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

3-5 years

*Actual completion times will vary and may be higher, depending on full- or part-time course registration, units transferred, and time to complete other degree requirements.

Fall | Spring | Summer


Doctor of Church Music

Featured Courses

20th Century

Surveys concert music literature in Europe and the United States from approximately 1900 to the present, focusing on musical style and structure during this period and the many remarkable changes that occurred in the last century.

Romantic: 19th Century

Addresses the conceptual roots of romanticism, early uses of the term as well as its influence, the period of time customarily assigned to this “era” for the study of music history, and repertory.

REL 362
Theories of Religion

Takes an in-depth survey of the major theories of religion as they are portrayed through some of their influential interpreters in the post-Enlightenment West.

REL 416
Religion in America: 1865-present

Explores some of the most important and innovative recent scholarly work examining the significance and shape of religion in the modern United States.

REL 323
The Origins & Influences of the Zoroastrian Tradition

Examines the background and beginnings of the Zoroastrian religion and its role in the three great Iranian Empires: Ancient Persian, Parthian, and Sasanian.

Bishops & Orthodoxy

Investigates the politics of theology in the formation and evolution of orthodoxy through episcopal letters, canons of church councils, ordination liturgies, and biographies of famous bishops.

Areas of Concentration


Student Spotlight



Core Requirements
All MA in Music required courses

Doctorate Requirements

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.

Faculty & Research

  • Robert Zappulla profile image

    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

  • Peter Boyer profile image

    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 profile image

    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

Where You Can Find Our Alumni

Request information about the Church Music program

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Jill Steggall

Assistant Director of Admissions
T: 909-607-1186