MSM Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Entrance Exams and Proficiency Requirements

All students will be required to take entrance exams in music history and music theory before beginning their first term of study. If exams are not passed, the following courses are required in the respective areas:

Music History: MUHI 5100 Music History Review

Music Theory: MUTH 6123, 6124, 6125 Graduate Theory Review

Spiritual Formation

All students completing the M.S.M. are required to register for the program in spiritual formation. Students are required to attend a daylong orientation held in conjunction with the new student orientation program and are then enrolled in formation groups. These groups meet weekly throughout the fall and spring terms during the first year of the program.
Led by facilitators in groups of five to 10, students share in a formative experience designed to provide them with the framework of a common experience, emphasizing:
The opportunity to explore the vital connection between spiritual formation and ministry
Opportunities to explore the central genius of spiritual traditions
The development of a critical capacity that will allow the student to evaluate those traditions theologically
Broad-based exposure to a variety of spiritual disciplines
Experience in prayer and devotion
Students are evaluated and given credit by the group facilitators on the basis of attendance and engagement with the subject matter of the formation process. Students should register in both the fall and spring of the first year. Exceptions to this rule must be requested in writing from the director of Spiritual Life and Formation.

The Supervised Practicum

Students are required to participate in a church music leadership capacity in a congregation, usually in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, for the duration of the Master of Sacred Music program (usually two years). Once a position is secured, a supervised practicum committee will be selected in conjunction with the student's field supervisor. The sacred music faculty request an evaluation from the student's field supervisor each semester.  Each semester, all MSM students will enroll for a non-credit course as designated by the Registrar (CM 8021, CM 8022, CM 8023) except for the spring term of either their first or second year when students will enroll in CM 8120 Supervised Practicum. The Sacred Music office provides assistance in securing placement in view of each student’s pedagogical and financial needs. A professor in the Sacred Music program will serve as a liaison between Perkins and the student’s church so that the student has sufficient support to meet the requirements of the practicum.

In the final semester of a student's course of study, a sacred music faculty member will observe a rehearsal and meet with the supervisory committee. If the rehearsal observation is satisfactory, the student will present a service of worship in her/his church to complete CM 8120. Following the service, the faculty member will meet with the supervisory committee for an evaluation. If the supervisory committee's evaluation is satisfactory, the service becomes the graduate project for the M.S.M. degree and a final grade (pass/fail) will be assigned by an evaluating M.S.M. faculty member.

Admission to Candidacy

M.S.M. students will be reviewed for admission to formal candidacy for the degree in the spring term following the completion of 27 term hours of academic work. A student will be admitted to candidacy provided that he or she has achieved a grade average of 3.00, is not on academic probation and is not disqualified for having given insufficient evidence of fitness for ministry (See “Fitness for Ministry” below.) Admission to formal candidacy signifies that the student is proceeding satisfactorily in his or her work and may be considered for the degree upon completion of all the requirements, but it does not oblige the seminary to grant the degree.

Comprehensive Examinations

During the final semester of study, each student will be given a set of comprehensive written examinations covering the major areas of study and related fields. Satisfactory performance on these examinations and a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.00 or B on all M.S.M. work are required for graduation.

Fitness for Ministry

Beyond the formal academic requirements, each student is expected to show evidence of personal fitness for ministry. This fitness may be defined positively as the presence of emotional, moral and spiritual qualities requisite for the profession of ministry. A lack of fitness for ministry may be demonstrated by patterns of personal behavior that inhibit effective ministry. Examples of such patterns include irresponsibility in social and/or professional relations and emotional instability. Formally, the presence of patterns of personal behavior tending to be seriously disabling to ministry may be grounds for the faculty to disqualify a student from graduation with the M.S.M. degree. If the prognosis justifies it, the committee may choose to defer awarding the degree until such time as the disabling pattern is overcome.
It should be emphasized that personal fitness for ministry is not defined narrowly in terms of a particular form of piety or style of personal behavior, nor does Perkins assume the role that belongs properly to those agencies of the church that evaluate candidates for ordination. When asked, it assists such agencies in their evaluations.

Time Limit

All requirements for the M.S.M. degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the time of initial registration.