Academics & Course Offerings

As a college preparatory school, the Mercyhurst Prep curriculum is rigorous, and 98% of the student body matriculates at a post-secondary institution. The school offers a wide range of courses at the college prep, honors, and International Baccalaureate (IB) levels.

Our Course Descriptions Catalog lists all available courses, along with guidelines and courses of study.


Curriculum Options

College Prep Courses

College prep courses are tailored to prepare students for university studies with a focus on reading, discussion, problem-solving, research skills, and academic writing. There is mobility among college prep, honors, and IB courses, and counselors work with students in selecting the combination that offers an appropriate challenge.

Honors Courses

Students may select from 53 honors courses, of which 24 are also IB, in English, mathematics, social studies, science, theology, world languages, and the performing and visual arts. Honors courses move at an accelerated pace and cover additional topics and/or topics in greater depth.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Courses

International Baccalaureate World SchoolMercyhurst Prep has been a member of the International Baccalaureate Organization since 1985, offering IB diplomas, subject area certificates, and 24 courses in mathematics, sciences, language and literature, modern world languages, history, art, dance, music, and religions of the world. A superior academic program, the IB develops students who are inquirers, thinkers, communicators, and risk-takers. These students are principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, and reflective, characteristics fostered through an intensive course of studies that encompasses independent scholarly research, metacognition, community service, thoughtful reflection, and round table discussion.

LEARN MORE about our IB program.

Academic Departments

English & Humanities

The English college prep and IB curriculums provide a comprehensive program of studies in the areas of literature, vocabulary, grammar, composition, oratory, and study skills. Students will become proficient in expressing themselves through a wide variety of expository and creative writing assignments and speech activities. Students will begin the study of literature with a genre format as freshmen and continue their sophomore and junior years of study using a chronological approach to American then British literature, concluding their senior studies with an overview of World Literature. The department strives to encompass the study of language and literature for both creative and functional purposes.


The mathematics department is one of the most advanced for high schools in Erie and prepares students to cope with their futures. The college prep and IB curriculum at our school in Erie is designed to give maximum competency for post high school academia. Offering different levels of mathematics, we have designed a curriculum that will fit the needs of any student. Although the titles tend to be typical (Algebra I – Geometry – Algebra II) the courses will integrate other topics of math such as logical reasoning, measurement, probability, statistics, and real life applications.

Performing Arts

The arts provide one of the essential and basic languages that extend the range of communication.  Through this language we express our fears, dreams, curiosities, hopes, and discoveries. Such expression is a central force in human existence. Literacy in the arts for all students is something that Mercyhurst Preparatory School values highly as part of our education and academic programs. We believe that each of the arts functions as a tool for creative expression as well as for the development of higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills.

Physical Education & Health

The goal of the physical education and health department is to empower students to make choices that lead to an active and healthy lifestyle. P.E. classes promote physical education development and teamwork through exercise and a variety of sports, while the health program provides knowledge of the body that allows discussion of issues that may concern students now or in the future. Students also study techniques for prevention and care of common disorders as part of a holistic approach to physical, mental, and social health.

Science & Engineering

The science program at MPS is one of the most advanced in Erie and is designed to prepare high school students for college by teaching scientific principles and problem solving in a continually changing world. The honors, college prep and IB science courses offered allow students to develop both practical and theoretical knowledge in the major disciplines.

Social Studies

The social studies department provides an interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences, emphasizing global education. The major goal of the department is to help our students develop the values, the knowledge, and the skills that they need to become productive, proactive, and concerned citizens of the 21st century. Four years of social studies core curriculum courses are required for graduation. Seniors who qualify may fulfill the fourth-year requirement by taking a social studies course at the college. Students also are encouraged to take additional electives to broaden their knowledge in the field of social studies.

Technology & Business

The technology & business department at Mercyhurst Preparatory School in Erie strives to provide students with the opportunity to take courses that will prepare them to integrate technology not only into their learning but also into their daily lives. Skills learned in computer classes will enable students to make authentic use of technology across the curriculum as a part of the learning process and will prepare them for a productive role in society and the workplace.


The theology department offers an integrated and sequential approach to faith development. A thorough understanding of Hebrew and Christian scripture is the foundation upon which all other theological inquiry is built. Opportunities for daily prayer, written reflection, sacramental experience, liturgical celebration, and community service are offered as ways of validating through experience what is learned in the classroom.

Visual Arts

The arts provide one of the essential and basic languages that extend the range of communication. Through this language we express our fears, dreams, curiosities, hopes, and discoveries. Such expression is a central force in human existence. Literacy in visual arts is a core value for college prep and IB education and academics so we try to instill in all high school students the idea that each of the arts functions as a tool for creative expression as well as for the development of higher order thinking and problem solving skills.

World Languages

Life in a global community has heightened awareness as to the value of and the need for effective communication in two or more languages. The world languages department believes that everyone must be prepared to meet the challenges of a diverse and changing world. We believe that the study of world languages enhances one’s appreciation of the unique contributions of other cultures – their history, art, music, and literature. We believe that language study strengthens the understanding of one’s native language and introduces opportunities to expand one’s horizons.