2014–15 Undergraduate Catalog
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About Seattle Pacific University

“Seattle Pacific University seeks to be a premier Christian University fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character, becoming people of wisdom and modeling grace-filled community.”
– Mission Statement Seattle Pacific University

Engaging the Culture, Changing the World
Statement of Faith for Seattle Pacific University
Our Educational Philosophy
Our Christian Community
Our Location
Our History
Our Traditions
Accreditation and Affiliation
Our Resources for Learning



Urban Center
Seattle Pacific University's location in a thriving, world-class city is a tremendous asset for students. Seattle is a major trade center, popular tourist destination, and gateway to Canada and the Pacific Rim. The city is surrounded by water and mountains, which make seagulls, bridges, ferryboats, and snow-capped peaks part of everyday life.

The region is also home to corporate giants such as Microsoft, Boeing, and Nintendo, as well as home to the headquarters of World Relief and World Vision, and site of the renowned Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. A strong multicultural flavor is the result of business ties and exchanges with nations including China, Japan, Korea, and Russia.

Known as an “arts” town, Seattle has the highest live-theatre attendance per capita of any major city. Seattle also field teams in these major-league sports: the Seattle Storm, regular WNBA playoff contenders; the Seattle Mariners, American League West baseball pennant winners;Major League Soccer's popular Seattle Sounders FC, and NFL's Super Bowl 48 champions Seattle Seahawks.

Combining classroom education with practical experience is often the best way to master a discipline – and Seattle's urban opportunities offer students that critical link.

As part of their educational program, many SPU students work 10–20 hours per week for a wide array of businesses and organizations such as Microsoft, Boeing, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, KING 5 TV, the Empty Space Theatre, the State Attorney General's Office, the Seattle Opera, and elsewhere. [Maps]

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Pacific Northwest
Because of its natural assets, the Pacific Northwest offers unparalleled recreational opportunities: hiking, skiing, boating, fishing, and scuba diving, to name a few. One of the most popular ways to tour the 2,000 miles of Puget Sound shoreline is by ferryboat. And day trips from campus can lead you to waterfalls, ice caves, steam trains, totem poles, tide pools, and floating bridges.

At SPU's two island campuses, the beauty of the Pacific Northwest provides rest and research possibilities. At seaside Camp Casey on Whidbey Island, retreats and workshops are conducted in the rustic setting of a former military fort. On a 965-acre environmental preserve on Blakely Island, students study life above and below the sea.


In 1891, delegates to the Oregon and Washington Conference of the Free Methodist Church voted to establish a school in Seattle where students would be educated and trained for missionary service by teachers whose lives represented the highest in Christian values. Nils Peterson, a homesteader living on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill, deeded five acres of his property to begin what would be called Seattle Seminary. Hiram Pease, another Queen Anne resident, volunteered most of the capital and much hard work to erect the school's first structure, the four-story “red brick building” later named Alexander Hall after the school's first principal (and later president) Alexander Beers.

Seattle Seminary opened with two faculty members, Alexander Beers and his wife, Adelaide. In the first term of operation, the seminary registered 34 students in a college preparatory curriculum that included primary and intermediate grades. In 1905, a new administration building was added, later named Peterson Hall after founder Nils Peterson. College-level courses for freshmen entered the curriculum in 1910, and the school's name was expanded to “The Seattle Seminary and College” in 1913. Two years later, the school's name was changed again to Seattle Pacific College, with five students comprising SPC's first graduating class.

In the 1920s, the College established a normal school for teacher training. During this time, the College began to look beyond its campus into the city to communicate its programs to a wider audience, anticipating its role as a liberal arts college. Enrollment climbed from 40 to more than 400.

Efforts to raise the standards and stature of the College were the focus of the 1930s. The first summer school program opened in 1931, and SPC's three-year normal school was accredited in 1933. Full accreditation of the College's four-year liberal arts program came in 1936 by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

Following World War II, the College grew from about 400 students to 1,400. In 1949, a School of Recreational Leadership was launched, paving the way for increased physical education programs and ultimately intercollegiate sports. During this time, the building of Royal Brougham Pavilion was begun, built to serve not only College interests but also used as a means of outreach to city youth as well. From its founding to 1944, the school had built only four permanent buildings; between 1944–59, five more were constructed for academic purposes. In 1955, SPC acquired 155 acres on Whidbey Island called Camp Casey. It provided new opportunities for field study and outdoor education.

The 1960s became the College's golden age of expansion, especially in terms of facilities. In nine years, 15 new buildings and/or facilities were completed; major remodeling to 10 existing buildings created new, usable space; more than 70 real estate acquisitions were recorded; and improvements were made to Camp Casey, including a new swimming pool.

In the 1970s, curricular renewal and reorganization took center stage. A new curriculum focused on the individual and the learning process, and the “scholar-servant” model soon took form. The SPIRAL program was launched in 1975, which would grow to be the model program in the state for in-service teacher education. In 1976, Seattle Pacific received a gift of 965 acres on Blakely Island in the San Juans, which would become the site for an innovative research station. Overall, faculty developed higher professional levels of competence through an academic reorganization that followed a university model. Ultimately, on June 5, 1977, the College officially became Seattle Pacific University.

During the 1980s, Seattle Pacific sought to focus on building a sense of community on campus and in the surrounding community while strengthening its ties with the Free Methodist Church and the evangelical community at large. An Intercultural Institute of Missions was established in 1984 to refocus the University's historic missionary emphasis.

The 1990s saw Seattle Pacific University grow into a premier Christian university of arts, sciences, and professional studies. In 1991, SPU celebrated the Centennial of its founding in 1891. Academic strength was high with 85 percent of full-time faculty members holding doctorates or the highest degree in their field. In 1994, as part of its successful $25 million capital campaign, SPU opened a $10 million Library that now serves as the heart of the academic program. A unique “Common Curriculum,” an innovative approach to general education, was launched in Autumn Quarter 1998.

By 2000, the University had put into effect a Comprehensive Plan for the 21st Century. That plan brings together planning streams for education, enrollment, endowment, and facilities to ensure the Seattle Pacific's success for its second hundred years.

In Autumn Quarter 2003, a 64,000-square-foot Science Building opened, and the Otto Miller Hall (formerly the Miller Science Learning Center) underwent a major renovation. Both now enable undergraduate students to conduct research with faculty members in state-of-the-art facilities.

Today, SPU offers 62 undergraduate majors, 20 master's degree programs, five doctoral programs, and 14 graduate certificates. The University remains as committed as ever before to graduating students who demonstrate both academic competence and personal character — and who will change the world.


Presidents of Seattle Pacific University
Alexander A. Beers, PhB, MA 1893–1916
Orrin E. Tiffany, PhD 1916–1926
C. Hoyt Watson, LittD 1926–1959
C. Dorr Demaray, LittD 1959–1968
David L. McKenna, PhD 1968–1982
David L. Le Shana, PhD 1982–1991
Curtis A. Martin, PhD 1991–1994
E. Arthur Self, PhD 1994–1995
Philip W. Eaton, PhD 1995–2012
Daniel J. Martin, JD, EdD  2012–



New Student Convocation. New Student Convocation has its roots in a 1932 convocation where new students and faculty gathered to celebrate the opportunities and challenges of a new academic year. Today’s New Student Convocation has a similar thrust, with faculty, family, and friends gathering in Tiffany Loop prior to the beginning of the academic year to support new students as they embark on their SPU journey.

Opening Convocation. Opening Convocation includes the entire SPU community gathering to welcome new and returning students at the start of each academic year. The SPU president challenges the audience to embrace the opportunities ahead in the coming year.

Day of Common Learning. The Day of Common Learning began in 2002 and is a campus in-service day during which faculty, staff, and students participate together in a learning community outside the regular classrooms — a morning keynote address and afternoon seminars led by faculty, students, staff, and outside experts. Both the morning address and afternoon seminars explore the year’s topic.

Christian Faith Exploration.
Community worship, concerts, presentations on special topics, and evensong services are all part of Seattle Pacific University’s extensive Christian Faith Exploration program. Evensong is Monday evenings; Chapels — featuring a variety of leading Christian speakers — are Tuesdays; the student-led service, group is on Wednesday nights; forums are on Thursdays; and cadres/small groups typically meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Begun in the late 1980s, Tradition is a campus and communitywide event that takes place in Tiffany Loop during the first week of December. In addition to the Christmas-tree lighting, activities include carol singing, sleigh rides, readings of the Christmas story, and other traditions to focus attention on the season of Christ’s birth.

The first official Seattle Pacific “Homecoming” was instituted in 1935 at the school’s 42nd Commencement. Since then, Homecoming has moved to early Winter Quarter, separated from graduation weekend. Class reunions, athletic events, drama and music productions, a student talent show, and a variety of other gatherings between alumni, students, faculty, and staff make this weekend a highlight on the University yearly calendar.

Ivy Cutting.
Ivy Cutting has been a part of spring graduation rites since 1922, when the first Ivy Planting ceremony was introduced. Now, more than 90 years later, graduates participate in an Ivy Cutting ceremony where each senior receives a cutting from a long, connected ring of ivy. The ceremony symbolizes the senior’s tie to the University and its many alumni, as well as a newfound independence that comes with becoming a graduate.

Graduate Hooding Ceremony.
Master’s degree recipients are invited to participate in the Hooding Ceremony prior to the Graduate Commencement ceremony. Master’s students are recognized for the completion of their advance degrees and are hooded by their school dean and the graduate faculty. Doctoral students are hooded during Graduate Commencement.

Graduate Commencement. A distinct Graduate Commencement Ceremony was introduced in 2014, and designed specifically to honor SPU’s graduate students. It occurs on the afternoon following Ivy Cutting, and graduates process into Tiffany Loop for the ceremony. Graduate degrees are awarded to master’s and doctoral students who have successfully completed the requirements to obtain their graduate diplomas.

Baccalaureate is an informal worship service shared by graduates and their families, friends, and professors. It occurs the Friday before Commencement.

Undergraduate Commencement.
Commencement is a time-honored ceremony that recognizes the scholarship, service, and Christian growth of graduating seniors. It is a celebratory service, where students, faculty, staff, parents, relatives, and friends congratulate the graduates on their “new beginning.” Degrees are awarded to undergraduate students who have successfully completed the requirements to obtain their baccalaureate diplomas. The number of SPU graduates has grown from five in 1915 to more than 800 in recent years.

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The history of the growth of Seattle Pacific University is linked to the educational community of which it is a part. In successive steps from 1921 to 1937, the University was accredited by the Washington State Board of Education. Since 1936, the University has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Seattle Pacific is included on the approved list of the American Council on Education and Board of Regents of the State of New York. The University is also a charter member of the Christian College Consortium and a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and its credits are recognized by members of the various regional associations and by leading graduate schools throughout the country.

The University is approved by the U.S. government for education of veterans and their dependents under the applicable public laws.

Business and Economics

The business programs (undergraduate and graduate) in the School of Business and Economics are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.


The dietetics specialization in the food and nutritional sciences program is approved as a Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) of the American Dietetic Association. Successful completion of a bachelor's degree in food and nutritional sciences, with the dietetics specialization, qualifies the student for a verification statement from the program director and eligibility to apply for ACEND-accredited dietetic internships, leading to eligibility to take the Registration Examination for Dietitians.

The School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) at both basic (undergraduate) and advanced (graduate) levels. The University is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. It is fully accredited by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board. The School of Education is also a member of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, and now has a chapter, Sigma Phi Upsilon, of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling.

Electrical Engineering

The electrical engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.


Seattle Pacific's music program is a fully accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). It also maintains membership with the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and the Washington University Music Administrators Association (WUMA). The music therapy program is accredited by the American Music Therapy Association.


The undergraduate nursing curriculum is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission, and both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).



Seattle Pacific's School of Theology is a member institution of the Association of Free Methodist Educational Institutions and is approved by the Free Methodist Church and other denominations for the collegiate preparation of ministers.

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Seattle Pacific University students enjoy beautiful learning spaces. Spread over the 45-acre Seattle campus, the buildings, recognized by their traditional brick or modern faces, are also known for the many ways in which they meet students' educational needs.

The University Library

The university library provides collections, instruction, tools, spaces and personne to ladvance teaching, learning,and scholarship at Seattle Pacific University. The library’s collections include digital, print, archival, and other materials. Distinctive collections include the University Archives, a Wesleyan Collection, and the Work and Faith Collection. Through its membership in the Orbis Cascade Alliance, the library’s local collections are augmented by access to materials from more than 30 academic libraries in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Liaison librarians provide information literacy sessions and research assistance in each subject area. At the library’s Tech Desk, students have access to technological training and tools, and computers and wireless networking are available throughout the building. A variety of spaces are available for both individual and collaborative work. For more information, visit spu.edu/library or call 206-281-2419.


The Center for Learning
Located in Lower Moyer Hall, the Center for Learning offers tutoring for a variety of undergraduate courses, individual learning consultations, a Writing Center providing assistance in improving papers for class assignments, and quarterly learning seminars and study-skill courses. Services and support for students with disabilities are also available through the Center for Learning. 

Student Computer Labs
Student computer labs are located across the campus. Some of the computer labs are highly specialized for specific academic programs while other labs are more general purpose.

In most of the student labs, a standard set of academic software tools are provided that include word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, statistical software, programming languages, and database software. All of the general-purpose computer labs also provide full access to the Internet, color laser printers, and other local and remote networked resources.


Art Center: This lab has 11 high-end Macintosh computers for instructional use in visual communication and fine arts. Peripherals include a data projector, flatbed and slide scanners, as well as printers.

Otto Miller Hall:
Numerous computer labs are located in Miller Hall serving the specialized needs of the departments of computer science, engineering, math and physics. A computer science lab contains 30 current-technology (FY03-04: P4/2.2 GHz) Windows® workstations for general student use. Students may also bring their own laptops into the building and connect them to the campus Ethernet using either a wired or wireless (802.11b) connection.

Music Keyboard Lab:
The Music Technology Lab in Beegle Hall is equipped with eight high-end Macintosh computers connected to Roland RD-600 multi-timbre MIDI keyboards. In addition, the lab contains another high-end Macintosh computer capable of 16-track digital recording, using a Yamaha O2R Digital Recording Console, ADATs, Kurzweil K2500XS keyboard, and the industry standard ProTools software.

Student Union Building:
Several computers are now available for student use in kiosks in the SUB.

Weter Hall:
Ten computers are available for student use on the first floor of Weter Hall, and the building is a hot spot with wireless capability.

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Classroom Technology
Faculty have a wide range of technology available in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. More than 90 percent of all classrooms feature large-screen projectors, Windows PCs, and VCR/DVD players. Most classrooms also have wireless network access available for students, and three classrooms feature a hands-on lab format with a desktop for each student.

Additionally, Computer and Information Systems has audio/visual equipment (video cameras, projectors, laptops, and sound systems) available for checkout to faculty and students for academic projects.

Internet Access/Electronic Mail
Network connectivity and access to the Internet is available throughout campus. All students, faculty, and staff use email and other electronic communication tools. Access to campus resources and databases through the Web is widespread.

  • Many courses make use of an online course management system (Blackboard) for document repository, electronic grade books, online discussion, and online assessments.
  • The Internet also provides access to libraries, databases, and information resources throughout the world.
  • All faculty are provided late-model computers and high-speed network connections.
  • Students can get access to the Internet from student computer labs, from their residence hall rooms, or from wireless hot spots in major common/study areas.
  • Off-campus students have access to email from campus-provided modem connections. Many routine student transactions (registration, class schedules and access to grades) can be completed via the Web (Banner) at an individual student's time and convenience.

Instructional Technology Services
Located on the lower level of the Library, Educational Technology and Media (ETM) helps faculty produce Web-based and multimedia learning resources. It also manages the Library's computer labs and satellite downlinks. With digital, audio, and video equipment, ETM helps bring new learning adventures to the SPU campus.

Technology Services in the Residence Halls
All of the campus residence hall units are provided a full complement of technology resources that include network connections to the local campus network and the Internet (a connection for each student), as well as cable TV connections in each room.

Technology Instruction and Assistance
The use of computers and networked resources is an important part of the academic program at SPU. Resources available to students include the following:

  • Free antivirus software
  • Discount software through the Microsoft-campus license agreement
  • The GetConnected program offering assistance in the first week of Autumn Quarter
  • The Help@Home service, which provides assistance on an ongoing basis to students living in residence halls.

Student assistants are available in all of the computer labs; and Computer and Information Systems provides a central computer HelpDesk and comprehensive Web-support site at spu.edu/CISHelpDesk.

Computer Ownership
The University provides a wide range of general purpose and specialized computer resources on campus, but for the most effective learning and use of computers, students are strongly encouraged to purchase their own computer.

Seattle Pacific University supports both Windows and Apple Macintosh computers in our student lab environments and the residence halls. The choice of computers and software is left to the individual student.

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