REACH Curriculum

Whatever your goal, it's within your reach with a Mercyhurst education!

It’s not uncommon for students to apply, accept and enroll at a college or university without knowing what he or she is going to study. For many, college actually provides the perfect opportunity to explore their passions, skills and talents — interests that can easily translate into a future career.

According to The Mentor, an academic advising journal, an estimated 20-50 percent of incoming college freshmen do not declare a major right away, and an estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation.

You’re not alone.

At Mercyhurst, 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.

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. The REACH Curriculum, adopted in 2016, includes special experiences in the freshman and senior years, as well as coursework from a wide variety of the liberal arts and sciences during your four years here.

All the courses in the REACH Curriculum are designed to:

  • Challenge mindsets and assumptions
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Encourage curiosity and creative inquiry
  • Cultivate an appreciation of arts and culture
  • Ignite community awareness and engagement
  • Help you learn to become resilient in the face of challenges  

The Freshman Experience

An introduction to academic writing and thought, as well as to college life. COMP120 (Writing and Research), plus two one-credit courses to help ease the transition from high school to college (iMU10: Introduction to Mercyhurst and iMU102: Involvement at Mercyhurst). Learn more about your Freshman Year Experience here.

The Liberal Arts Experience

10 courses in 10 different disciplines. To make sure you explore a variety of fields of study, no two of these course numbers can have the same prefix. You’ll take two courses each from these five broad areas:


Applicable Academic Disciplines

Reason & Faith Catholic studies, philosophy, religious studies
Expression & Creativity One course in English, plus one course in art, dance, music or theatre
Analytical Thought Biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, science (including at least one science with a lab)
Contexts & Systems Economics, history, political science
Humans in Connection Anthropology, psychology, sociology, world languages

You can take any 100- or 200-level course in these fields to fill your liberal arts requirements.  In addition, any prior coursework (e.g. dual enrollment) or Advanced Placement test can fulfill REACH requirements so long as they correspond with an applicable academic discipline


The Senior Experience

Ethics 400, a capstone course for the REACH Curriculum, along with the capstone course in your academic major.


Sometime after your freshman year, you’ll do at least one, one-credit experience in service learning or civic engagement. Many of these experiences will involve travel abroad or around the country, combined with a significant service component. Mercyhurst has developed Beyond the Gates (BTG), a one-credit experience that students complete in their sophomore or junior years. Learn more about Beyond the Gates here.