Summer Experiences

Mercyhurst University Summer Experiences

Area high school students are invited to explore their interests and experience learning at the college level through the Mercyhurst University Summer Experiences.
These intensive programs are unlike any that are offered in the area. Courses and workshops are taught by Mercyhurst’s elite faculty in the university’s top-notch facilities. Students can immerse themselves in a number of different subjects, all of which offer hands-on experiences, whether in the lab, on the stage, or through off-campus excursions.

REGISTER ONLINE - or download the registration form

Archaeology - July 7-11
Creative Writing – July 21-25
Dance – June 15-July 2
Forensic Science – July 21-25
Geology – July 14-18
Music – July 13-19
Studio Art - July 7-11
Theatre – July 7-11


Mercyhurst University Summer Experiences are open to students ages 15-18.

All camps, with the exception of Dance and Music,* run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Lunch will be provided in the university’s Egan Dining Hall and is included in the cost of the camp.


Art, Archaeology, Forensic Science, Geology, Theater: $295 before May 16; $350 after May 16.

Final day to register: Sunday, June 1.* 

*Dance and Music programs have overnight/boarding options, and also have different pricing structures, registrations, and deadlines. Both programs also require auditions. Click the links below for more information.

Archaeology – July 7-11

In this course you’ll get your hands dirty, literally—laying archaeological grids, mapping, excavating and processing artifacts, and recording data based on modern archaeological methods. This intensive introduction to archaeology will be led by members of Mercyhurst’s world-renowned Archaeological Institute. Students will not only learn what archaeology is, how it originated, and how it fits in with other sciences, but will actually experience the work of real archaeologists in the field. 

Instructors: Jeff Illingworth, Allen Quinn

Dance – June 15-July 2*

This intensive program for intermediate/advanced dancers ages 15 and up with at least five years of dance training will offer daily classes in ballet/pointe, modern/improvisation, jazz/hip hop, and world dance. Students will receive individualized attention from exceptional faculty, and will also go beyond the basics to learn about dance-related topics like stage makeup and auditioning. 

Campus housing is available for this camp, along with the option to earn college credits. Auditions are required for admission. Visit

Register for an audition  

Forensic Science – July 21-25

Do you like solving puzzles? Intrigued by crime investigation and the science behind it? This course will cover fascinating topics like blood spatter analysis, evidence documentation, processing and analysis, fingerprint classification, firearm and ballistics analysis and more. Students will even reconstruct indoor and outdoor crime scenes.

Instructors: Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat; Dennis Donovan, PSP, retired


Geology - July 14-18

Were saber cats actually vampires? Was Chautauqua Lake formed by a meteor impact? If you thought geology was just about rocks, think again! In this program students will explore everything from where the moon came from to how Erie was once part of an ocean. The course will also include field trips to a natural history museum, and to a site to search for fossils. 

Instructor: Scott McKenzie


Music – July 13-19**

The Mercyhurst Summer Music Academy (MSMA) is a weeklong camp for high school piano and string students focused on chamber music and solo repertoire. The Academy will be taught by the expert faculty in Mercyhurst’s D’Angelo Department of Music, and is designed provide intensive training and meaningful performance opportunities for serious young musicians. 

Campus housing is available for this camp. Auditions are required for admission. 

Apply to MSMA

Studio Art – July 7-11

In-depth/intensive art experience exploring a variety of 2-D and 3-D methods (printmaking/drawing/watercolor/environmental and found sculpture). Working collaboratively and individually within a community of young artists, outdoors and in the studio, students will develop their skills and learn new methods/techniques while exploring both the microcosm and the macrocosm of their environment. 

Instructors: Dr. Jamie Borowicz, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Meier

Theatre – July 7-11

If you aspire to be on Broadway, take your craft to new heights through this exploration of American musical theatre. Taught by professional teaching artists, the program will include workshops on acting, singing and dancing, and will also cover topics such as script analysis, physical and vocal characterization, emotional commitment, and more. Students will showcase their skills at a performance on Friday, July 11, in Taylor Little Theatre. 

Instructors: Dr. Brett D. Johnson (director), James Bobick (musical director),
Kelly Jean Graham (choreographer)

Creative Writing – July 21-25


Is it your dream to be a published author? Put your knack for storytelling to work through this in-depth course in poetry and fiction, taught by a published poet. The skills and techniques introduced in this course will lead to publishable-quality work, and by the end of the week students will have developed a portfolio of high-quality writing to submit to contests or as samples for college applications.

Instructor: Dr. Gregory Brown


Civil War photo exhibit
Photographs of the American Civil War

Dates: Jun 12-Aug 3, 2014

Location: Cummings Gallery

MU Course Catalog