Institute of Sacred Music

Institute students who are also enrolled in YDS pursue the M.A.R., the M.Div., or the S.T.M. degree with particular interest in sacred music, worship, and the arts. More detailed information is online or in the ISM Bulletin, also online at

Applicants must complete a separate ISM application for admission to the Institute of Sacred Music.

The ISM certificate that students receive at graduation signifies that the core curriculum of the chosen degree path has been enriched and deepened through study with the interdisciplinary Institute faculty. For example, music students will learn about the theological and liturgical roots of the sacred music they perform. They study the historical context and meanings of the texts used, and they learn about the modern contexts in which this repertoire appears, whether in liturgies or on the concert stage. Likewise, divinity students learn to make connections between theological concepts and artistic expression. They look at the historical roots and aesthetic constructions of the art and liturgies they study.

At the heart of the Institute’s program is the weekly Colloquium, a lively interdisciplinary course attended by all ISM faculty and students. Faculty and guest speakers lecture in the fall on topics pertinent to the primary fields represented in ISM—worship, music, and the arts—and in their final year students present a project in collaboration with another ISM student outside their own discipline. In Colloquium, students and faculty explore the ways in which music and the arts function within diverse Christian liturgical practices.