Master of Intercultural Studies

Admission requirements: A 3 year bachelor degree or equivalent in any discipline

The SMBC Master of Intercultural Studies (MICS) is a unique offering with a focus on the specialised knowledge and research skills needed for expert intercultural ministry practice. This postgraduate course is primarily for those currently serving among people from a different culture than their own, and who are wanting to enhance or sharpen their ministry. They may be serving in cross-cultural ministry overseas, or in Australia.

It can be studied completely online, or via a blend of online, off-campus and on-campus.

Course AQF level: 9 (units are taken at  level 8/9)​
Maximum time: 8 years (part-time only)
Credit points: 192
Delivery mode: online, off-campus or on-campus (depending on which units are chosen)
Admission Requirements:
Academic Qualifications: Completed 3 year bachelor degree or equivalent
Language Qualifications for NESB: IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in reading and writing, and 6.5 in listening and speaking OR 10 years in Australia with English being the language primarily spoken both at home and work.
Note: Candidates who have completed at least one year of full‐time equivalent study in an undergraduate higher education course in ministry or theology may be eligible to receive 48 credit points advanced standing. Postgraduates may be eligible for up to 96 credit points advanced standing.
Single MICS units can also be taken to credit towards some other ACT courses. You can enrol in a single unit of the MICS for credit or audit, even if you do not meet the requirements to enrol for the whole MICS course.

"This course has definitely been one of the most helpful I've taken in years and years. So much to think about, and really well structured. I think it's helped me to bed down my passion for effective contextualisation." – MICS student

Course structure

The course requires 192 credit points at AQF level 8/9 consisting of:

  • 4 core Intercultural Studies units
  • 4 Bible/Theology/Church History units
  • 4 Evangelism and Missiology units including a project or capstone
  • 4 further units

Download the Planned Schedule of MICS Unit Offerings (156KB PDF)
View currently available MICS units


The Gospel, Anthropology, and Ethnographic Research Methods (EM033)
This unit will provide participants with an understanding of anthropological concepts and insights as tools for contemporary ministry, especially cross-cultural ministry. In light of this understanding, it will enable participants to exegete the cultural context in which they are serving. Participants in this unit will be assessed on their engagement with relevant literature as well as by doing a small ethnographic research project in an intercultural context.

Making Disciples Across Cultures (EM039)
This unit will enable participants to understand the patterns and principles of disciple making and mentoring in the Scriptures and the ways these principles are expressed in various cultures. Building on this understanding, participants will be helped to develop contextually appropriate ways of discipling people in their particular ministry setting. To complete the assessments in this unit, participants need to be discipling people from another culture. Participants contextualise an approach to a specific discipling task and use this in an action research process focused on training disciples to disciple others.

Ministry in Culturally Diverse Teams (EM049)
This unit will enable participants to investigate the principles of healthy multicultural teamwork, to reflect on their own and others’ experiences of serving in multicultural teams, and to more effectively work as part of a team composed of people from diverse cultural backgrounds. To successfully complete this unit, participants will need to have had (or still have) experience working in a culturally diverse team. Assessments require participants to reflect on their personal experience of multicultural teams and also to interview people who have worked in a multicultural ministry team.

Contextualisation of Theology and Ministry Practice (EM052)
This unit will enable participants to understand the principles of contextualisation in order to construct a framework for approaching contextualisation in any specific cultural context. It will help participants to develop contextualised ways to communicate the gospel in their context as well as contribute to the development of the church. The assessments in this unit are highly interactive, requiring students to compare their own experiences in a cross-cultural ministry context with missiological case studies. The final assessment for this unit incorporates doing a contextualisation process with people from another culture and reflecting on that experience. This means that for this unit, it is essential for participants to be in a ministry context where there is significant engagement with people from another culture and to be able to communicate well with local people.

2.  BIBLE/THEOLOGY/CHURCH HISTORY (Possibly exempt for those who have done prior theological study)

For these 4 foundational units you can choose from:

  • 24 credit points from the following units: OT001‐812, OT002‐812, OT003‐812, BB001‐812, BB002‐812, BB003‐812, NT001‐812, NT002‐812, NT003‐812
  • 12 credit points in CH/TH units at Level 8
  • 12 credit points units at Level 8 from BB/OT/NT/TH/CH

Note: BB = Biblical Studies, OT = Old Testament, NT = New Testament, TH = Theology, CH = Christianity in History, EM = Evangelism and Missiology


Your EM electives can be in a range of areas such as church planting, evangelism, spiritual formation, teaching across cultures etc. 

You could also combine some of these with a minor project (1 unit) or a major project (2 or 3 units, which can also provide a pathway to doctoral studies) focusing on an area of your choice that is related to your current ministry. This also requires completing the Research Methods unit.


Your other 4 units can be chosen from any of the wide variety of level 8/9 units that SMBC offers. See Units


Assessment in the MICS is by assignments, not exams. To successfully complete the assignments, students will need to have sustained engagement with, and ministry among, people from a culture other than their own. This would usually mean being able to communicate with them in their heart language. Assignments will focus on the application of unit content to the student's current cross-cultural ministry practice. 

The assignment format will be varied. Examples of the types of assignments are: ministry plans, portfolios of ministry resources, research reports, personal reflections on ministry in relation to readings, essays, audio or video presentations, and participation in varied interactive activities online. Preparation for the assignments will be integrated into the way the unit is taught and will often involve peer review as a collaborative activity online. There will be two or three assignments spread evenly over the semester.

If you are interested in this course, please feel free to contact our registrars for more information here

This is a course of the Australian College of Theology. For more detailed information on this course see the ACT course overview and ACT Coursework Course Enrolment Policy.


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Sydney Missionary and Bible College (SMBC) is an Affiliated College of the Australian College of Theology, CRICOS: 02650E
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