Master of Arts in International Development


This institution is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to offer degree programs. To continue to offer degree programs this institution must meet the following requirements:  

  • Become institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education with the scope of the accreditation covering at least one degree program.  

  • Achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation as defined in regulations by 2017, and-full accreditation by July 1, 2020. If this institution stops pursuing accreditation it must:

    • Stop all enrollment in its degree programs, and   

    • Provide a teach-out to finish the educational program or provide a refund. 

An institution that fails to comply with accreditation requirements by the required dates shall have its approval to offer degree programs automatically suspended.

Admissions Policy  |  Course Descriptions  |  Related Employment Positions

The online MA in International Development degree provides students with an understanding of social, cultural, and religious factors that have affected global development throughout history. Through an analysis of past and present attempts to address challenges to human, social and national development, graduates will be prepared to conduct research and design programs to address current global challenges. 

Additionally, this degree provides students with a broad foundation in international development with an interdisciplinary approach while focusing on their own specializations and contexts, conducting research and competency development that furthers their own work within the entity that employs them.  

Program Format

Program Requirements

Foundations of Biblical Faith is the 10-week online introductory course all incoming students must complete before taking any other courses in the MA program. Students register and pay for their courses online, and assignments are submitted online. Therefore, all students are required to have regular access to a computer and the Internet.   

Program Purpose

Program Outcomes

Any discussion of program outcomes should begin with an understanding or definition of the field of study. Ralph Winter, the founder of WCIU, defined International Development as, “anything that is done or could be done to further develop the nation/region/local area for good” (WCIU Catalog, p 10). The Philosophy of Development in the Catalog further observes: “That development is a dynamic process of change and growth that is most effective when generated from within a socio-cultural system, and not by external forces”—an inside out approach to social change (p 10).

Graduates of WCIU’s master’s degree program are scholar activists who practice international development through the lens of a holistic biblical faith that integrates insights from sociology, anthropology, and history with international development principles and practices. They aim at worldview change that leads to transformation for good in families and societies.

With this purpose in mind, WCIU graduates are expected to attain the following learning outcomes.

Program Goal A. Students will model graduate level proficiency in scholarship (Scholarship Proficiency)

1. Develop strategies for self-directed learning: They will be able to initiate, manage, and modify their own learning goals and activities and to use that learning to help serve and benefit others.

2. Model critical and discerning thinking: They are scholars who question assumptions and weigh evidence related to theories, ideas, and practices. But they are informed activists who use their knowledge and learning to discern the most appropriate ways to work within systems and with people to bring about transformational good.

3. Conduct competent research and report and apply their findings. As scholar-activists they choose appropriate research methods for the challenges at hand, conduct effective research into those challenges, and can report their findings in ways that are both academically and culturally appropriate. Ultimately, no research is of any use unless they can take their findings and apply them to real-world challenges and opportunities in viable, sustainable ways.

Program Goal B. Students will integrate biblical perspectives into their principles and practices

4. Articulate the implications of the biblical meta-narrative for international development: How does God call human beings to work with Him in restoring the whole creation, to “develop the nation/region/local area for good”? Students integrate this meta-narrative into their study of other fields and into their research and practice in their contexts.

5. Employ sound Biblical study methods and hermeneutical principles to explain what the Bible says about God’s purposes in history. They are able to study, understand, and apply Scripture as it relates to the challenges and opportunities they are facing.

Program Goal C. Students discern the cultural and worldview influences in the ID challenges they face

6. Describe, compare, and contrast societies, cultures, worldviews, and religious systems: What are the implications of these comparisons for understanding and fostering international development? Students are competent at identifying how worldview influences the challenges they face and how a change of worldview might lead to transformational good within the families and societies they serve.

Program Goal D. Students exhibit competence in international development principles and practices  

7. Integrate theories, principles, and practices of international development to address concrete situations in the graduate’s particular context in sustainable ways. They have mastered the concepts, principles, and practices of their field and are recognized as competent professionals within the agencies and organizations where they work.

8. Demonstrate the skills and competencies needed to address the challenges and opportunities students face as they pursue international development goals in the context of their work. Graduates model the interpersonal and intercultural skills required to work in challenging contexts in ways that foster “inside out” transformation rather than simply solving problems for people.


Academic Content

The MA in International Development curriculum integrates perspectives from a wide range of disciplines through a historical, biblical, and cultural approach to understanding God’s global purposes. The curriculum covers four time frames of civilization:   

The original curriculum was designed by nationally recognized scholars: Dr. Walter Kaiser (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell Seminary); Dr. Walter Russell, Jr. (Biola University); Drs. Paul Pierson and Ralph Winter (Fuller School of World Mission); and Dr. John Gration (Wheaton Graduate School).   

MA Program Overview

Enrollment in each of the 2-credit courses is offered every three months. Students may enroll in up to two consecutive courses simultaneously.  Students in the WCIU MA Program should plan for an average of 120 hours of work per 2-credit course.   

The 36 credits required for the Master of Arts in International Development are integrated courses and are generally taken sequentially.