Graduate Programs in Worship Studies

The Institute for Worship Studies is a unique graduate school offering Master of Worship Studies and Doctor of Worship Studies degrees that combine the best of on-campus learning and long-distance interactivity to form servant leaders in Christian worship.

Our Board of Trustees, Faculty, and Staff are assembled from all over the country and from diverse denominational backgrounds.

The Only Institute of its Kind

Worship isn’t just another option here at IWS. We are the only accredited graduate school in the world dedicated to worship and built from its beginnings to be that way. Our worship curriculum is not built atop some other program.

We emphasize the student and their ministry context in the classroom, we use rich tools to continue learning on-line following on-campus intensives, and we intentionally create an egalitarian, highly relational community.

The Institute for Worship Studies is the only institute in North America exclusively designed for graduate studies in worship with the commitment of forming servant leaders in worship renewal.

A student can earn a graduate degree in church music in any number of schools. However, students who desire an education in the biblicalhistoricaltheological, and cultural disciplines of worship will find that only at IWS, where every course is focused on worship content.

All courses are designed with an ancient-future perspective.

Educational Philosophy

Education in the modern world was primarily teacher-based. The student, it was supposed, came to class with little or no knowledge of the subject, sat under the instructor, and at the end of the course demonstrated how much of the instructor’s knowledge had been imparted through a test or a paper. We do not follow this model.

The Institute for Worship Studies believes in learner-based education. In this philosophy of education, the focus is on a student-directed process of learning.

IWS Educational Philosophy

We Model the Future of Education

IWS combines one-week January and June on-campus intensive classes with quality distance learning interaction during each 5-month term.

IWS Campus

We Learn in Community

In one week-intensives that occur in January and June, we eat together, study together, worship together, and experience community based on honest and open relationships.

In these and other ways, the IWS creates an atmosphere of learning in community. It is an exciting venture in high-powered but non-competitive intelligent and experiential learning. 

The Campus Experience

Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, located in Jacksonville, Florida hosts the Institute for Worship Studies.

HAB has a large, beautiful campus with an elegant sanctuary. It is situated in the historic San Marco area just south of downtown Jacksonville, just a few blocks from the picturesque St. Johns River. Particular outreach emphases of the church include fine arts, sports, special needs children and adults, and counseling. Additionally, three immigrant congregations hold weekly worship services at the church.

Morning chapels and evening worship practicums are held in the main church building. Classes are convened in various classrooms around the HAB campus. The church’s fellowship hall serves as the refectory and activity hub for the week. The Family Life Center Building houses the school’s administrative offices, library, and student lounge with wireless internet access.

Jacksonville is just a few miles from the majestic Atlantic Ocean. The semi-tropical, sun-kissed climate enjoys seasonal fluctuations but remains relatively temperate year-round.

Educational Distinctives at IWS

Students Have Something to Contribute

Here is how it works: The majority of students who come to study at the Institute for Worship Studies are already accomplished in the field of ministry. At IWS we value this background and experience and treat students with respect for their wisdom and accomplishments.

We enjoy a collegiality in which all of us together are learning together. Therefore, the teacher uses his or her knowledge in the field to stand alongside the student and facilitate his of her learning.

Students Have Something to Contribute at IWS

Engaging with Ministry

Each course has a particular content and students are to work within the parameters of its subject. Each person is asked to think, “How can this material be integrated into my ministry?” With that question in mind, the learner appropriates the material of the course into his or her work: the classroom, week-by-week worship planning or preaching preparation. In this way the learner is not working for the teacher but for his or her own knowledge and immediate use in ministry.

Student-based learning at IWS

Three-Fold Learning Process

The process of learner-based education is threefold:

  1. Pre-course reading assignments 
  2. Interact with the material in the classroom environment during the intensive week
  3. Prepare a paper or project integrated with the student’s ministry context 

Each semester lasts for approximately five months. During this time, students use a variety of technological resources to interact with one another and with their instructors when away from campus.

I’ve never been involved in education like this. Why can’t all schools teach this way?

This is the future of education. Someday all education will be like this.