Sacred Heart University Nursing School Review

Sacred Heart University is a Catholic institution, founded in 1963. It is the second largest Catholic school in New England, and currently enrolls over 6400 students. More than half of the students in attendance at SHU graduated in the top quarter of their high school class. The average class size is under 22 students, and the student to faculty ratio is 13 to 1.

The Nursing Program at SHU is part of the College of Health Professions.

Nursing Programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The BSN program educates students in the practice of nursing in various health care settings. Graduates of the program will be able to sit for the Registered Nurse (RN) licensing exam (NCLEX-RN).

Students enter the university as pre-nursing majors, and become nursing students as sophomores after they have been accepted in the program, completed the prerequisites and have a 3.0 GPA or better. The BSN program requires a minimum of 122 credits for graduation. The required freshman courses are English, Psychology, Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Math, and History. Students must receive a C+ or higher grade in all science courses.


RNs who have a diploma or associate degree in nursing may earn their BSN degree at SHU. Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher, a current RN license, and have malpractice insurance to apply.

All of the nursing courses and most of the non-nursing courses are available online. Students will receive up to 30 transfer credits from their prior nursing education through the Connecticut Nursing Education Articulation Plan.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Students interested in the MSN program may study full or part time, but they must complete the program within six years of starting it. The MSN program has four tracks:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader – can be taken completely online, and requires 12 core MSN credits and 24 specialized credits.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – many courses can be taken online, and requires 33 credits on top of the core MSN program. In addition, students may take a 30 hour advanced pharmacology course and apply to be licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. There is also a 33 credit Post-Master’s certificate program for nurses who already hold an MSN.
  • Patient Care Services Administration – can be taken completely online, and requires 12 core MSN credits and 24 specialized credits. This program is also offered as a certificate program.
  • Nursing Education – can be taken completely online, and requires 12 core MSN credits and 27 specialized credits.

To apply to the MSN program, students must have a BSN degree and a 3.0 GPA or higher. They must also hold a current RN license, submit a statement of professional goals, resume, letters of recommendation, and take an interview.


RNs may take this accelerated program to earn their MSN degree. This program substitutes graduate level courses for many of the undergraduate nursing courses, thereby allowing the student to finish the program faster. They will be awarded a BSN after taking 121 credits at the 300-400 level.

BSN to MSN students may take the same four tracks of Clinical Nurse Leader, Patient Care Services Administration, Nursing Education, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Depending on which track they take, students will take from 151 to 154 credits.

To apply students must have a GPA of 2.5 or better, a current RN license, resume, recommendations, statement of professional goals, and complete an interview to apply. It is also preferred that they have at least one year of work experience as an RN.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP program combines education focused on practice with practical clinical research. Students may pursue a track in Doctoral Leadership in Health Care, or Doctoral Clinical Practice in Health Care.

Courses are offered online and students must attend two residencies on campus each semester. These programs are competitive, and students must have a GPA of 3.2 or higher to be considered, as well as an MSN in the field of study, a current RN license, an advanced practice nursing license, letters of recommendation, and an interview.

Students will meet with an advisor to design a plan of study. Students must take 33 credits of core DNP classes, and six credits of elective courses based on the track taken. They will also complete a dissertation.

Home Health Care Management for RNs – Certificate

This program is for management level nurses who must meet Connecticut’s Department of Public Health requirements. RNs who do not have a BSN degree and are in management positions must take at least six credits in community health or health care management.

Nursing Education – Certificate

This 10 credit program can be awarded at the bachelor’s or graduate level, depending on the student. It is designed to help a student’s skills in education as a nursing faculty member at a school or health care facility. These courses can be taken as a standalone certificate program, or as electives in the BSN or MSN program.

Sacred Heart University
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825-1000

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