Intercultural Studies Major

A major in intercultural studies will prepare you to serve effectively in cross-cultural communities around the globe or right here in the United States.

Intercultural studies at Houghton will prepare you to follow God’s leading into fields such as Bible translation, community and international development, education, missions, relief work, refugee services and other service-oriented vocations in diverse cultural contexts.

The major, drawing heavily on the methodologies and perspectives of anthropology and related social sciences, which are integrated with experiential learning in intercultural settings. While some intercultural programs are primarily aimed at students going into missions, the Intercultural Studies major at Houghton is designed for “anybody who wants to do anything, but in a different culture.”

The concentration options include:

The mission of the Global Studies Department is to prepare Christian students to respond to key issues of global concern in culturally relevant ways guided by Kingdom principles. Our program equips students for today’s multicultural job market and for mutual learning across cultures.

Why Major in Intercultural Studies?

  • Prepare for today’s multicultural world through both rigorous theoretical study and hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.
  • Practice what you’ve learned in the classroom through our required intercultural experience.
  • Travel the world through Houghton’s many off-campus study opportunities or internships.
  • Integrate global engagement into every aspect of your education.
  • Study with faculty who have extensive experience living, working and serving in cross-cultural settings around the world, and integrate these experiences into the classroom.

Major Requirements

Intercultural Experience

For many, the highlight of the intercultural studies major is the required intercultural experience. This experience is designed to be a flexible and practical cross-cultural experience, allowing you to put into practice the training you received in cross-cultural ministry—and you can travel almost anywhere to meet the requirement.

You will work under the supervision of members of the Houghton faculty who have had extensive experience and training in intercultural studies, missions, and development work. They will work with you to provide the best location and right type of training for the work and service you desire most. You can do a formal overseas study program, an internship or a variety of other types of specially arranged programs.

With so many off-campus study opportunities, you might find it hard to choose just one. Many students study abroad several times during their four years at Houghton.

Global Engagement

As an intercultural studies major, global engagement will be a part of your total education. Students are involved in various activities and learning opportunities including

  • Annual Faith and Justice Symposium sponsored by Houghton’s Center for Faith, Justice and Global Engagement
  • Journey’s End Tutoring (JET), a Saturday ministry to immigrants and refugees in Buffalo, primarily helping with teaching English
  • Faith and International Development Conference, Calvin College
  • Cornell Institute for African Development Conference, Cornell University


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Featured Testimonial

The entire Intercultural Studies faculty had a huge influence on my career and educational trajectory. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in intercultural studies, in part due to the impact that the faculty made in my life.

Ryan Klejment-Lavin ’07 Director of Footstool Missions Center in Seoul, South Korea

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