Mercyhurst-Pitt partnership creates distinct grad school opportunity

A new “early assurance agreement” between the Mercyhurst University School of Social Sciences and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh (GSPIA) paves the way for qualified Mercyhurst juniors to earn a spot in one of the nation’s top-ranked professional schools for graduate degrees in public & international affairs, international development and public administration before their senior year.

The new program, designed for qualified undergraduates with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or higher, enables Mercyhurst students to apply to GSPIA during their junior year and earn admission to a master’s degree program nearly a year earlier than the general public, contingent upon completion of a Mercyhurst bachelor’s degree. It further ensures an annual merit scholarship of at least $5,000 and the opportunity to earn additional scholarship monies from GSPIA at higher levels, which are subject to renewal requirements.

“Mercyhurst is proud to partner with GSPIA in this first-of-its-kind program, an agreement forged in large part due to the significant number of highly qualified Mercyhurst graduates who attend and succeed in their program,” said Dr. Randy Clemons, dean of the school of social sciences and professor of political science.

Clemons estimated that in the past decade, Mercyhurst has been one of GSPIA’s top feeder schools with students pursuing graduate studies in security and intelligence studies, global political economy, public and nonprofit management, urban and regional affairs, policy research and analysis and development planning and environmental sustainability, among others.

“Mercyhurst is one of our top four feeder programs, after Penn State, Duquesne, and the University of Pittsburgh itself,” confirmed Michael Rizzi, GSPIA associate director of student services. “When you realize that each of those schools enrolls a student body two to 10 times larger than Mercyhurst’s, it’s especially impressive. The fact that a small school in Erie can produce so many high-quality students is enough to make graduate schools like ours sit up and take notice.

“When we wanted to establish a relationship with a top undergraduate program, Mercyhurst was by far the most obvious first choice. We wanted to recognize the enormous contribution Mercyhurst alumni have made to our campus and offer a special incentive for others to follow in their footsteps.”

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