in person

Church Music

Doctor of Church Music

This program is no longer accepting applications.

One of the only programs of its kind, CGU’s Doctor of Church Music (DCM) provides professional training in either organ or choral conducting that prepares you for a career and life in the realm of sacred music.

Our program integrates excellence in church music performance with a strong theological background. You will study the full range and many forms of sacred music—from sacred polyphony to modern forms—in order to achieve deep focus in performance. Faculty includes highly trained performers and musical scholars whose diverse interests range across musicology, performance, and composition; they bring their passion for music and scholarship into the classroom and have a special understanding of music’s role as an expression of faith. With their help, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of faith’s relationship to the arts that will ready you to lead parish music ministries as a cantor, director, or minister of music or to assume other roles as a pastoral musician or organist.

Program Highlights
  • The Music Department puts on an array of concerts at CGU that provide ample performance opportunities.
  • Studio faculty are drawn from The Claremont Colleges and the outstanding pool of musicians in the greater Los Angeles area.
  • CGU is home to the highly respected music journal Performance Practice Review.
  • Historical performance practice programs will connect you with period instruments that include three harpsichords, a fortepiano, a chamber organ, and various stringed instruments.

Program At-a-glance

  • 72 units

    required units

  • Doctor of Church Music

    degree awarded

  • In Person


  • Spring, Summer, Fall

    program start

  • 3-5 years | full time*

    estimated completion time

Areas of Concentration

  • Organ Conducting

  • Choral Conducting

Request info Apply now

Gigi Audoma

Director of Recruitment for the School of Arts & Humanities


Where You Can Find Our Alumni


  • Portrait of Robert Zappulla

    Robert Zappulla

    Professor of Music
    Fred W. Smith and Grace Hobson Smith Chair in Music
    Chair, Department of Music

    Research Interests

    Harpsichord, Historical performance practices, Baroque music

  • Portrait of Peter Boyer

    Peter Boyer

    Professor of Music
    Helen M. Smith Chair in Music

    Research Interests

    Composition, Conducting, American film music, 20th- and 21st-Century music, American composers

  • Jenny-Soonjin Kim

    Jenny Soonjin Kim

    Assistant Professor of Practice

    Research Interests

    Piano, Fortepiano, 18th & 19th-century performance practices, 20th century atonal piano compositions, digital keyboard laboratory, the board of directors of Los Angeles Master Chorale: Education Committee and Gala Host Committee


Core Requirements
All MA in Music required courses

Doctorate Requirements

  • Four units: Words and Music in the Middle Ages
  • Eight units: 2 MUS 401-406 Era Courses
  • Music electives: As needed
  • 12 units: Individual Lessons
  • Three units: Basic Aspects of the Study of the First Testament or Basic Aspects of the Study of the New Testament
  • Three units: Major Christian Doctrines or Backgrounds of Twentieth Century Theology
  • Four units: Elective in theology
  • Three recitals
  • DCM paper
  • One Transdisciplinary Studies course

Capstone Project
For those who write music, the culmination of their CGU music education is the opportunity to present an original composition. Though there is no strictly prescribed form, in most cases, work will involve orchestra or large ensemble (soloists, choral forces, or electronics as additional components are possibilities). Whether you write and perform a symphony or concerto, it’s the best way to test and establish your musical vision.

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