Illinois university becomes first campus to house crematory for funeral services degree

Students at Southern Illinois University have a lively course offering, dealing with death. 

SIU is the only university in the state with a Bachelor's Degree in Mortuary Science and Funeral Services and the school just added the first crematory to be housed on a university campus in the United States.

"The crematory really gives me, as well as other students, confidence. The practice we will get from having an on-site crematory reaffirms we are capable of providing this service to families and doing it correctly just as soon as we enter the workforce," Emily Bender, a sophomore in mortuary science and funeral service (MSFS) from Normal, Illinois, said. "This is another addition to SIU’s mortuary science program that allows students to be a step ahead.


Students call it a vital learning opportunity to combine a love of science with the desire to help care for grieving families.

Most mortuary science programs are two-year degrees, but SIU offers a full four-year bachelor's degree.