Mercyhurst introduces first doctoral program

After 22 years in the making, Mercyhurst will now offer a doctoral program in anthropology, which will make it the first small school in Pennsylvania to do so.

Director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute James Adovasio, Ph.D., the director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute, has been working to make a doctoral program at Mercyhurst since he began working here in June of 1990.

The program will consist of three tracks, archaeology, geoarchaeology and forensic anthropology. Each track will admit two students per year, totaling six students all together.

The proposal for the doctoral degree program does not require additional faculty, funds or resources because Mercyhurst is fully equipped to handle such a disciplined program.

“The department is very well funded and we envision no need for additional funding,” said Adovasio. “We are extraordinarily well equipped and well supported both internally and externally.”

The Archaeological Institute has grown at Mercyhurst since its creation.

“The program has grown to become what is widely regarded as the finest of its kind in any small to medium-sized college or university in North America. Our laboratories are widely regarded as the finest in any school of any size in North America,” Adovasio said.

The doctoral program at Mercyhurst will allow students to do high-end research in a small environment that allows them to have more one-on-one time with professors and equipment.

“Perhaps the most exciting element of the new program will be the presence of a small number of high level doctoral candidates,” said Adovasio. “Such students add to the intellectual excitement of any department, school or university and add a stimulating dimension to the intellectual life of their fellow master’s degree and undergraduate students.”

If Mercyhurst finds success in this doctoral program, there is hope that more programs will come from it. This program is also a way to welcome in the “Year of the University” by showing that Mercyhurst, a small school, can achieve big things.

“The creation of a Ph.D., program in the liberal arts has been under discussion for more than three years,” said Adovasio. “It represents another unique aspect of Mercyhurst University by which it can be distinguished from other such institutions in northwestern Pennsylvania, specifically, and the tri-state area, generally.”

The department is ready and the school is supporting the new program.

“There’s a sense when Mercyhurst does something, we do it all the way. We already have an international reputation in anthropology and archaeology and this new degree program will serve to further expand that,” President Thomas Gamble, Ph.D., said.

A program application has been submitted to Middle States Commission on Higher Education for approval. The program will begin taking applications in fall 2013.