Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship

School of Church Music and Worship

Doctor of Philosophy in Church Music and Worship

Intensive study in the field of 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.

Degree Highlights

  • 67 hours
  • Prepares for church ministry or specialized careers in music

The Ph.D. degree emphasizes rigorous scholarship and original research. Students enrolled in the program follow the current Doctor of Philosophy Handbook, which is also provided by the Research Doctoral Studies Office.

20230331 Preview Day (Part 2)_102

Meet the Faculty


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 residential students 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.

Course Requirements

Ph.D. OrientationORIEN 70033
Research and Writing in Church Music and Worship StudiesWORSP 75033
Teaching in Church Music and Worship Higher EducationWORSP 76033
Special Research in Church Music and WorshipWORSP 76133
Colloquium IWORSP 80100
Colloquium IIWORSP 80222

Research Seminars

Select six seminars, at least one from each category:


Research in Worship History IWORSP 7513
Research in Worship History IIWORSP 7523


Got Questions?

We’re here to answer them. Reach out to our Admissions Team and we’ll be in touch by phone, text, or email.