Core 5 - Methods of Intercultural and Missiological Research (4 credits)

A course to prepare the student to develop his or her dissertation proposal and research tutorials. The relationships among theological inquiry, socio-anthropological inquiry, and missions praxis will be examined. Attention will be given to each of the major components of a dissertation proposal: problem formulation, review of the literature, research methodologies, presentation of findings, and conclusions. Development of a research design, bibliography, and database for intercultural research will be emphasized. The student will also develop the framework for three research tutorials that will inform the major components of his or her dissertation.

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Track Courses (12 credits)

Following their Core courses, Ph.D./ICS students will choose between two tracks: Missiological Studies or Christian Relief and Development. Each track involves 12 credits (three courses) of study in a specialized area.

Missiological Studies Track: 12 credits

  • The History of Christianity in Missiological Perspective
    • A study of selected missiological paradigms throughout the expansion of Christianity from Pentecost to the present. Writings of mission theorists will be studied for understanding the advance or decline at key historical junctures, as well as the assessing of current missiology.
  • Missiological Engagement with World Religions
    • The process of engaging followers of other religions is examined with the purpose of facilitating effective communication of the gospel. Representatives serving in diverse religious contexts explore unique opportunities and challenges presented by various historical and contemporary religious environments.
  • Evangelizing, Discipling and Church Planting
    • An exploration of biblical principles, contemporary models, and effective strategies for evangelizing non-believers, discipling converts, and planting healthy churches. Global challenges of the urban context and assimilation will be considered. Case studies will be examined.

Relief and Development Track: 12 credits

  • Biblical Perspectives on Issues of Social Justice
    • An investigation of biblical perspectives on social justice and the formulation of a scriptural foundation for the Church’s response to human suffering with holistic ministries. Special attention will be given to racial injustice and global poverty. A prerequisite for Relief and Development Track.
  • Relief and Development in Mission: Theories and Strategies
    • This course facilitates the articulation of a Christian response to global relief and development. Classical and modern theories of economic development and poverty eradication will be examined from a Christian perspective. Community development within a Christian worldview will be informed by the role of the developer on a personal, local, regional and global level.
  • Contemporary Social Issues in Mission
    • This course will identify the major global issues of injustice that impact women, children and minority people groups, such as human sexual trafficking, children at risk and human rights abuses. It will explore issues that impact on development such as AIDS and other international health crises, urbanization trends, global economic threats, wars and refugees and environmental issues. It will provide a critical overview of best practice interventions by international agencies and Christian relief and development organizations who address these global issues of social injustice.

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Elective Courses (12 credits)

Students will select three classes from the available Elective courses to deepen their study of specific topics. One elective course in Area Studies is required.

Area Studies Elective (required)

Specialized study in a particular area or region of the world. These studies may be taken as a tutorial or through course work in government-approved universities around the world. (In order to take this required elective course, the student must petition and secure the approval of his/her program advisor.)

Alternative Approaches to Education

An analysis of the principles of traditional and nontraditional education, both formal and informal, with emphasis given to ministry formation. Selected educational systems such as theological education by extension (TEE), distance education, in-service training, will be evaluated as to contextual suitability and effectiveness. Participants will engage in creative application of the principles presented and innovative modes of delivery systems.

Encountering Non-Christian Religions

A focus on the biblical and theological understanding of non-Christian religions. Participants will examine critical issues facing the church in light of biblical teaching and current conflicting ideas and theories in pluralistic societies. Attention will be given to diversity, truth and salvation in religions.

Leading the Non-Profit Organization

The critical role of the faith-based organization (FBO) has been universally acknowledged by the development community in its war on poverty. This course will trace the FBO’s road to recognition in both the United States and internationally and examine the unique contribution of the FBO in community development. It will explore international legislation governing the establishment of NGO’s, examine legal requirements for registration, and identify the financial management and project reporting requirements that are expected of an accountable and transparent organization. It will further provide the student with the skills to create a community development profile, SWOT analysis and strategic plan to assist a church community to mobilize for action. Finally the student will be prepared in the skills of creating a viable business plan and the identification of potential funding resources for FBO activities.

Contextualized Leadership Training

A study to facilitate leadership development vision by analyzing leadership selection processes, authority patterns and spiritual formation in a particular setting. Participants will be encouraged to develop culturally appropriate principles, strategies and methods of leadership training including church-based, institutional and non-formal approaches. Emphasis will be given to designing resources and building team concepts for long-term reproducible models.

HIV/AIDS in Global and Local Contexts

The course will explore the global HIV/AIDS pandemic from various perspectives. It will look at the medical issues that the disease raises and its contribution to global poverty. It will explore the political, economic, social and security issues that its spread has created in Africa, and project future trajectories for the spread of the disease. The course will also attempt to formulate a Christian perspective on the proposed role of the church to prevent the spread of the pandemic, to provide services to minimize its affects and to minister to those infected and affected by the disease. The underlying assumption of these strategies will be to create interventions that are sustainable and community-based and have as their focal point the centrality of the local church in the areas that are most affected.

Contemporary Missions: Issues and Strategies

A study of current issues and strategies in missions. Topics such as collaboration, short-term and career commitments, non-residential missions, the “business as missions” movement, theological education, training church leaders/planters, missionary lifestyle, interfaith dialogue and holism/international development will be considered.

Special Studies with an Approved Educational Provider

A track elective taken with an approved educational provider that facilitates the development of competencies germane to the major applied dissertation. (In order to take this course, the student must secure the approval of his/her Program Advisor.)

Special Studies: Tutelage

A track elective taken under the tutelage of an assigned professor of record. (In order to take this course the student must secure the approval of his/her program advisor.)

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Dissertation Research Courses (12 credits)

In preparation for the dissertation the student will enroll in three four-credit dissertation research tutorial courses designed to facilitate the research required for the proposed dissertation. The dissertation proposal will identify where each dissertation research course corresponds within the research design of the proposal. The tutorials will focus either on a review of the literature to provide the theoretical or theological foundation for the proposed research or after a brief review of precedent literature, the substance of the tutorial will be the student’s own primary research and analysis. For each course the student will present a research tutorial contract proposal to the assigned mentor for approval which includes research objectives, a literature review and research methodology. Once the tutorial contract proposal is approved, the student will execute the research and report the findings in a format similar to a dissertation. The content of the dissertation research courses should reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of intercultural studies. (An approved dissertation proposal is required in order to enroll in these courses.)

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Dissertation Course (4 credits)

Dissertation Development

Upon the completion, acceptance and successful oral defense of a written research dissertation that advances knowledge in intercultural studies integrating theory and praxis, four credits will be recorded on the transcript. All participants working on the dissertation phase will maintain a continued registration in the program.

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Field Research Course (0 credit)

MC 000 Doctoral Field Research

This course facilitates and contributes to research in the student’s specific context that will culminate in a dissertation that advances knowledge in the field of study and enables the participant to integrate and apply his or her learning in an intercultural context.

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Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is intended to demonstrate an acceptable level of competency in missiology and the ability to apply the literature to a set of circumstances. Students will be eligible to take the examination upon successful completion of the following core courses:

Core 1 – Leaders in a Global Context
Core 2 – Missio Dei and the Contemporary World
Core 3 – Intercultural Communication and Missions Anthropology
Core 4 – Theological Issues, Contextualization and Area Studies

Within six months of having a passing grade posted by the registrar for these courses, the student is required to take the exam. A list of recommended readings to support competencies developed in the core courses will be provided at the beginning of the program.

The qualifying examination is composed of two exams. One exam based on the missiological content and disciplines of study introduced in the core courses one and two; the second on cores three and four. Each exam will be comprised of three questions, two summative questions developed and approved by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee, one for each core course, and one context specific question selected by the committee from questions submitted by the student.

The student will submit to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee two summative context specific questions for each exam (a total of four questions) which seek to integrate and apply the content of the courses to the student’s specific missional environment. If the questions are not approved, they will be returned to the student with suggestions for resubmission. If approved, the Committee will select one question for each exam. The questions for each of the two exams will be sent electronically to a preapproved proctor.

The student will make arrangements with the proctor to schedule and take the exams in an appropriate context on a computer that is not connected to the Internet and contains no files related to the exams. For each exam the proctor will present the two selected questions to the student who will write a response to each. Each exam should be minimally 2,000 words (1,000 words per question) referencing the appropriate literature (author only, bibliographic references not required). Four hours will be allowed for each exam. The two exams are to be taken within a two-week period. Upon completion of each exam the proctor will email the student’s response in electronic format to the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee, retain one copy as a backup and provide one copy to the student (e.g. by email, thumb drive).

Each exam will be graded by a specialist in the field and by a generalist according to the following classifications: Superior, Satisfactory, Marginal or Unsatisfactory. Any grade of unsatisfactory by either grader or marginal by both will require retesting in that discipline/course. A marginal or unsatisfactory score by either grader on the retest will result in disqualification from the program.

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Dissertation Proposal

At the conclusion of Core 5, Methods of Intercultural and Missiological Research, a formal dissertation proposal must be presented to and approved by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Program Committee. The proposal should include dissertation title; a problem statement or thesis; research questions or hypothesis; an annotated bibliography literature review related to the research; methodology to be employed; a description of how track, elective, and dissertation research courses will be integrated in the research design; an explanation of how the findings will be reported; categories for the conclusions and recommendations; and a preliminary outline of the dissertation. With the successful completion of the qualifying exam and the approval of the dissertation proposal, the student will be assigned a guidance committee comprised of a faculty mentor and two faculty advisers whose research expertise is directly related to the projected research identified in the proposal in order to develop the study program.

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Advancement to Candidacy

When the student posts an acceptable grade for all seated course work (i.e., course work except the Area Studies and Dissertation Research courses), passes the qualifying exam, and receives approval of the dissertation proposal, he or she advances to being a Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies candidate.

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Comprehensive Examination

At any point after the completion of all required course work and the data-gathering (i.e., field research) phase of the student’s study, the student will submit to the comprehensive examination. This examination will be based entirely on the student’s tutorial research.

The comprehensive examination may be satisfied by one of the following two options:

    1. Written examinations covering the content of all three tutorials (four hours each); covering the content of all three tutorials (12 hours of testing).
    2. A formal journal article which synthesizes the tutorial research findings and defend it before students and professors during a value added week.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination the student may register for the dissertation itself (MC 999: Dissertation Development).

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A research dissertation advances knowledge in the field of study and enables the participant to integrate and apply his or her learning in an intercultural ministry context. Upon the completion, acceptance and successful oral defense of a written dissertation which makes a scholarly contribution to the discipline and practice of intercultural ministry, four credits will be recorded on the transcript.

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Oral Defense

When the student’s dissertation mentor (supervisor) confirms that the dissertation is ready for review, the student must submit a copy of the dissertation to each member of his or her dissertation committee and the outside reader appointed by the Intercultural Doctoral Studies Committee. When the dissertation committee and the outside reader deem that the student’s dissertation meets the standards of the academy, his or her oral defense will be scheduled at a time most convenient for both the student and the committee. Often the defense will be during a value-added week, but the defense can also be conducted via a long-distance (i.e., Skype) conference phone call. The student’s defense will be open to the academy if conducted in person.

If the student’s dissertation defense is successful, the dissertation committee members and outside reader will approve the dissertation by signing the approval page. The dissertation will then be submitted to the IDS copy editor, who will work with the student as he or she corrects any content and formatting errors. The dissertation is not officially accepted by the seminary until approved by the IDS copy editor.

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A fee for the entire program is $42,000, to be paid in 15 equal installments over five years. AGWM and AGUSM appointed missionaries are eligible for a discounted fee of $29,400. The Ph.D./ICS Program qualifies for veteran's benefits, private student loans and loan deferment. (Applicable for the 2016–2017 academic year and subject to change thereafter for new participants.)

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Updated: Tuesday, November 22, 2016 7:45 PM

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