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Mortuary Science

  • Bachelor of Science Major
  • Erie, Pennsylvania

The mortuary science curriculum is broadly interdisciplinary and is taught by faculty from biology, business, psychology, sociology, social work and health sciences; over 98 percent of Gannon mortuary science graduates pass the licensing examination.

  • GU Possibilities
    • 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. 
    • Students have numerous opportunities to complete community service with local funeral homes.
    • Students are introduced to diverse death care customs and traditions by local religious leaders and funeral home practitioners.

    You Will Learn

    The study of death 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 then 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 our broad and balanced curriculum, 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 or theology.

    You Will Experience

    Community service and experiential learning opportunities are embedded in many of the social science courses and students have the opportunity to interview funeral directors and visit local funeral homes. During their senior year, mortuary science students complete two semesters at a licensed mortuary science institution where they receive the hands-on training essential for licensure as a funeral director, embalmer or funeral director/embalmer.

    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 Earn

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

    • embalmer: 39,427
    • funeral director: $42,066

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

    You Will Study

    Example Course Descriptions

    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 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.

    BIOL 108/109 Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology I/Lab

    This course is a survey of anatomy and physiology of the human body.  The first semester covers basic principals of biochemistry, metabolism, information processing, the cell and the tissues. This leads to consideration of these body systems:  integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous and endocrine.


    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.