Music Therapy Major

Music Therapy

Are you a musician with a desire to help people cultivate their physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual well-being through music? The Music Therapy Program — the first and only Music Therapy program in Washington state — offers many opportunities for musicians to use their skills and aptitude to serve others through the functional use of music.

The SPU Music Therapy Program's rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum is designed to train you to realize your potential as a music therapist, prepare for the six-month clinical internship, and, ultimately, pass the national examination to earn your Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) designation.

As a Music Therapy major, you can choose from three emphases:


When you major in Music Therapy at SPU, you will take academic courses that focus on core music and music therapy classes, as well as the balance of a comprehensive university education.

You will also have the opportunity for practicum experiences within diverse health care and educational institutions in the Seattle area. And you will have the close supervision by board-certified music therapists in an educational climate that nurtures the discipline of being a strong musician, the heart to serve others, and the focus to help you reach your goals.

See more career opportunities, along with career resources for Music Therapy majors.

Major Courses and Degree Requirements

The SPU Music Therapy Program is an integrative, rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum. Music Therapy students are required to do the following:

  • Fulfill the requirements of a Music degree as accomplished musicians, including a junior recital on your major instrument.
  • Take classes in core music therapy, psychology, special education, and biology/physical education, as well as fulfill University required courses.
  • Pass proficiency exams on piano, guitar, and voice.
  • Fulfill 180 hours of practicum experience during undergraduate training. A six-month clinical internship is required once you have completed your major's courses in order for you to be eligible to sit for the national Board Certification Exam.

The minimum total credits required for a major emphasis is 124 quarter credits. The minimum total credits required for the degree is 180 quarter credits.

Admission to the Major

You may apply to the Music Therapy major (PDF) when you have completed your freshman year at SPU. To be admitted to the major, you must have earned a 3.0 overall GPA and have decided upon your area of emphasis. Once admitted, you are required to maintain a 2.8 minimum GPA.

If you are transferring to SPU and intend to apply for the Music Therapy major, you must follow these steps:

  1. Be admitted to the University.
  2. Successfully pass the Introduction to Music Therapy and Music Therapy Skills and Repertoire classes.
  3. Have an interview/audition with the Music Therapy director and faculty.

Career Opportunities

Nationwide, Board-Certified Music Therapists are employed in many settings, including clinical, educational, and social-service agencies, such as:

  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Hospice Care
  • Medical and Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Oncology Treatment Centers
  • Private Practice
  • Pain/Stress Management Clinics
  • Schools
  • Senior Centers and Nursing Homes
  • Substance Abuse Programs
  • Wellness Programs

Faculty Contact

Carlene J. Brown

Associate Professor and Chair, Music Department; Director, Music Therapy Program

Phone: 206-281-2920
Office: Crawford 206

EMP Music Therapy Camp

Summer 2015 Music Therapy Camps

Find out about our Music Therapy Camps for children ages 6–14 on the autism spectrum, or with related developmental disabilities.

Have Questions About the Music Therapy Program?

Help Icon Get answers to your questions about the requirements for admission to the Music Therapy Program, how to apply, and more.

Carlene Brown

Why I Teach at SPU

Carlene Brown, Associate Professor and Chair, Music Department; Director, Music Therapy Program

"I love teaching, especially at SPU. I primarily teach freshman students, an experience that I consider to be fun, inspiring, enlightening, and challenging ― especially Music Theory at 8 a.m.! Music Therapy students are passionate and motivated to use their musical gifts to serve others. I am blessed to watch students grow and see how transformative learning and service can be. Yet I, too, am privileged to see the world through their eyes and perspectives. My learning and growth have been alongside them as well."

Did You Know?

Help Icon SPU Music Department students and Seattle's Experience Music Project recently teamed up to create a two-week music therapy camp for children living with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities.