You & the ISM


Are you interested in pursuing a graduate education in Music?  Theology?  Worship? Literature? Art?  All of the above?  Then you’ve come to the right place!The Institute of Sacred Music is an interdisciplinary graduate center dedicated to the study and practice of sacred music, worship, and the arts. This small community of approximately 120 students, faculty, fellows and staff functions as a creative space for scholarship, worship, performance and practice.  The Institute’s curriculum integrates the study and practice of religion with that of music and the arts. Our student body encompasses a wide range of academic and artistic interests, and the degree programs offered through the ISM allow students to tailor their course of study to their specific interdisciplinary pursuits.  Students and faculty have dual identities at Yale. They are at once full-fledged members of the Institute and either (or both) the School of Music or Divinity School.  As a result, ISM students have a unique opportunity to focus their degree electives in the intersection of sacred music, worship, literature and visual arts.  In addition, students participate in this interdisciplinary conversation through weekly Colloquium sessions, where students, faculty, and guest lecturers give presentations on their research and practice in their respective disciplines.  The Institute’s curriculum is flexible, offering the best of training in your own field, while supplementing it with exposure to and education in other fields. For example:

  • As a church musician, you will learn more about the theological and liturgical contexts of the traditions in which you will work.
  • As a performer, you will explore more than the notes on page for that Bach aria or work of Britten or Palestrina you are performing. You come to recognize the importance of knowing about the sacred texts on which these works are based.
  • As a future ordained minister, you will make connections between theology and the arts, understanding that this will enhance your ministry.
  • As a scholar or teacher, you will understand the religious, cultural, and political contexts from which the sacred object, space, or text you are studying comes.

We encourage students and faculty to seek out new modes of learning, knowledge, and skills that go beyond the traditional degree in music or theology. The Institute is the ideal environment in which to make these connections.


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