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

Intercultural Studies

Intercultural Studies Major

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




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 History of Christianity.

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

Many of our graduates 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. '10, Serving with GEM in Berlin, Germany
Jesse M., Intercultural Studies Alum


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.




Fall Semester

BIB 1013 Old Testament History 3
ENG 1113 English Composition I 3
POL 1113 American Government and Politics 3
MAT 1143 College Algebra 3
PSY 1013 General Psychology (or alternative) 3
UNI 1111 University Seminar 1
Total hours 16

Spring Semester

BIB 1023 New Testament History 3
SPF 2012 Spiritual Formation 2
ENG 2213 English Composition II 3
BIO 1004 Principles of Biology 4
CIS 1103 Computer and Information Management 3
UNI 1121 Introduction to Critical Thinking 1
Total hours 16


Fall Semester

ICS 2013 Anthropology for Cross-Cultural Service 3
BIB 2093 Methods of Biblical Interpretation 3
HIS 2213/2223 U.S. History I or II 3
ECO 2003 LIFE Economics 3
PHI 2013 Philosophical Foundations for a Christian
KIN 1162 Foundations of Physical Fitness/Wellness 2
Total hours 17

Spring Semester

ICS 3033 Introduction to Missions 3
PHS 1004 Introduction to Physical Science or  
PHS 1114 Introduction to Earth Science 4
COM 1103 Fundamentals of Speech Communication 3
  Minor Course 3
  Minor Course 3
Total hours 16


ICS 2911 Cross-Cultural Service Project 1


Fall Semester

ICS 3043 Spiritual Prep for Cross-Cultural Service 3
  BIB 3043, 3053, 3063 or 4023 3
THE 3113 Christian Doctrine (recommended) or  
THE 3463/3673 History of Christianity I or II 3
  Minor Course 3
  Minor Course 3
Total hours 15

Spring Semester

ICS 3053 Survival Abroad 3
ICS 3073 Storying and Discipling Cross-Culturally or  
ICS 4023 Indigenous Christian Community 3
ICS 4313 World Religions 3
  Elective (ICS, BIB, THE or CHR 3003) 3
  Minor Course 3
Total hours 15


Fall Semester

ICS 2118 Barefoot Language Learning 8
ICS 2911 Cross-Cultural Service Project 1
ICS 4982 Apprenticeship Practicum 2
ICS 4082 Ethnography and Strategy 2
BIB 4063 Intercultural Theologizing 3
Total hours 16

Spring Semester

ICS 4121 International Market Skills 1
  Upper Elective 3
  Upper Elective 3
  Upper Elective 3
  Elective 3
  Elective 3
Total hours 16

1. THE 3023 Baptist Denomination is required if receiving CRV Scholarship but does not qualify as Theology elective.
2. Of the 128 credits required for SBU graduation, 40 of these credits must be 3000 and 4000 level courses. Depending on how many upper-level credits are in one’s Market Skill, the ICS student may or may not need to take upper-level electives.


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