Sacred Heart University College of Nursing

Rooted within the liberal arts of Catholic intellectual traditions, Sacred Heart University is contemporary in spirit and thinking. The mission is to educate the entire person to lead and serve in the world today. The Catholic tradition is the cornerstone of Sacred Heart University, welcoming people from all faith bases and cultural backgrounds. Students Schools Scholarships

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  • Accreditations CCNE Accredited
  • Location Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Programs BSN, DNP, MSN, RN-to-MSN, RN-to-BSN, Entry-Level BSN, MSN-to-DNP, CNL, NP, Other
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Sacred Heart University is a private institution that was founded in 1963. Situated in Fairfield, Connecticut, the main campus is conveniently located one hour north of New York City and 2 1/2 hours south of Boston. Sacred Heart is the second-largest Catholic university in New England.



Bachelor of Science (Traditional)

Sacred Heart University offers five top nursing labs. The simulation labs feature 3G Sim Man and Noelle, the maternity patient. These high end manikins create real life situations for students to practice and test their skills. There are also three beds equipped with cardiac monitors, medication dispense machines, ventilators, code carts, IV supplies, and other patient care equipment. There are also labs that offer other simulation mannequins that provide students opportunities to learn basic nursing skills. There are skills lab hours and are flexible for day and evening times. There is also access to the online testing lab to help prepare the student for the NCLEX licensure exam from day one.

The Nursing Major has a total of 122 credit hours, 55 of which are nursing courses. There are 67 credits of required course work from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Math, Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Theology and Religious Studies, Literature, History, and Arts/Communication.

Are there special admission requirements?

There are some qualified applicants that may be admitted into the University as pre-nursing students and are guaranteed a seat as a sophomore nursing student if they meet or exceed freshman pre-requisite coursework and GPA requirements.

When and where will I complete my clinicals?

Clinical rotations start sophomore year and are completed at extended care facilities such as Ludlowe, Jewish Home for the Elderly and St. Josephs. Junior and senior students go to acute care hospitals such as Stamford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospital, Milford Hospital, Griffin Hospital, Danbury Hospital, Yale Hospital, St. Rapheal's Hospital, and Children's Connecticut and Hospital for Special Needs. Other placements include day care centers, visiting nurses associations and local community clinics.


The undergraduate RN to BSN program is created by Sacred Heart Faculty and students will be prepared with the knowledge required in today's nursing roles as well as the personal touch at the heart of the profession, embodied in the signature core curriculum, the Human Journey.

Sacred Heart University teaches nursing education, but also helps students learn to know what it means to be human, therefore ending their journey as better nurses. The Human Journey core curriculum builds upon the common condition and values through the prism of literature, history, sociology, science, philosophy, and religion throughout the ages.

Coursework within online RN to BSN program also covers:

  • Health, wellness, and care across various cultures
  • Clinical leadership development
  • Qualitative and quantitative measures of care outcome
  • Bioethics
  • Information technology for nursing practice

Admission Requirements (not all inclusive)

  1. Current, unencumbered RN license
  2. Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Diploma in Nursing
  3. GPA 2.5 or above
  4. Resume
  5. Statement of professional goals
  6. Two letters of recommendation
  7. Proof of malpractice insurance

Do I have to take classes at a certain time?

There is access 24/7 through the flexible online format. The coursework is completely asynchronous.

How much time does it take to complete courses in the online RN-BSN degree program?

Online nursing programs require about twelve to fifteen hours each week per course. There may be more required time within the course if you do not have a background of knowledge of the course.

Are there opportunities to study or conduct clinical rotations abroad?

There are Global Programs available for Sacred Heart students to be able to travel abroad if desired.



The RNBSNMSN program at Sacred Heart University offers an accelerated way to save time and money to get to your Master's degree. This option is for nurses who hold a diploma or associate's degree in nursing. To save money, you will be able to take graduate classes at the undergraduate level, utilizing the undergraduate tuition rate. This program, depending on your MSN specialization, allows you to take eight to nine courses instead of 12, earning your BSN along the way.

MSN Specialization

SHU offers three specialization programs along with a fast track to two in-demand nursing degrees.

  1. Clinical Nurse Leader (348 hours of clinical practicum): This track helps you to lead a team, focusing on safety and quality of patient care, as well as costs involved. Graduates of the MSN Clinical Nurse Leader program are eligible to sit for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing CNL Certificate Exam.
  2. Nursing Management & Executive Leadership (120 hours of clinical practicum): This track prepares students to become efficient in high-level organizational skills. It also focuses on the management side, from day-to-day operations to long-term planning.
  3. Nursing Education (100 hours of clinical practicum): This track will focus on educating future nurses. The curriculum will include a focus on design and evaluation theory, instructional strategies, and issues in nursing education. Upon graduation, the student will sit for the National League of Nursing (NLN) Nurse Educator Certification Exam.

RN-BSN-MSN Program Features

  • Up to 90 credits can be transferred
  • Online and flexible 24/7 format
  • Faculty consist of award-winning members with extensive clinical experience, scholarly and teaching credentials and up-to-date knowledge
  • Upon successful completion of the courses, the student will earn a BSN

Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice

Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

The Family Nurse Practitioner program requires 42 graduate credit hours to become a certified Family Nurse Practitioner. To enter the program, you must have a BSN.

FNP-DNP - Family nurse practitioners can go on with their studies to expand their qualifications when they earn a DNP.  The program is best sutied for those who have had experience with patients and clinical skills but recent graduates will be considered.

Graduates are eligible to take a national examination for certification as a family nurse practitioner and to apply to practice in the expanded role in Connecticut or other states, based on regulatory guidelines.

Clinical Nurse Leader Specialization

The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) position is a role that was developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to recognize those who want to help lead present and future changes in patient care. Clinical Nurse Leaders are advanced generalist clinicians who can use their skills of patient evaluation, risk assessment, and communication with other health care team members, to offer the best possible care across all types of health care settings.

The CNL specialization course work with an additional 348 hours of role immersion prepares students to be eligible to sit for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing CNL Certification Exam.

Nursing Management & Executive Leadership Specialization

Sacred Heart's Nursing Management & Executive Leadership specialization is targeted toward those students who wish to move out of bedside nursing and into positions that are of administrative responsibility in health care organizations. The role of leadership in organizing and delivering high quality health care is more important today than ever before. Students will learn the role competencies essential for today's nursing leader.

The curriculum which includes a total of 120 clinical practicum hours with a preceptor in the community, can help the student focus on information management, healthcare delivery systems, financial resources, research and ethics, human resource management, the quality improvement process, strategic planning, workforce development, and transformational leadership.

Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice

Focused on practice with innovation and practical clinical research, the program is designed to serve academically talented nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse executives, and educators.

Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice Online

The online DNP program is also suitable for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse leaders, midwives, nurse anesthetists, nurse executives and educators, as well as other masters-prepared nurses.


Home Health Care Management for RNs - ONLINE

The Home Health Care Management certification is designed for nurses in management positions in Home Health Agencies. The program enables nurses to meet the state of Connecticut DPH requirements.

Advanced Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education - ONLINE

The Advanced Graduate Certification in Nursing Education is geared to prepare nurses to formally educate the next generation of nurses as well as provide education for patients and their family members.

Advanced Graduate Certificate in Nursing Management & Executive Leadership - ONLINE

Sacred Heart's Nursing Management & Executive Leadership specialization is designed for students who want to be involved with administrative issues in health care organizations.

Rankings and Recognition

US News & World Report (2019-2020)

  • #35 (tie) in Regional Universities North
  • #17 (tie) in Best Colleges for Veterans
  • #64 in Best Value Schools
  • #58 (tie) in Best Online Bachelor's Programs
  • #97 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
  • #160 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's
  • #98 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

NICHE (2019)

  • Safest College Campuses in America #306
  • Best College Campuses in America #358
  • Best College Dorms in America #361
  • Best College Food in America #388
  • Most Conservative Colleges in America #597
  • Best Value Colleges in America #602
  • Colleges with the Best Student Life in America #716
  • Most Diverse Colleges in America #1,078
  • Best College Dorms in Connecticut #3
  • Best College Campuses in Connecticut #4
  • Best College Food in Connecticut #4
  • Most Conservative Colleges in Connecticut #5
  • Safest College Campuses in Connecticut #6
  • Colleges with the Best Student Life in Connecticut #10
  • Best Value Colleges in Connecticut #15
  • Most Diverse Colleges in Connecticut #20

Forbes (2018)

  • #386 Top Colleges
  • #255 in Private Colleges
  • #147 in the Northeast

The Princeton Review (2018)

  • The Best 384 Colleges
  • Best Northeastern

College Factual placed Sacred Heart University in the top 40% of all colleges and universities nationwide according to quality of education and in the top 10% for "Top Ranked Veteran: Nursing" (2019).

The Princeton Review ranked Sacred Heart University as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education in its new 2017 edition of its college guidebook, The Best 381 Colleges.


The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited all nursing programs at SHU.

Sacred Heart University has been granted institutional accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).

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