B.S. Degree in Music in Worship

Musically, the foundation of the program is a core of traditional music courses including two years of theory and aural skills; studies in music history, keyboard, guitar, voice, and basic conducting; and classical applied lessons. Additional coursework is offered in pop theory, digital recording, and sound reinforcement. Worship majors participate in weekly seminars featuring nationally known leaders in worship music and performing Christian musicians. Private lessons are available in acoustic and electric guitar, bass, drums and electronic keyboards with top studio and church musicians from around the Los Angeles area.

In addition, the program includes offerings in worship theology and spiritual formation intended to provide foundational understanding of worship as found in Scripture and tools to cultivate a life-long relationship with Christ, which is clearly at the core of effective worship leading. A generous number of elective hours allow students to pursue in greater depth other interests such as technology, performance, church ministries or a host of other options. Finally, the program includes internships at prominent southern California churches.

The need for a well-designed course of study for leaders who guide the church in corporate worship has never been greater. Biola University is uniquely situated to meet the church's need, linking the university's musical and theological resources with the vast array of church-related resources available in the greater Los Angeles area. We have spent several years cultivating relationships with churches and now have a vast network of resources that serve to supply internship opportunities, guest speakers, clinicians, and worship leaders.

Worship Music Requirements

Course Units
Worship Foundations 2
Designing & Leading Worship 2
Applied Music 8
Music Technology & Sound Production 2
Music History 6-7
Music Theory (I-IV) 8
Sight Singing and Dictation (I-IV) 6
Pop Theory for Contemporary Worship 3
Basic Conducting 2
Ensembles 4
Spiritual Formation and Worship 2
Worship Leading Internship 6
Worship Music Seminar (weekly) 0
Electives (options below)
Worship Band Ensemble
Sound Reinforcement and Recording
Total Units  

Bible Requirements

Course Units
Bible Courses 27
Integration Seminar - Worship 3
Total Units 30

General Education Requirements

Total Units 40

Admission Dates to Know

Find out more about application and audition guidelines.


Within each major, Conservatory of Music offers 5 emphases:

Students in the Worship degree program must maintain a 2.00 GPA within the major and receive a minimum grade of "C-" in each music course.

Proficiencies expected upon entrance into the program:

  • Keyboard proficiency (equivalent to three semesters of class piano)
  • Guitar proficiency (equivalent to one semester of guitar class)
  • Voice proficiency (equivalent to one semester of voice class + one semester of private voice)

Course Descriptions

MUSC 185 Worship Foundations (2) Survey of worship in the bible from Genesis to Revelation. Key worship passages, biblical models of worship (Tabernacle, Temple, Synagogue, Pauline Worship, Worship in Revelation) and their contemporary counterparts and applications. Emphasis on the theology of worship.

MUSC 287 Hymnology (1) A study of hymns with outstanding melodies that (1) communicate through narrative the biblical story, (2) emphasize the experiential/devotional side of faith, and especially (3) teach theology and the major doctrines of the Christian faith. Classic and modern hymns will be sung, their lyrics discussed and memorized, and effective ways of presenting them in worship services will be explored. 

MUSC 346 & 349 Pop Theory for Contemporary Worship I & II (3) Knowledge and use of standard and emerging pop symbols. The creation of worship charts, lead sheets, chord substitutions, simplified hymn harmonizations, modulations, segues, intros, outros, turnarounds.

Applied Music (Various) (1 - 2) Applied instruction in piano, organ, harpsichord, voice, brass instruments, string instruments, woodwind instruments, percussion instruments, conducting, composition or improvisation.

MUSC 307 History/Literature:Medieval-Baroque (2) A historical and critical study of the period including important contributions in musical literature, theory and performance practice. Special attention will be given to the analysis of selected vocal and instrumental works.

MUSC 154 & 164 Music Theory I&II (4) The study of the following music fundamentals: elementary acoustics, keyboard layout, intervals, scales, key signatures, triads, figured bass, diatonic voice-leading, cadences, elementary harmonic progressions, meter, rhythm, time signatures, and staff notation.

MUSC 354 & 364 Music Theory III&IV (4) Common practice diatonic harmony. Emphasis on voice leading and harmonic progressions: altered dominants, borrowed chords, augmented chords and modulations. Study of chromatic harmony, Impressionism and other 20th century practices.

MUSC 153 & 163 Sight-Singing and Dictation I&II (4) These courses will encompass the sight-singing and transcribing of diatonic and simple chromatic melodies with greater rhythmic complexity, triads in all inversions, dominant seventh chords and altered non-harmonic tones.

MUSC 353 & 363 Sight-Singing and Dictation III&IV (2) Focus on dominant and non-dominant seventh chords, altered non-harmonic tones, secondary dominants, complex diatonic and chromatic and modulating melodies.

MUSC 124 & 125 Sound Production (2) 

MUSC 347 Music Technology (2) Emphasis on synthesizers, sampling, MIDI, sequencing, acoustic, multi-track recording, effects processing, mixing, editing, and music production software.

MUSC 323 Basic Conducting (2) Basic conducting skills; the psychology of conducting; observation of choral and orchestral rehearsals.

Ensemble (Various) (1-3) Please visit our Ensembles page for more information.

MUSC 386 Spiritual Formation and Worship (2) Introduction into the nature of spiritual formation and its relationship to worship in personal and corporate settings. Emphasis on the nature of spiritual growth, psychological hindrances, and the dynamics of assisting others into true, meaningful worship. Contains a spiritual direction component with Biola’s Center for Spiritual Renewal.

MUSC 387 Designing & Leading Worship (2) How to craft a theological, relevant service; overseeing the sound and media; clarifying the role of visuals; building the team and managing rehearsals; working with the band; relating to pastor. Emphasis on skill development and student projects.

MUSC 452 Worship Music Seminar (0) A weekly, 90 minute, enrichment seminar. LA area worship leaders, pastors, industry professionals, visiting guests, and Biola professors share and interact on a wide range of worship topics, skills, and technologies.

MUSC 453 Worship Leading Internship (6) A supervised ministry experience limited to juniors and seniors. Growth through direct field experience, mentoring, reflection, feedback and evaluation by the local church supervisor and Biola faculty. Best taken concurrently with other classes and spread out over 1-3 semesters. May be taken in blocks of 2-6 units.

BBST 465 Integration Seminar - Worship (3) Senior level capstone seminar in which the students will search the bible and literature dealing with the topic of worship.

MUSC 211 Improvisation: Concepts/Practice (2)
(Worship Elective) A skill improvement course focusing on rhythmic freedom, melodic embellishment, and harmonic innovation. Hymns and worship choruses are used as basic material.

MUSC 002U Worship Band Ensemble (1)
(Worship Elective)

MUSC 330 Sound Reinforcement and Recording (1) (Worship Elective)

MUSC 270 Songwriting (1) (Worship Elective)