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, and historical 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 (M.M.) degree at Southwestern Seminary. The Master of Arts (M.A.) 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), Duolingo English Test (DET), or IELTS (International English Language Test System). For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 100 on the internet-based test or 250 on the computer-based test is required. For the DET, a minimum score of 120 on the internet-based test is required. For the IELTS, a minimum score of 7.0 on the internet-based test is required.

Evidence of Scholarship

Ph.D. 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 Coordinator of Research Doctoral Programs in Church Music and Worship before final approval for admission can be granted.

Language Requirements

During the program of study, students must demonstrate competency in a research language chosen under the guidance of the student’s supervisor. English may not serve as a research language, nor may any native language that does not directly pertain to the student’s area of research. The research language should be completed by the end of the first year of seminars.

Residence Requirements

Students may participate in the program as a residential student on the Fort Worth campus or online through live, synchronous attendance via 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 RSTCH 7060 Continuous 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.

Degree Requirements

All students in the School of Church Music and Worship are required to minister in the music program of a local church or organization during the time they are enrolled in their degree programs.

Course Title Course Number Hours
3 Orientation Seminars* RSTCH 7551-7571 3
Research and Writing in Church Music and Worship Studies WORSP 7503 3
Special Research in Church Music and Worship WORSP 7613 3
Colloquium I WORSP 8011 1
Colloquium II WORSP 8021 1
Teaching in Higher Education MUDOC 7883 3
  Total 14
* All Ph.D. students must attend three years of the Ph.D. Orientation in the Fall semester.  
Research Seminars  
Select six seminars, at least one from each category: 24
Worship History  
Research in Worship History I WORSP 7514  
Research in Worship History II WORSP 7524  
Worship Theology    
Research in Worship Theology I WORSP 7534  
Research in Worship Theology II WORSP 7544  
Worship Philosophy    
Research in Music and the Arts in Worship WORSP 7554  
Research in Aesthetics and Music Philosophy WORSP 7564  
Congregational Song    
Research in Congregational Song I WORSP 7584  
Research in Congregational Song II WORSP 7594  
  Total Church Music and Worship 38
Electives   8

Selection 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:

One additional Church Music and Worship Research Seminar WORSP 7xx4  
One seminar from another school at Southwestern Seminary XXXXX 7xx4  
1 or 2 Music History Seminars MUHST 7xx3  
1 or 2 Music Theory Seminars MUTHY 7xx3  
Up to 3 hours of auditioned ensembles and/or applied study    
Examinations and Dissertation
Research Language Examination MUDOC 8062 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 68

Program Fees

Program fees can be viewed in the Student Fees and Payments section of this catalog.