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Study Abroad

There are a wide variety of study abroad programs to choose from and Mercyhurst students are encouraged to use one that best suits their needs.

However, as the college is determined to provide our students with the best options, the study abroad office maintains close relationships with six unique and diverse programs. All of these programs are well-established and internationally recognized.



Students who wish to study abroad must have a minimum 2.75 grade point average. Degree credit is granted upon successful completion of an approved program of international study. Permission to study abroad must be obtained (in the preceding term) from the study abroad advisor, the faculty advisor, the registrar and the Office of Academic Affairs. Students should plan early and review their plans with their faculty advisor and also consult the Student Financial Services Office. Mercyhurst is also affiliated with several international organizations and will grant credit for overseas programs approved by its own director of international admissions and services.


American Institute for Foreign Study

As a leader in study abroad for more than 40 years, AIFS accredited courses at some of the world’s most renowned universities and colleges in locations around the world including Australia, Austria, Botswana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Turkey.

AIFS provides students with high-quality educational programs that are safe, enjoyable and life changing. Since its founding in 1964, over 1.5 million people from more than 500 colleges and universities have participated in AIFS programs.

AIFS’ program fees are all-inclusive, making it simple for students to live and study abroad and experience all that the world has to offer. Fees cover tuition, housing, daily meals, tours and excursions, insurance and 24-hour emergency service. AIFS offers outbound or round-trip flights with major airlines.

Each year, AIFS awards more than $600,000 in scholarships to students who submit application materials demonstrating high academic achievement. Scholarships are available for summer, semester and academic year programs.

For more information, e-mail, or call (800) 727-2437.


Mercyhurst in Ireland

Mercyhurst in Ireland is a unique opportunity for 26 Mercyhurst College students and five faculty members to study, learn and travel in Dungarvan, Ireland and abroad for 10 weeks in spring term 2010.

The ‘Hurst delegation arrived in Ireland March 5 and will leave for home May 13. In between, they’ll choose from a number of courses taught by Mercyhurst professors – including Political Theory with Dr. Michael Federici; British Literature Survey and Irish Literary Heritage, team-taught by Dr. Joanne McGurk and Dr. Brian Reed; Cross Cultural Symbology with Keiko Miller; and Applied Ethics with Dr. James Snyder. In addition, all the students will enroll in an Irish Culture Seminar taught by local faculty, including lessons in the Irish language.

Dungarvan was a natural destination for Mercyhurst’s first overseas term. For more than 20 years, the college has maintained a special relationship with St. Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, granting scholarships to many of its graduates. One of those scholarships went to John Deasy ’90, now a town deputy for Waterford, who helped organize the visit.


Mercyhurst in Taos, NM

The upcoming field school witnesses a continuation of the multi-year Taos Collaborative Archaeology Program (TCAP), a joint educational and research program established by the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI), Mercyhurst College and Southern Methodist University in Taos, New Mexico (SMU-IN-TAOS).

The goal of TCAP is to unite the respective strengths of the collaborators in field archaeology and laboratory analyses, thereby offering the nation's strongest archaeological training opportunity to any student pursuing a career in anthropological archaeology and/or seeking future employment in the academic and public sectors.

The field school will be held at the SMU-IN-TAOS Fort Burgwin campus, Taos County, New Mexico. Students will be instructed in a broad variety of techniques employed in contemporary archaeological investigations through multiple course offerings. All courses include classroom, lecture, and colloquial instruction, as well as, laboratory or field work.

The field school operates on a six-day-per-week basis (Monday through Saturday) for six weeks, from early June through mid-July. Participants should expect to spend up to 10 hours per day in the field.

Transportation between Mercyhurst College and Fort Burgwin, as well as, motel accommodations en route are provided by MAI. Participants are responsible for their own meals while traveling.

Participants providing their own transportation to Fort Burgwin must arrive on the first day no later than 3:00 p.m. You should plan on a departure no later than 10:00 a.m. on last day.

Participants live in tents in a field camp. Tents, cots, shower and sanitary facilities, and potable water are provided. Participants must furnish their bedding (sleeping bag [a 0°F rating, or lower, is recommended], blankets, pillow, etc.) and personal belongings. Meals are provided in the campus Dining Hall.

The field camp is located on the northern end of the Fort Burgwin campus within easy walking distance of all campus facilities.

Daily transportation between the field camp and the site(s) is provided. Transportation to local non-campus facilities is also provided, as required.

Complete details and applications can be found at the
TCAP web site.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do students study abroad?

Generally, students study abroad for two reasons: the experience of traveling overseas and/or to complement their current studies. For example, a student may choose to study in Spain so that they can experience all of Europe or because they are a Spanish major and want to improve their language skills.

What are some benefits of studying abroad?

• Earn credits while traveling the world!
• Experience a new language and culture!
• Looks good on your resume!
• Take courses for your major, minor or language requirement!

Where can I study?
Almost anywhere! Most countries offer at least one study abroad option.

Do I have to know the language?
You should not be discouraged if English is not the main language spoken in your desired country. Most study abroad programs offer courses in English, and almost all travel destinations are English-friendly.

What classes should I take?
You can take any course you want as long as it is approved. When choosing courses to take abroad, you should be cognizant of what courses will work toward your studies at Mercyhurst. You should talk with your academic advisor about what courses can be used towards your major, minor, language requirements and core classes.

How will I know if my credits will transfer?
Once you have been accepted to your school, you will fill out a blue form. This lists all of the courses you will take abroad and the Mercyhurst College equivalents. The blue form needs to be signed by your academic advisor, the study abroad advisor, the study abroad financial advisor, the director of international education, and the registrar to confirm that the abroad courses will be accepted as Mercyhurst credits.

Is it expensive to study abroad?
Depending on where you study, the cost of studying abroad could be similar to tuition fees at Mercyhurst, or more expensive. Aside from tuition, you must also take into account the cost of living in the country where you wish to study, plus airfare.

Are there scholarships available for studying abroad?
Yes. Programs like AIFS, AustraLearn, CEA, API and Athena Abroad offer scholarships to students studying abroad with their programs. Alternative scholarships and financial aid can be found by searching or Additionally, there are specific scholarships for critical languages available every year such as the Boren Scholarship or the Critical Language Scholarship Program (CLS) through the Department of State.

Can I use Tuition Management Systems (TMS) to pay for study abroad?
No. TMS must be canceled before leaving to study abroad but can be reinstated when you return to Mercyhurst.

Will my Mercyhurst financial aid "travel" with me to my study abroad school?
Yes, some of your financial aid can be applied to your time abroad; the exact amount depends on the type of aid you receive. Once you have been accepted to your school overseas, you should contact Student Financial Services to discuss the details.
It is important to contact student financial services to understand how your financial aid will be applied to studying abroad.

Do I have to apply through a program?
No. While you are free to apply to a school on your own, it is recommended that you go through a program. The program will guide you through every aspect of your abroad experience. Your program will help you with travel plans and housing and let you know if you need such things as a visa, vaccinations, and insurance.

How will I decide which program to use?
There are two types of ways to study abroad using a program: you can go through another American university that has satellite campuses in foreign countries (e.g. Syracuse University, Temple University) or through independent programs that are affiliated with actual schools abroad. Satellite campuses of American universities are located in cities overseas. This option is attractive to students who either do not know the language or who just want to see a different part of the world.  Independent programs such as AIFS, API, Athena Abroad, AustraLearn and CEA act as a go-between for study abroad students and foreign universities. These programs allow you full immersion in the culture of the country in which you are studying.

When should I study abroad?
There is no correct time to study abroad, although most students study abroad in either their sophomore or junior years, and some students study abroad during the summer before their senior year. Studying abroad senior year is also a possibility, although it may conflict with major requirements. It is important for every student to understand their own individual needs and requirements and talk to their academic advisors.

When should I start planning to study abroad?
Early planning is the key to a successful study abroad experience. There are many programs and opportunities that exist. Programs differ in location, duration, curriculum, language, degree of cultural immersion, cost, and many other factors. In order to find the program that is the right “fit” for your personal and academic objectives, you should begin planning your study abroad experience as soon as possible. Additionally, most study abroad programs have deadlines well in advance of your actual departure date, so it is important to begin planning as early as possible.

How long should I study abroad for?
It is possible to plan a study abroad experience for a summer, semester or full academic year. There are even some short term travel abroad programs that last just a few weeks, such as the faculty-led programs (FSAT) through Mercyhurst.

Will I graduate on time if I study abroad?
Yes, it is possible to study abroad and still graduate on time. However, students need to talk with their advisor to make sure all requirements will be met before, during and after studying abroad.

What types of living accommodations are available?
This largely depends on the program that you choose, but the available options usually range from apartments, residential halls, or home stays with families. Most programs offer a wide range of available options for students.

How do I apply for study abroad?
Once you have decided on a program or made some preliminary decisions about the type of program you are interested in, contact the study abroad advisor for an appointment. The office is located in the International Student Center, next to the bookstore. Call (814) 824-3635, or send an e-mail to to schedule an appointment. You can also stop in to get more information during office hours. Check out study abroad on the Mercyhurst portal for the hours.


Photos from Ireland