Music: Music Therapy

The first and only undergraduate music therapy program in the state of Washington

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.

We welcome your interest in the Music Therapy Program at SPU!

In August 2009, Seattle Pacific University became the first academic institution in the state of Washington to offer the undergraduate music therapy degree program, accredited by the national American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). The Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy program is now well established, and many opportunities await those who seek to use their gift of music to serve others.

The program is designed for you to develop entry-level competencies required as a professional music therapist, prepare you for a six-month clinical internship, and, ultimately, pass the national board certification exam to earn your Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) designation.

Our goal is to provide you with a personalized education of classroom and practical clinical experiences that will allow the music therapist within you to develop to meet professional standards. In this shared journey, you will become increasingly aware of who you are as a musician and how your music can affect the spiritual, mental, physical and psychological well-being of others.

We hope to inspire you with a passion to learn about music therapy and yourself — a passion that will propel you into the profession and sustain you throughout your professional career.

Is a career in music therapy for you?

We are looking for musicians who have, or are willing to work toward, an advanced level of musical ability; who are creative, empathetic, motivated learners, and possess a sincere desire to pursue a vocation toward service of others.


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.

Distinctives of the SPU Music Therapy program are 1) students are engaged with clients as early as freshman year, which means by the senior year, music therapy students have a strong resume before the required Internship, 2) all music therapy students are encouraged to take classes in music production / audio engineering, as well as gain competencies with iPad apps and music technology through use of SPU Nickerson Studios, and 3) our program has developed relationships with over 50 practicum sites, offering our students a broad spectrum of clinical settings within the Seattle area.

The SPU Music Therapy program accepts students as freshman, transfer and post-baccalaureate (for more information, see FAQ insert).

As a Freshman: Consult the Undergraduate Catalog for complete information on how and when to apply to the program. 

Transfer Students: Follow this link – Undergraduate Catalog

Post-baccalaureate Students: Here is information to apply to SPU – Undergraduate Catalog.

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.

Entering the Major

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

The SPU Music Therapy program accepts students as freshman, transfer and post-baccalaureate (see FAQ insert for more information). The Music Therapy program is a competitive degree that typically accepts eight to 10 students per year.

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

Music Therapy as a Career 

The American Association for Music Therapy (AMTA) website includes information about career opportunities and more. You’ll also find fact sheets on how music therapists work with various populations.

Locally, the Music Therapy Association of Washington (MTAW) website lists current activities for music therapists in our state, as well as active board-certified music therapists.

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

Faculty Contact

Carlene J. Brown

Professor of Music; Director, Music Therapy Program
PhD, University of Washington

Phone: 206-281-2920
Office: Crawford 206


Wendy Woolsey

Adjunct Instructor of Music Therapy
MA, University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music

Phone: 206-281-2205
Office: Crawford 102

Music Therapy

Music Therapy Program rated among best nationally

SPU ranked among the top 20 places to study Music Therapy in the U.S. by

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, Professor of Music; 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.”

What Does A Typical Music Therapy Session Look Like?

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Did You Know?

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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.