Founded by the religious order of the Sisters of Mercy in 1950, Mercy College started offering baccalaureate degrees in 1961, becoming a four-year college. After becoming accredited in 1968, the college started to expand from its Tarrytown site in Westchester County, New York State and to diversify into the higher education mainstream by becoming independent, non-sectarian and coeducational.
The college now offers over 90 degrees and certificates across undergraduate and graduate levels and within the schools of: business, education, health and natural sciences, liberal arts and social and behavioural studies. Its first doctoral programme was introduced in 2006, in physical therapy,
Mercy College counts itself among the leaders in the preparation of healthcare professionals in its region and teacher preparation.
Mercy offers online degrees and many of its 9,500 students (spanning 45 states and 46 countries) take one or all of their courses online.
Among a number of facilities and activities to support student life, both curricular and extracurricular, Mercy College runs the Personalised Achievement Contract (PACT) mentoring programme providing students with professional mentors for academic, career, and personal growth.
Mercy has received a number of accolades, particularly for its online courses and value for money. It was also commended for social mobility in the New York Times who tracked the number of graduates who had journeyed from low income families to high income family brackets.
There is a wide network of research activity at Mercy, supplemented by a number of centres of excellence, including ones for global engagement, cybersecurity education; speech and hearing; strategic consulting, entrepreneurship; business communication; international business and woman's leadership.
Of notable alumni, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg stands out as he took a graduate computer programming course at Mercy. Meanwhile, fellow alumni include Jamaican all-rounder sportswoman, Simone Forbes, baseball star, Stan Jefferson, and Oscar-nominated actress, Gabourey Sidibe.