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Study abroad opportunities expand with 4+1 master's program in philosophy in Ireland
Posted 05/30/2017 02:21PM

Misericordia University has launched a new foreign exchange program with Mary Immaculate College (MIC) in Limerick, Ireland, for its undergraduate and graduate students.

Among the highlights is a specialized 4+1 initiative developed through the Misericordia University Department of Philosophy that provides express admission for qualified Misericordia graduates to continue their education in the MIC Master of Philosophy Program, with the option to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy or arts and culture at MIC.

MIC was co-founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1898 as a college of education and liberal arts in Limerick, a city of 191,000 located along the banks of the Shannon River in mid-western Ireland. MIC offers dozens of undergraduate programs in education and liberal arts, and a range of professional development offerings in a variety of post-graduate programs leading to masters and Ph.D. degrees. Close to Misericordia in size, MIC has an enrollment of 3,600 graduate and undergraduate students. It is also academically linked with the University of Limerick.

"Given that both schools were founded by the Sisters of Mercy and share a common beginning of offering degrees in education and the humanities, there is a very similar feel when you leave Dallas and step onto the MIC campus," said Michael Simons, coordinator of the Study Abroad Program at Misericordia University. "There is a similar mind-set of serving the community. In fact, more than 40 percent of the elementary school teachers in Ireland received their education at MIC."

Simons and Matthew Swanson, Ph.D., chair of the Misericordia University Department of Philosophy, visited Limerick in April to orchestrate the agreement. "What is most exciting to me is that both schools have a very similar approach in terms of regarding the history of philosophy, as not just a crucial component of philosophic education but, in fact, as a way of engaging philosophy itself," Swanson said. "Much like Misericordia, the MIC philosophy program is continental, using methodologies developed during the 19th and 20th centuries in continental Europe.

"Both programs emphasize study in the phenomenological tradition. Our teaching styles are quite complimentary. It is a perfect fit for Misericordia students who would like to pursue graduate degrees in the field, and for MIC students wanting an American educational experience," Dr. Swanson added.

Three undergraduates and one recent graduate from Misericordia are scheduled to be the first to attend MIC in the fall. The Misericordia alumna will enroll in a graduate program at MIC. As part of the exchange program, two philosophy graduate students from MIC are committed to teaching classes at Misericordia in the spring of 2018. Misericordia has two other study abroad programs in place in Ireland – at the University of Limerick and the National University of Ireland at Maynooth. In addition, Misericordia offers programs at St. Mary's University, Twickenham London, England; in Italy at the Umbra Institute, Perugia; at the Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany, and at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia.

The Department of English at Misericordia offers a 4+1 program similar to the one established at MIC. It offers a seamless transition to a Master of Arts in English at the University of Reading in Reading, England, for qualified students who major in English at Misericordia.

In 2014, the University joined the Generation Study Abroad Initiative, a project of the Institute of International Education to form a coalition of institutions committed to doubling the number of American students who study abroad by the end of the decade. In addition to study abroad, Misericordia offers a number of global service and service- learning programs to aid the underprivileged in Guyana and Jamaica coordinated through the Office of Campus Ministry. Additionally, the departments of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy conduct short study programs in Guyana and Jamaica. Other Misericordia faculty members have conducted short study abroad courses in Ireland, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom.

For more information about the Study Abroad Program at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-1766 or log on to


Misericordia University students will have the opportunity to take classes at the ivy-covered Foundation Building, among the first built when the Sisters of Mercy co-founded Mary Immaculate College in Ireland in 1898.