Academic Life

Academic Calendars

The ISM follows the academic calendars of its partner professional schools and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which encompasses Yale College and the Graduate School. Please consult the calendar for the relevant entity via the Yale University calendar.

Also see the consolidated calendar page in the ISM bulletin.

ISM Requirements

Institute students are enrolled both in the Institute and in the School of Music and/or the Divinity School, and must follow the curriculum of their respective schools to receive their degrees. They must also follow the curriculum of the ISM to receive the ISM Certificate and maintain their financial aid. Requirements specific to the ISM are summarized below.

Institute students must pass all terms of the ISM Colloquium. Students are required to give a joint colloquium presentation in their final year in the ISM. Students whose presentations do not pass do not receive credit for the term of colloquium in which they presented; therefore they do not receive the ISM Certificate.

ISM-Divinity School Student Requirements

See the Divinity School bulletin for complete YDS degree requirements.

Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.)


Four 3-credit courses with ISM faculty. One course may be substituted with participation for one year in one of the following vocal ensembles: Marquand Choir, Marquand Gospel Choir, Recital Chorus, Repertory Chorus, Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Camerata.


6 credits with ISM faculty

Visual Arts or Music 

12 credits with ISM faculty

Liturgical Studies

Eighteen credit hours of study in the major area, including the introductory core course of the program, Foundations of Christian Worship.

  • Students must take nine credit hours of electives in liturgical studies
    • three credits with an historical focus,
    • three credits with a theological focus, and
    • three credits with a strong methodological or practical component.
  • The remaining six credits may be taken as electives, but students are strongly encouraged to seek out a course in their own denominational worship tradition.
other concentrations (e.g., history of christianity)

At least two 3-credit courses with ISM faculty. (Participation in a vocal ensemble does not count toward this requirement.)

Master of Divinity (M.Div.)

  • One 3-credit course from ISM faculty in each of the following areas:
    • Sacred Music,
    • Worship, and
    • Religion and the Arts (Visual Arts or Literature)
  • Plus, a total of nine credits in other ISM courses. This requirement may be fulfilled by applied music lessons for credit; by participation in any of the listed vocal ensembles; or by upper-level homiletics courses. (Those pursuing the Berkeley certificate are only required to take 3 credits in other ISM courses.)

Master of Sacred Theology (S.T.M.)

Twenty-four credit hours of study, eighteen of which must be in the major area. Six credits may be satisfied by reading courses and/or thesis work.

  • For the S.T.M. in Liturgical Studies, the following courses are required if not taken previously:
    • The introductory core course, Foundations of Christian Worship, REL 682; and
    • Nine credits of limited electives in liturgical studies,
      • three credits with a historical focus,
      • three credits with a theological orientation, and
      • three with a strong methodological or practical component.
  • A thesis, major paper in a regular course, or other acceptable project demonstrating independent research in the selected field of study. ISM students present their work in Colloquium.

ISM-School of Music Students               

See the School of Music bulletin for complete YSM degree requirements.

Note: With the approval of the student’s adviser and ISM director, required School of Music Hearing and History courses may take the place of one or more of these electives. Students may petition the ISM director for exceptions to these expectations. Also be aware that completion of four semesters of the ISM Colloquium counts as one non-performance (NP) course for the M.M. degree.

Master of Music (M.M.) & Master of Musical Arts (M.M.A.)

Choral Conducting

Two courses in the ISM, Yale Divinity School, or Department of Religious Studies


Three courses in the ISM, Yale Divinity School, or Department of Religious Studies


Two courses in the ISM, Yale Divinity School, or Department of Religious Studies

ISM Courses

ISM courses are those taught by ISM faculty or fellows. The most current information is available through Yale Course Search, where one can search by instructor name, school, department, subject, and other fields.

A list of ISM courses for the current academic year is posted for quick reference.

Students must remember to register for Colloquium each semester along with their other courses: REL 3910 for Divinity students, and MUS 519, 619, or 719 for Music students (depending on year of study).


2020–2021 Colloquium Schedule

Attendance Policy

All ISM students are required to attend and participate fully in the weekly colloquium to receive credit each semester. Requests for an excused absence due to a professional obligation must be submitted to for approval in advance by Martin Jean. Students with more than one absence will not receive credit for that semester, and thus not be eligible for the ISM certificate. Absences due to illness should also be reported to prior to the Colloquium session if at all possible.

Student Presentation

The Colloquium student presentation is a requirement for all ISM students in their final year. Each student works collaboratively with a student from another discipline on a topic of their choice related to the ISM’s interdisciplinary focus on sacred music, worship, and the related arts. Students work in pairs comprised of one Music student and one YDS student in the ISM. When numbers in the senior class are uneven, we will require one or more teams of three (usually two Divinity students and one Music student).

S.T.M., D.M.A., and third-year M.M.A. students present by themselves. The topic and bibliography for solo presentations are approved by the faculty advisor and the sirector.

Presentations are graded pass with distinction, pass, pass with reservation, fail. Students receive a summary of faculty comments along with their grade. Excellent examples of past presentations are online. The faculty conducts a Presentation Workshop during a Colloquium session in the fall to offer guidelines for the preparation and delivery of effective presentations.