The category of "mission" is changing rapidly. From the tens of thousands of church workers going out from countries in the global south, to the growth of so-called short term missions, while the call of the Great Commission has not changed, the ways people engage it has. It has never been more important for the church to be able to understand the changing work of Christian mission in the world.

The Certificate in Mission Studies is a research focused, interdisciplinary program designed to produce the next generation of missiologists.  Missiology is an inherently interdisciplinary field of study focused on the historic and contemporary work of serving the church around the world. The primary disciplines that have long contributed to this field of study are cultural anthropology, history, and theology. The Certificate of Mission Studies at Wheaton brings together these fields, along with several others, to help students develop the analytical skills relevant to understand global missions work today.

The core of the program is in Anthropology (ANTH 116 and ANTH 351), with options for research methods (SOC 482, ANTH 482, HIST 201), elective credits chosen from a variety of areas, and a final research project to be conducted as an independent study under the guidance of a faculty mentor in the field of the student's primary interest.

Students from any major can complete a Certificate in Mission Studies (CMS). If experimental courses or new courses not currently listed in the catalog have significant missiological content, students may petition for those courses to count toward the elective credits in either Theological Perspective or Social Science/Historical Perspectives as appropriate. Graduate courses taken as part of the CMS cannot be counted toward accelerated standing in a Wheaton MA program.

Although the CMS has a primary focus in research, it encompasses an experiential component, recognizing that true understanding cannot come through academic study alone. In the summer after either the sophomore or junior year, students in the CMS will join a summer mission team through the OCO, or another approved experiential component (such as an internship with a mission organization.) This experience may form the basis for the research as part of the senior project.  The practicum is a non-credit bearing component of the certificate.

In the senior year, CMS students will work with an academic independent study advisor to prepare a paper for presentation at a professional missiology or other disciplinarily appropriate conference, or publication in a missiological journal. This could be completed as two, 2-credit independent study spread across fall and spring semesters or a single, 4-credit course in the fall of the student's senior year.  This will lead to a paper for presentation in the spring of the student's final year. The preferred conference for Wheaton students would be the Evangelical Missiological Society's regional Northcentral conference held in the Chicagoland area in March or early April each year. However, other conferences can be arranged with prior approval. The research paper will be based on original research appropriate to the student's discipline of focus. This may be in the student's major, though can be in any department in which the student can locate an appropriate advisor.

Students who wish to earn the Certificate in Mission Studies must complete an application by December 1 of their sophomore year and submit it to the director of the certificate. Details can be found on the website for the CMS at Students should plan to take ANTH 116 by the end of the sophomore year, prior to the mission practicum.

The Certificate in Mission Studies would be particularly relevant for students considering a career in mission work.  In particular, students planning to go on to graduate school or seminary, whether in pastoral ministry, mission work, or other cross-cultural Christian work, would find benefit in the CMS. As a research focused degree, the CMS would also prove advantageous for students planning to pursue a career in Christian academia.

Certificate Requirements
Core Courses8
Cultural Anthropology (Freshman or Sophomore year)
Global Christianity: Mission, Culture & Context
Senior Independent Study Project4
Research Courses4
Choose one of the following:
Ethnographic Theory and Method
Social Research
Why History?
Choose 8 Credits from the following: (Must include two different prefixes/disciplines.)8
Violence and Peace in Latin America
Power and Gender in Southeast Asia
Majority World Theology
Spiritual Formation in Community
History in Africa Since 1850
Introduction to Modern East Asia
Introduction to Asian Studies
The Construction of Modern Japan, 1800-1960
Modern Korea
Topics in History
Asian Philosophy
Asian Philosophy
Philosophy of Religion
Major World Religions
Islam: Foundations to Modernity
Sociology Of Religion
Total Credits24