Fuller Seminary is pleased to announce a new curriculum for the MA in Intercultural Studies (MAICS) degree in the School of Mission and Theology. Prompted by the guiding values of Fuller’s strategic plan, FULLER NEXT, the MAICS program has been rebuilt to maximize students’ training and formation as leaders for a new era in the church and in society.
“Building on the legacy of the MAGL––which was the first distance/online degree of its kind in North America––the redesigned MAICS will integrate the best of Fuller’s psychological, theological, and missiological research at the service of global missional leaders,” said Wilmer Villacorta, associate professor of intercultural studies. “Integrated vocational formation, cohort communities, missional engagement with the social sciences, and in-depth mission theological reflection combine in the MAICS to provide indispensable education for global missional leaders everywhere.”
Led by faculty-practitioners with a wide range of experience, the newly redesigned MAICS equips Christian leaders for impactful intercultural engagement through innovative missiological education. Specifically, the program prepares students for vocations as international mission leaders, development workers, refugee advocates, mission pastors, mental health workers (from abroad), and leaders of NGOs focusing on children at risk, anti-trafficking, and the urban poor. For more seasoned mission leaders enrolling in the program, Experienced Leader Cohorts provide the opportunity to reflect critically on past and future ministry in light of their learning.
The new curriculum responds to students’ desire for a more structured sequence of courses throughout the program. Now the MAICS, like Fuller’s other master’s-level degrees in the School of Mission and Theology, is organized into three stages. The first stage provides a set of “Shared Foundations” courses that familiarize the student with the concepts they will build on throughout their degree from the five major disciplines across the seminary: biblical studies, missiology, theology and history, practical theology, and psychology. This first stage also focuses on the student’s spiritual formation and discerning of their calling.
As students progress through the next two stages of the MAICS curriculum, the courses will cover increasingly in-depth information and application. Later stages allow for students to choose from a variety of courses to customize their training for their own particular calling and desired missiological vocation. Students may also opt in to a specific concentration; currently two specific concentrations are on offer––Islamic Studies and Intercultural and Urban Studies––with more concentrations to be added in the future. A carefully curated curriculum in these later stages focuses on preparation for a specific range of 21st-century careers that meet the world’s most pressing needs.
“As a lifelong leader in the arena of holistic mission and social transformation, I would have loved to have had access earlier in my career to a program that would have introduced me to the broader universe of missiology in an integrated format designed for application,” said Alexia Salvatierra, assistant professor of integral mission and global transformation and academic dean for Fuller’s Centro Latino. “Whether you are leading a Christian nonprofit or engaged in missions in a context of poverty and violence, the learning community and expertise that the MAICS offers are invaluable in increasing students’ capacity to respond in creative and effective ways. This program will make you a better leader and prepare you for greater responsibility.”
Finally, the redesigned MAICS introduces the practice of “pace plans,” which students can choose at the beginning of their program to more reliably schedule their courses at a steady and consistent rate. These pace plans not only help students complete their degrees in their desired amount of time, but also foster an organic sense of community with other students starting at the same pace.