MA, Intercultural Studies

Portland Seminary is no longer enrolling new NAIITS students. As of June 2018, NAIITS was approved by a unanimous vote by the delegates of the Association for Theological Schools (ATS) to receive associate accreditation as a member institution. This is a crucial step in becoming a full-fledged independent member school of the ATS. After May 2019, the nine-year partnership between Portland Seminary and NAIITS will close, as we look forward to seeing the development of Indigenous Theologies continue to be nurtured for NAIITS.

Professor Randy Woodley will oversee the program through May 2019. For any questions, please contact Randy Woodley. For further information, please see

A Non-Western Approach Developed by Indigenous Scholar/Practitioners

Portland Seminary is partnering with the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS) to offer a two-year Master of Arts degree in Intercultural Studies (MAIS) designed for indigenous students and non-indigenous students who desire more of a non-Western directed approach to education.

New cohorts gather each summer in June in their online classroom, with the first face-to-face session at the annual NAIITS Symposium, held each summer in early June. In 2014, the cohort met at Portland Seminary. In 2013, the cohort met at Tyndale University and Seminary in Toronto.

Dr. Randy Woodley

NAIITS MAIS Program Director Dr. Randy Woodley is Keetoowah Cherokee.

Dr. Terry LeBlanc

Executive Director of NAIITS and Visiting Faculty Dr. Terry LeBlanc is Mi'kmaq/Acadian.


This unique program provides teaching from alternative epistemologies and pedagogies (anthrogogies) that assist co-learners in the creation of informed paradigms beyond traditional Western models. Guided field activities are central to the co-learner’s experience. Graduates will serve in a variety of ministry roles such as:

  • Anthropologically informed community leaders
  • Specialized leaders such as organizational cultural liaisons and inter-cultural specialists
  • Pastors and church planters in the multi-ethnic/inter-cultural church
  • Inter-cultural missionaries and ministry personnel
  • Inter-cultural parachurch leaders
  • Overseas ministry personnel
  • Camp or university campus spiritual directors

Program Objectives

To enable students to:

  • Mature into God's fullness
  • Develop habits and authentic disciplines for thinking and living in Christ's presence
  • Gain a critical and constructive understanding of the anthropological, missiological, spiritual, biblical and theological foundations of the Faith
  • Understand the mission of God in the world and their place in it
  • Understand themselves and relate more effectively to others created in God's image and called into diverse community and ministry
  • Function as leaders who are themselves being transformed, and are therefore healthy and effective instruments of transformation

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the Intercultural Studies master's program must hold a three- or four-year baccalaureate degree† from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 2.5. In addition, applicants must complete the following to be considered for admission to the program:

  • Portland Seminary/NAIITS joint application form and application fee
  • Submit one official transcript from each college/university attended
  • Resumé
  • Personal mission statement and statement of faith
  • Three letters of reference (as specified in admissions materials)
  • A group interview or phone interview (by invitation only)

For more, see Become a Student...

†Applicants who do not hold a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university may apply, but will be required to submit additional documentation to be considered for admission.

MAIS Core Curriculum

MLDR 510 Missional Ecclesiology 3
MLDR 520 Indigenous Leadership Development 3
MLDR 540 Culture and System Change 3
MLDR 544 Cultural Anthropology 3
MLDR 561 Speical Topics: Indigenous Symposium Seminar 1
MLDR 562 Special Topics: Indigenous Symposium Seminar 1
MLDR 575 Community Field Placement (I) 3
CHTH 554 Colonization and Decolonization 3
PSTD 550 World Religions 3
BIST 506 Hebrew Scripture Foundations 3
BIST 508 New Testament Foundations 3
CHTH 511 History of Christianity I 3
CHTH 512  History of Christianity II 3
CHTH 513 North American Church History 3
CHTH 552 Theology I: Introduction 3
MLDR 575 Community Field Placement (I) 3
CHTH 553 Theology II: Theology and Ethic of the Land 3
CHTH 557 Theology and Praxis of Pedagogy 3
SFAD 536 Spirituality, Shame, and Grace 1
SFAD 541 Spirituality and the Heavens 1
SFAD 554 Indigenous Spirituality 1
SFAD 585 Spirituality and Culture 1