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.
As of June 2019, the M.W.S. requires 36 credit hours, consisting of three online courses of 2 credit hours each, and five hybrid on-campus/online courses of 6 credit hours each. The M.W.S. program can be completed in 2 years. To access a course schedule for the M.W.S. program, please see “How Does IWS Work?”
The three online courses are designed to be taken concurrently with MWS 501, but sequenced so that no student is working on more than two courses at any one time during the semester. However, they may be taken prior to MWS 501 at either the student’s request or the registrar or academic dean’s request. Students may also petition to receive advanced standing for any or all of these three online courses.
Students with graduate or undergraduate coursework from the last 10 years comparable to these 2-credit courses may receive up to 6 hours of advanced standing for these three courses only, reducing the number of credit hours necessary to complete the M.W.S. degree. The student must provide course descriptions and have received a “B” or higher from an upper level undergraduate course. For the Graduate Research and Writing course, a graded, upper level research paper with an “A” grade may be acceptable to determine advanced standing, at the discretion of the registrar and the academic dean. For more information about applying for advanced standing, contact the Director of Admissions.
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
Lou Kaloger, D.W.S., 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
Pedrito Maynard-Reid, Th.D., 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
Douglas Curry, D.Min., 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.
BIB 501(A): Biblical Survey (Online)
Carl Park, Ph.D., 2 credit hours
This course surveys the Bible, with an emphasis on God’s story of creation, incarnation, redemption, and recreation through which God brings the entire cosmos under the reign of Christ, and the rehearsal of the story in Christian worship. Offered in a completely online, six-week format. The beginning date is approximately 7 weeks before the IWS session. Dates for June 2019 term: April 29–June 8
BIB 501(B): Interpreting Scripture (Online)
Carl Park, Ph.D., 2 credit hours
This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of varying principles and methodologies for the interpretation of Scripture. Offered in a mostly online, six-week format. Begins the second week of the IWS session, with one day (6 hours) spent face-to-face with the instructor on the Tuesday of the IWS session. Students who are taking the course online only (that is, before they begin their on-campus work) will be assigned an additional module in place of the Tuesday face-to-face session. Dates for June 2019 term: June 17–July 27
WR 501: Graduate Research and Writing (Online)
Melody Kuphal, D.W.S., 2 credit hours
This course guides the student through the beginning stages of researching and writing a graduate level paper, particularly in the discipline of worship studies. Offered in a completely online, six-week format. The beginning date is approximately 6-7 weeks following the IWS session. Dates for June 2019 term: August 5–September 14