Worship Arts, B.M.

Degree Program

The Bachelor of Music degree in Worship Arts is offered upon completion of the University baccalaureate and major requirements. The major requirements include completing 64 credits.

Students interested in pursuing the Worship Arts degree must demonstrate commitment to the pursuit of spiritual growth, musical excellence, and theological understanding.

Special Programs/Opportunities


The Conservatory provides opportunities for experience in several types of vocal and instrumental ensembles, including Worship and Popular music Ensembles, the Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Biola Chorale, Symphony Orchestra, Symphonic Winds, Women's Chorus, Men's Chorus, and Chamber Music Ensembles. All are open to Worship majors by audition. In addition, Worship majors may audition to lead worship in the Chapel Bands program.

Concert Series

The Conservatory concert series features outstanding classical guest artists as well as commercial musicians drawn from the recording industry.

Masterclasses and Artist-in-Residence Program

Opportunities for participating in masterclasses with guest artists are available annually. Of special note is the ongoing series of masterclasses and recitals by world-renowned artists, including Menahem Pressler, pianist, Artist-in-Residence.

Local Opportunities

The Southern California area provides exceptional opportunities for hearing the world's leading artists, visiting diverse African-American, Latina, and Korean congregations, and visiting numerous churches and denominations of varying sizes. A unique Worship Forum with specially invited artists, clinicians, song writers, and worship pastors, drawn from the Los Angeles area, occurs weekly.

Service and Internship Opportunities

Volunteer and paid church positions are available for undergraduate Worship majors. Junior and Senior Worship majors experience a formal internship where they received hands-on mentoring. 


Music awards in varying amounts are available to qualified students. Complete information is available by emailing music@biola.edu or by writing:

Director, Conservatory of Music
Biola University
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA 90639-0001

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Music in Worship Arts, students will be able to:

  1. Apply historical and theoretical understanding to the analysis of musical forms, processes, and structures found in masterpieces from the western art music tradition (ULO 1).
  2. Describe how they intend to integrate their faith in their anticipated future professional activities (ULO 2).
  3. Demonstrate basic musicianship skills in sight-singing, dictation, conducting, voice and piano (ULO 2).
  4. Evaluate basic form, harmony, meter, rhythm, voice-leading and developmental techniques found in excerpts and entire pieces from the Western art music tradition, and will experiment with writing music in the same styles (ULO 3).
  5. Apply their stylistic, theoretical, interpretive and technical skills and understanding to create and perform personal, communicative performances on their primary instrument (ULO 3).
  6. Demonstrate how they will connect mind and heart in order to provide spiritual leadership within the local church (ULO 2).
  7. Demonstrate their ability to use contemporary music theory practices and worship-chart vocabulary by writing 'take-down' transcriptions and professional charts (ULO 3).
  8. Demonstrate preparedness for the worship music field by addressing their personal philosophy of worship, demonstrated musical skills, and ability to effectively communicate with a congregation and church leadership (ULO 3).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

All students seeking admission must demonstrate musical background and performance strengths necessary for successful completion of the stated curriculum. Admission into Biola University does not guarantee admission into the Conservatory as a music major. A student will be admitted to the Conservatory of Music after:

  1. Meeting requirements for University admission.
  2. Completing a Conservatory application with the required number of references.
  3. Completing a Conservatory audition, including a basic musicianship examination designed to demonstrate university level music study readiness.

After acceptance and upon entrance, students will be given placement examinations and auditions in music dictation, keyboard skills and performance. These examinations are given for the purpose of validating prior study and determining proper placement in music courses. Specific information concerning the content of these examinations and suggestions for preparation are available by contacting the Conservatory Office.

Transfer of Credit/Advanced Standing

With the exception of courses in music theory, sight-singing and dictation, keyboard skills, and individual performance, courses taken at other regionally accredited colleges and universities in the United States will be accepted on a comparable course basis.

Prior study in the areas of music theory, sight-singing and dictation, keyboard skills, and individual performance will be validated through placement examinations.

Advanced standing may be gained through placement examinations in the areas of music theory, sight-singing and dictation, keyboard skills, and individual performance; however, no credit(s) will be given for waived courses. Waiver of courses on the basis of placement examinations without comparable prior course credit will increase elective credits required.

Credit for courses taken at a non-accredited college or university will be granted only through placement or challenge examinations.

Applied Music

In order to graduate, music students must reach primary applied proficiency level standards designated for each degree program. Applied Music lessons are guided by faculty or studio artists who have expertise and professional experience in the voice or instrument under study. Studio artists are affiliated with Biola via independent contracts and thus do not undergo the same process for hire as do faculty. The studio artists are all highly competent individuals who appreciate Biola and endorse the goals of the Conservatory, but their theological conceptualization has not undergone the same close review as that of the faculty. For more information, see the Conservatory Office.

GPA Requirements

Students in the degree program must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major and receive a minimum grade of "C" in each required course.

Integration Seminar Requirement

Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Music degree program are required to take BBST 465 as "Redeeming Culture through Music" (this course fulfills the integration seminar Bible requirement).

Curriculum Requirements

Program-Specific Core Curriculum Courses
Candidates for the Bachelor of Music degree are exempt from the Core Curriculum requirement in foreign language, literature, and fine arts.
MUSC 126Introduction to Music Technology2
MUSC 127Introduction to Music Production: Pro Tools2
MUSC 145Applied Music (Primary Instrument) 16
MUSC 145Applied Music (Electives) 24
MUSC 153Sight-Singing and Dictation I2
MUSC 154Music Theory I2
MUSC 163Sight-Singing and Dictation II2
MUSC 164Music Theory II2
MUSC 185Worship Foundations2
MUSC 200Concert Music 30
MUSC 317Survey of Western Music I: Classical thru Mid-Twentieth Century3
MUSC 318Survey of Western Music II: Medieval thru Baroque3
MUSC 323Basic Conducting2
MUSC 367Pop Theory for Worship and Commercial Music2
MUSC 368Pop Theory II for Worship and Commercial Music2
MUSC 353Sight-Singing and Dictation III1
MUSC 354Music Theory III2
MUSC 383Congregational Music3
MUSC 386Spiritual Formation and Worship2
MUSC 388The Calling, Character, Competencies of the Worship Leader2
MUSC 389Worship Design and Leadership2
MUSC 452Worship Arts Forum 30
MUSC 453Worship Internship5
MUSC 472Senior Worship Recital/Portfolio1
Elective Courses
Select courses based on a Specialization listed below:4
Guitar Specialization
Advanced Guitar Class I
Advanced Guitar Class II
Select 2 credits of music or non-music electives:
Keyboard Specialization
Survey of Contemporary Keyboard Styles and Techniques
Select 2 credits of music or non-music electives:
Vocal Specialization
Select 4 credits of music or non-music electives
Ensemble Courses
Select 2 credits from the following courses:2
Biola Chorale
Women's Chorus
Men's Chorus
MUSC 013Worship and Popular Music Ensemble 24
Proficiency Courses
The following proficiencies are required in order to complete the program:
Keyboard proficiency equivalent to three semesters of piano class:
Keyboard III
Guitar proficiency equivalent to one semester of guitar class:
Guitar Class
Voice proficiency equivalent to one semester of voice class, or one semester of private voice:
Voice Class
Applied Music
Total Credits64

NOTE: The course sequence table is designed by the major department and is one way that the classes will work out properly in sequence for your major. However, there are alternative or flexible ways to rotate some of the classes within the same year/level and sometimes between year levels. Please contact your major department advisor to discuss flexible alternatives in scheduling the sequence of your classes.

Taking coursework during the summer session may also be an option to accelerate your degree path.

See Core Curriculum Program section for a list of approved Core Curriculum courses.

Worship Arts, B.M.

First Year
BBST 103 or 1653BBST 103 or 1653
Music9BBST 209 or 2103
ENGL 100 or 1123Music6
GNST 1021Science (see Core Curriculum)3
 MATH 12111
 16 16
Total Credits 32
Second Year
BBST 209 or 2103BBST 2513
Communication (see Core Curriculum)3HIST 100 or 1013
 KNES 1071
 14 16
Total Credits 30
Third Year
BBST 3543BBST 3653
HIST 200, 201, or POSC 2253Behavioral Science (see Core Curriculum)3
Writing Competency RequirementMATH 12211
 KNES Activity (see Core Curriculum)1
 Graduation Petition due in Registrar's Office
 16 15
Total Credits 31
Fourth Year
BBST 465 (Redeeming Culture Thru Music - required)3BBST 300/400 Bible Elective3
Music8BBST 306, 316, or 3263
ENGL 3133Music7
MATH 12311Philosophy (see Core Curriculum)3
 15 16
Total Credits 31