Mercyhurst University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Mercyhurst University
Consistent with its Catholic identity and Mercy heritage, Mercyhurst University educates women and men...

Mercyhurst University

Erie, Pennsylvania

Founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercyhurst University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution overlooking Lake Erie in suburban Erie. A top-tier school in U.S. News & World Report’s Regional Universities, North Region, Mercyhurst offers 50+ undergraduate majors; world-renowned programs including intelligence studies, archaeology/anthropology, forensic sciences, and public health. A 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows for small classes and individualized attention. Unique to regional universities, Mercyhurst guarantees hands-on, job-related experience – internships, research projects, study-abroad trips, capstone experiences – for every student in preparation for post-graduation life. More than 80 student organizations and 24 varsity sports ensure a vibrant campus atmosphere. Mercyhurst’s unique blend of liberal arts with hands-on, experiential learning ensures that students are competitive in the job market. Many academic programs boast 100 percent job or graduate school placement rates within six months of graduation.


Mercyhurst’s motto – Carpe Diem, Latin for “Seize the Day” – is at the heart of everything the University does. At Mercyhurst, you’ll find a community that celebrates experiences inside and outside the classroom, experiences that challenge you to write more, practice harder, dig deeper, and see the world from an unconventional perspective. College isn’t about reveling in what you’ve done in the past; it’s about uncovering who you are and who you want to become.

Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
2,458 undergraduate students
98% of undergrad students are full time
44% male — 56% female
56% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
144 full-time faculty
48 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

1,700 full-time, on campus undergraduate students. There are three residence halls for freshmen students. The newest residence hall is Warde Hall; it was built in 2009. After the freshman year, students move into college-operated apartments and townhomes.

School Location

Mercyhurst University is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. Its address is 501 East 38th St., Erie, PA 16546.

Mercyhurst’s campus is 75-acres with approximately 81 buildings nestled in a safe suburban area of the City of Erie. It is about a 15-minute drive to downtown Erie, a 10-minute drive to the interstate and a 25-minute drive to Presque Isle State Park.

Retention Fall 2016

78% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

67% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 7.6%
Hispanic/Latino 4.6%
Black or African American 5.4%
White 59.2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.6%
Asian 1.4%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.2%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 20.5%


NCAA Division I in men and women’s ice hockey.

NCAA Division II in basketball (M/W), baseball (M), cross country (M/W), golf (M/W), soccer (M/W), softball (W), tennis (M/W), volleyball (W), rowing (M/W), field Hockey (W), lacrosse (M/W), football (M), wrestling (M), water polo (M/W).

24 Varsity sports

Team Name: Lakers
Colors: Blue and Green
Mascot: Luke the Laker

Academic Programs

There are more than 100 programs of study, including: 50+ majors, 70 concentrations and pre-professional tracks, 24 associate degrees, 8 graduate programs, 12 graduate certificates and one doctoral program

Undergraduate Degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, Associate of Science and Associate of Arts

(Full list of majors available at

Forensic Science, Sociology and Social Work, Anthropology and Archaeology, Art, Biology, Business, Catholic Studies, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Communication, Criminal Justice, Dance, Education, English, Fashion Merchandising, Geology, History, Hospitality Management, Intelligence Studies, Interior Design, Liberal Studies, Mathematics and Computer Science, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Public Health, Religious Studies, Sports Medicine, Sustainability, World Languages and Cultures

Graduate Degrees: Master of Science in Administration of Justice, Anthropology, Applied Intelligence (online and traditional), Data Science, Organizational Leadership, Physician Assistant Studies, Secondary Education, Special Education; Ph.D. in Archaeology (new)

Graduate Degrees (Master of Science degrees): Anthropology, Applied Intelligence (online and on campus), Criminal Justice Administration (formerly AOJ), Data Science, Organizational Leadership, Physician Assistant Studies, Secondary Education, Special Education; Ph.D. in Archaeology

Adult Programs: Comprehensive degrees, post baccalaureate certificates, accelerated degree program, teacher certification

More Distinctions

  • Mercyhurst University has been named a “Military Friendly School” from 2013-2016. More

  • Mercyhurst produces conference-high 288 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) scholar-athletes for the 2014-15 academic year. To earn this status, athletes must have a 3.25 GPA or higher. More

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Mercyhurst as a 2014-15 Individual Conference Champion of the College and University Green Power Challenge for using more green power than any other school in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). More

  • Mercyhurst University was named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction for its commitment to volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement. More

There’s only so much students can learn from textbooks and lectures. Mercyhurst believes that a truly dynamic education — one that’ll prepare students for employment after graduation — comes from a combination of traditional classroom learning and experiential learning.

Core Curriculum

Through the Mercyhurst Core Curriculum, students learn the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that set liberal arts graduates apart. Students apply their new skills toward the fields they love through Mercyhurst’s major-specific capstone experiences, which include internships, research projects, study abroad trips, and more. These capstone experiences are so important to Mercyhurst that every student is guaranteed to participate.

Quick Facts

  • 100% of students have the opportunity for hands-on experience in their field of study.
  • In the recent past, 75% of students have chosen to take a single intensive course or study abroad through Mercyhurst’s flexible scheduling.
  • In total, 137 students showcased their original research at conferences across the country in 2015.
  • ZERO classes are taught by graduate or teaching assistants; our students have access to every faculty member.
  • With more than 80 student clubs and organizations for students, there is an activity for everyone. And, if there’s not, students have the freedom to create a club around their interest.
  • Mercyhurst performing arts programs — from dance to theater to music — average 140+ performances for students who want to be on stage, behind the scenes, or in the front row watching.
  • Exactly 3,714 service hours were performed in a single day by the Class of 2018 during the Freshman Day of Service. Students log more than 40,000 hours of community service each year!
  • 95% of students secure a job or accept an offer to graduate school within one year of graduating.

The faculty members at Mercyhurst are eager to share years of invaluable training and field experience with their students. In many cases, they work side-by-side with students on exciting research projects. Not only does Mercyhurst employ some of the nation’s brightest academic minds, but its professors are also approachable and dependable. Even as freshmen, students take advantage of unique opportunities to collaborate with notable faculty who act as mentors and advocates on the path to knowledge, growth, and success.

At Mercyhurst, a liberal arts education is about studying what one loves and applying it to real-world circumstances. What unites Mercyhusrt graduates is their ability to ask faculty questions, spark discussion, engage in critical and creative thinking, research complex issues, and write effectively. These are essential skills that employers prize in today’s idea- and service-driven economy.

Quick Facts

  • 168 Full-time professors; 68% with Ph.D. or another terminal degree
  • 14 to 1 Student-Faculty ratio
  • 50% of full-time faculty members engage in traditional or public scholarship at the national and international levels. Read More
  • Mercyhurst does not allow graduate or teaching assistants to teach courses; faculty members with years of workforce and academic experience teach our students.

Each year, faculty journey with students overseas to locations such as Vietnam, Ireland, Guyana and Peru. In 2016, 150 students left the U.S. on study abroad excursions. Read More


  • The applied forensics program is one of the only programs in the country that allows students to work with real evidence and human remains. Some undergraduate students even participate in fieldwork with faculty and graduate students.
  • Biology majors work with faculty using cutting-edge equipment to conduct original research and often present their findings at regional and national conferences.
  • Chemistry students begin research projects as freshmen, design one individualized course of lab experiments, collect data, and analyze their results. This is all designed to replicate what scientists actually do in lab.
  • Under faculty supervision, strategic communication students work in teams to solve business problems for real clients through the development of strategic marketing plans
  • Senior criminal justice majors act out roles of witness, prosecutor and defender during mock trials while a faculty member acting as judge presides over the simulation.
  • Education majors log hours of student teaching before they graduate, but not before checking in with faculty along the way to track performance and progress.
  • From organizing an annual fashion show, traveling to a fashion capital (i.e. New York City, Paris and Milan), to creating a professional portfolio, fashion merchandising faculty work closely with students from day one.
  • Hospitality management students work alongside real chefs and managers in our commercially equipped food service and dining facility located in the Center for Academic Excellence.
  • For the past decade, intelligence majors have worked for real clients under faculty supervision producing high-quality affordable products through the Center for Intelligence Research Analysis and Training (CIRAT), which is a part of the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst. Read More
  • Both students and faculty in the music department perform student-composed music together. The department presents over 70 performances each year.
  • Every philosophy major completes a senior thesis by working closely with a thesis advisor on an independent and original research project, culminating in a thesis defense before a committee of readers.
  • Students work closely with faculty to conduct real-life public opinion polling through the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics state-of-the art computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) facility. There are 31 stations staffed by well-trained student research associates.
  • In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected Mercyhurst and public health majors to research the waste management of toxins. Dr. Thomas Cook expressed his excitement on getting to work in collaboration with students to help them gain hands-on experience. Read More
  • Each social work student is required to complete a 500-hour internship in an agency under the supervision of an agency social worker as well as the social work faculty field coordinator.
  • The Sports Medicine Department at Mercyhurst requires students to conduct a two-year research project. In 2015, lead researcher and faculty chair Bradley Jacobson and now-graduate Jacob Gdovin were honored with an industry award for research on spine injuries. Read More

College is about more than an education; it’s an experience. Mercyhurst’s campus is alive with activity day and night, and students are engaged in a vast array of experiences: planning events on campus and in the community; heading up college-recognized clubs and organizations; volunteering locally and across the nation. At the heart of everything is the Sr. Carolyn Herrmann Student Union, which brings together the academic, social, spiritual, cultural, and recreational happenings on campus. Groups like the Student Activities Council and Mercyhurst Student Government bring to life some of Mercyhurst’s most exciting and memorable traditions. Examples include: Homecoming, Hurst Fest, and Springfest, which brings to campus artists like T-Pain, Reel Big Fish, Sean Kingston, Plain White T’s, and 2Chainz.


Admissions Fall 2016

3,254 Total Applicants
2,448 Total Admissions
724 Total Freshmen Enrollment

75% of applicants admitted


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $32,430
Fees $2,150
Total $34,580
Room and Board (on campus) $11,624
Room Only $5,892
Board Only $5,732
Estimated Total On Campus $46,204


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
72% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$22,411 Average amount of federal state local or institutional grant aid received
$7,868 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

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