Sacred Music

The Mission of the Sacred Music program is to offer graduate level educational opportunities to practicing credentialed ministry professionals. The degrees recognize the students’ level of experience and expertise already achieved and prepare them for employment and/or the pursuit of advanced study in music and ministry-related fields. The core curriculum, which can be tailored to fit the specific needs of individual students, focuses on the refinement of established applied music skills, and the pursuit of advanced historical and liturgical studies. These educational goals are accomplished through adept instruction, creative choices, and the flexibility of the Graduate Theological Foundation model.   


Degree Programs

Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.)
 
Description  
The Master of Sacred Music has become the standard first professional degree for persons engaged in parish music ministries. Persons serving in any religious tradition as a cantor, director or minister of music, pastoral musician, pastor of worship, organist, etc., and who possess an undergraduate degree in some area of music, are welcome to apply. The degree includes the traditional interdisciplinary studies of a master’s degree in this field (sacred music foundation, hymnology, liturgy, parish music literature and administration, applied work, and theological study).
 
Each Sacred Music degree candidate will be assigned a graduate music advisor who is also a member of the Sacred Music faculty. The candidate’s individual course of study will be developed through dialogue between the student and the advisor. While attention will be given to creating a well-rounded curriculum, the advisor will be particularly sensitive and responsive to the goals of each student and the curriculum will be personalized to reflect those goals. Study through the GTF is multi-residential and inter-institutional in nature. Specific area requirements may be acquired by taking a traditional course, by directed study, or through a combination of short-term courses, workshops, master classes, or private instruction at the institutions of the candidate’s choice. The candidate will develop a plan of study and be responsible for documenting his/her progress and achievements. The M.S.M. Project may take the form of a recital, a choral/instrumental performance, the writing of a traditional thesis, the composition and performance of an original work or set of works, or the development of an in-ministry activity based on the student’s particular area of interest and context need. 
 
This degree is a 30 credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than four years. 
  • 18 credits (6 courses)
  • 12 credits (Exit Project or NPO) 
You can read more about the Master of Sacred Music program here.
 
Doctor of Sacred Music (D.S.M.)
 
Description  
The Doctor of Sacred Music is a second level professional degree for persons engaged in parish music ministries as a cantor, director or minister of music, pastoral musician, pastor of worship, organist, etc., or in other contexts in which the individual serves in a sacred music capacity, such as a music missionary. Persons who possess a master’s degree in church, liturgical or sacred music, or who have earned a master’s degree in another area of music within which sacred music study was undertaken, are welcome to apply.
 
Each Sacred Music degree candidate will be assigned a Graduate Music Advisor who is also a member of the Sacred Music faculty.  The candidate’s individual course of study will be developed through dialogue between the student and the advisor. While attention will be given to creating a well-rounded curriculum, the advisor will be particularly sensitive and responsive to the goals of each student and the curriculum will be personalized to reflect those goals.  The D.S.M. is designed to enable the candidate to develop a sequence of ten units which will focus on an area of sacred music previously lacking in the candidate’s training, or focus on taking an area of musical expertise to a higher level. Students may specialize in a performance area, musical composition, research, parish music administration, or other in-ministry concerns. Study for the units may be acquired by attending a traditional graduate level course, by directed study, or through a combination of short-term courses, seminars, workshops, master classes, or private instruction at the institutions of the candidate’s choice. Depending on the nature of the plan of studies, the D.S.M. Project may take the form of a recital or a lecture-recital, a choral/instrumental performance, the writing of a traditional thesis, the composition and performance of an original work or set of works, or the development of an in-ministry activity based on the student’s particular area of interest and context need.
 
This degree is a 36 credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than four years. 
  • 30 credits (10 courses)
  • 6 credits (Exit Project or Non-Project Option)
You can read more about the Doctor of Sacred Music program here.
 

Admission Requirements
 
Master of Sacred Music
  1. Baccalaureate degree or equivalent in some area of music validated by a transcript.
  2. Five years accumulated experience in music ministry.
  3. Completion of the Application Procedure, which includes the submission of a performance portfolio detailing the student’s musical experiences, including when appropriate, video and/or audio recordings representative of the student’s musical skills and performance expertise.
Doctor of Sacred Music
  1. Baccalaureate degree or equivalent in some area of music validated by a transcript.
  2. Master's degree in sacred music or other area of music, validated by a transcript.
  3. Five years of accumulated experience in music ministry.
  4. Completion of the Application Procedure, which includes the submission of a performance portfolio detailing the student’s musical experiences, including when appropriate, video and/or audio recordings representative of the student’s musical skills and performance expertise.

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Graduate Music Advisor

Each Sacred Music degree candidate will be assigned a Graduate Music Advisor who is also a member of the Sacred Music faculty.  The candidate’s individual course of study will be developed through dialogue between the student and the advisor. While attention will be given to creating a well-rounded curriculum, the advisor will be particularly sensitive and responsive to the goals of each student and the curriculum will be personalized to reflect those goals. 
 
To view the Advising and Course Planning Guide for Sacred Music Degrees, please click here.
 

Post-Acceptance Assessments
Students will complete the required GTF theory and music history placement assessments prior to enrolling in courses.  Placement assessments will be reviewed by both the student and the Graduate Music Advisor and will be used to develop a well-rounded, individualized course of study.
 

Core Curriculum
The GTF’s Core Curriculum for the Sacred Music programs is a place to begin course selection and can be tailored to meet the needs of the student. We believe this curriculum represents a well-rounded foundation to the graduate level study of Sacred Music. Students may choose from any of our online courses, tailoring their course selection according to their interests and professional needs coupled with the recommendations of their Student Advisor. Course choice will be informed by multiple variables; performance on post-acceptance assessments, the student’s performance portfolio, the student’s area of interest and past experience along with input from the Graduate Music Advisor. The Core Curriculum for the Sacred Music program is as follows.

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Program Requirements
 
Master of Sacred Music
  1. Students are expected to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook of the year of their acceptance with particular focus on their degree program.  Students are bound by the academic and financial requirements of the Handbook in use at the time of their acceptance. 
  2. Students will complete the required GTF theory and music history placement assessments prior to enrolling in courses.  Placement assessments will be reviewed by both the student and the Sacred Music Student Advisor and will be used to develop a well-rounded, individualized course of study.
  3. Each candidate’s core curriculum courses will be determined through dialogue with the graduate music advisor.  Once the core has been established, the student will complete six Units of Study, three required from the Graduate Theological Foundation, and three taken from the GTF or other approved educational institutions. 
  4. Completion of the non-credit course, Research Methodology. This course is a prerequisite to beginning the doctoral project.
  5. Completion of the M.S.M. project and submission of one electronic or hard copy including the Project Consultant’s evaluation forms. All academic requirements must be met by February 1 prior to graduation.
  6. Attendance at the Convocation/Graduation (Non-US residents are exempt from this requirement.)
Doctor of Sacred Music
  1. Students are expected to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook of the year of their acceptance with particular focus on their particular degree program.  Students are bound by the academic and financial requirements of the Handbook in use at the time of their acceptance.  The current Student Handbook as well as past years’ Handbooks can be viewed here.
  2. Students will complete the required GTF theory and music history placement assessments prior to enrolling in courses.  Placement assessments will be reviewed by both the student and the Sacred Music Student Advisor and will be used to develop a well-rounded, individualized course of study.
  3. Completion of ten Units of Study:
    1. Each candidate’s core curriculum courses will be determined through dialogue with the Graduate Music Advisor.  Once the core has been established, the student will complete five Units of Study taken from the Graduate Theological Foundation. Students may choose from any of our online courses, tailoring their course selection according to their interests and professional needs coupled with the recommendations of their Graduate Music Advisor.
    2. Five Units of Study must be completed through the GTF, through other approved educational institutions, or through the use of transfer credit.
  1. Completion of the non-credit course, Research Methodology. This course is a prerequisite to beginning the doctoral project.
  2. Completion of the Doctoral Project and submission of one electronic copy including the Project Consultant’s evaluation forms.   All academic requirements must be met by February 1 prior to graduation.
  3. Attendance at the Convocation/Graduation (Non-US residents are exempt from this requirement).

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Faculty
 
Vivian Robles Dettbarn-Slaughter
Fellow and Professor of Sacred Music
- D.S.M. (Graduate Theological Foundation)
- M.A. (Appalachian State University)
- B.A. (University of California )
Profile| E-mail
 
Martha Sobaje
Professor of Sacred Music
- D.S.M. (Graduate Theological Foundation)
- M.M. (Eastman School of Music)
- B.M. (University of the Pacific in Stockton, California)
Profile| E-mail
 
Brian Taylor
Professor of Sacred Music
- D.S.M. (Graduate Theological Foundation)
- M.Div. (Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
- M.S.M. (Southern Methodist University )
- M.M. (Southern Methodist University )
- B.M. (Westminster Choir College)
Profile| E-mail
 
Christoph Tietze
Professor of Sacred Music
- D.S.M. (Graduate Theological Foundation)
- M.M.A. (Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University)
- M.M. (Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University)
- B.A. (San Jose State University)
Profile| E-mail
 

Tuition
 
Total Program Cost amounts include all required courses if taken through the Graduate Theological Foundation.   The acceptance of transfer credit will decrease total program cost.
                 
Transfer Credit
Any student wishing to have previously completed academic work evaluated for possible transfer credit or wishing to complete coursework through a venue other than the Graduate Theological Foundation for use as transfer credit toward a degree, must contact the Office of the Registrar for approval. Accepted transfer credit has the potential to decrease the total tuition paid by the student. Requests for acceptance of transfer credit are reviewed on a case by case basis.
 
Tuition payment schedule for Masters Degrees
1/3 of total fees paid within 30 days of acceptance
1/3 of total fees paid within one year of the date of acceptance
1/3 of total fees paid by March 1 of the year of graduation
 
Payment Plan Option
Students who are unable to make tuition payments in three installments may request to be placed on a payment plan.  The payment plan option allows the student to make small monthly or quarterly tuition payments for the duration of the degree program.  There is no interest charged on payment plans.  If a student requests a mailed invoice as a reminder to make payment, there is a ten dollar fee per invoice.
 
If you have a question for the Bursar please click here or contact our office 9am-3pm EST.
 
Master of Sacred Music
Total Program Cost:  $14,400
Degree candidates are bound by the regulations of the Student Handbook of the year in which they are accepted into their program of study. Tuition fees will not change during a student’s course of study, providing the student submits payments and papers on schedule and completes the degree program within the prescribed time. If the student does not conform to scheduled payment and/or paper submission deadlines, the student’s file will be deactivated. Upon reactivation, the student will be responsible for the tuition and degree requirements which are current at the time of reactivation.
 
Doctor of Sacred Music
Total Program Cost:  $17,500
Degree candidates are bound by the regulations of the Student Handbook of the year in which they are accepted into their program of study. Tuition fees will not change during a student’s course of study, providing the student submits payments and papers on schedule and completes the degree program within the prescribed time. If the student does not conform to scheduled payment and/or paper submission deadlines, the student’s file will be deactivated. Upon reactivation, the student will be responsible for the tuition and degree requirements which are current at the time of reactivation.

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