BestSemester Programs

Montreat College students have access to a number of international and domestic off-campus opportunities offered through the “BestSemester” program of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

International BestSemester Programs

Australia Studies Centre (ASC)

Students attend Wesley Institute, a dynamic evangelical Christian community or people from a variety of vocations, locations, churches, languages and cultures. Enrolling in a course of study involves a commitment to personal development through study and fellowship with others who share a common goal: being equipped to undertake ministry opportunities in all aspects of life. All students enrolled in the Australian Studies Program take a course in Australian religion, politics, and economics and a course focusing on Australian indigenous cultures and choose two additional courses from a variety of other areas including Christian Studies, Business, Ministries, Social Science, Education, History, English, or Drama. Students earn 16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Latin American Studies Program (LASP)

Students of Council member colleges have the opportunity to live and learn in Costa Rica through the Latin American Studies Program. The program introduces students to as wide a range of Latin American experiences as possible through the study of the language, literature, culture, politics, history, economics, ecology, and religion of the region. Living with a Costa Rican family, students experience and become a part of the day-to-day lives of typical Latin Americans. Students also participate in a service opportunity and travel to Nicaragua for another two-week homestay. Students participate in one of four concentrations: Latin American Studies (offered both fall and spring semesters); Advanced Language and Literature (limited to Spanish majors and offered both fall and spring terms); International Business and Management (offered only in the fall semester); and Environmental Science (offered only in the spring semester). Students in all concentrations earn 16-18 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Middle East Studies Program (MESP)

The Middle East Studies Program, based in Jerusalem, allows Council students to explore and interact with the complex and strategic world of the modern Middle East. The interdisciplinary seminars give students the opportunity to explore the diverse religious, social, cultural and political traditions of Middle Eastern people. In addition to seminars, students study the Arabic language, experience a week-long homestay, and work as volunteers with various organizations in Jerusalem. Through travel to Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia and Turkey, students are exposed to the diversity and dynamism of the region. The MESP encourages and equips students to relate to the Muslim world in an informed, constructive, and Christ-centered manner at a time of tension and change. Students earn 16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Northern Ireland Semester

The first thing students notice in Northern Ireland is the beautiful verdant landscape, but there’s more to that country than rocky green cliffs and sparkling blue waters. From their home base at Lakeside Manor, a charming 19th-century mansion in Belfast, students travel all over the Irish isle visiting important cultural and historical landmarks like SAUL, the site of St. Patrick’s first church in Ireland, the Northern Ireland Parliament, and Dublin Castle. In addition, they experience the deep impact of the religious and political conflict that has been an important part of Northern Ireland’s history. Students will meet residents who lived through “The Troubles” and hear first-hand accounts of the hunger strikes and political clashes that beset Belfast in recent decades. They will visit ancient cathedrals that predate the birth the United States and hike among green pastures and ancient forests. This opportunity for experiential learning in Northern Ireland is unforgettable. All students are required to take the Peacemaking and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland course and select from courses about Irish culture, history, Christian thought, and communication for a total of 15-16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Oxford Summer Programme (OSP)

This five-week program, taken for six credits, allows students to do intensive scholarship in areas that interest them, while exploring the relationship between Christianity and the development of the British Isles. Each student participates in two seminars with tutorials, under expert Oxford academics, and a lecture series involving field trips to sites of historical interest that are related to the work undertaken in the seminars.

Scholars’ Semester at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University (SSO)

The Scholars’ Semester takes students to Oxford, England, the academic home of such notables as John Wycliffe, Erasmus, John Donne, John and Charles Wesley, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The program centers on a CCCUorganized British Studies core course and an integrative seminar in which students meet together to discuss and debate critical and timely issues. In addition, they enroll in two tutorials—the unique learning system of Oxford University, with sessions in their selected areas of interest led by Oxford scholars. The CCCU’s partnership with Wycliffe Hall, Oxford provides special benefits to students. Participants are granted visiting student status and are fully matriculated members of Oxford University. As members of the university, students are able to join a collegiate athletic team; be a part of drama, music, or fencing clubs; participate in the Junior Common Room; attend university lectures; and take in debates at the world-famous Oxford Union. Students live in an environment emphasizing integrity and community. Pastoral care and student development are overseen by experienced CCCU staff. Students in this program can earn up to 17 semester hours of credit. This program is for upper class students with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. To learn more, visit:

Uganda Studies Program (USP)

The Uganda Studies Program offers an invaluable opportunity for students to understand and participate in Ugandan culture. Students may live with a Ugandan family or a residence hall at Uganda Christian University and can choose from courses in African literature, history, religion, and politics. Electives allow participants to study an African language or engage in a crosscultural ministry practicum. Students will take weekend trips throughout Uganda and a 10-day excursion to Rwanda and will earn 13-16 credits for the semester. To learn more, visit:

Domestic BestSemester Programs

American Studies Program (ASP)

Founded in 1976, the American Studies Program has served hundreds of students from Council member institutions as a “Washington, D.C., campus.” ASP uses Washington as a stimulating educational laboratory where students gain hands-on experience with an internship in their chosen field and explore pressing national and international issues in public policy seminars which are issue-oriented, interdisciplinary, and led by ASP faculty and Washington professionals. Internships are tailored to fit talents and aspirations and are available in a wide range of fields. ASP bridges classroom and marketplace, combining biblical reflection, policy analysis, and real-world experience via onthe-job learning that helps students build for their future and gain perspective on God’s call for their lives. Students choose between a global development or public policy track and earn 15-16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Contemporary Music Center (CMC)

The Contemporary Music Center is based in Nashville, Tennessee, and offers students the opportunity to spend a semester studying, living, and working with faculty, music industry experts, and other students who share an interest in making and marketing contemporary music. The program is designed especially for students considering a career as a musician, songwriter, producer, engineer, artist manager, booking agent, A and R director, marketing executive, music publisher, concert promoter, or entertainment industry entrepreneur. In addition to core courses investigating the music industry and the intersection of faith and culture, students can choose between the artist track, business track, and technical track. Students who elect to take the artist track will use their time outside of the formal classroom setting to create a portfolio of original songs, make demo recordings, and develop a compelling live concert presentation. Business track students will work with the artists in career direction and management; recording contract negotiations; planning, budgeting, and producing artist demo sessions; and creating and executing a record marketing and sales plan. Students on the technical track will develop advanced audio engineering and recording skills. All students will participate in a culminating concert tour practicum. Students will earn 16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC)

The Los Angeles Film Studies Center is designed to train students of Council member institutions to serve in various aspects of the film industry with both professional skill and Christian integrity. Students live, learn and work in the Los Angeles area near major studios. The curriculum consists of two required seminars focusing on the role of film in culture and the relationship of faith to work in this very important industry. In addition, students choose two elective courses from several offerings in film studies. Internships in various segments of the film industry provide students with hands-on experience. The combination of the internship and seminars allow students to explore the film industry within a Christian context and from a liberal arts perspective. Students earn 16 semester hours of credit. To learn more, visit:

For guidance in choosing an off-campus program, please feel free to contact the Thrive Center!