The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Our School offers students a number of exciting academic and hands-on programs including associate, bachelor, 4+1, 3+3, and graduate degree programs. Our departments include: Applied Forensic Sciences, Education, Psychology, and Social Justice and Community Health-which includes Criminal Justice, Social Work, Sociology, and Public Health. One commonality among these “helping programs” is the desire to improve ourselves and our communities.
If you are interested in Forensic Science, our students identify, collect, analyze, and interpret forensic evidence through hands-on experiences in our state-of-the-art applied forensics labs. Our Education faculty prepare students to become effective teachers in classrooms ranging from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and within specialty areas. Psychology students develop a strong foundation in the traditional areas of psychological theory and experimentation, as well as have access to a research lab to further explore areas of human development, behavior, thinking, motivation, learning, emotion, and social interaction.
Criminal Justice students are prepared to work in law enforcement, courts, corrections, probation, parole, victim services, and juvenile justice agencies—they are provided with hands on opportunities in the field as early as their sophomore year. Social Work faculty prepare students to work in human and social service agencies, mentor them in their field work placements, and provide advanced standing to those who plan to continue in a graduate program. Sociology students develop research and theoretical skills that prepare them for their senior projects as well as emergent occupational roles within our rapidly changing society. Students who enter the multidisciplinary Public Health program are equipped with the knowledge and hands on experience to further pursue fulfilling careers in medicine, health care, biotechnology, and the life sciences—there is a strong need for public health workers in the coming years.
- The Psychology Department is housed in Briggs Hall, which features 6,000 square feet devoted to psychology, including research space, a computer lab, classrooms, a conference room, and a student lounge.
- The Applied Forensic Sciences program is rigorous and multidisciplinary, incorporating all the major natural sciences and mathematics into the core curriculum, while providing discipline-specific upper-level courses and numerous unique practical opportunities in the field and laboratory.
- Since 2002, Criminal Justice seniors have consistently scored higher than the national average on the Major Field Test in Criminal Justice in the areas of Law Enforcement, Law, Court System, Corrections, Theories of Behavior, Research Methodology and Statistics, and Critical Thinking.
- Public Health students learn on a medical mission trip to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, where they conducted health screenings for local residents, worked with Mexican nursing students, and taught schoolchildren about handwashing and dental hygiene.
- Sociology students understand the continual and immutable process of social change, what causes it, and how we can engage in creating the type of social change we want to see in the world.
The Mercyhurst University Department of Applied Forensic Sciences offers a multidisciplinary undergraduate major dedicated to educating students in matters related to science, forensic science, society and the law. Starting with a deep understanding of the natural sciences, students learn to identify, collect, analyze and interpret forensic evidence through hands-on experiences in our state of the art forensics lab on campus and in hundreds of real-life cases.
Mercyhurst's Applied Sociology program provides a core of knowledge, first hand experience with conducting research, and the necessary social values to prepare students for careers or advanced degrees in the field of sociology. Students with sociological research and theoretical skills will find themselves with a critical vantage point to prepare for the emergent occupational roles within our rapidly changing society.
Mercyhurst's Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice affords students the ability to take a broad spectrum of courses that are designed to provide a basic understanding of the criminal justice system, to theorize why people commit crime, to review judicial processes and constitutional safeguards, to examine the effectiveness of correctional systems, and to evaluate criminal justice policies. Our curriculum prepares students for careers in public and private sectors, in public safety and protective services, in legal and victim service arenas, and in correctional facilities and reentry agencies.
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.
Psychology majors delve into the neurobiological, sociocultural, and emotional processes underlying human behavior. You'll build a strong foundation in the traditional areas of psychological theory and experimentation, as well as the specialized areas within the field that address human development, behavior, thinking, motivation, learning, emotion, and social interaction. Coursework allows you to explore the mind, behavior and the links between them as you learn to understand and solve human problems—excellent preparation for careers both within and beyond the field of psychology.
Mercyhurst’s multidisciplinary Public Health program focuses on disease and injury prevention by promoting healthy lifestyles through the implementation of educational programs, development of policies, research, and administration of health services. With only 16% of colleges offering undergraduate public health programs, Mercyhurst Public Health graduates have excellent prospects of finding work in the field, entering one of the more than 50 graduate schools of public health or continuing on to medical school or a law school offering a health law program.
Add a Psychology of Crime and Justice minor to your Criminal Justice, as well as Psychology major.
The seven-course sequence of the Applied Behavior Analysis graduate certificate focuses on integrating research, basic principles, and specialized coursework with fieldwork in the areas of intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, and behavioral health. Prospective students will have a choice to complete either the certificate alone, or as a concentration while pursuing a graduate degree in Special Education.
Through unique and specialized coursework, extensive practical experiences, and service delivery innovations in the field, Mercyhurst University has earned a reputation for expertise in autism. Our program graduates have become some of the most highly regarded educators and behavior analysts in the region and beyond working with students with autism.
To solidify our reputation as experts in education for this population, the university's Education Department has become the first program in northwestern Pennsylvania approved to offer an Autism Endorsement from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to any teacher or other education professional who holds a current Level I or Level II certificate.
Mercyhurst's Master of Science and certificate programs in Criminal Justice Administration (CJA) produce graduates dedicated to serving society and preserving the basic rights and freedoms of all people. You'll have access to Mercyhurst’s experienced faculty, coursework relevant to today’s justice issues, and other dynamic learning experiences, no matter where you live through our online courses. The core content of the program emphasizes developing research and critical thinking skills through courses on quantitative and qualitative analysis, research methods, and professional ethics.
The Department of Applied Forensic Sciences at Mercyhurst offers a year-long graduate certificate program in Forensic and Biological Anthropology. The on-campus program allows students to construct their own curriculum for the school year according to their research interests to meet a minimum five-course requirement. This program is designed for students interested in complementing their undergraduate education with specialized hands-on training in the area of forensic and biological anthropology, while preparing for graduate school and/or future careers in medico-legal death investigations.
Designed for working K-12 educators, Mercyhurst's Principal Leadership graduate certificate program positions you to achieve the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Principal Certification and earn a higher salary. Core courses on leadership and organizational behavior, curriculum, and school finance will prepare aspiring principals to make a difference in their schools. The online principal leadership courses, combined with in-school internships, ensure that you are prepared to address the day-to-day challenges you’ll encounter as an educational leader.
Our mission is to produce some of the most skilled special education professionals in northwestern Pennsylvania. Whether you want to complete your master’s in Special Education or receive a Special Education certification to pursue licensure, you’ll benefit from the special education curriculum at Mercyhurst. At Mercyhurst, we continue to shape the field of special education at a national level through our service, publication, and presentation.
Customize curriculum to your professional goals while you improve your teaching practice and advance your career with a Master of Science in Teaching Excellence from Mercyhurst. Tailored to your passions, our completely online master’s degree meets your—or your district’s—interests while fulfilling ACT 48 requirements. Designed for K-12 educators, you can enhance your skills as a master educator and gain practical experience. This flexible master of science in teaching provides you a personalized path to PDE endorsements, the PDE ELL specialist certificate, or PDE Principal Certification.
Our Associate of Science in Criminal Justice program affords students the ability to take a broad spectrum of courses that are designed to provide a basic understanding of the criminal justice system, to theorize why people commit crime, to review judicial processes and constitutional safeguards, and to examine the effectiveness of correctional systems. Curriculum prepares students for entry-level positions in public and private sectors, in safety and protective services, in legal and victim service arenas, and in correctional facilities and re-entry agencies.
The advanced certificate in Art Education (K-12) is intended for students who have already completed a bachelor's degree in an art-related field. This certification is also for college graduates seeking an art (K-12) teacher certification in the State of Pennsylvania. Each certification requires a course sequence of study and clinical practicum experiences.
Our post-baccalaureate certificate in Exploring the Law gives students hands-on experience for a career involving law through a diverse set of course requirements. Exploring the Law fosters critical thinking and exploration through all aspects of law. Students gain a wider understanding of the subject through classes in logic, philosophy, criminology, and ethics to ensure that this certificate compliments their undergraduate experience and future career goals.
Mercyhurst’s post-baccalaureate program in Public Health and Wellness allows students coming from any background to learn about the exciting opportunities awaiting in the public health industry. This field is not only specific to doctors and nurses, but can also include researchers, educators, policy makers, trainers, and coaches. Our diverse set of course requirements equips students with a holistic understanding of public health from nutrition to environmental health to health psychology.
If you have a passion for music and a desire to help students of all ages learn about and appreciate all things music-related, then consider this advanced certificate in Music Education (K-12). This program is intended for students who have already completed a bachelor's degree in a music-related field. This certification is also for college graduates seeking a music (K-12) teacher certification in the State of Pennsylvania.
As our world becomes more and more interconnected, it is crucial that the next generation of leaders is aware and knowledgeable in disciplines that study what makes us unique as individuals and similar in our humanity. The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences promotes a holistic, hands-on approach to learning to engage our students with the social world they live in. Our students graduate prepared to engage with social issues, research the causes of and theories for such occurrences, and work to collaboratively create positive change for all people.