Graduate Programs

David Leong

“My students are sometimes surprised to hear that more than two­-thirds of the Christian church is now outside of the West. But as they begin to grapple with that, they recognize that North American Christianity is not the only version out there. When they encounter Orthodox Christianity in Russia, or Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria, or Charismatic Catholicism in Latin America, those encounters shape and enrich their faith.”

— David Leong, Associate Professor of Missiology


Seattle Pacific University deeply values rigorous academic study, character formation, and vocational preparation. An important component in becoming a vibrant intellectual community is to understand and engage our multicultural and complex world. In our Seminary, graduate, and professional programs, SPU faculty are challenging students to embody this vision and participate in global and cultural engagement.

Below are some of the programs and courses offered around issues of diversity, justice, and reconciliation.

Master’s Degrees

Master of Arts in Asian American Ministry

The Master of Arts in Asian American Ministry focuses on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics. The program combines a core study of general theology with specialized study in race, culture, psychology, Asian American context, and Christian reconciliation.

Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies

The Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies degree prepares Christian leaders to minister effectively in a diverse, global society. Rooted in God’s mission that the church should be an agent of reconciliation, this track explores the connections among cultural, theological, social, and missiological perspectives that promote reconciliation in a divided world.

Students in a MA-TESOL class

Selection of courses

BUS 6305: “Managing Cultural Diversity”

Builds awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in the workforce. Examines strategies for encouraging, accommodating, and utilizing diversity as a competitive advantage domestically and globally. Introduces a model of change processes and applies it to diversity issues.

BUS 6313: “Business as Community of Work”

Explores the role of business and sustainable business strategies for providing meaningful and creative work. Informed by Christian theological understandings of work, vocation, Sabbath, community, and restoration. Topics include work as vocation, job and organizational design, organizational culture, managing employees, and strategies for community formation in organizations.

CPY 7007: “Personhood: Foundations”

Presents the study of the human person from both Christian and psychological perspectives. Students consider Biblical and theological texts about the nature of persons, as the imago dei, and as biological, psychological, and social creatures. The fallenness of humanity is also reviewed. Psychological theory and research related to the biopsychosocial aspect of the human person are covered, as well as psychological issues such as guilt, shame, self-deception, and forgiveness.

CPY 7280: “Diversity and Cultural Competency”

Analyzes theoretical and empirical literature in psychology examining variables such as gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religious preference. Issues of diversity will be examined from a biopsychosocial and ecological perspective. Emphasizes implications for clinical diagnosis, assessment, intervention, and treatment in the local clinical-scientist tradition.

COM 6180: “Cultural Communication”

This course explores how to productively and sensitively interact with people from cultures that differ from our own. We explore the dimensions across which cultures vary through a variety of in-class activities, lectures, films, and stories. Students will gain an understanding of cultural differences around the world and will gain some skills to communicate competently in a variety of cultural settings.

EDU 6133: “Diversity in America”

Explores the diversity found in American classrooms. Discusses theoretical bases related to diversity and methods for dealing with this diversity in a positive and practical manner.

EDU 6525: “Culturally Responsive Teaching”

Provides an overview of the theoretical bases and practical implications of multicultural education. Examines cultural pluralism in our society and emphasizes strategies to reduce prejudice and bias in our schools. Assists students in understanding and becoming aware of working with and teaching diverse groups within the educational setting. Examines the complex issues facing educational environments, which include issues of race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity, and exceptionality.

EDAD 6589: “Engaging Communities”

Prepares school leaders in the inclusive practice of collaboration with all stakeholders. Individuals taking this course will have the knowledge, skills, and cultural competence to improve learning and achievement to ensure the success of each student by collaborating with families and community members, responding to diverse community interests and needs, and mobilizing community resources.

EDRD 6507: “Language Development, Diversity, and Literacy”

Examines the impact of social, linguistic, and cultural differences on children’s acquisition of language and literacy. Helps students understand the role of home and community in literacy development, communicate and collaborate with families about children’s literacy needs and growth, and plan and implement literacy instruction that addresses the strengths and needs of all students.

EDSP 6646: “Severe Disabilities”

Explores the issues surrounding the education of the developmentally disabled person. Includes definitions and classification systems, etiology, theoretical approaches, strategies for educational diagnosis and intervention, family problems, and other issues.

ORG 7201: “Organizational Diversity and Globalization”

Examines the opportunities and challenges associated with a diversified workforce and organizational culture as they relate to gender, race, personality, nationality, religion, and other differentiating factors. Investigates the realities of organizational strategy, power, politics, communication, and leadership in the context of a global environment.

LIN 6430: “Sociolinguistics”

Explores the effect of social structure (social class, age, gender, and ethnicity) on language variation. Other topics examined include research methodology, language change, bilingualism, language attitudes, language policy, and the sociolinguistics of second language acquisition.

NUR 6000: “Nursing and Society”

Examines how social trends such as an aging population, diverse family and community structures, and increasing global interdependence, as well as economic and political changes, influence healthcare and professional nursing. Blends historical perspectives with contemporary sociocultural influences as context for nursing and healthcare.

THEO 6500 “Ministry to and With Persons With Disabilities and Their Families”

Trains persons in the helping professions to perform ministries of care, support, and advocacy to and with persons with physical disabilities, mental disabilities, chronic illnesses, permanent sensory impairments, and/or bodily disfigurements, and to and with their families. Takes an interdisciplinary approach, placing recent biblical scholarship and theological reflection on disability into conversation with contemporary educational, medical, and social-scientific theories of disability. Attention will also be given to legislation governing the accessibility of public spaces and the means of making appropriate accommodations for persons with disabilities to the services and programs offered in churches, schools, businesses, and other public institutions.

THEO 6510: “Theology, Race, and Culture”

Examines the relationship between the ministry of the church and the complicated realities of race and culture in the modern world. Traces the development and varying interpretations of racial and cultural identity through theological and non-theological materials as well as cultivates a theological framework to negotiate these realities in the church and the world.

THEO 6511: “Gender and Christianity”

Explores gender and issues of sexuality through hermeneutical, historical, theological, and ecumenical resources to consider the challenges and possibilities of considering male and female as created in the imago dei. The course will apply these insights to the intersections of gender and ministry for the contemporary church.

THEO 6512: “Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies: Foundations for Leadership”

Trains future Christian leaders to be socially and culturally relevant in the face of growing demographic shifts, and prepares students to use the lenses of Bible reconciliation theology, critical thinking, multicultural perspectives, social change analysis, and community building skills for leadership in the work of reconciliation in the church and broader society. Students study the biblical and sociological principles that guide reconciliation ministry, identify the skills necessary for reconciliation, and examine leadership models of reconciliation practice. An experiential-learning component is included to provide students with a laboratory for hands-on practice and contextual ministry.

THEO 6513: “Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies: Embodiment and Praxis”

Equips students to minister effectively in cross-cultural and multiethnic settings, focusing on the Christian formation of the minister, communication, preaching, teaching, conflict-resolution, and contextualization issues. Based on clear biblical, theological, liturgical, and sociological principles, students identify the skills necessary for reconciliation ministry to flourish and explore how to meet the complex needs of a diverse, multicultural audience effectively.

THEO 6980 “Cross-Cultural Immersion Experience”

Explores issues and questions pertaining to ministry across cultural boundaries. Students have the opportunity to experience and reflect on specific historical and theological issues of culture and ministry as they pertain to a specific locale. This includes engagement with local ministries, developing paradigms of holistic ministry, biblical foundations of missions, theology of religions, and community exegesis and development. ,

More information on these and other graduate courses related to diversity can be found in the Graduate Time Schedule.

Amber Frazier

Martinez Fellows Scholarship

Find out whether you qualify for a Martinez fellowship for graduate students of color.

John Perkins

Practicing reconciliation

Seattle Pacific Seminary is partnering with people such as the Rev. Dr. John Perkins to live into our vision of practicing radical reconciliation. Learn about SPS’s MA in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies.

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