Teach anyone, anywhere.

Mercyhurst University’s Department of Education is grounded in a commitment to social justice and academic rigor. Students interested in pursuing teaching can choose between three options of programming: Early Childhood Education (PreK-4), Special Education (PreK-12), or our most popular program that includes a dual certification, Early Childhood Education (PreK-4)/Special Education (PreK-12). 

Specialize in Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) to teach children at the elementary level, or in Special Education (PreK-12), to meet the needs of all learners, including students with special needs, in today’s diverse classrooms. Both of these nationally recognized and state certified programs focus on evidence-based practice and clinical, hands-on experiences that sets us apart from other education programs. It is our mission to develop educators who are versed in best theories and practices and instilled with an empathetic awareness and passion for today’s complex learning environment.

Fast Facts

  • Education majors in good academic standing can join the award-winning university chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. KDP members can apply for competitive scholarships, have funded research opportunities, and participate in service-learning outreach.

  • Our students can join the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), which connects Mercyhurst students and local young adults with disabilities with professional and social opportunities, like the region’s annual Special Olympics.

  • 4+1 accelerated degree options are available for Mercyhurst Education majors to earn their master's degree in just one additional year of study, with popular options including Secondary Education and Special Education and Applied Disability Studies

In The Classroom

Mercyhurst’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and Department of Education partnered with the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania to host the 2023 Winter Olympic Games at Peek’n Peak Resort in nearby Clymer, New York.  More than 40 Mercyhurst undergraduate and graduate students in Education programs helped at the event. Approximately 30 athletes from local K-12 schools competed in events such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, with a number of those athletes going on to compete at state-wide competitions. The day was a valuable showcase of the abilities of the mind and body — for athletes and volunteers alike. Mercyhurst Department of Education faculty and students regularly participate in community events like this one.

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Degree Specialization

B.A. in Early Childhood Education PreK-4 and B.A. in PreK-12 Special Education Dual Major

Coursework in the PreK-12 Special Education with PreK-4 Early Childhood major consists of intense study of theories and best practices in the special and general education fields. Over 750 clinical hours providing valuable experience in the field enhance the 85 hours of rigorous coursework in Special and Early Childhood Education. This, accompanied by a diverse liberal arts core curriculum, creates dynamic and skilled educators ready to work in a variety of settings.

B.A. in Early Childhood Education PreK-4

Coursework in the Early Childhood Education PreK-4 major consists of intense study of theories and best practices in early childhood education. Over 450 clinical hours providing valuable experience in the field enhance the 74 hours of intense coursework in Special and Early Childhood education. This, accompanied by a diverse and rigorous liberal arts core curriculum, produces dynamic and skilled educators ready to work in a variety of settings.

B.A. in Early Childhood Education PreK-4

Coursework in the Special Education PreK-12 major qualifies students to teach in multiple and diverse settings, including early childhood, elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms. Specialized course instruction is paired with unique clinical experiences so that students become well-versed in the theory and practice of teaching students with disabilities. Dedicated faculty with years of experience in the field of Special Education guide and supervise student learning both in clinical experiences and student teaching. Students are encouraged to double major or minor in a related field.

Double Majors

Education majors have a unique opportunity through Mercyhurst’s flexible and student-centered core curriculum. We are proud to provide coursework designed to foster well-rounded educators through hands-on learning. Adding a double major or a minor in another area can also increase marketability. Compatible double majors/minors include: 

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Our three education M.S. degrees (Secondary EducationSpecial Education and Applied Disability Studies, and Teaching Excellence) are designed to help graduates meet Pennsylvania teaching graduate degree requirements.

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With the teacher shortage in the U.S., our graduates readily find employment nationwide. Mercyhurst alumni are highly sought-after, boasting a 100% job placement/graduate school placement following graduation. 

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Mercyhurst has been consistently ranked among the Top 50 Best Colleges and Universities for education and teaching programs and a College of Distinction, with our Special Education degree ranked as #7 in PA.

Contact Us

Susan Johnson, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Education, Associate Professor
Office: Hirt 300
Phone: 814-824-3370
Email: sjohnson2@mercyhurst.edu