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Intercultural Studies Specialization

Intercultural Studies Specialization

The gospel of Jesus only sounds like good news when it’s shared well. At Portland Seminary, the intercultural studies program prepares students to make disciples of all nations by equipping them to communicate effectively and respectfully with people of all races, ethnicities, and cultural worldviews. Intercultural studies is a blend of anthropology (the study of human cultures) and missiology (the study of mission), empowering students to be culturally sensitive as they spread the good news of Jesus’ kingdom.

Students in this program read the writings of non-Western scholars, learn methods for examining and understanding unfamiliar life-lenses, and practice engaging with “the other”—whether that person is a homeless teen or a tribal elder. At its core, the intercultural studies specialization is about exposing students to different ways of seeing so that they might break the church’s pattern of imposing Western ideas onto unique cultures that equally reflect the image of God.

With its breadth of denominational diversity—as well as a faculty that reflects different races, ethnicities, and genders—Portland Seminary inherently challenges and expands all students’ worldviews. In order to prepare intercultural studies students for success, each cohort has the opportunity to visit Grand Ronde, French Prairie, Champoeg, Fort Vancouver, and the Tillamook Forestry Center, among other sites associated with the region’s unique cultural history. Students also participate in courses at Eloheh Farm, an organic permaculture farm run by Portland Seminary professor Randy Woodley and his wife, Edith.


Offered With


Who It’s For

  • Students preparing to work overseas or in an American culture different from their own
  • Students who are passionate about social and eco-justice
  • Pastors planting churches in culturally diverse cities
  • Students who want to serve as cultural liaisons or specialists for a nonprofit, ministry, business, or government entity

Course Requirements

CHTH 528 Intercultural Studies I: Cultural Anthropology for a Postmodern World 2
CHTH 529 Intercultural Studies II: Indigenous Peoples and the North American Church 2
CHTH 550 Indigenous Studies I: Indigenous Spiritualities 2
CHTH 551 Indigenous Studies II: Theology and Place 2
PSTD/MLDR 568 Specialized Apprenticeship I 2
PSTD/MLDR 569 Specialized Apprenticeship II 2

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