Mortuary Science

    • All of Gannon University’s mortuary science students move into mortuary school in their senior year.
    • Over 98 percent of Gannon University mortuary science graduates pass the licensing examination.
    • The mortuary science curriculum is broadly interdisciplinary and is taught by faculty from biology, business, psychology, sociology, social work and health sciences. 

    You Will Learn

    The study of death and the dying process and how individuals and society prepare for this life event is filled with questions rooted at the center of our human experience. The mortuary science program is designed as a multidisciplinary undergraduate degree integrating curricula from the fields of health sciences, business, social work and mortuary science. Students complete 98 credits at Gannon University and transfer to a licensed mortuary school of their choice, typically enrolling in the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in their fourth year of study.

    Graduates will receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Gannon and a diploma from the school of mortuary science. With an emphasis on business, Gannon’s mortuary science program ensures that students receive excellent preparation for funeral home management. Many mortuary science majors also pursue a minor to supplement their course of study in fields such as accounting, business administration, marketing, social work and theology.

    You Will Experience

    Mortuary science students complete two semesters, typically during their senior year, at a licensed mortuary science institution. Community service and experiential learning opportunities are also available in many of the social science courses. Internship opportunities include:

    • embalming  
    • funeral director apprentice  
    • local funeral homes   

    You Will Achieve

    The number of openings for funeral home personnel exceeds the number of trained graduates in the mortuary science field. There are numerous employment opportunities in the death care service industry. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • bereavement counselors  
    • business managers  
    • city/county coroners  
    • embalmers  
    • facial restoration  
    • forensic mortuary  
    • funeral home directors  
    • hospice care workers  
    • specialized funeral services  

    You will Study

    Gannon University’s mortuary science curriculum is taught by a variety of professors from biology, business, psychology, sociology, social work and health sciences. Mortuary science majors take various core and elective courses including:

    MORT 360:Interviewing skills

    This course introduces students to the basic interpersonal helping skills using a problem-solving model. Students are expected to demonstrate understanding of the relationship of interpersonal skills to social work practice and to demonstrate initial mastery of the helping skills. Students generally report that this course opens their eyes to the necessity of possessing the personal values of empathy, warmth and caring.

    MORT 390:Professional Lecture Series

    This course requires students to meet and interview professionals, such as grief and bereavement counselors in hospice, palliative care organizations and funeral homes.

    GERO 400:Death, Dying and Bereavement

    In this course students discuss issues regarding theories of dying, death and bereavement of the aged and assessments and interventions with clients and their families. Sociocultural differences in attitude and behavior toward death, as well as ethical and legal issues, resources and support services are explored.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Projected demand for well-trained professionals in the death care service industry will remain high for the next 25 years. Career opportunities include:

    • Funeral director $42,066
    • Embalmer 39,427

    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (