fbpx

MASTER OF ARTS IN INTERCULTURAL STUDIES

With the ever-increasing cultural and religious diversity of societies across the globe, Christian leaders today need formation in intercultural approaches to communication, worship, theology, and ministry.​

The MA in Intercultural Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University offers the opportunity for advanced theological engagement with pressing missiological questions in light of Scripture and the rich heritage of Christian faith and practice.

Our context is important to us. We recognize and draw on the valuable resources offered by our location in South Florida.

Few places are better situated for a truly intercultural and interconfessional education. Over 68 percent of the population is comprised of ethnic and racial minorities, and half of all residents speak a language other than English. PBA’s interculturally experienced faculty represent this same diversity along with a unique depth of cultural and missiological experience and training.

An Innovative Degree

  • Students can complete their studies in just two years.
  • Small classes delivered mostly online fostering a community of students with a variety of experiences.
  • Lower tuition cost and number of credit hours than many other intercultural studies graduate programs.
  • Preparation for doctoral studies in related fields.
  • Holistic education from leading faculty with a wide diversity of cultural backgrounds and nationalities.
  • Theological engagement of significant topics, such as: reconciliation, religious pluralism, cultural intelligence in society, intercultural approaches for ministry, ecclesiology in global perspective, and contemporary global crises.
  • Intercultural training formed by ancient Christian practices: kerygma (proclamation), leiturgia (worship), diakonia (service), koinonia (community building).

We give our students practical experience and theological depth in critical areas at the intersection of intercultural studies and ministry today

Take classes such as:

  • Theology of Reconciliation
  • Advanced Missiology
  • Strategies in Intercultural Engagement: Planting, Pastoring, Purposing
  • Integrated Human Development
  • Worship as Intercultural Encounter

COURSE TITLES & DESCRIPTIONS

Explores God’s transforming action in the world from personal and communal perspectives. Students develop expertise in scriptural sources relating to reconciliation as well as a diversity of other sources of theological reflection on intercultural engagement and reconciliation.

Explores challenges posed to Christian theology and practice when encountering and engaging with other religions, including social, political, philosophical, and theological issues related to living in religiously pluralist contexts often characterized by conflict. Students examine contemporary Christian theologians to understand how the doctrines of God, Christ, the church, and mission are understood in the theology of religions, with particular focus on how methodological and typological models determine the debate.

Examines theologies of Christian community life at congregational and other levels within diverse intercultural ecclesial contexts, where intercultural encounter may be seen as constitutive of church life. Students develop intercultural theological expertise in scriptural sources relating to church as well as sources across the theological tradition.

Presents contemporary developments in missiology together with a survey of the field. Students will cultivate a depth of understanding of the theology of mission and the missio Dei, examining frontiers within current missiological scholarship and building on classics in the discipline.

Introduces an emerging field of Christian study and specialization that combines the interdisciplinary approach of missiology and practical theological method. Students theologically engage contemporary Christian experience from an inclusive, diverse global perspective.

Utilizes insights from social and cultural studies to explore the principles, dynamics, and processes of intercultural communication for cross-cultural ministry. Communication and cultural theories provide a terminological and conceptual framework, but the focus is on theoretical, practical, and applied complexities of such key areas as language, social structure, gender and sexuality, power distribution, kinship, religion, globalization, and cultural change. Students enhance intercultural competence while creatively working to develop models of communication that are theologically valid, culturally appropriate, and contextually relevant to particular ministry settings.

Presents a diversity of challenges, including international conflicts, migration and refugees, human trafficking, family and reproductive issues, famine and hunger, and poverty. Students are offered a diversity of cases and analyses so as to better understand contemporary intercultural communicative practices in the light of these issues.

Presents various dimensions of intercultural engagement, particularly church planting, pastoring, and purposeful discipleship formation through biblical, theological, and historical principles and practices that permit a critical evaluation of contemporary means and methods in light of theology and biblical hermeneutics.

Introduces practical approaches to integrated human development in diverse contexts around the world. Students develop understanding of the global human need for transformation in whatever context. Theory and practice are offered from within diverse social locations around the world to advance understanding of what is being done and what may be done in the future.

Examines evangelizing practice in light of communicative theology and current practice in diverse contexts. Students will survey diverse forms of communicative praxis so as to develop their skills and strategies as Christian intercultural communicators, whether in various settings in their home country or elsewhere around the world.

Explores Christian practices of worship in diverse contexts and expressions. Students are trained to undertake an examination of their experience of worship practices from the standpoint of intercultural communication.

Examines the application of anthropological knowledge to solve contemporary societal problems through the review of cultural perspectives, theory, methods, and data to identify, assess, and address real world challenges. Students will explore how intercultural research can help them identify the needs for change that local people perceive, and assist in the development of culturally appropriate change.

MASTER OF ARTS IN INTERCULTURAL STUDIES FACULTY

Dr. Kyle Faircloth

Director of Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies Program, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies

Prior to coming to PBA, Dr. Faircloth served in intercultural ministry in Southeast Asia for fifteen years. For the first six and a half years he participated in church leadership and community development efforts in Thailand. In 2011, he and his family relocated to Penang, Malaysia, where he directed the M.A. in Intercultural Studies and Doctor of Missiology programs at a local seminary.

He has presented papers at theological conferences in Malaysia and Australia and has published book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Asian Evangelical Theology, Themelios, New Blackfriars, and International Journal of Systematic Theology. His research interests are theology of religions, intercultural studies, East Asian religions and philosophy, and studies in world Christianity.

Before moving to Southeast Asia, he worked with an organization that facilitated relief work in Haiti, and also with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Orlando. He and his wife are native Floridians, and they have two children.

EDUCATION: B.A., Palm Beach Atlantic University; M.A., M.Div., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; D.Miss., Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary; Ph.D., University of Bristol.

Dr. Alisha Winn 

Adjunct Professor, School of Ministry

Dr. Alisha R. Winn is an applied cultural anthropologist. She is the owner and founder of Consider the Culture, a firm that incorporates anthropological knowledge to governmental, community, educational, and religious institutions on the social construction of race, cultural belief systems and practices, language, ethnographic research, and community engagement; helping individuals within and outside of the classroom gain an appreciation for anthropology’s usefulness and relevance today.

She is adjunct professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University’s School of Ministry, infusing community-engaged research and applied anthropology. Dr. Winn has also taught anthropology at Florida Atlantic University, Ashford University, and Fayetteville State University.

Dr. Winn serves as consultant and director for several community and heritage education projects; the preservation and community building efforts for the City of West Palm Beach’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on the Historic Northwest Rising Project, the Palm Beach County African American Oral History Pilot Project, and professional development to teachers and students on cultural anthropology in the Palm Beach County School System and Cultural Programs.

Dr. Winn has presented at numerous anthropology conferences, and published articles and book chapters on Community on Historical Narratives and Place,” “Community Redevelopment”, “Memorializing and Identifying Sacred Grounds,” The Second Generation of African American Pioneers in Anthropology on Ira E. Harrison: Activist, Scholar, and Visionary Pioneer, and “Diversity Dilemmas and Opportunities: Training the Next Generation of Anthropologists”. Her research interests include space and place, identity, race, class, historic preservation in communities, heritage education for youth, and oral histories. 

EDUCATION: B.A, Sociology, Bethune-Cookman University; B.A., Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University; M.A., Anthropology, Georgia State University; Ph.D., Applied Anthropology, University of South Florida.

Dr. Sooi-Ling Tan 

Guest Lecturer, Intercultural Studies

Dr. Tan is the dean of Asia Graduates School of Theology (AGST Alliance) and director of the D.Min. program. She is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA. Currently servicing as an Executive Board Member of Asia Theological Association, she is the chairperson of the AGST council in Asia.

She holds a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies (with a focus on worship) from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a postdoctoral fellowship with the Brehm Center, exploring the area of peace and reconciliation through music.

Her interests lie in enabling Asian academic scholarship and pursuing the areas of worship in context, world religions, peace studies, and intercultural communication. She co-edited the book, Uncommon Sounds: Songs of Peace and Reconciliation, and has written articles such as, “Contextualized Worship and Identity Formation in the Malaysian Church” and “Transformative Worship in a Malaysian Context.”

EDUCATION: Post-Ph.D., Brehm Center, Fuller Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Fuller Theological Seminary; M.A. Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary; M.Min., Malaysia Bible Seminary; Dip.Ed., University of Malaya; B.A. (2nd Class Upper Hons.), University of Malaya.

Dr. Wanjiru M. Gitau

Adjunct Professor, School of Ministry

Born and educated in Kenya, Dr. Gitau has extensive pastoral experience in dynamic congregations, as well as research experience in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and USA.

Between 2011 and 2017, she was a researcher with a multi-country project, The Africa Leadership Survey https://africaleadershipstudy.org/, funded by Tyndale House Foundation through eleven collaborating universities. Between 2013 and 2017, she was a researcher, convener, and keynoter with the World Christian Revitalization project, funded by Luce Foundation through Asbury Theological Seminary. More recently she has been co-director of a project researching Spirituality, Pluralism and Progress, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust through St. Thomas University. 

Dr. Gitau is the author of Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered: Millennials and Social Change in African Perspective(https://www.ivpress.com/megachurch-christianityreconsidered/, a “smart and thoughtful analysis of an extraordinarily important phenomenon in contemporary Christianity” (Philip Jenkins). The book won the 2019 Christianity Today’s book of the year award in the Global Missions category. She is co-author, with Dr. Mark Shaw, of the Kingdom of God in Africa: The Kingdom of God in Africa, revised and updated. She has published numerous other articles and is currently involved in multiple writing projects. 

EDUCATION: B.Ed. (Hons.), University of Nairobi; Masters in Missiology, Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology; Ph.D., Africa International University. International University.

 

Dr. Ryan Gladwin

Associate Professor of Theology and Ministry, 
Director of Global Leadership in Spanish

 

Dr. Gladwin is a second-generation native of Palm Beach County, FL, but has also lived and worked in pastoral ministry and community development in urban settings throughout the Americas (Santa Marta and Bogotá, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Londrina, Brazil; Raleigh, NC; Philadelphia, PA; West Palm Beach, FL) and the United Kingdom (Edinburgh, Scotland).

Prior to arriving at PBA in 2014, he was the program director of Messiah College’s Philadelphia campus and an assistant professor of theology and ethics. At PBA, he is Director of the Global Leadership in Spanish program as well as the coordinator of the Christian Community Development program. He teaches a variety of classes in theology, ethics, and intercultural studies. Dr. Gladwin is passionate about challenging students and local churches to work for social transformation, peace, and justice. 

His research interests are social ethics, Latin American and Latinx religion and theology, practical theology, Pentecostalism, Anabaptism, and ecclesiology. He is the author of Streams of Latin American Protestant Theology (Brill) and the forthcoming book Towards a Liberating Latin American Ecclesiology: The Local Church as a Transformative Historical Project (Pickwick). He has also published a number of book chapters and has several other current book projects.

Dr. Gladwin is married to Natalia, a native of Argentina, and they have two children. He is an avid fan of Argentine soccer and enjoys reading, running, and long walks on the beach with his wife and kids.

EDUCATION: B.A. in Christian ministries and Spanish, Messiah College; M.Div., Duke University Divinity School; Ph.D., University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Dr. Bryan Froehle 

Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies

Over the course of a career stretching back to the 1980s, Dr. Froehle has served on faculties of five different universities, won over two dozen grants, taught over 50 different courses in religion and the social sciences, and chaired more than two dozen dissertation committees. He is an elected member of the International Academy for Practical Theology and has served on the board of the American Society for Missiology. 

He began his scholarly career with a focus on congregational studies and comparative studies of diverse churches and denominations in Venezuela. From 2013 to 2016, Dr. Froehle was director of research for Asbury Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of World Christian Revitalization, a project that included original research and consultations in East Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. He also has extensive experience in applied church research over the years, having completed several hundred reports and strategic planning efforts serving church life and religious institutions. His public speaking and workshops address topics such as the future of church life, mission, and culture within the United States and overseas. 

He has published monographs with Orbis and Oxford University Press and has a book forthcoming from Brill. His over 50 scholarly articles and book chapters cover topics ranging from missiology to public theology and sociology of religion. His applied church research work includes several hundred strategic planning projects and his public speaking addresses topics such as the future of church life, mission, and culture within the United States and overseas. Current research interests and publishing focus on practical theological method, contextual ecclesiology, and congregational studies. 

EDUCATION: B.S., Foreign Service, Georgetown University; M.A., Theological Studies, St. Vincent Regional Seminary; M.A., Sociology, University of Michigan; Ph.D., Sociology, University of Michigan.

Dr. Ondina Cortes 

Guest Lecturer, School of Ministry

Dr. Cortes is a practical theologian whose research and writing focuses on reconciliation among peoples. Born in Cuba, she grew up in South Florida and did her theological training in Latin America as well as South Florida.

She has served in leadership roles, taught courses, and offered workshops on intercultural living and mission in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Her dissertation was on the journey of forgiveness and reconciliation between Cubans in South Florida and on the island. Her published research includes work on the revitalization of the church in Cuba within a series produced by Asbury Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of World Christian Revitalization as well as work focused on Christianity in specific Latin American contexts.

EDUCATION: B.A., Religious Studies, Barry University; M.A., Theology, St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary; Ph.D., Practical Theology, St. Thomas University.

Dr. Allen Yeh  

Adjunct Professor, School of Ministry

Dr. Allen Yeh is associate professor of intercultural studies at Biola University specializing in Latin America and China. He also has other academics interests in history, classical music, homiletics, social justice, the California missions, the Maya, and biographical interest in Jonathan Edwards (America’s greatest theologian) and Adoniram Judson (America’s first intercontinental missionary).

Dr. Yeh is the author of several books, such as Polycentric Missiology: 21st-Century Mission From Everyone to Everywhere, and has published multiple articles and book chapters. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Foundation for Theological Education in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Yeh earned his B.A. from Yale, M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell, M.Th. from Edinburgh, and D.Phil from Oxford. Despite this alphabet soup, he believes that experience is the greatest teacher of all (besides the Bible). As such, Dr. Yeh has been to over 60 countries on every continent, to study, do missions work, and experience the culture. As Mark Twain said in 1857, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” He is joyfully marries to Arianna Molloy, a professor in Biola’s Communication Studies Department. 

EDUCATION: B.A., Yale University; M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; M.Th., Edinburgh University; D.Phil., Oxford University.

CAREER OUTCOMES

Graduates will be able to teach social science or cultural studies courses at high school and university undergraduate levels; work in various overseas ministries; be on church staff for intercultural ministries; community development work; policy analysis; cross-cultural communications expert with para-church organizations, churches, and intercultural businesses.

SCHOLARSHIPS

  • New annual $2,000 scholarship you may be eligible to receive
  • Graduate student worker opportunities

PROGRAM DETAILS

The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies Degree is a 36 credit-hour degree.

Undergraduate Requirements:

Applicants must hold an earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale. (A GPA that falls below this minimum threshold may be considered on a case-by-case basis for admission with probationary status.)

Admissions interview after application.

For a detailed list of MAIS course rotation, see here.

The estimated tuition includes $515 per credit (36 credit hours total) and the Resource Fee which is $298 per semester. This is based on the two-year full-time degree plan.

*Cost based on 2020-2021 fee schedule and is subject to change. Additional fees may apply.

Financial aid may include work study programs and student loans. Students must apply for financial aid each year at www.fafsa.ed.gov to determine eligibility. Contact finaid@pba.edu with all financial questions.

We seek to create a diverse learning community using an online learning model combined with dedicated time at our West Palm Beach or Orlando campuses over two weeks in the summer.

CALL US FOR MORE INFORMATION:
(866) 978-4326

EMAIL:
kyle_faircloth@pba.edu

Let us know what's the best way to reach you. Either fill out at least one: your email or phone number.

Our welcoming community will provide opportunities for you to interact with classmates and professors from around the world.
You will enhance your understanding of world Christianity and learn practical skills for ministering more effectively in pluralistic societies in the U.S. and around the world.
PBA provides a life-changing scholarly and ministerial training that will form you for intercultural engagement and leadership, empirical research, and PhD studies for those interested in pursuing doctoral work.