Integrated Studies Program

Integrated Studies at Gwynedd Mercy University is a student-centered, inclusive post-secondary program for individuals aged 18-26 with intellectual/developmental disabilities. This program is designed to provide excellent opportunities in education, career development, and social participation within an inclusive academic setting.

Integrated Studies strives to create a community that cultivates self-determination, service, self-efficacy, and lifelong learning.

Program Details

Integrated Studies is a fully-inclusive postsecondary program on Gwynedd Mercy University’s campus, offering two-year or four-year college experiences for students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (ID/DD) to progressively develop skills each semester related to academic interest, employment, communication, healthy living, and technology with the ultimate goal of increased independence, meaningful employment and self-actualization. The program is based on Think College Standards and created with support from the PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium and other successful programs.

Integrated Studies students will be active members of Gwynedd Mercy University’s community as they will audit college courses, participate in community-based internships, attend sporting events, eat in the dining hall, and have the opportunity to live in the residence halls.

Students will earn a non-degree certificate of Integrated Studies and a university transcript that includes the courses and internships completed as well as a portfolio of highlighted work.

Elements of the Program

Academics

Students will audit four inclusive courses per semester (12 credits) related to their academic and employment goals. Students will receive a certificate of Integrated Studies and a GMercyU transcript that includes the courses and internships completed. Students will have the access to the Academic Resource Center and may receive tutoring from trained peer tutors and academic coaching for enhancing study and organizational skills.

Employment

Students will explore career interests and learn employment skills through partnerships with the Career Development Office and community / university partnerships. These activities will occur outside of class time, on an individual and group basis. Students will complete individualized on-campus and community-based internships (paid or unpaid), that can count towards audit credit with the ultimate goal of paid employment. Students will be required to attend campus workshops and webinars that relate to their individualized goals (e.g. building a resume, interview skills, career exploration, etc.)

Social Participation

Students will participate in campus and community activities like all Griffins, including extracurricular activities, intramural sports, peer mentorships, and community service to promote active membership in the community. Integrated Studies students will be required to participate in at least one campus club / organization per semester. Students will be required to attend campus workshops and events thtat relate to their individualized goals (e.g. resident hall cooking workshops, group exercise classes, etc).

Support for Students

Prior to the start of a student’s first semester, a person-centered planning meeting will take place including the student, Integrated Studies program staff, family members, supports coordinators etc. to discuss and create an individualized plan for a student’s time at GMercyU. Students will have individualized supports to maximize independence and success on campus.

Some examples include: 

  • Syllabus modification for audited courses – creating assignments to meet student’s learning goals within each course
  • Weekly/Bi-weekly meeting with Integrated Studies program staff to review goals and introduce strategies for success
  • Academic coaches – peer students who offer academic support (time management strategies, organization etc.) outside of class time 
  • Peer mentors- peer students that will provide support within classes, during lunch, at the gym etc. 
  • Peer tutors- All Gwynedd students have access to tutors through the Academic Resource Center, who will have gone through additional training on unique teaching strategies for diverse learners
  • Job coaches- Students will have job coaches provided (either students who have received additional training, or through supports coordination) as needed with the goal of fading supports and introducing strategies to maximize independence 
  • Natural supports will be encouraged within the classroom and campus environment
Living on Campus

Students will have the option to live in the residence halls in an inclusive environment. Students will be supported by an RA (Resident Assistant) who has received additional training in strategies to support students with ID/DD. To promote success and safety in living in residence halls, students and families will complete a residential assessment to help determine if it will be a good fit for students. 

Additional information about residence hall options may be found here

Peer Mentors

GMercyU Integrated Studies is seeking peer mentors, academic coaches, and job coaches to promote independence and provide individualized support. 

If interested, please reach out to Dr. Ariana Amaya, Program Coordinator of Integrated Studies at amaya.a@gmercyu.edu.

Next Steps

Admissions Criteria 

In order to be admitted into GMercyU's Integrated Studies program, each student must:

  • Be between the ages of 18-25 at the start of the program. 
  • Have a documented diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability.
  • Demonstrate interest in pursuing higher education at Gwynedd Mercy University and gaining meaningful employment.
  • Have exited high school or secondary institution (diploma, GED, special education diploma, certificate). 
  • Have either received or would have been eligible to receive services under IDEA (i.e., had an IEP/504). 
  • Demonstrate sufficient emotional stability, safety, and independent living skills to participate with minimal support in all aspects of the Integrated Studies coursework and campus environment.
  • Have functional literacy skills and basic computer literacy in order to comprehend basic safety signage, complete assignments with supports, and navigate the campus independently.
  • Have the potential to successfully achieve goals and the course requirements set out for an Audit designation with minimal support. 
  • Be able to appropriately participate in 75-minute classes with necessary accommodations in place to function independently in social situations such as being alone in the Griffin Complex, academic buildings, cafeteria, etc.
  • Be able to accept and follow campus rules and policies and behave respectfully towards others without supervision.
  • Have their own cell phone. 
  • Highly desired: enrolled in county supports coordination/OVR/waiver at the start of the program. 
Admissions Process

Contact Ariana Amaya (amaya.a@gmercyu.edu) to coordinate a campus tour with Admissions and a meeting to discuss Integrated Studies. 

The Fall 2021 Admissions Process has not yet started. More information to come!

Tuition
  • Students will pay per credit that they audit ($645/credit); a Comprehensive Fee ($780/year); and an Educational Support Fee ($10,000/year)
  • The cost of living in residence halls varies depending on the room selected. Learn more about GMercyU's Residence Halls rates
  • Residential students will be required to purchase a meal plan, but it is strongly encouraged for non-residential students to have a meal plan as well to provide opportunity for campus social participation over lunch with peers. 
  • Books, class materials, and school supplies are not included in the cost of tuition. 
Financial Aid
  • Think College has a helpful resource on paying for college, and program staff is available to advise on this process to ensure that the program is financially accessible for any accepted student.
  • Integrated Studies is a Comprehensive Transition Program (CTP). Students should complete the FAFSA during their admissions process to determine if they are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Grants or Federal Work-Study.
  • Students may apply funds from PA Medicaid waiver funding toward tuition and educational support; and/or apply funds from OVR.
  • Additional scholarships may be available through: