Worship & Music (MA)

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Prepare to thoughtfully lead a worship ministry through a robust study of worship theology and history paired with an industry-leading, practical study of music technology in this fully online program.

Fall 2022 graduate start date: August 29, 2022

At a glance

Program Credits


Standard Completion Time

2 yrs

Program Highlights

  • Take courses fully online in 7-week sessions
  • Lay a theologically responsible foundation for church worship and liturgy suitable for a variety of church denominations.
  • Learn advanced worship technology and arranging on a digital audio workstation.
  • Gain a global perspective of worship through studies in African American worship and ethnomusicology. 
  • Study at a University that has taught Bible and theology for over 100 years and has been NASM-accredited since 1972.
  • Join a community of other like-minded worship leaders from around the world.
  • Study under faculty who are both highly credentialed musicians and experienced worship leaders.
  • Create a self-produced six-track recording of three original songs and three arranged songs for congregational singing in a culminating final project. 


To enter the program, the candidate will:

To complete the program, the candidate will:

  • Successfully complete all required coursework with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5

For more information about the Master of Arts (Worship & Music) degree program, email grad-music@cairn.edu.

Learn about the time and technical requirements for Cairn University online programs.

Program Curriculum

Core of General Studies in Music Courses (15 credits)
  • Overview of Christian Theology (3 credits): An introduction to the major doctrines of the Bible.* 
  • Biblical Foundations of Worship (3 credits): An overview of the major doctrines of worship found in the Bible through the lens of biblical theology.
  • Church History (3 credits): A study of the church from A.D. 100 to the present. Attention is given to important historical events, the development of church doctrine, and the relationship of the church to society.* 
  • Research in Worship and Music (3 credits): A course designed to examine how to do serious academic research in the area of worship, theology, and music. The course culminates in an original research paper. 
  • Applied Ethnomusicology in Worship (3 credits): An examination and application of ethnomusicology in the expression of music in worship around the world. Music, worship practices, orders of worship, and worship architecture will be surveyed. 

*Advanced Standing available

Other Studies in Music (18 credits)
  • Leading Ensembles in the Local Church (3 credits): An advanced leadership course bringing practical applications to local church ministry for a variety of sizes and kinds of ensembles. A survey of current literature is conducted, and personal arranging is explored. 
  • Advanced Contemporary Arranging for Worship (3 credits): Using DAW’s and notation software, students learn how to arrange for different ensembles of different types. Focus is given to arranging with a rhythm section, live use of DAWs, and backing tracks. 
  • African American Worship (3 credits): A survey of the history of the worship traditions within the black church in America. Specific attention is given to the influence that these traditions have had around the world in the evangelical context. 
  • Advanced Worship Technology (3 credits): A detailed study and application of current technologies used in evangelical worship services, including lighting, presentation software and hardware, recording, live mixing, and acoustics.
  • Planning Worship Theologically (3 credits): A course that surveys the origins of evangelical worship in its current context. An understanding of Protestant services of worship is explored in detail as well as a surveyed understanding of the Orthodox and Catholic services. Practical, theological, and musical applications are explored in the context of planning worship. 
  • Worship and Ministry Project (3 credits): A summative project of the graduate course of study which includes a six-track recording of three original songs and three arranged songs for congregational singing. This final project demonstrates the competency of production, theological understanding, and practical implications for leading worship in a congregation.
Outside Fields and Electives (6 credits from the following)
  • Aesthetics (3 credits): A survey of philosophy and biblical theology related to the study of aesthetics. 
  • Principles of Leadership (3 credits): An in-depth look at the foundations of leadership with the examination of current leadership philosophies and case studies. 
  • Community in Worship Ministry (3 credits): An in-depth look at building teams and community in the volunteers in a music ministry in a local church. 
  • Counseling in Music Ministry (3 credits): A course designed to survey areas of counseling applicable to a music ministry context within a local church.
Cairn University Online Learning

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