Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies

The Master of Arts in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies (MA-RIS) degree program focuses on the classical theological disciplines of Scripture, church history, theology, and ethics, and reflects Seattle Pacific University’s vision to engage the culture and change the world with the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ. If you select the MA-RIS degree, you will combine a core study of general theology with specialized study in theology with an emphasis in gender, race, culture, and reconciliation.

Focus of the Degree

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 between cultural, theological, social, and missiological perspectives that promote reconciliation in a divided world. There is no doubt that the world desperately needs Christian leaders who are socially relevant, interculturally competent, and theologically grounded.


Students will be equipped to pursue ministry careers upon graduation as pastors of multicultural churches, directors of multiethnic ministries, campus ministers, director or pastor of outreach, missions, compassion and justice; and organizational positions with nonprofits, urban ministries, NGOs, and global peace and development agencies.

As an MA-RIS student, you will develop the knowledge, skills, and multicultural sensitivities you need to understand the Christian faith and put it into faithful and effective practice in a hurting world. You will also experience rich opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth in the context of SPU's evangelical Wesleyan heritage.


The MA degree core curriculum of 39 credits consists of three two-credit “intensives” (introductory courses in spiritual formation and mission); three three-credit courses each in Bible, church history, and theology/ethics; and three two-credit units of "practica" (in which the student's personal spirituality and vocational objectives are integrated with his or her academic studies).

Of the remaining 39 credits required for the degree, 6 credits are devoted to courses in Reconciliation and Intercultural Studies. You will also take 18 credits in courses such as theology of race and culture, evangelism, and a cross-cultural immersion, as well as 6 credits of contextual education and 6 credits of theology or interdisciplinary electives.

The “capstone” of the program is a 3-credit final research thesis.

MA-RIS tracking sheet for student matriculating before autumn 2017 (PDF)
MA-RIS tracking sheet for students matriculating after autumn 2017 (PDF)

Faculty Contact

Laura C.S. Holmes

Associate Professor of New Testament; Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary

Phone: 206-281-2208
Office: Alexander 108

Kerry Dearborn and Brenda Salter-McNeil

Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific

Professors Brenda Salter McNeil and Kerry Dearborn talk about Christian reconciliation in the 21st century.


Lectio: Socioeconomic Reconciliation

Assistant Professor of Missiology David Leong recently wrote a Lectio on the overall topic of reconciliation -- in particular, the concept of new creation. The text he focused on was Luke 4, where the gospel is preached with a particular emphasis on the social and economic order of the day being flipped on its head.

Graduate Admissions

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