One of the main goals of Southeastern University’s online Master of Arts in International Community Development is to equip working adults to help others through ministry, business and social services. A major benefit of earning this master’s degree is that it covers practical and academic topics and hard and soft skills needed to influence the world through Spirit-empowered life, learning and leadership.

The program is interdisciplinary, which means that a variety of subjects are covered in order to best prepare students for careers. Many students choose to pursue careers in relief and development agencies, international government, church ministries, corporate relations and philanthropy. Each one of these work environments requires professionals to have the following hard and soft skills that a student in the Master of Arts in International Community Development program can acquire.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are important when working in international community development because effective and harmonious interaction among people is a key to success in this field. Soft skills like emotional intelligence, cross-cultural communication and interpersonal communication are all covered by this degree program.

Emotional intelligence concepts are covered by courses like Managing Change and Conflict and Group Development and Change in Human Services. These courses help students to respond to professional and emotional issues that may arise in a workplace or in the field. When dealing with social issues, emotional intelligence is essential. Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to control one’s emotions even in highly stressful or tense environments.

Because this program has a global aspect to it, cross-cultural communication is an important skill to have. Courses like Global Social Entrepreneurship, which includes a one-week intensive study abroad experience in El Salvador, opens students’ minds to the way that other cultures and people conduct business and communication. In addition, Foundations of Cross Cultural Ministry covers the ways humans can use common ground to exchange ideas and to make deals despite differences.

Interpersonal communication gets down to the basics of the different aspects of communication and how to strengthen them. Global Business Management, Human Services and the Community and Strategic Missional Leadership all incorporate interpersonal communication into the curriculum. Because communication can be expressed through verbal and nonverbal messages, it is important for people to have an understanding of the best ways to communicate.

Hard Skills

Hard, or quantitative, skills are in some ways just as important as soft skills in this field. In addition to communication, empathy and other soft skills, a professional must be able to show evidence of success and change.

Students learn how to apply quantitative research in order to better plan, evaluate and develop programs, outreach, strategy and more. Using skills like logic and problem solving, both of which are emphasized in this program, are just as important as being able to talk to people. Courses like Program Planning and Evaluations, Human Services Administration, Global Business Management and MBA Principles all cover more hard skills.

When combined, the hard and soft skills covered throughout this master’s program prepare graduates for success after graduation. Combining these skills with academic topics and concepts prepares graduates for a variety of careers after they complete Southeastern University’s Master of Arts in International Community Development.