Mercyhurst University is a nationally ranked institution offering more than 100 areas of study, 13 graduate programs, and a variety of post-baccalaureate and non-degree opportunities. While our academic offerings and learning resources rival those of larger institutions, our commitment to exceptional faculty and student-centered education has preserved our community identity as an applied liberal arts university in the Mercy tradition. 

REACH Curriculum

A Mercyhurst education prepares you to succeed in a high-demand job or in graduate school, while also providing you with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to live a better, fuller, richer life. You’ll learn to appreciate art and culture, to value the interconnectedness of the human experience, to serve others to improve the well-being of communities, and to be resilient in the face of adversity. To achieve these goals, you’ll complete the REACH Curriculum in addition to your academic major.

A Student-Centered Core

The REACH Curriculum includes a variety of liberal arts and sciences courses, as well as special experiences in your freshman and senior years. 

You’ll take two courses each from these five broad areas:

  • R - Reason and Faith (Catholic studies, philosophy, religious studies)
  • E - Expression and Creativity (one in English, plus one in art, dance, music or theatre)
  • A - Analytical Thought (biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, science, including at least one with a lab)
  • C - Contexts and Systems (economics, history, political science)
  • H - Humans in Connection (anthropology, psychology, sociology, world languages)


Did you know an estimated 75 percent of students change their majors at least once before graduation? We don’t expect you to know exactly what you want to do when you get here. Not only is our curriculum designed to help you explore different academic disciplines, but we also provide academic advising to guide you every step of the way.

REACH gives you room to explore during your time at Mercyhurst rather than prescribing exactly which classes you need. The curriculum is structured to easily accommodates transfer students and credits previously earned through dual enrollment programs, as well as allow for study abroad, internships and other experiences. 


As a university rooted in Mercy, Mercyhurst understands that service and hospitality are essential dimensions of the education of the whole individual. To accomplish this, Mercyhurst has developed Beyond the Gates (BTG), a one-credit outREACH experience that you’ll complete in your sophomore or junior year. BTG presents service as an opportunity to challenge preconceived notions, broaden worldviews, and leave students changed for the better.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is one of the best and most enjoyable ways to expand your perspectives and learn about the cultural, economic, political and scientific forces that shape our world. Thanks to the flexibility and freedom of REACH, nearly 25 percent of our student body choose to study abroad (compared to the national average of 10 percent). 

Academic Advising and Support

From the moment you enroll at Mercyhurst, you’ll work closely with your assigned Faculty Advisor and your Academic Counselor. These two individuals will serve as mentors and resources during your time here, assisting you with course registration and academic progress, while also working with you on any academic or personal issues you might encounter. It is the goal of Academic Support to foster satisfying experiences that lead to student success and persistence toward degree completion.

Exploratory/Undecided Students

College is all about discovery, and your first year at Mercyhurst is a wonderful chance to explore which academic path is right for you in your baccalaureate education. As a student in our exploratory studies program, you’ll work one on one with an academic counselor to discover and evaluate all that Mercyhurst has to offer. The office hosts the annual Majors and Minors Fair every October and extends a special invitation to our exploring students.

From day one at Mercyhurst, you will nurture your passions and discover new ones, all while building practical skills such as creative problem solving, research, data analysis, persuasive writing and public speaking.