The Doctor of Philosophy in Intercultural Studies (PhD ICS) degree, offered through Fuller's Center for Missiological Research (CMR), is designed to provide exceptional candidates the opportunity to design, develop and complete a customized research planfor the purpose of:
- developing new theory that extends the domain of missiology;
- making a practical contribution to the mission of the church;
- mastering one or more principal disciplines that contribute to missiology;
- learning how to do effective academic research;
- advancing personal ability to think missiologically in a global context.
Along the way, students should also expect to:
- gain supervised experience teaching at the graduate level;
- actively participate as part of a community of scholars;
- experience an integration of personal spirituality with academic life.
The curriculum of the PhD is comprised of 6 tutorials, 5 methods classes, 4 comprehensive exams and a dissertation (64 units total). Each of these components is customizable to meet the specific research interests of the student under the guidance of their faculty mentor and guidance committee. With relatively little classroom-based instruction in this program, a much higher premium is placed on rigorous faculty-supervised academic reading and writing.
Students are required to spend approximately 18 months on campus in total. Nine months of their first year in the program must be spent on the Pasadena campus. The remainder of the total residency requirement does not need to be continuous, and details are worked out with the student's mentor.
Dissertations selected for awards:
Catherine Mary Barsotti, "Knowing God in Lo Cotidiano: Interlacing the Voices of Latina Women,Studies in Theo-Spirituality and Film, and Female Voices in the Hebrew Scripture"
John Theodore Esler, "Movements and Missionary Agencies: A Case Study of Church Planting Missionary Teams"
Mark I. Fields, "Contours of Local Congregation-based Mission in the VineyardMovement, 1982 to 2007"
Ronald Geoffrey Hannaford, "A Model of Online Education Effecting Holistic Student Formation Appropriate for Global Cross-Cultural Contexts"
Andrew John Mainiero, "The Johannine Story Re-Presented in Los Angeles: Toward a Covenantal Paradigm of Mission"
R. Daniel Reeves, "In Search of Purpose: an Examination of the Contributions of the Council on Ecclesiology to Clarify the Mission of Local Congregations in North America"
David Hope Scott, "How We Talk About Why We Work with Kids: Developing a Cultural Model of Motivation-Talk for Work with Children at Risk"
Adam D. Ayers, "In Search of the Contours of a Missiological Hermeneutic"
Carol Ann Christopher, "How National Culture and Business Norms Modulate Indian Entrepreneurs' Expression of Personal Religious Values"
Sarita D. Gallagher, "Abrahamic Blessing Motif as Reflected in the Papua New Guinean Christian Revival Crusade Movement: Blesim Bilong Papa God"
Farida Saïdi, "A Study of current leadership styles in the north african church"
Rick Dean Mathis, "A Missioning Care Model For The US Foursquare Gospel Church Missionary Member Care System"
Kathryn Lewis Mowry, "Trusting in Resurrection: Eschatological Imagination for Churches Engaging Transitional Neighborhoods"
Christopher Vaz, "Functional Equivalent Translation of New Testament Hortatory Discourse Into Hill Madia"
Ruth Manimekalai Vaz, "The Interrelation Between the Kinship, Marriage Alliance, Social Organization and Structure of the Hill Madia of Central India"
Dae-Hyoun Lee, "An Socio-cultural Examination of the Characteristics of the Emerging Digital Generation in South Korea"
Gregory W. Burch, "From Empowerment to Protagonismo Infantil: Toward an Understanding of Christian Response to Street Children in Latin America with Special Emphasis on the Early Encounter Project in Cochabamba, Bolivia"
Traver Keith Dougherty, "Toward a Theory of How Receptors Process God's Intent Given the Particularities of Conventional and Organic Church Environments"
David Leong, "Street Signs: Toward a Missional Theology of Urban Cultural Engagement"
Victoria Morongwa Peagler, "Blow the Trumpet in Black Zion: a Phenomenological Exploration of the Zionist Christian Church in South Africa"
Kyung Lan Suh, "Exclusion and Embrace in the Life Stories of Selected First-Generation Korean Immigrant Women in Mission with Special Reference to Luke-Acts"
Robert B. Whitesel, "Recurring Patterns of Organic Churches: An Analysis of Twelve Emerging Congregations"
David Leong - Class of 2010
Assistant Professor of Missional Theology, Seattle Pacific University
Seattle has been my home, parish (of sorts), and research context for almost 15 years. Prior to entering the SIS PhD program, I was working as a community groups pastor at an urban, multiethnic church plant while contemplating (often with some frustration) why my theological education up to that point seemed to be missing some fairly important questions. So I began the program with a set of particular questions, mostly centered on the city as an important cultural and theological context. The focus was not merely "urban ministry," or even urban missiology, important as both of those fields are. Rather, I wanted to understand the city as a kind of theological text, and approach its cultural complexities with a robust, missional theology.
Several factors drew me to Fuller's program- first, the reputation of its faculty, and in particular, the significant missiological resources available in the School of Intercultural Studies. Second, I knew that I would encounter and interact with students from diverse backgrounds, and with diverse research interests. Lastly, I appreciated the interdisciplinary focus of ICS, and the flexibility of adapting my research to various academic disciplines.
My experience in the program was both wonderful and challenging, with most of the difficulties rooted in the fact that I was doing my research in Seattle, and thus more disconnected, both geographically and relationally, than I wanted to be from the Pasadena campus. My committee was very accommodating, and the last year wrapped up very well as my research became much more cohesive, thanks to their wisdom and gentle guidance. I particularly enjoyed the annual doctoral seminars, and the collaborative environment of peer review across a wide array of disciplines and research topics. That exposure to other students' research was one of the highlights for me personally as it reminded me of the common ground that all ICS students share, despite significant differences or subtle nuances of culture, language, geography, and Christian tradition.
As for the impact my research will have on mission, my hope is to illuminate the city as a meaningful theological context in consideration of both the missio Dei and the cultural realities of density, diversity, and disparity in today's global cities. In short, I hope my research will help to equip the church with a robust (to quote the subtitle of my forthcoming book, Street Signs) "missional theology of urban cultural engagement."
Carol Christopher - Class of 2011
Adjunct Professor of Missiology, Fuller Theological Seminary
Research Coordinator for Belief in Enterprise, University of Cambridge
I am originally from Atlanta, GA, but spent the last 20+ years in Silicon Valley (northern California), primarily working at increasingly entrepreneurial biotech ventures, including two start-ups that became public companies. In 2004, I decided to take a break from the 24/7 job of start-ups and went to Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, for my Masters degree before coming to Fuller in the fall of 2007.
My research interests were likely an anomaly at Fuller: I'm not a traditional 'missionary', but rather am called to work with God in the context of entrepreneurial business in a variety of cultural settings. As such, my doctoral research was focused on understanding the differences between Hindu and Christian Indian CEOs of entrepreneurial ventures in the Indian context. (Also, I have been teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Malaysia, India, and China as well as the U.S. while working on my PhD.) I loved working with the two faculty members on my committee: Dr. Sherwood Lingenfelter and Dr. Dan Shaw. Though quite different, their styles and interests were complementary and I particularly enjoyed the way both treated me as a colleague rather than a student.
Completing my PhD has reinforced for me the ability to and appropriateness of integrating my business and spiritual life. Moreover, the doctoral experience corroborated that the rigorous scientific approach applied to qualitative social science issues can reveal new insights and understanding of others and of how God is working in the world.
Community of Scholars
The CMR Community of Scholars is made up of our PhD and ThM students, visiting scholars and School of Intercultural Studies faculty. We live out this community emphasis in these important ways:
The Kitchen Table
All participants in our Community of Scholars are invited to take part in these weekly, student-led gatherings. In these informal events students meet as peers to discuss the challenges of academic life, pray for each other, and provide mutual support as they wrestle with the important scholarly and practical challenges of their research program.
CMR Colloquiua & Salon Missiologique
Colloquia are events in which our community gathers to engage in dialogue based around a presentation made by either a student or faculty member. These required seminars offer the chance to present an article prepared for publication and can provide some highly engaging debates and collegial critique. Furthermore, these colloquia also present the opportunity for students to be exposed to domains of missiology that are outside the scope of their own research, and which they would probably not encounter otherwise. Once per quarter this takes place as a less formal discussion and fellowship time, a "Salon Missiologique", held in a Fuller faculty member's home.
Spiritual Formation Events
The CMR hosts two annual spiritual formation events to bookend the academic year: our Community Convocation & Breakfast (in the Fall) and a half-day spiritual retreat in the Spring. Both of these events serve as opportunities for members of our community to break from their studies and spend some time in communal fellowship and prayer. Our hope is that these will be highlights of spiritual reflection and renewal, providing an opportunity to unite our community and assist students in connecting their spiritual formation more intentionally with their academic pursuits.
Each year the Center for Missiological Research hosts a series of Missiology Lectures during Fall quarter. See Missiology Lectures for more information.