Cross-Cultural Programs

How will walking across the Ethiopian plain affect your ministry in your hometown? What lessons will you miss if you never see a Brazilian shanty town first-hand? What does your congregation have in common with one in Appalachia or the south side of Chicago?

Meeting and understanding other cultures helps us know and understand ourselves. While Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Multi-cultural Christian Education students’ course work includes a cross-cultural requirement, all CTS students are encouraged to take part in cross-culture experiences both on-campus and around the world.

Cross-Cultural Requirement
Prior to the completion of 36 hours, each M.Div. student must participate in a cross-cultural experience. In consultation with the director of cross-cultural and international programs, the student chooses the experience, writes a proposal and submits a contract that describes which of the following options the student will use:

  • An experience-based course, to be counted toward graduation as a field or general elective
  • A self-assigned experience under the supervision of a faculty member, to be counted toward graduation. Credit is optional.
  • Students seeking credit must register for a guided research.
  • A special event sponsored or approved by the seminary, for which students may choose to receive or not to receive credit.


In all options, the student is expected to keep a journal or write a reflective paper in order to demonstrate that the student has reflected theologically on the experience. See the director of cross-cultural and international programs for more information about the cross-cultural requirement.

Overseas Study Options
CTS regularly offers study trips abroad. Students may participate in these trips to fulfill their requirement. Recent destinations have included Jamaica, India, Ethiopia and Brazil. CTS students can also participate in our exchange program with United Theological College of the West Indies in Jamaica for credit toward certain degrees. Contact the director of cross-cultural and international programs for more information. 

Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center Consortium (AMERC)
Christian Theological Seminary is a member of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center Consortium (AMERC). AMERC provides specialized training for students preparing for ministry in the Appalachian church and other mission settings, with particular attention to small town and rural congregations. Students who participate in an AMERC travel seminar may receive academic credit and may use the seminar to fulfill the cross-cultural requirement for the M.Div.

Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE)
CTS is a member of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE), which provides a variety of opportunities for students to experience the urban life of Chicago in a context of theological reflection and sociological analysis. Participation in one of SCUPE’s intensive courses (S-302 and S-309) affords the possibility of earning academic credit and fulfilling the cross-cultural requirement for the M.Div.