MA - Intercultural Studies

  • Overview
    The Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies (MAIS) program creates a mutual learning exchange among cultures. The program is multidisciplinary and strives to develop each co-learner’s heart and mind through the disciplines of anthropology, missiology, theology, Bible, church history, ethics, and spiritual formation. The program is holistic in scope, seeking to create opportunities for co-learners to gain both knowledge and experience appropriate for the 21st century.
    54 Credit Hours Earns you an MA

    You will study with some of the finest Indigenous practitioners and scholars in the Native North American context—men and women with earned experience to accompany the academics. To check out the faculty, visit

    Indigenous faculty
    An Indigenous designed curriculum
    Course delivery with Indigenous methods

    Courses include:

    Christian History in Context
    Ethics in Intercultural Context
    Cultures and System Change
    Indigenous Practice of Andragogy
    Theology and Ethic of the Land

    This degree is a non-resident degree. Face-to-face time is during three weeks at the annual NAIITS symposium, then summer and winter study cohorts, and one-to-one mentorship when possible.

    Preparation for Indigenous Leadership!

    Many people believe Indigenous peoples are a pivot point in the next expansion of ministry moving us closer to fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission. So does NAIITS! Programs like the MA in Intercultural Studies offered in partnership with Sioux Falls Seminary (SFS) are intended to position us fully in this new time.

    The NAIITS/Sioux Falls Seminary MA in Intercultural Studies is uniquely designed to equip you for a contribution to your community — whether you're on the Rez, the urban core—or somewhere in between!

    YOUR GOAL...

    Developing your skills within the expanding NAIITS community of upcoming leaders!

    Contributing to a body of theology and biblical teaching that resonates with Indigenous culture and traditions.

  • Details

    NAIITS, in conjunction with the Sioux Falls Seminary (SFS) faculty, is dedicated to equipping men and women for meaningful engagement within cultural diversity, including global and local cultural contexts. The majority of instructors for the MAIS are Indigenous scholars and practitioners. Our unique program provides teaching from alternative epistemologies and pedagogies (androgogies) that assist co-learners in the creation of informed paradigms beyond traditional western models.

    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


    The degree is offered in an online cohort format and has hybrid courses that are a combination of face-to-face classroom experiences and online learning. Cohort students come to a Sioux Falls Seminary approved site (held each year in conjunction with the NAIITS Symposium) for two to three weeks of face-to-face intensives in the summer.

    The Curriculum Philosophy

    NAIITS and SFS have pursued a relationship with one another as a means of supporting the education of Indigenous peoples in the area of theological education and development. After years of work and planning by Indigenous leaders experienced in theology and mission, NAIITS has produced an androgogical (adult-focused) methodology that allows NAIITS, together with Sioux Falls Seminary, to more effectively to serve Indigenous persons admitted to the program.

    Six non-Indigenous students may be admitted to the MAIS in any academic year. So, if you desire an education filled with non-western constructs and pedagogies (androgogies), this program may be right for you. Entrance of students to the program is determined on a case-by case basis.

    Transfer Credit

    Transfer of up to 27 hours credit is allowed toward the MA in Intercultural Studies program from accredited graduate schools. Students must have earned a grade of B- or better for a course to be considered for transfer. In addition, only courses taken elsewhere within 10 years of the date of matriculation to the MA in Intercultural Studies program will be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

    Residence Requirements

    Formal campus residency is not required for this program. However, of the 54 hours required for the MA in Intercultural Studies program, a minimum of 27 hours must be taken while enrolled in the joint MAIS program. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree.

    Graduation Requirements

    In order to graduate with the MA in Intercultural Studies degree, students must:

    • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 54 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
    • Be admitted to candidacy for the degree
    • Be recommended by the NAIITS/SFS faculty for graduation.

  • Course Framework
    Biblical, Theological and Historical Studies (27 credit hours)

    Hebrew Scripture Foundations
    A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the Hebrew Scriptures came into existence, this course will provide the student with an understanding of the major emphases of the texts. In addition, the student will be introduced to themes of community life and praxis in the Hebrew Scriptures that find parallels in historical Indigenous worldviews of creation and Creator. The course will use community understandings, models and paradigms as a basis for comparison.

    New Testament Foundations
    A general introduction to the historical, sociological, and theological context in which the New Testament Scriptures came into existence, this course will familiarize students with the content and structure, distinctive theology, and introductory matters of the New Testament. in addition, the student will be introduced to the nature of the early Christian community, its transitions and changes from a strictly Hebraic construct as found within the Jewish community, and projections made for its future development.

    History of Christianity I
    The history of Christianity up until close to the present time will be examined. This course will look at traditional historical accounts critically in order to look beyond a perspective that marries the church and its outreach with colonial expansion. The place, treatment and mistreatment of peoples – including Indigenous peoples – will be examined in detail.

    History of Christianity II: Indigenous History and Mission
    Continuing on from History of Christianity I, this course will examine ways in which the Indigenous church has been planted and has grown within Indigenous contexts. Special emphasis will be given to its growth and development through the various attempts in its history to contextualize or indigenize Christianity.

    Christian History in Context
    This course covers the development of Christianity up through the present giving special attention to the underserved and under-represented in most dominant cultural historical accounts in order to give a more balanced approach to the subject. The co