Our Educational Philosophy

We are a Christian university that prizes learning and seeks to be a vibrant community that grounds its intellectual activity in learning theory. Our faculty and staff are committed learners and are committed to mentoring learners. We are convinced that educating best occurs within a relational context of the teacher, student, and subject matter, and we therefore prize the relationships among faculty, staff, and students.

At Seattle Pacific, we are committed to learning for cultural engagement. We seek to rigorously investigate the critical issues of our time and to offer thoughtful and Christian insight to these issues.

While these important issues can be investigated through a variety of academic disciplines, we believe they cannot be fully understood through only one discipline. Therefore we are committed to interdisciplinary learning — learning that explores these critical issues through several disciplinary lenses in order to come to a clear view of an issue.

We are a learning community, and all that we do is intended to support learning. Therefore our work with student life, residence life, student leadership, university ministries, athletics, lectures, and symposia is all intended to contribute to learning along with the curriculum.

Our curriculum

Seattle Pacific University offers a liberal education grounded in the Christian faith. A liberal education (sometimes referred to as a liberal arts education) is one that empowers students to live in a complex, diverse world by:

  • Providing multiple opportunities for intellectual and personal development.
  • Developing skills in critical and analytical thinking; problem solving; and communication; and the ability to apply those skills in real-world settings.
  • Emphasizing broad knowledge of humanities, arts, social sciences, sciences, and quantitative reasoning.
  • Providing opportunity for in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest. 

As a comprehensive university, we offer more than 60 major and 53 minor fields of study across the humanities, arts, social sciences, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and the professions such as nursing and education. The SPU curriculum requires that all students complete at least one major field of study along with their General Education requirements.  

The General Education program has two different tiers. The first tier is the Common Curriculum, which provides common intellectual experiences for students. The Common Curriculum consists of:

  • The University Colloquium completed in your first quarter at Seattle Pacific.
  • Two academic inquiry and writing classes completed in your first year.
  • Three University Foundation courses, completed in your first three years, where you will study and reflect on the Christian life, Scriptures, and Christian theology.
  • Two Core courses that examine the intersections of Christian faith with contemporary society and thought.

The second tier of the General Education program, the Exploratory Curriculum, emphasizes broad knowledge across the humanities, arts, social sciences, sciences and quantitative reasoning.

Our curriculum is planned and taught by the SPU faculty. We employ close to 220 teaching faculty with advanced degrees and professional qualifications in their respective disciplines. Our faculty are committed to teaching excellence and student success. Because we believe the best learning is done in a relational context, many of our classes are conducted in learning environments that encourage collaborative and active learning. To further strengthen relationships, our professors also serve as academic advisors to our students.

Signature Commitments

Our signature commitments frame our educational goals for our students and are directly derived from our University's mission statement. These signature commitments are as follows:

Seattle Pacific University will be a place that:

  • Aims to master the tools of rigorous learning, becoming a vibrant intellectual community.
  • Embraces the Christian story, becoming biblically and theologically literate.
  • Understands and engages our multicultural and complex world.
  • Values the centrality of character formation in the life of the individual.

Demaray Hall Clock Tower

University Leadership

Meet the SPU leadership — including President Daniel J. Martin, Provost Jeffrey Van Duzer, the vice presidents, and the Board of Trustees.