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SBU students pose for photo with group of kids in Dominican Republic

Intercultural Studies Major

Complete SBU's innovative degree in intercultural studies

Are you interested in serving in cross-cultural ministry abroad or in the U.S.? SBU's unique intercultural studies degree will equip you with both academic training and practical experience needed for long-term service in a cross-cultural setting.

SBU was a pioneer in offering an intercultural studies program with a six-month semester abroad experience as a degree requirement component. You will work under the direction of an expert in cross-cultural ministry, gaining experience in ministry, language acquisition, and cultural acclimation.

You will also complete a minor (or second major) in a subject area of your choice as part of your degree to equip you with a marketable skill needed when entering a restricted country or when pursuing bivocational ministry. Options include: business management, computer science, education, English as a second language, health care, sports management, social work or another subject of your choice.

The Intercultural Studies degree is offered through SBU's College of Arts and Sciences


Major Map (PDF)

Degree plan

of this kind

(SBU's Intercultural Studies program is the first program of its kind in the United States.)

SBU students

The SBU Advantage

  • Benefit from a distinctive combination of theological and cultural training, training in a market skill, and experience in cross-cultural service
  • Complete a minor (or second major) of your choice to gain valuable career training in an area of your interest and talents.
  • Study under ICS faculty that bring real world experience in cross-cultural ministry into the classroom. Based on practical experience, they are able to share what it is like to serve and share the Gospel among Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, as well as other religions.
  • Learn to live as a global follower of Jesus Christ with the understanding needed to share your faith among people of various religions and cultures.

Faith Integration

Making disciples and serving others among the nations is an expression of faith in Jesus Christ. The Intercultural Studies program equips you to fulfill the Great Commission - Jesus's command to make disciples among the nations.

Coursework requirements ensure you receive in-depth Biblical studies training with classes such as Methods of Biblical Interpretation, Christian Doctrine and Christianity Heritage.

Through SBU's Center for Global Connections (CGC), you are encouraged to participate in the Great Commission even before entering the long-term mission field. The CGC offers more than 25 projects each year in our local community, the United States and around the world.


Our graduates have gone on to serve in long-term ministry with organizations such as:

  • Greater Europe Mission
  • International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • New Tribes Mission
  • North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • U.S. Center for World Mission
  • Various churches around the country

Other career opportunities include:

  • Placement with sending agencies as cross-cultural evangelists, disciplers and translators
  • Community development advocates
  • Teaching English as a second language

Graduate schools

SBU's Master of Arts in Christian Ministry has a 4+1 program so you can complete both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in just 5 years.

Many of our graduates also have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as:

  • Baylor University
  • Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Gateway Seminary
  • Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Missouri State University
  • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"The ICS degree requires students to spend six months living overseas, studying language and culture. That overseas experience, along with the preparatory cultural coursework and assignments, prepared me for real-world scenarios in cross-cultural ministry and laid the foundation for where I am today."
Jesse M.
Serving with GEM in Berlin, Germany


As an intercultural studies student, you will be eligible for the Church Related Vocation (CRV) scholarship which is currently valued at $2,000 per year. To maintain this scholarship, you must be enrolled in a ministry-related degree program, submit the necessary application and references, participate in SBU's in-service training program and complete any other requirements.

Several privately funded scholarships are also available by application to students preparing for service in missions and evangelism.


Intercultural Studies Four-Year Plan


Fall Semester

BIB 1013 Old Testament History 3
ENG 1113 English Composition I 3
POL 1113 American Government and Politics 3
MAT 1243 Algebraic Reasoning and Modeling 3
PSY 1013 General Psychology (or alternative) 3
UNI 1111 University Seminar 1
Total hours 16

Spring Semester

BIB 1023 New Testament History 3
COM 1103 Fundamentals of Speech Communication 3
ECO 2003 LIFE Economics 3
ICS 2911 Cross-Cultural Service Project 1
ENG 2213 English Composition II 3
UNI 1121 Introduction to Critical Thinking 1
POL 1113 American Government and Politics 3
Total hours 17


Fall Semester

BIB 2093 Methods of Biblical Interpretation 3
CHR 3023 Introduction to Preaching or  
CED 2033 Principles of Teaching in the Church 3
HIS 2213/2223 U.S. History I or II 3
PHS 1004 Introduction to Physical Science 4
ICS 2013 Anthropology for Cross-Cultural Service 3
Total hours 16

Spring Semester

BIO 1004 Principles of Biology 4
CIS 1103 Computer and Information Management 3
CHR 3073 Disciple-making/Evangelism 3
ICS 3033 Introduction to Missions 3
THE 3113 Christian Doctrine 3
Total hours 16


Fall Semester

ICS 3023 Cross-Cultural Life & Service 3
THE 3773 Christian Heritage 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
Total hours 15

Spring Semester

ICS 4313 World Religions 3
ICS 4023 Indigenous Christian Community or  
ICS 4123 Urban Ministries 3
THE 3023 Baptist Heritage 3
KIN 1162 Foundations of Physical Fitness/Wellness 2
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
Total hours 17


Fall Semester

Semester Abroad (Usually June-December)
ICS 2118 Language Learning in Context 8
ICS 2911 Cross-Cultural Service Project 1
ICS 4983 Apprenticeship Practicum 3
ICS 4083 Ethnography and Spirituality 3
Total hours 15

Spring Semester

  Elective 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
Total hours 15

THE 3023 Baptist Denomination is required if receiving CRV Scholarship but does not qualify as Theology elective.

This is a proposed guideline. Please check the catalog and see your advisor for your final degree requirements.
Southwest Baptist University reserves the right to make changes to degree plans without advanced notice or obligation.
The student is responsible for understanding and completing all general education, degree, departmental and graduation requirements.

Download in PDF format.
Intercultural Studies plan (PDF)