The most advanced master’s degree in the School of Church Music and Worship, the Master of Theology (Th.M.) with a concentration in Worship allows students to gain a high level of competency in the scholarly study of Christian worship after completion of the Master of Music degree. The Th.M. enhances worship leadership practice and also serves as preparation for doctoral studies.
The student must have completed a Master of Music in Worship Leadership, Master of Divinity, or their equivalent from an accredited seminary or divinity school with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The Th.M. with a Worship concentration assumes a worship theology core of at least six hours in worship history, congregational song, and philosophy of worship ministry. Applicants must submit a 15–20 page research paper in an area of worship studies.
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.
Students receive advanced instruction in research and writing methodology as well as specialized research seminars in worship theology, worship history, congregational song, and worship ministry philosophy. The program consists of a 24-hour (non-Thesis) or 25-hour (Thesis) curriculum, including a graduate research seminar (3 hours), a reading seminar in Christian Worship (3 hours), three advanced master’s electives (6 hours), three specialized research seminars (9 hours), and a thesis (4 hours; an additional research seminar may be taken in place of the thesis).
All courses must be completed with a B- or better. No course with a grade below B- will count toward the degree.
The Th.M. thesis should demonstrate the student’s ability to design a viable research project, pursue the research with relative independence, and write with clarity and force. An acceptable thesis should go beyond the description of data and include critical evaluation and interpretive judgment. The thesis must address a topic in worship studies. The thesis supervisor is the program supervisor unless other arrangements are made in consultation with the program supervisor.
The Research and Writing Seminar must be taken prior to Thesis Writing. Guidelines for thesis submission may be obtained from the program supervisor. The student should work closely with the thesis supervisor throughout all stages of thesis work.
Students pursuing the non-thesis track will take an additional research seminar and must pass a comprehensive examination in worship studies during the final semester of study.
Up to six advanced elective hours may transfer from the Southwestern Master of Music in Worship Leadership into the Th.M.
Up to nine seminar hours may transfer from the Th.M. into the Southwestern Ph.D. in Church Music and Worship.
All requirements, including the thesis, must be completed within three years of entrance into the program.
For additional information about the Master of Theology with a concentration in Worship, contact Dr. Scott Aniol, program supervisor.