Doctoral Chapel

Christian Worship

The Ph.D. in Christian Worship trains both local church leaders and aspiring worship professors to think as a researcher, as an educator, and as a Christian scholar in the field of Christian worship. This degree is offered in a modular format and focuses on the biblical foundations, historical perspectives, and cross-cultural understandings of Christian worship.


Incoming Ph.D. students are matched with a supervisor from our world-class faculty who shares their research interests. Professors who can supervise students in this area are:
Dr. Esther Crookshank headshot

Esther E. Crookshank

Research Interests:

  • Hymnology
  • Ethnodoxology
Dr. Matthew Westerholm

Matthew Westerholm

Research Interests:

  • Christian Worship
  • Aesthetics
  • Eschatology

Seminars provide students the opportunity to engage in focused study on key subjects in their academic discipline. In addition to professors from the School of Church Ministries, students pursuing the Ph.D. in Christian Worship will also take seminars from the faculty in the Theology and Church History departments. The following list is a sampling of available courses in this area:

98110 Theology of Christian Worship

This seminar examines the biblical and theological themes related to the worship of the one true and living God as seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Attention will be given to developments of these aspects of worship across the testaments with a goal of understanding the nature of worship for Christian believers.  Special attention will be given to the appropriate application of this theology for the church today.

98130 Studies in Christian Hymnody

This course has a two-fold intensive emphasis on primary source materials (hymnals, collections ,and their prefaces) in Western hymnody and on the topics, current issues, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies of dissertations related to hymnody written in the past several decades.

80842 Planning and Leading Christian Worship

This seminar studies the structure and elements of corporate worship with an emphasis on planning Christ-centered, biblically rich worship services. Special consideration will be given to current issues in worship planning.

98150 Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Worship Practices

This seminar studies the biblical, theological, theoretical, and missiological frameworks and musical tools for worship facilitators to serve effectively using music in cross-cultural worship ministry. The course pursues training in the analysis of song lyrics, study of models for research and practice, and a body of worship music from diverse world music traditions.


If you are interested in applying for the Ph.D. in this area of study, learn more about the Admissions Process. To prepare for the entrance exam in this area of study, consult the study guide.