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Intercultural Studies at Southwest Baptist University

Degree Requirements

Overseas Student Blogs

Related Majors

Questions? Contact

Dr. Jim Frost, faculty director
(417) 328-1763

Visit the Department of Christian Ministry website for more information.

The ICS program prepares students intentionally for a cross-cultural ministry.

The motivation and passion of the ICS major is that the nations would worship and serve God through Jesus Christ. ICS majors become servant leaders, appreciate and adapt to cultures different from their own and develop a secular or market skill as a platform for cross-cultural ministry.

The SBU Advantage

  • SBU was the pioneer in offering a six-month semester abroad field experience.
  • Relationships with faculty are built in the classroom and outside of class through the Fall ICS Retreat and various fellowships.
  • ICS faculty have served in the mission field, both in the United States and abroad.

Engaged Learning

ICS students have many opportunities for interactive learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Course Information

Students must complete the University’s general education and graduation requirements as well as 32 semester hours of ICS core studies that emphasize cultural understanding, personal growth, cross-cultural communication and theological truth. A six-month study abroad experience is required.


Students preparing for a church-related vocation, including Intercultural Studies majors, can apply for the Church-Related Vocation Scholarship. Students must submit applications by March 1 and other required supporting documentation by June 1. Recipients are expected to participate in SBU’s In-Service Training Program and must complete The Baptist Denomination (THE 3023) class.

More information is available on the Financial Aid page.

Internship Opportunities

The Semester Abroad program immerses the student in language, culture,
cross-cultural service and research projects. The Semester Abroad is six months (June to December) during the student’s senior year and includes a component in which the student writes a blog of his or her experiences.

Career Opportunities

  • Appointments with sending agencies as cross-cultural evangelists, disciplers and translators.
  • Secular international platforms, such as, English as a Second Language teachers, community development advocates, education consultants, sports directors and business leaders
  • Cross-cultural ministers among North America’s ethnic communities or urban poor
  • Church staff and college ministries that train and mobilize others to serve cross-culturally.

Special Features

Market Skill Platform: The Market Skill Platform equips the student with a secular market skill. Having such a skill may help the student enter a restrictive country, and having such a skill will always be useful in cross-cultural service. The least-intensive Platforms are Business Management, Computer Science, Education, English as a Second Language, Health Care, Sports Management, Social Work and a Customized Platform. However, students are encouraged to complete a second major or a minor in some discipline outside Theology and Ministry, which then satisfies this Market Skill requirement.

Annual retreat: Current and former ICS majors meet each fall to encourage and re-cast the vision of cross-cultural work to both ICS students and graduates.

Degree Requirements

BIB 2093 Methods of Biblical Interpretation
Introduction to the task of interpreting the Bible in its literary and historical context and applying its teaching to modern life. Particular attention is given to principles concerning the qualifications and presuppositions of the interpreter, the nature of prose and poetic literature, and the character of the various genres found in both testaments.
ICS 2013 Cultural and Global Awareness
An introduction to cultural diversity, cultural anthropology, cross-cultural field experiences, cross-cultural ministry, various nations of the world, and current global issues.
ICS 2911 Cross-cultural Service Project
Participation in a cross-cultural field project to either a non-English speaking group or a group of significantly different ethnic identity. Approval necessary by the department chair.
ICS 3033 World Christian Foundations
A vigorous study of the biblical, historical, cultural, and strategic perspectives concerning the expansion of the world Christian movement.
ICS 3043 Spiritual Preparation for Cross-cultural Service
A study and practicum in discipleship and spiritual life to prepare the student for the difficulty and isolation of cross-cultural Christian service.
ICS 3053 Survival Abroad
Practical preparation for the student’s Semester Abroad. Studies include country and job assignments, culture adjustment, stress management, interpersonal relations, fund raising, management of finances, family needs, awareness of host country, and personal health and nutrition.
ICS 4121 International Market Skills
A seminar concerning how to utilize ethically, practically, and strategically a market skill and a secular position as a platform for Christian service cross-culturally.
ICS 4313 World Religions
This course introduces students to the thought and practice of world religions including: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam and animism. Consideration also is given to the issues of religious pluralism, theology of religions, and the appropriate response to each.

Three hours of elective courses in either Intercultural Studies, Bible, or Theology

Choose one of the following:
BIB 3043 Pentateuch
Study of the first five books of the Bible with special attention given to introductory problems related to the Pentateuch.
BIB 3053 Early Pauline Epistles
Historical and exegetical study of Paul's epistles to the Thessalonians, Corinthians and Galatians.
BIB 3063 Later Pauline Epistles
Historical and exegetical study of Romans, Paul's prison and pastoral epistles.
BIB 4023 Life and Teachings of Christ
Study of life and teaching of Christ as presented in the four gospels.
Choose one of the following:
ICS 3073 Storying and Discipling Cross-culturally
A study and practicum in cross-cultural evangelism utilizing biblical narratives and discipling in such a way as to develop indigenous church planting.
ICS 4023 Indigenous Christian Community
A study of principles concerning an indigenous, culturally contextualized, biblical Christian community in terms of its worship, discipling, leadership call and roles, pastoral care, social structures, world-view formation, and cell multiplication.
Choose one of the following:
THE 3113 Christian Doctrine (preferred choice)
Analysis and interpretation of the major doctrines of the Christian religion.
THE 3463 History of Christianity I
Survey of early and medieval Christianity up to the eve of the Reformation.
THE 3673 History of Christianity II
Survey of the history of Christianity from the Reformation to the present.

ICS Semester Abroad

BIB 4063 Intercultural Theologizing
A study of how cultural and social convictions influence religious expressions, how the biblical message engages all cultures, and how the student’s overseas context requires cross-cultural application of the gospel.
ICS 2118 Barefoot Language Learning
An intensive immersion in language acquisition which utilizes classroom instruction in a foreign country as well as cross-cultural social relationships including living with a national family.
ICS 2911 Cross-Cultural Service Project
Participation in a cross-cultural field project to either a non-English speaking group or a group of significantly different ethnic identity. Approval necessary by the department chair.
ICS 4082 Ethnography and Strategy
Cultural research and FOQUS to examine a cultural group and develop a strategy concerning how to evangelize that group. Instruction through field guidance and via email.
ICS 4982 Apprenticeship Practicum
On-the-job cross-cultural training under the supervision of a cross-cultural resident. Approval of department chair.


In addition, the ICS student may choose one of the following interdisciplinary Market Skills for serving more creatively in cross-cultural contexts. However what is most recommended is that the student take a second Major or Minor in some discipline usually outside of Theology and Ministry which satisfies the Market Skill Requirement.

 Business Management Market Skill

ACC 2013 Principles of Financial Accounting
An introduction to the concepts and principles underlying accounting and financial information as used in operating a business. Basic fundamentals of financial accounting from both a preparer’s and a user’s perspective will be presented. The impact of business events on an entity’s financial position will be emphasized through an understanding of an organization’s operating, investing, and financial activities.
ECO 2023 Microeconomics
A study of economic principles with emphasis upon microeconomics. Includes a study of economics of the firm, consumer demand theory and current problems.
Choose one of the following:
MKT 3023 Principles of Marketing
The study of the system of activities that constitute marketing with emphasis on the principles, policies and strategies utilized to identify and satisfy the needs and wants of consumers. The universal application of marketing management in all forms or organizations is stressed.
MGT 3013 Principles of Management
The study of the process of management, which is the coordination of all the resources of organizations in order to achieve organizational objectives. The management process will be described, analyzed and applied to all types of organizations, indicating the universality of management.
Choose two of the following:
ECO 2033 Macroeconomics
Study of the basic principles of macroeconomics designed to give a broad understanding of the economy. Emphasis upon aggregate problems and issues considered important to the nation.
MGT 3013 Principles of Management
The study of the process of management, which is the coordination of all the resources of organizations in order to achieve organizational objectives. The management process will be described, analyzed and applied to all types of organizations, indicating the universality of management.
BUS 4053 International Business
Introduction to the multinational business organization and environmental factors of international business. Emphasis on the development of sound problem-solving, decision-making methods in the analysis of environmental and organizational variables. The course also examines strategies for firms involved in marketing across national borders and in other countries. Special attention is given to planning and implementing marketing mix variables in international settings.
MGT 4063 Entrepreneurship
Integrates knowledge of the functional areas of entrepreneurial business development, central themes being the impact of the owner or founding team of the company, and the development of systems that will lead to sustainable growth. Emphasis is placed on planning, starting, growing, managing, and expanding a business, with a particular focus on writing a business plan.
MKT 3023 Principles of Marketing
The study of the system of activities that constitute marketing with emphasis on the principles, policies and strategies utilized to identify and satisfy the needs and wants of consumers. The universal application of marketing management in all forms or organizations is stressed.
Computer Science Market Skill
CIS 1144 Computer Science I
This course introduces the concepts of computer programming and problem solving and the associated ideas of algorithms and data structures. It is designed to provide the serious computer science student with basic skills and a solid foundation for further study. Includes an introduction to the Java programming language. Three lectures, one lab per week.
CIS 1154 Computer Science II
engineering). The data structures of linked lists, stacks, queues and trees are developed along with an introduction to file structures. Recursion, searching and sorting algorithms are analyzed for order as well as time and space efficiency . Parallel sorting and searching algorithms are introduced. Java is utilized for programming. Three lectures and one lab per week.
CIS 2213 Introduction to Systems Analysis and Design
Study of the phases a system project using current design tools and techniques. Includes an introduction and overview of several development methodologies with in depth study of one development methodology.
CIS 2253 Internet Programming
A study of the development techniques, protocols, and approaches to engineering web-based software systems. Topics include HTML, CSS, XML, CGI, PHP, Javascript, Ajax, DOM, client/server computing and Ruby on Rails. Issues related to design, maintainability, metrics, security, and performance are addressed.

Three hours of upper-level CIS elective course.

TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Market Skill

ENG 3003 TESOL: Methods
A course designed to introduce in-service or pre-service teachers to current methods and techniques used to instruct students in learning English as a second language regardless of the age group or goal. Prerequisite: Completion of the general education requirement in composition.
ENG 3363 History of the English Language
The development of the English language from its beginning to the present.
ENG 3373 Structure of the English Language
Detailed study of current English sounds, grammar and usage.
ENG 4043 TESOL: Design and Assessment
An examination of curriculum design and testing techniques in an ESL educational environment.
ENG 4053 TESOL: Practicum
A practicum in which students demonstrate in a field-based setting the knowledge and skills developed in previous ESL coursework. This class is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in the development and management of ESL, Bilingual, or modern-language programs.

Education Market Skill

EDU 2113 Education Psychology
Study of social and behavioral theory, including the nature of educational psychology, measurement, personality, the classroom as a social system, learning and instruction.
EDU 2313 Foundations of Education
The course presents major issues of schooling and education basic to professional preparation. Areas included are philosophy, history of American education, administration, governance, finance, legal aspects, social issues, use of technology in instruction, and current topics in the field.

For those interested in elementary education

EDU 2343 Emergent Literacy
This course develops an understanding of communication arts instruction with a particular focus on emergent language and literacy development. It is designed as a foundational course to additional reading methods courses and provides an understanding of how young children learn oral and written language, of the learning environment necessary for this learning to develop naturally, and the cultural and societal influences upon literacy development.

Six hours from the following:

EDU 2232 Introduction to Early Childhood Education
This course is designed to provide an introduction to the study of early childhood education birth through eight years of age (grade 3). It includes a historical perspective, goals of early childhood education, the role of play in early childhood development, developmentally appropriate programs and curriculum models. Concurrent enrollment in EDU 2381 or EDU 2391 is required.
EDU 2332 Teaching the Young Child
This course provides a continuation of the study of early childhood education B birth through eight years of age (grade 3). It includes a study of how to establish and maintain a safe, healthy learning environment and how to set up a well-run, purposeful, developmentally appropriate program that is responsive to participant needs. Additionally, there is a focus on how to advance the physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs of young children with an emphasis on the application of brain research in the preschool and kindergarten classroom. Concurrent enrollment in EDU 2381 or EDU 2391 is required.
EDU 2381 Practicum: Infant/Toddler
Provides 45 clock hours of experience with infants and toddlers. Teacher candidates will experience a variety of infant/toddler facilities and will apply developmentally appropriate practices for young children.
EDU 2391 Practicum: Presschool/Kindergarten
Provides 45 clock hours of clinical experience and participation in a PreK and Kindergarten setting. Involves planning and teaching daily activities and a weekly unit that incorporates the use of literature, art, science, music, mathematics, language and motor skills which are developmentally appropriate for the preschool child. L
KIN 2022 Perceptual Motor Development
Methods of teaching children through movement experiences. An emphasis will be placed on perceptual motor development as it relates to movement.
PSY 3053 Child Development
A study of the operation of normal psychological and developmental processes in the lives of children from birth to adolescence.

For those interested in a general education focus

EDU 2243 Health, Safety and Nutrition for the Young Child
Provides information about current concepts in the fields of health, safety and nutrition and their relationship to the young child; includes application of principles of health, safety and nutrition for young children.
EDU 2483 Home, School and Community Involvement
This course exposes future early childhood teachers to the history, current trends and issues of parent and community involvement in the schools. Additionally, the course utilizes materials, techniques and resources for the improvement of home, school and community partnerships in the education of children from birth through third grade.
EDU 2823 Technology for Educators
Develops teachers who are able to apply technology skills and strategies in a variety of personal and professional functions including the development of an electronic portfolio, to effectively use media to maximize student learning, and to use a wide variety of media and technological systems in teaching and evaluation of student learning. Because the student teaching portfolio is developed in this class, this course is designed for elementary education majors in their sophomore year and for middle and secondary education teacher candidates during their junior or senior years before student teaching.

Health Care Market Skill

BIO 2204 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
An introduction to the study of form and function of the human body. This course is the first in a two-semester sequence. Particular attention will be given to the study of cells, tissues, and metabolism, as well as the skeletal, muscular, respiratory and digestive systems. Three lectures, one laboratory each week.
BIO 3304 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This course is a continuation of Biology 2204. Areas of study will include: the nervous, endocrine, circulatory, lymphatic, and the urogenital systems. Three lectures, one laboratory each week.
BIO/ATH 2243 Nutrition
Nutritional requirements of mankind with emphasis on the roles of nutrients in the body throughout the life cycle.
KIN 3092 Standard First Aid
Study of treatment for common emergencies including treatment of wounds, shock, poisoning, fractures, unconsciousness and stoppage of breathing. American Red Cross certificate may be earned.
Choose one of the following:
BIO 2214 Environmental Biology
An objective contemporary study of the environment and man's effect upon it. A holistic approach is taken in studying relevant problems relating to population growth, pollution and the preservation of natural ecosystems.
NUR 3393 Transcultural Nursing
This course is an introduction to the theories and concepts of transcultural nursing. Students will examine topics that identify therapeutic practices of nursing care for culturally diverse clients, families, and communities.
NUR 3453 Spirituality in Nursing Practice
This course explores personal Christian spiritual development and diverse models of spirituality, emphasizing their impact on health and nursing care. Spiritual practices and the responsibilities and issues of spiritual care are examined. Christian discipleship and a Christian theology of nursing are discussed as they apply to professional practice in a secular environment.
SOC 3063 Community Sociology
This course examines the development of the community and community-based problem solving. Included is a study of the changing rural, urban, and global structures, organizations, services, and demographics.

Sports Management Market Skill

KIN 1043 Personal and Community Health
Study of major health problems and factors determining health. Special considerations given to principles and practices of good health for individual and community concerns.
KIN 3092 Standard First Aid
Study of treatment for common emergencies including treatment of wounds, shock, poisoning, fractures, unconsciousness and stoppage of breathing. American Red Cross certificate may be earned.
KIN 4002 Sports Programming
This course will provide a comprehensive overview of the elements involved in the planning, organization, implementation, and evaluation of leisure programming as a benefits based service. Emphasis will be given to structuring programs for recreation, sports, games and intramural programming.
REC 3163 Recreation Leadership
A course designed for training leaders of recreation. Techniques of direct recreation leadership and methods for practical application of leadership skills are emphasized. Includes lab.
Choose one of the following:
KIN 4023 Organization and Administration of Physical Education and Recreation
A course emphasizing the methodology of planning, organizing, administering and managing the physical education or recreation department. Consideration given to staff and personnel, equipment, budgeting, records, reports and programming.
KIN 4762 Problem Solving in Recreation
A seminar on problem solving in the recreation profession. Aimed at facilitating transition between the academic and professional experience.
Choose one of the following:
KIN 2032 Coaching Volleyball
Study of offensive and defensive skills and strategy of volleyball. Coaching methods, strategy and organization of practice and matches are emphasized.
KIN 2052 Coaching Softball and Baseball
The methods and materials used in coaching softball and baseball will be examined. A study of practice organization, skill analysis, teaching methods for each position, purchase and care of equipment. Conditioning will be included.
KIN 3012 Coaching Football
Study of offensive and defensive systems; methods of coaching football.
KIN 3022 Coaching Basketball
Study of components of basketball. Emphasis on individual and team skills, conditioning and strategy of play.
KIN 3062 Coaching Track and Field
Study of accepted forms of track and field events; factors affecting endurance, speed and fatigue; preparation and selection of contestants for competition; and management techniques.

Customized Market Skill

Students are allowed to create a unique 16-hour program from one or more disciplines at SBU other than Intercultural Studies, all of which must be part of an approved plan by the student's ICS advisor and faculty advisors from those disciplines. It is preffered that these courses be upper level. The possible combinations are almost unlimited but must be supported by the student's plan for an intercultural future.