Total CreditsSpecial Requirements

General Description and Program Goals

The purpose of the Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS) program is to provide an academic environment for worship practitioners to engage in intensive study of Christian worship from theological and cultural perspectives so as to creatively meet the demands of the 21st-century evangelical worship ministry. The DWS program is designed for practicing and experienced worship professionals who are devoted to critically reflect on the multiple roles they play in both within their ministry setting and in the broader community.


Learning outcomes

Students who complete the Doctor of Worship Studies will be able to

    1. Articulate an evangelical theology of worship that integrates ways in which culture shapes expressions of worship.
    2. Design and promote creative worship experience in various settings based on the demands of contemporary worship ministry.
    3. Critically reflect on the multiple roles they play with a life-long commitment to leadership and spiritual formation.
    4. Evaluate scholarly research related to worship and worship ministry with a view to improving their own ministry.

Degree Requirements: 34 Credits

Students in the Doctor of Worship Studies must complete at least 34 semester credits with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.00 scale). To receive the degree, all students must successfully submit, pass, and defend their dissertation. The DWS program must be completed within a period of seven years from the time of admission.

Required Courses

Course                                                                                     Credits

WS 710Theology of Worship4
WS 720Modern Worship and Culture4
WS 730 Music in Worship4
WS 740Issues in Worship Ministry4
WS 750Planning and Leading Worship4
WS 760Spiritual Formation for the Worship Leader4
WS 770Leadership Formation for the Worship Leader4
WS 780Research and Writing2
WS 790Dissertation4

DWS Program Course Descriptions

  1. Modern Worship Studies (20 credits):

WS 710 Theology of Worship (4 credits)

An advanced theological study of Christian worship from the broad evangelical perspective, based on biblical texts and historical developments and oriented towards today’s corporate worship experiences.

WS 720 Modern Worship and Culture (4 credits)

An intensive critical study of how culture informs and shapes expressions of Christian worship, with special attention to fostering an advanced understanding of cultural diversity and changes as well as methods of contextualization.

WS 730 Music in Worship (4 credits)

An advanced historical and critical study of the use and function of music in the evangelical worship, with special attention to helping worship leaders evaluate traditional and contemporary approaches to corporate singing.

WS 740 Issues in Worship Ministry (4 credits)

An in-depth, analytical study of the current and emerging issues in worship ministry in the 21st-century evangelical community, designed to enable the worship leader to draw key insights and practices from contemporary leaders in the field.

WS 750 Planning and Leading Worship (4 credits)

An extensive examination of the framework for planning and leading corporate worship in a variety of settings, with special attention to adapting different patterns of worship and addressing practical issues.


  1. Spirituality and Leadership Studies (8 credits):

WS 760 Spiritual Formation for the Worship Leader (4 credits)

An in-depth look at the nature and process of spiritual formation, designed to help the worship leader devote to a life-long, personal spiritual journey and be instrumental in leading others into enriching worship experiences

WS 770 Pastoral Worship and Worship Community (4 credits)

An in-depth look at the nature and process of leadership formation, designed to help the worship leader devote to a life-long, professional leadership development for greater impact in leading worship ministry in diverse settings.


  1. Dissertation related: (6 credits):

 WS 780 Research and Writing (2 credits)

An advanced study of research methods, writing styles, and bibliography particularly pertaining to worship studies.

WS 790 Dissertation (4 credits)

The preparation of a dissertation in worship and worship ministry under the supervision of a faculty member.


Admissions Policies

Students applying for the Doctor of Worship program at World Mission University must have a Master of Worship (MAWS) or a Master of Divinity (MDiv) or equivalent.



All applicants to WMU must willingly agree upon the educational philosophy and the policy of WMU that is based on the beliefs of Christianity.

Applicants should have at least 5 years of ministry experience in local church pastoring, mission work or worship ministry. Applicants who do not satisfy this requirement require an interview and screening after consultation.

WMU does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies, admission policies, scholarships, or any other programs or activities.

The following documents must be included in the application process.


Admission requirements

    1. The application form and a non-refundable application fee ($100.00);
    2. Testimony;
    3. Two references;
    4. Master of Divinity degree or a MA in Worship Studies, and for other MA graduates, a minimum of 9 credits in Theology is required.
    5. Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions attended;
    6. Two recent photographs (passport style); and
    7. GPA of 3.0 or higher (out of 4.0) from an accredited school, MA in Worship Studies or MDiv, or equivalent degree holders or graduates.
    8. MA graduates other than MAWS or MDiv must complete at least 9 credits of theology and 6 credits of worship studies.
    9. One page Thesis proposal:

The application form and other materials can be obtained from the admissions office.  They may be requested by phone, mail, or downloaded via the internet. The mailing address and phone/fax numbers are:


Doctoral Program Office

World Mission University

500 Shatto Pl. Suite 400

Los Angeles, CA 90020

Phone: (213) 388-1000/ Fax: (213) 385-2332


Home Page:


The deadline to apply for the Spring semester is the last Friday of December, and for the Fall semester it is the last Friday of May. International students must apply earlier in order to process visas and make the necessary arrangements to enroll.


Admissions Categories

Full Acceptance: A student who has met all the requirements and is fully accepted as a student at WMU.


Provisional Acceptance: A student who is not able to complete the admission file before the deadline may be accepted with full benefits of the school for one semester.  This restricted status allows the student the opportunity to complete the admission file.  If the student fails to move to the full acceptance status within one semester, he or she will be dismissed.

Probationary Acceptance: A student who does not meet the normal academic standards or lacks other qualifications but provides a strong indication for academic success may be accepted on probationary status. The student is granted one year to achieve the academic level or other qualifications necessary to move to full acceptance.


Spiritual Requirements

All applicants to WMU must be born-again Christians whose lives demonstrate excellent Christ-like character and attitude.  Students wishing to enroll at WMU must have a compassionate heart to serve as Christ served and actively engage in the pursuit of spiritual disciplines.


Non-discriminatory Policy

WMU seeks a diverse student body.  Everyone has equal opportunity and access to WMU’s educational programs and activities.  The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, physical condition, or national origin.  Non-discriminatory policies apply to the admissions policy, educational programs, employment, and all other activities that WMU provides.

WMU complies with the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.


Transfer of Credits

WMU DWS program grants credits to the courses taken at other institutions. The regulations related to this practice are as follows:

1.   Up to 12 semester credits 

2.   The doctoral level courses taken at ATS   

member schools, either candidate or full 

members, or the schools with equivalent 

accreditations are transferable at the 

proportion of 1:1, while the courses taken 

at the schools with accreditation inferior to 

ATS member schools, either candidate or 

full members, are transferable at the 

proportion of 3:1

1.     The doctoral level courses taken outside. 

WMU DWS program are to be considered transferable only when the content of the course is the same as or similar. 


Integrated Master’s with Doctoral Degree Program

This program is an integrated program of a master’s degree and a doctoral degree.  Students enrolled in the integrated program focus on the master’s program first and then they can start the doctoral class at the last semester of the master program.  Two courses are waived for the graduation requirements of the master degree.  However, Biblical Theology, Systematic Theology, Spiritual Formation and Discipline, and Leadership Development cannot be waived. Other detailed transfer credit regulations must be followed.


Dissertation Continuation Policy

If the doctoral course work is completed but the thesis is not yet completed, students must register for Dissertation Continuation (1 Unit) each semester.  Student who did not register for the continuation must pay the unpaid amount of fee when they want to continue dissertation later.