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Field of Study: Funeral Service and Mortuary Science


Funeral service and mortuary science programs prepare people to work as funeral directors or morticians.



These programs include topics such as:

  • Mortuary science
  • Grief counseling
  • Embalming
  • Funeral home management
  • Funeral service law

Many community colleges offer associate degree programs in funeral service and mortuary science. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

A few colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in funeral service and mortuary science. A bachelor's degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.


College preparation

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

  • Marketing
  • Business Math
  • Comparative Religion
  • U.S. Ethnic and Gender Studies
  • Contemporary World Issues
  • Business Law
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Hospitality
  • Office Procedures
  • Accounting
  • Introduction to Business
  • Business Management
  • Business Computer Applications
  • Community Service
  • Business and Applied English
  • Public Speaking
  • Music History and Appreciation
  • Art Appreciation
  • Introduction to Communication
  • Health Education
  • Community Health
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry


Undergraduate special

Some schools may require you to complete prerequisite courses in the following subjects before entering the program:

  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Math

You may also need to complete a personal interview.


Typical course work

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Applied Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Embalming Anatomy and Pathology
  • Funeral Merchandising
  • Funeral Service Ceremonies
  • Funeral Service Counseling and Ethics
  • Funeral Service Psychology and Sociology
  • History of Funeral Services
  • Medical Vocabulary
  • Microbiology
  • Mortuary Administration
  • Mortuary Law
  • Psychology of Grief
  • Public Speaking
  • Restorative Art
  • Small Business Management


Things to know

You need to be licensed to be a funeral director or embalmer. Although most states have separate licensure processes for each position, some states offer a single license for both.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state. They typically include completion of an accredited funeral services and mortuary science program, a one-year apprenticeship, and an exam. Usually you need to be at least 21 years old.

Some states require you to have a bachelor's degree to practice. Check your state board for more details.

You are expected to purchase your own lab equipment for course work.


Similar fields of study

Careers you may qualify for

Funeral Attendants
Funeral Service Managers
Morticians, Undertakers, and Funeral Directors



American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE)
Click on an area of interest.

National Funeral Directors Association
Click on an area of interest.

Schools that offer program

Click on the school name to see a list of their programs related to this field of study.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Minneapolis, Located in Metro