Nontraditional and Distance Education Courses


Always check the latest Course Schedule to see what courses are being offered during coming terms. Occasionally we are not able to offer a course during the term it is normally offered.

Online (OL) and Synchronous Learning (SL) courses are fully equivalent to their traditional classroom counterparts for filling any program requirements.

Non-Approved States for Out of State Residents

GIAL is not authorized to offer online courses to students residing in any of the following states during the length of an online course.

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming

(If you reside in one of these states, GIAL cannot provide you online courses. For more information, view our State Authorization for Distance Education page.)

Online (OL) courses are conducted entirely via GIAL Online. These courses do not have a scheduled class time but allow students the freedom to work at any time of day. Online courses are not self-paced, however, as students are required to meet deadlines for assignments and activities.

AA4370-OL Cultural Anthropology (Summer) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This course is an undergraduate-level introduction to cultural anthropology with emphasis on application and research methods. Students complete a practicum or research project that includes at least four study-visits outside class hours to a cross-cultural social situation.

AA5321-OL Multicultural Teamwork (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course addresses issues relating to forming practical, cooperative programs that depend upon people from different cultures working together as teams or as full partners. The course draws upon writings of western and non-western authors, case studies, lectures, and group activities. Upon completing this course, the student will be able to form teams and partnerships, effectively work in teams, and train others in teamwork and partnership. In this course, the term “teamwork” refers not only to closely knit teams but to many kinds of cooperative action that requires groups of people to work together toward a common goal. Christian perspectives on teamwork underlie the course.

AA5355-OL Scripture Engagement Strategy and Methods (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course focuses on the sociolinguistic, socioeconomic, sociopolitical, and socio-religious factors that either hinder or foster the use of vernacular literature. Practical strategies and activities that promote the use of Bible translations in public and private venues are central.

Note: Online versions of this course require access to an internet connection capable of supporting video conferencing at least once a week.

AA5356-OL Current Issues in Scripture Engagement (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

What are the major issues influencing Scripture engagement below the surface? This course encourages the student to analyze motivations and causal elements that underlie many of the Scripture engagement choices people make. Using a partially student-designed approach, course participants select specific Scripture engagement issues and skills they are interested in exploring more comprehensively. Emerging topics related to Scripture engagement are debated and students propose original contributions to the field of Scripture engagement. Students also develop skills in consulting and workshop design.

Note: Online versions of this course require access to an internet connection capable of supporting video conferencing at least once a week.

AC4311-OL Communication and Service in Muslim Contexts (Online) (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

In light of scriptural and anthropological principles, this course explores the nature, dynamics, scope, challenges, and approaches in appropriate and effective service in Muslim contexts.

AC5310-OL Core Components of Islam (Online) (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course examines key elements which must be understood in relating to Muslims: beliefs, values, assumptions, allegiances, and cultural, social, communal, and religious dynamics. Attention is given to both traditional and critical approaches to the study of Islam’s history and the development of diverse, contemporary social, political and religious expressions. Particular emphasis is given to areas calling for sensitive or creative communication and lifestyle in order to overcome relational obstacles in working toward individual and community transformation.

AC5316-OL Contextualization Issues Among Muslim Peoples (Online) (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course seeks to explore the nature of culturally sensitive service (contextualization) as it applies to Islamic settings, noting the history, challenges, limitations, chief components, successes and failures of such activities.  Attention is given to the widespread presence of animistic practices among Muslim peoples, the nature of those expressions and the special challenges they present to culturally relevant service.  Appropriate guidelines for effective service will be explored.

AL5345-OL Introduction to Translator's Assistant (Upon demand) (3 Graduate credits)

Discover a computer program designed to accelerate translation by producing initial drafts based on semantic representations. Students will apply their newly developed linguistic skills and produce initial translations in English and in another language of their choice.

IS2312-OL Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This course is a comparative study of parallels between Ancient Near Eastern civilizations, their texts and the Hebrew Bible. Students will explore non-biblical sources that contribute to understanding the linguistic, historical, socio-cultural, political, and religious contexts of the ancient Old Testament. Specific focus is given to epic, social, and religious language sources from civilizations of the Ancient Near Eastern world, particularly those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel.

IS4350-OL Dynamics of Religious Experience (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

An introductory study into conceptions of spiritual formation and the various ways people deepen their understanding and relationship with the supernatural. Emphasis is given to approaches to a covenantal life, the nature and consequence of religious practices and rituals, and the motivations for a worldview integrating religious faith.

WA5389-OL Advanced Form Analysis (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

After completing this course, students will be able to apply research methodologies (including participation, observation, ethnographic and/or feedback interview, and other methods) to develop a working knowledge of a particular artistic tradition; use a notational system (if appropriate) to analyze the stylistic distinctives of this tradition; create an annotated research and analysis bibliography for a chosen art form; and describe an artistic tradition in terms of its formal and symbolic elements, history, and social functions.

Intensive (IN) courses feature distance-based GIAL Online learning assignments for most of the session(s) that the course is scheduled, plus a one or two-week period of on-campus full or half-day classroom periods which students are required to attend. Additional assignments are often required during the on-campus time.

IS1301-IN Popular Culture (Intensive) (Summer) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This course asks, What role does popular culture play in our lives? What role do we play in the formation and maintenance of popular culture? We will explore these questions by examining popular culture particularly in the 21st century with reference to cross-cultural and historical examples. Students will consider the development of popular culture in the digital age. Topics include advertising, music, film and media, and digital devices and software. Students will learn to identify and explain the nature of cultural values manifested in popular culture.

IS1311-IN Biblical Cultural Studies (Intensive) (Summer) (3 Undergraduate credits)

The focus of the Biblical Cultural Studies course is basic knowledge of the people and events of the Bible in their geographical, historical, and cultural contexts. From the Ancient Near Eastern perspective, students will be able to explain biblical descriptions of the biblical God. Guidelines for reading different types of biblical literature will also be considered and acquired by students.

IS1363-IN Health and First Aid Practices (Intensive) (Summer) (3 Undergraduate credits)

Students are introduced to key principles of First Aid, the sequence of steps to respond to emergencies, and the steps for patient assessment. Key aspects of CPR are learned along with wound care, musculoskeletal injuries, and first aid for poisoning, bites, and stings. Special attention is given to first aid for specific injuries in remote locations.

IS2323-IN Introduction to Coaching (Intensive) (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

Five coaching skills framing the COACH model in the discipline of coaching are at the center of this course. The course offers an overview of the eleven coaching competencies of the International Coach Federation. Consideration of spiritual and cultural aspects of coaching are also discussed.

WA3380-IN Introduction to Ethnodoxology (Intensive) (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This is a foundational course introducing key principles of ethnodoxology that will help students serve worshipping communities more effectively, whether overseas or in multi-ethnic North American contexts. Students will experience a corpus of songs and other artistic liturgical expressions from around the world, developing a vision for multicultural worship. In addition, students will explore appropriate ways to incorporate these artistic expressions into the worship life of their communities.

This course is also available at the graduate level by registering for WA5380.

Registration for a workshop version (no credit) is available in partnership with the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE) – see here.

WA3381-IN Arts for a Better Future (Intensive) (Summer) (3 Undergraduate credits)

In this undergrad course, students will learn to help a community recognize, value, and plan to use its own arts to meet local needs and goals. The course provides a compact overview of the Create Local Arts Together (CLAT) model of community engagement. The CLAT process consists of seven flexible steps grounded in ethnographic and appreciative inquiry approaches: meet a community and its arts; specify goals; select communication genre and content; analyze the genre; spark creativity; improve new works and creative systems; integrate and celebrate for continuity. Students will engage with the model through three pedagogical cycles. This course is also available at the graduate level by registering for WA5381.

See a short video here.

You may also view the Arts for a Better Future FAQ.

WA5380-IN Theory and Practice of Ethnodoxology (Intensive) (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course explores the biblical, historical, and cultural principles of ethnodoxology for cross-cultural workers, community leaders, and worship facilitators, helping them to serve worshipping communities more effectively, whether overseas or in multi-ethnic North American contexts. Students are prepared to design the introduction of new artistic expressions into their own worshipping communities, undergirded by the use of relevant research methodologies and multicultural worship approaches.

This course is also available at the undergraduate level by registering for WA3380.

Registration for a workshop version (no credit) is available in partnership with the International Council of Ethnodoxologists (ICE) – see here.

WA5381-IN Arts for a Better Future (Intensive) (Summer) (3 Graduate credits)

In this grad-level course, students will learn to help a community recognize, value, and plan to use its own arts to meet local needs and goals. The course provides a compact overview of the Create Local Arts Together (CLAT) model of community engagement. The CLAT process consists of seven flexible steps grounded in ethnographic and appreciative inquiry approaches: meet a community and its arts; specify goals; select communication genre and content; analyze the genre; spark creativity; improve new works and creative systems; integrate and celebrate for continuity. Students will engage with the model through three pedagogical cycles, culminating in applying it to a real-life context. This course is also available at the undergraduate level by registering for WA3381.

See a short video here.

You may also view the Arts for a Better Future FAQ.

WA5383-IN Arts and Trauma Healing (Intensive) (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course teaches a holistic, interactive approach to engaging Scripture in the healing process for people who suffer from the mental, emotional, and spiritual effects of trauma. It combines biblical truths with basic mental health principles expressed in ways that can be easily translated into other languages. Students learn to address both cognitive beliefs and emotions damaged by trauma, both in their own lives and in the lives of others. They learn to use participatory learning methods to train local church leaders in ways that help them to become effective care-givers. In particular, this course will emphasize the importance of performing and visual arts in trauma healing. Students will understand and be able to articulate and demonstrate the role, the value, and the effectiveness of using the arts in trauma healing from a historical and contemporary perspective. Students will be able to promote emotional and spiritual healing in traumatized communities through the use of local visual and performing arts existing in those communities.

Crafted as a “blended” course, with readings and assignments completed online during Sessions 1-2, the course also requires a two-week period of on-campus participatory afternoon classes.

An alternative residential venue for this GIAL course is now available at All Nations in the UK. Both the Dallas and UK venues start in Spring Session 1 with an online portion featuring preparatory reading and writing before the residential portion. Registration for both venues of the course is through GIAL. For details, see the Arts and Trauma Healing FAQ.

This course is offered in collaboration with ABS’s Trauma Healing Institute (THI) and the Trauma Healing Alliance. In addition to earning GIAL course credit, students who demonstrate readiness during the course will be certified by THI as “Apprentice Facilitators” in trauma healing.

Synchronous Learning (SL) courses allow students to attend GIAL courses virtually. SL students attend class with on-campus students using video conferencing software. Attendance during scheduled class time is required. Assignments and other activities can be submitted via GIAL Online.

AC4310-SL Introduction to Islam (Fall) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This course introduces students to basic elements of Islamic societies in their diverse expressions, including origins, historical developments, beliefs, practices, worldviews, and cultural and religious patterns. Particular emphasis is given to understanding common barriers to communication and approaches for bridging worldview, cultural, and religious differences for purposes of transformation.

AC4316-SL New Testament Survey (Fall) (3 Undergraduate credits)

As an introductory survey of the history, literature, and message of the New Testament, the course traces the unfolding of over-arching themes, narrative storyline, and intertextual relationships as experienced in its religious Jewish context within Greco-Roman society. How Christian, rabbinic and historical critical approaches shaped the reading of the canon will be a focus of class discussions.

AC5306-SL New Testament in Its First Century Context (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

As an introduction to the New Testament in its first century context, this course traces the unfolding of over-arching themes, narrative storyline, and intertextual relationships as understood by various Jewish and Gentile audiences in the first century of the Roman Empire. Special attention is given to communicating over-arching themes through storytelling.

AC5309-SL Theology of Translation (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course explores translation studies at the intersection of applied linguistics and theology. . This course will provide resources for students to develop methods for assessing and improving biblical translation at theological levels.

AC5310-SL Core Components of Islam (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course examines key elements which must be understood in relating to Muslims: beliefs, values, assumptions, allegiances, and cultural, social, communal, and religious dynamics. Attention is given to both traditional and critical approaches to the study of Islam’s history and the development of diverse, contemporary social, political and religious expressions. Particular emphasis is given to areas calling for sensitive or creative communication and lifestyle in order to overcome relational obstacles in working toward individual and community transformation.

AC5318-SL Understanding the Qur'an (Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This study of the Qur’an examines its organization, history of compilation, variant manuscript readings, and major themes. Students will become familiar with the major approaches to its interpretation, historical subtext in the Qur’an, and how this affects interpretation of key texts in light of the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Practical issues of etiquette, characteristics of various English translations, and how to read the Qur’an will also be studied.

AC5322-SL Abrahamic Worldviews: Shared Stories (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course explores hermeneutical issues central to the understanding and interpretation of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim sacred texts, examining stories shared by all three traditions. The approach to each narrative is to describe its components, explain its Abrahamic worldview context, and then use intertextual analysis to reformulate shared themes and retell the story in new cultural contexts.

AL4410a-SL Principles of Grammatical Analysis (a) (Spring/Fall) (2 Undergraduate credits)

This course introduces students to techniques for analyzing and describing the basic morphological and syntactic issues in natural languages. Students learn how to identify morphemes and distinguish syntactic categories from semantic roles and grammatical relations. By working through numerous practical exercises from a large variety of languages, students gain confidence in their ability to analyze and describe the inflectional morphology and syntax of basic clauses in any language.

AL4410b-SL Principles of Grammatical Analysis (b) (Spring/Fall) (2 Undergraduate credits)

This course builds on the techniques learned in AL4410a for analyzing and describing the morphology and syntax of any language. Students in this course continue working through morphological and syntactic exercises from a variety of languages; however, the exercises are more difficult, and the issues addressed are more complex. Students learn how to identify and describe allomorphy, different types of morphology, valence-changing constructions, verbless clauses, questions, commands, negation, and subordinate clauses. This course serves as a prerequisite for several graduate linguistics courses.

AL5308-SL Oral Translation (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course introduces students to orality and its implications for Bible translation. The concepts of teaching within an oral framework and the internalization of a pericope will be explored along with the process of oral drafting. Finally, the student will participate in the oral translation of Scripture.

AL5315-SL Semantics and Pragmatics (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

This course examines the relationship between form and meaning in human language. We consider the rules for combining word meanings to derive sentence meanings in a predictable way, and we explore the principles which allow speakers to communicate more by uttering a sentence than is contained in the sentence meaning itself. We apply these concepts not only to content words but also to grammatical morphemes such as tense, aspect, and modality markers. This course is required for the MA in Applied Linguistics and satisfies the prerequisite for AL5316 Theory and Practice of Translation.

AL5316-SL Theory and Practice of Translation (Spring/Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

Explores a theoretical understanding of translation as it impacts translating and advising translators. Students explore the implications of translation theory and common practice for several translation issues. In addition to reading and discussion, students experientially learn principles and procedures through class projects.

Practical Experience (PR) courses involve non-classroom cross-cultural work interacting with people in a community through an organization and/or a mentor, learning and/or offering practical service and/or doing research, usually resulting in one or more written reports.

AA5392-PR Scripture Engagement Practicum (Spring) (3 Graduate credits)

Students learn to research a people group’s religious worldview and help provide the most appropriate materials and activities that enhance the community’s engagement with Scripture.  They work with local authors, artists, teachers or media specialists to create print materials, performances and recordings tailored for specific audiences. They encourage communities to engage with Scripture and apply it to their lives through study, story, song, conversation and celebration. They partner with leaders to strengthen community engagement with Scripture at more times and in more ways.

AC5321-PR Abrahamic Community Internship (Spring/Summer/Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

The Abrahamic Community Internship is designed to enable students to serve cross-culturally in and with Abrahamic communities and organizations, based on respectful understanding of their beliefs and practices, engendering humanitarian contributions to local and global cultural goals. The internship is a structured field experience where students utilize, integrate and/or apply information from their previous coursework in Abrahamic studies. The internship involves both instructional and crosscultural experiential components, providing mentoring throughout the process. It will focus on providing skills and modifying behavior and attitudes through engagement with people of a significantly different Abrahamic culture or religious tradition, helping the student to attain readiness for service in Abrahamic communities.

IS4320-PR Cross-Cultural Experience (Spring/Summer/Fall) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This multi-week experience combines learning and service, allowing the student to explore the reality of cross-cultural service through student-chosen programs.

To be offered in conjunction with an agency.

IS4321-PR Cross-Cultural Internship (Spring/Summer/Fall) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This six to eight week summer internship is arranged with a sponsoring agency like Wycliffe Bible Translators Discovery trip program. The trip combines learning and service, allowing the student to explore the reality of cross-cultural service under the direction of a leader who has extensive field experience.

WA3386-PR World Arts Practicum (Spring) (3 Undergraduate credits)

This course entails acquiring the performance and artistic skills needed for cross-cultural participation in one of the artistic traditions of a community.  Emphasis is on developing an understanding of how to perform within the context of a chosen tradition, including researching this tradition and how it functions artistically and socially in its community.  The choice of ethnic ensemble or mentoring relationships will vary depending upon the artistic tradition chosen for study and availability of local mentors.

WA5386-PR Directed Practicum in World Arts (Spring/Fall) (3 Graduate credits)

This course entails acquiring the performance and artistic skills needed for cross-cultural participation in one of the artistic traditions of a community. Emphasis is on developing an understanding of how to perform within the context of a chosen tradition, including researching this tradition and how it functions artistically and socially in its community. The choice of ethnic ensemble or mentoring relationships will vary depending upon the artistic tradition chosen for study and availability of local mentors. The students will take initiative in choosing and engaging their mentor in consultation with the course head. This course may be retaken if the genre studied is completely different from a previous session.