Common Questions

What are you looking for in graduate school applicants?

Applications for our master's program are initially evaluated by Mercyhurst's graduate admissions team.This means applicants with a GPA of less than 3.25, or a total GRE score less than 1100 are immediately rejected.

Further, applicants with a strong background in anthropology or the natural sciences are serious contenders as well as those with experience in relevant fields. Students with a strong motivation and work ethic, who are able to work alone and in teams, and with suitable personalities would also be assets to our program. We are looking for smart, personable, responsible people who are eager to learn.

We recommend that serious applicants should visit before accepting in order to meet the faculty, and see our facilities and resources. Further, we require that students must have a personal interview prior to their acceptance.

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How long does it take for most students to complete the program?


Although our program is officially two years long, we encourage students to begin work on their theses by the end of the second year. Some students are able to finish in two years, while other students finish in three. Although many want to begin a Ph.D. program after two years, few are ready to do so. Some students decide to stay an additional year in order to gain more experience in the field, including conducting research and casework.

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In addition to completing the necessary coursework and writing a thesis, is participating in an internship or internships part of the curriculum?


We do not have official internships, however, graduate students have the option to spend 12 months out of the year with us which will provide the experience of an internship. In June, four weeklong short courses are offered in our department that can be considered an internship. Some students do travel for a summer to work in a location with which they have connections. We have had students work at the New York medical examiner's office, work on archaeological digs in Spain, and work with human rights teams in Guatemala over the summer.

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Is financial aid available?

Graduate assistantships that provide a monthly stipend and free tuition are available on campus. We have been fortunate in the past that most everyone has been funded by graduate assistantships. Although this does not happen every year, we do have two to three in-house positions available every year and positions are available at other areas on campus, (e.g., biology department, computer help desk, library, athletic center, human resources). Some of these open up yearly and others every few years. Our early application deadline enables our students to compete for these positions.

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Can you tell me a little bit more about your program?

Our program is unique in that students get the opportunity to work on cases hands-on, working both in the field and in the lab. Our lab accepts bodies with soft tissue, so our students gain experience with various states of decomposition and skeletonized remains.

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Civil War photo exhibit
Photographs of the American Civil War

Dates: Jun 12-Aug 1, 2014

Location: Cummings Gallery

Cummings Gallery
Art Faculty Show

Dates: Aug 21-Sep 28, 2014

Location: Cummings Gallery

William Close and The Earth Harp Collective
William Close and The Earth Harp Collective

Dates: Sep 5

Location: Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center

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