Your Future in Music and Worship Leadership

A Bachelor of Arts in music and worship leadership degree from Charleston Southern University prepares students to be worship leaders, creative arts pastors, and music directors in the local church, as well as contemporary Christian artists, commercial recording artists and song writers/producers. 

The music and worship leadership program provides practical experiences from writing original music to composing and arranging songs using digital software to specialized classes in sound engineering, conducting, guitar, vocal training and piano. Several options of modern worship ensembles and practical experiential learning opportunities exist to prepare you for your future. A 12-week internship is required in the last semester of enrollment. In addition to the required music courses, this degree has a specially designed cognate of Christian studies courses that are designed to help worshipers learn good theological practice. 

CSU is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

Marshall Forrester

Marshall Forrester

Chair of the Division of Music and Performing Arts and Director of Bands

Music and Worship Leadership: it's a calling

If you are looking to be a musician in the local church at a professional level, or you are interested in songwriting or song recording, this is the major for you. You can also use this degree (or any music degree from CSU) to continue your education at the master’s level. Music and worship leadership students are able to continue in either a music route or a seminary route.

As a Music and Worship Leadership major, you’ll take courses like…

  • Studio Proficiency
  • Advanced Conducting
  • Ensembles
  • Introduction to Language Diction
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Song Writing and Arranging for Worship

Graduates are equipped for a variety of career paths.

  • Worship Leaders/Pastors
  • Creative Arts Ministers
  • Music Directors
  • Commercial Recording Artists
  • Songwriters/Producers

You can choose from these emphases.

The Bachelor of Arts in music and worship leadership (instrumental and piano) degree is for students who wish to pursue extensive instrumental study. You will have an opportunity to perfect your craft, developing technique, tone, musicianship, repertoire, stage presence, pedagogy and professionalism. Students are afforded many opportunities to perform in various ensembles as well as solo and chamber recitals to hone their abilities. You will prepare two solo recitals and also have opportunities to perform in the community at various venues and on regional, national and international trips.

The Horton School of Music faculty are members of and perform regularly with renowned professional music organizations such as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Charleston Jazz Orchestra, North Charleston Pops Orchestra and are frequent recitalists at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Members of the faculty have professional recordings and Grammy nominations to their credit. Performance major graduates are equipped to continue studies in graduate school, perform professionally, open a private studio, or pursue other avenues in arts industries.

The Bachelor of Arts in music and worship leadership (vocal) degree is for students who wish to pursue extensive study in voice. The coursework for the student majoring in this degree involves intensive studio study, participation in solo and ensemble performances, and requires a 30-minute junior and a 60-minute senior recital.

This degree program offers students an opportunity to perfect their craft, delving into technique, stage presence, multilanguage diction, and acting. Students are afforded many opportunities to work in various ensembles and stage productions as well as solo and chamber recitals to hone their abilities. Students prepare two solo recitals and also have opportunity to work with area ensembles such as the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Summerville Orchestra, Lowcountry Voices and more. Additionally, students have many opportunities to perform both on and off campus at regional festivals, churches and schools.


A view from above a Horton School of Music concert on the Lightsey Chapel Auditorium stage.

Horton School of Music

The Horton School of Music prepares students for careers as professional musicians, educators and music therapists as well as serving as a center of musical art and culture for the Charleston region and beyond. We also provide numerous courses and performance opportunities for nonmusic majors, as well as opportunities for members of the community to learn about music as a part of human culture and experience.

explore our facilities

Lightsey Chapel Auditorium & Lightsey Music Building

The chapel seats 1,500 and is a multipurpose facility equipped with a modern stage and support equipment. The Margaret Kelly Hamrick Prayer Room is located at the front of the building. Named for W. Norris and Nell Peeples Lightsey.

The music building, located behind Lightsey Chapel, houses faculty offices for the Horton School of Music, music practice facilities and the theatre program’s Black Box Theatre. Named for Nell Peeples Lightsey.

Whittington Hall

The building houses music classrooms, a rehearsal hall, music practice rooms, a music technology lab and faculty offices. Named for Jeff and Bernice Whittington.


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