New Southern Seminary worship degree format allows leaders to earn degree without relocating

Communications Staff — December 2, 2013

Crider photo webA new delivery method for the master of arts degree in worship leadership will allow worship pastors with substantial experience to earn a seminary degree in as few as three years without relocating from their local church ministry. The program, offered through the Department of Biblical Worship at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, will begin enrolling students in June 2014.

“We are thrilled to announce the new  master of arts in worship leadership professional track. This new delivery model allows students to study online throughout the year and attend a two-week summer intensive for three summers,” said Joseph R. Crider, professor of church music and worship and executive director of the Institute for Biblical Worship, who led in developing the program. “We believe students are looking for the type and quality of education that Southern Seminary provides, and this delivery model will be a significant step in serving those students.”

The Department of Biblical Worship is a part of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at Southern Seminary.

“Students enrolled in the M.A. in worship leadership professional track will enter this coming summer [June 2014] for the program’s foundational courses, and then begin supplementing their residential summer study with our online theology courses the rest of the year,” Crider said. “During the two week sessions, we will offer band lab courses, a summer worship choir, applied lessons and the other performance-based courses that are nearly impossible to deliver effectively online.”

The M.A. in worship leadership requires a total of 61 credit hours. In the professional track, students earn all of their worship- and music-related credits during two-week intensive terms for three summers. Students then complete the degree’s core courses online — including biblical studies, theology and ministry —  during the standard fall and spring semesters.

This new model is a part of Southern Seminary’s commitment to combining the best of online education with the best of traditional formats. With the M.A. in worship leadership professional track, seasoned worship pastors can complete a degree that brings together the seminary’s historic, 154-year-old campus, with the engagement and fellowship that characterize the seminary experience and make it irreplaceable — all while continuing to serve in their local church.

Information about this new degree program — including instructions on how to apply — is available at or email Crider at

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