Master of Worship Studies (MWS)


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Degree Description

The Master of Worship Studies degree is the only accredited master’s program in the world with its entire curriculum formed around worship studies. It is designed for worship teachers, music ministers, worship leaders and pastors; every course deals specifically with worship and integrates the classic theological disciplines and biblical studies. Students who graduate from this course of study will be able to reflect on worship through the disciplines of scripture, history, theology, communication theory and cultural analysis. All studies are geared toward the mission of the church to give witness to God’s redeeming work in the world and to fulfill the mandate of the Great Commission.

The purpose of the master’s program is to encourage spiritual formation and not only educate, so as to prepare the student to minister to both the minds and the hearts of God’s people. IWS will help you:

  • re-evaluate your personal spirituality and ministry in light of the shift from modernity to postmodernity.
  • develop the ability to think deeply about your ministry as it relates to the disciplines of theology and to the ministries of the church.
  • learn how to listen to the text of culture and to discern how biblical faith is communicated within the current post-Christian cultural setting.
  • consider your own ministry goals as they pertain to the material of each course.

Master of Worship Studies Courses

MWS 501: A Biblical Theology of Worship

Dinelle Frankland, D.W.S., 6 credit hours
This course will explore the concept and practice of worship in the Old and New Testaments. Students will be taught a biblical theology of worship that takes into account the variety of biblical materials related to worship. This course serves as a foundation for present and future ministry.

MWS 502: History of Christian Worship

Greg Wilde, D.W.S., 6 credit hours
This course is an overview of the history of Christian worship, its theology and rituals from the early church to today. Special attention is paid to the rites of the first four Christian centuries and the theology of worship inspired by their development. Events and cultures engendering subsequent ecclesial groups and forms of worship are also explored.

MWS 503: Contextualization, Spirituality and Christian Worship

Carl Park, 6 credit hours
The course will address the relationship between spiritual formation and Christian worship. Course material examines cultural trends in theology, philosophy and epistemology. The centerpiece of the course is a wide-ranging look at ancient and emerging practices of Christian spirituality and spiritual formation through the lenses of worship, thought, art, architecture and society.

MWS 504: Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Christian Worship

Paul Neeley (Ph.D. in progress) and Frank Fortunato, D.W.S., 6 credit hours
This course explores the impact of globalization on Christian worship in the 21st century. Students will examine a wide variety of contemporary cultural expressions of worship, and seek to understand how these expressions reveal the triune God. Students will also reflect on how understanding these expressions might enable deeper engagement with the triune God in the student’s own worship setting.

MWS 601: The Ministry Internship

Emily Vermilya, D.W.S., 6 credit hours over 2 semesters
In this course students will work one-on-one with a supervisor to design, implement and evaluate a practical ministry internship. The internship is done under the direction of a field supervisor approved by the Institute for Worship Studies and follows the normative standards expected in that field of work for master’s-level students.

Future IWS Intensives


June 14-21

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