Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship

The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship degree is to provide intensive study in the field of church music and worship integrated with biblical, theological, philosophical, historical, and theoretical perspectives. The Ph.D. degree emphasizes rigorous scholarship and original research.


Applicants must hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college, university, or seminary whose requirements approximate those of the Master of Music (MM) degree at Southwestern Seminary. The Master of Arts (MA) may be acceptable depending on the overall content of the degree curriculum. When possible, the school will offer opportunities for otherwise qualified applicants who do not have the required prerequisite degree to attain degree equivalency through additional studies.

Applicants with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher in graduate studies will be well qualified for the limited spaces available in the program. Applicants with a grade point average below a 3.3 will normally be requested to take additional graduate courses to demonstrate academic ability before being considered for the program.


Prospective doctoral students will submit a general seminary application to the Office of Admissions.

English Requirements

International applicants must submit scores from either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the DuoLingo English Test (DET). For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test or 250 on the computer-based test is required. Students who complete the computer-based TOEFL must also complete the TSE (Test of Spoken English). For the DET, a score of 120 is required.

Evidence of Scholarship

PhD applicants must submit a research paper (4000-6000 words) on a subject in an area of church music and worship studies. The form and style should follow the most recent edition of Turabian's Manual for Writers. In matters not addressed by Turabian, the paper should adhere to the most recent edition of The Chicago Manual of Style or The SBL Handbook of Style.


An applicant must be interviewed by the chair of Ph.D. in Church Music and Worship program before final approval for admission can be granted.

Language Requirements

Students must demonstrate competency in at least two research languages chosen under the guidance of the student’s supervisor. English may not serve as one of the two research languages, nor may any native language that does not directly pertain to the student’s area of research. The first research language should be completed by the end of the first year of reading seminars and the second research language by the conclusion of the second year.

Residence Requirements

Students may participate in the program as a residential student on the Fort Worth campus or, as part of a three-year educational experiment approved by the Association of Theological Schools, online through live video web conferencing.


Doctoral students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.30.

Continued Enrollment

Doctoral students must enroll in the fall and spring semesters each year and pay enrollment fees from the time they begin their program until they graduate or withdraw from the program. Doctoral students who are not enrolled in regular coursework or doctoral examinations must enroll in MUDOC 8100 Doctoral Continued Enrollment.

Time Limit

The Ph.D. degree must be completed within a period of seven years from the time of admission. Extensions may be granted to students who are serving in an international mission field.

Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship

Course Title Course Number Hours
Ph.D. Orientation  ORIEN 7003 3
Research and Writing in Church Music and Worship Studies WORSP 7503 3
Teaching in Church Music and Worship Higher Education WORSP 7603 3
Special Research in Church Music and Worship WORSP 7613 3
Colloquium I WORSP 8012 2
Colloquium II WORSP 8022 2
  Total 16
Research  Seminars  
Select six seminars, at least one from each category: 18
Worship History  
Research in Worship History I WORSP 7513  
Research in Worship History II WORSP 7523  
Theology and Worship    
Research in Theology and Worship I WORSP 7533  
Research in Theology and Worship II WORSP 7543  
Worship Philosophy    
Research in Worship and Music Philosophy WORSP 7553  
Research in Aesthetics WORSP 7563  
Research in Culture WORSP 7573  
Congregational Song    
Research in Congregational Song I WORSP 7583  
Research in Congregational Song II WORSP 7593  
  Total Church Music and Worship 34
Electives   9

Selection of nine hours of electives will be made in consultation with the advisor, based on the student's background and dissertation research. Applied study must be with the approval of the department of instruction and after an audition. The student can select any combination of the following.

Church Music and Worship Research Seminar WORSP 7xx3  
Up to 6 hours from another school at Southwestern Seminary    
1 or 2 Music History Seminars MUHST 7xx3  
1 or 2 Music Theory Seminars MUTHY 7xx3  
3 hours of auditioned ensembles and/or applied study    
Examinations and Dissertation
First Research Language Examination MUDOC 8062 2
Second Research Language Examination MUDOC 8072 2
Doctoral Qualifying Examinations MUDOC 8082 2
Doctoral Prospectus Defense MUDOC 8092 2
Doctoral Dissertation in Church Music and Worship WORSP 8116 16
  Total Degree Hours 67

Program Fees

Program fees can be viewed at the Tuition and Fees section of the catalog found here.