Sacred Heart University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart is passionate about the role it plays in helping students reveal their...

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, Connecticut

Immersion. Innovation. Integrity.


Distinguished by the personal attention it provides its students, Sacred Heart University is recognized for its commitment to academic excellence, award-winning advisement program, cutting-edge technology, championship Division I athletic teams, and nationally-recognized community service programs. Situated in Fairfield, Connecticut, the main campus is ideally located one hour north of New York City and two and a half hours south of Boston. The University’s 18-hole golf course is a mere 15 minutes away. Undergraduate students study at SHU’s international campuses in Dingle, Ireland, and Luxembourg, including freshmen participating in pre-fall and Freshman Fall Abroad programs. On the main campus, new, world-class academic facilities include the Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communication Center, the Center for Healthcare Education, and a recent 66-acre expansion onto the former GE world headquarters. With 4,794 full-time undergraduate students and more than 8,500 total undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in over 70 academic programs, this dynamic university is an innovative presence within Catholic higher education.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
5,325 undergraduate students
90% of undergrad students are full time
37% male — 63% female
63% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
281 full-time faculty
521 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
90% of first year students live on campus
51% of all students live on campus

School Location

Sacred Heart’s location between New York City and Boston in Fairfield County, Connecticut, means proximity to world-class hospitals, nationally ranked elementary and secondary schools, a high concentration of Fortune 500 corporations and access to the employers in Connecticut’s “creative corridor.” Satellite campuses are located throughout Connecticut in Stamford and Griswold. International campuses include Dingle, Ireland, and Luxembourg.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X

Retention Fall 2016

81% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

60% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 10%
Black or African American 4%
White 73%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 2%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


Sacred Heart fields 32 NCAA Division I varsity teams, one of the largest programs in the country, which contributes to school spirit on campus. With 26 intercollegiate club sports including such diverse offerings as sailing, golf, gymnastics, rugby, and figure skating, non-varsity athletes have the opportunity to continue a high school sport or learn a new one. Intramural sports and fitness classes are also open to all students.

Other Information

SHU is the second-largest Catholic university in New England and one of the fastest growing Catholic colleges according to the The Chronicle of Higher Education. The University offers 70 academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication and Media Arts, School of Computing, the AACSB-accredited Jack Welch College of Business, College of Health Professions, College of Nursing, and Isabelle Farrington College of Education.

More Distinctions

  • The University continues to experience dramatic growth in campus facilities and enrollment, garnering recognition and endorsements such as U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges and The Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges and The Best 295 Business Schools.

  • The Jack Welch College of Business is one of less than 5 percent of the world’s business schools to earn AACSB accreditation, the hallmark of excellence in business education.

  • Sacred Heart University’s remarkable growth is perhaps best evidenced by the high demand for a SHU education and the strong academic background of each incoming SHU freshman class.  

Sacred Heart is dedicated to the holistic development of its students through active, engaged learning including research, internships, clinical placements, independent study, service learning, work-study, and study abroad programs.

Hands-On Education

Students in all majors engage in hands-on education, both in and outside of the classroom. The cutting-edge technology in the Martire Center for Business & Communications allows students to apply their skills to real-world settings. They excel with the help of SHU’s finance lab and trading floor, full-size television studios, and motion capture lab. The new Center for Healthcare Education features the latest technology available to health professions students. Students in the sciences utilize recently renovated laboratories and state-of-the-art computer labs.

Service Learning

Through a dynamic service learning program, students gain relevant experience, all while enacting the University’s dedication to civic responsibility. Service learning experiences are integrated into academic courses.

Study Abroad

Further from campus, students participate in study abroad programs around the world that offer internships and clinical experiences. Sacred Heart’s Freshman Fall Abroad program allows students to study abroad in Italy or Ireland during their first semester, setting the stage for engaged learning throughout their college experiences.

Welch Experience

A hallmark example of SHU’s focus on active learning is the Welch Experience program for students in the Welch College of Business. The program includes faculty-led courses abroad, research opportunities, mentoring programs, specialized career services, and co-curricular activities designed to develop career awareness, business acumen, and leadership capabilities.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine X
Marching band X
Model UN X
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society X
Symphony orchestra  
Television station X
Yearbook X

First Year Seminar and The Art of Thinking

The First Year Seminar program stresses students mastering the writing and communications skills essential for academic and career success. The program is anchored by two classes that every first-year student takes. First Year Seminars are small classes that offer many diverse and innovative topics, while “The Art of Thinking” focuses on logic and critical-thinking. The program is designed to provide new students with not just solid academic abilities, but also a desire to become strong and effective writers; dynamic, self-confident speakers; clearer and more creative thinkers; more engaged, self-sufficient learners; and active members of a vibrant, scholarly community.

Off-Campus Study

The great teaching at Sacred Heart extends far beyond the traditional classroom setting. SHU’s faculty enrich their students’ experiences through trips abroad, shared volunteer experiences, and mentorships for sports teams. They also lead excursions to such locations such as Washington, D.C., and the New York Stock Exchange.


Sacred Heart University students fully engage in internships in all fields, including business and finance, communications, government, graphic art, healthcare, information technology, sales, social services, and the sciences. The Career Development and Placement Center makes recruiting for internships seamless, including on-campus interview opportunities, career and internship fairs, and online job postings.

Capstone Projects

SHU’s capstone experience challenges seniors to conduct research or lead creative projects that exemplify their thirst for discovery as well as the knowledge they gained throughout their years in college.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy X
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Philosophy X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science X

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 90 389 453 206 7 13 2 1160

Residence Life

Ninety percent of freshmen live on campus at SHU. Residence hall options on campus include traditional, suite, and apartment-style residences, some of which include gaming labs, fitness centers, and social spaces.

Student Activities

Cultural events abound on campus including concerts, poetry nights, and the Student Affairs Lecture Series, which brings renowned guest speakers to campus. Students in Sacred Heart’s performing arts programs enrich campus life with performances in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts and other smaller on-campus venues. Overseen by a Tony-and Grammy-nominated producer, the performing arts program includes dance (with a variety of ensembles from Irish to step to hip-hop), theatre arts, instrumental music (marching band, orchestra, and an array of ensembles), and choir.

SHU’s academic and experiential learning opportunities are complemented by a rich student life program. On campus, there are over 80 student organizations including performing arts programs, media groups, national Greek organizations, Division I athletics, intramural and club sports, service organizations, leadership programs, and academic honor societies.

Other annual campus-wide events include the fall and spring concerts, Spring Fest, Dancing with Heart, Mr. SHU, and more.

Greek Life

Sacred Heart has a robust Greek life community whose participants engage in a unique balance of leadership, academic, philanthropy/service, and social opportunities. The entire campus benefits from events and programs organized by fraternities and sororities.


The SHU community is characterized by its dedication to serving others, as evidenced by an award-winning community service program. Each year, Sacred Heart students contribute around 53,000 hours of community service to the local community and go on service trips to Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Haiti, Mexico, and Colombia.


Students come together to cheer on the Division I Pioneers, with big crowds turning out for events such as the Homecoming football game in the fall and Midnight Madness to kick off the basketball season.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms  
Women’s dorms  
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing X
Other housing options  

With a 95 percent success rate (full-time employment and graduate school enrollment) among those graduates seeking full time positions, Sacred Heart University graduates are highly successful in their respective professional fields. They are quick to be hired by Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, school systems, nonprofit agencies, and small and large businesses alike.

Career Services

Outside the classroom, undergraduates in all majors participate in internships that are facilitated through the Career Development and Placement Center. Career counselors work with students one-on-one during their internship searches. Students also utilize the “Pioneer Network,” SHU’s interactive career development system which contains thousands of internship listings. Students get the opportunity to connect with potential employers and internships through a variety of networking events on campus, such as career fairs and on-campus interviewing days.

For students seeking employment after graduation, the Career Center offers a range of services, programs and resources to help students identify opportunities, connect with appropriate companies and organizations and effectively market themselves to employers. These include one-on-one job search coaching; on-campus interviewing days, networking events and job fairs; résumé writing, interviewing, social media, and job search workshops.

Major In Success

To ensure students are on the path to success, the University offers students the opportunity to participate in its innovative “Major in Success” program, run by the Career Center. Known as “MIS,” the program is designed to assist students in making the right choices about majors and careers by increasing students’ understanding of how their unique talents, interests, values, and skills match with a variety of careers and corresponding academic programs. This highly effective, structured program is open to all undergraduates, particularly catering to the needs of first- and second-year students. MIS is implemented over the course of several weeks through individual and group career counseling, which also includes the use of popular career and personality assessment inventories.

Graduate School Placement

Roughly 50 percent of each graduating class continues directly into graduate school upon graduation. Pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, law, optometry, pharmacy, osteopathy, physician’s assistant, and veterinary science prepare students for the rigorous application process to these respective graduate programs. In addition, all students interested in pursuing graduate studies receive advisement from their academic departments and the Career Development and Placement Center.


Admissions Fall 2016

 10,017 Total Applicants
5,731 Total Admissions
1,322 Total Freshmen Enrollment

57.21% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling Admission? Yes

Priority date: Feb 15

Admissions Factors

Very Important 
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Volunteer work
Work experience

Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
Level of applicant’s interest

Standardized test scores
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Religious affiliation/commitment
Racial/ethnic status

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 486 622
SAT Math 497 632
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 22 28
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    

Admissions Process

Students applying to Sacred Heart University benefit from a comprehensive, holistic admissions process which takes into account students’ overall profile including academic achievements, strength of college preparatory curricula, leadership and community service experience, character, and extraordinary talents. Sacred Heart University is a test-optional institution, and does not require the SAT/ACT as part of the student’s application. A student may elect to submit SAT/ACT scores if the student believes it will strengthen his/her application and is reflective of the student’s potential as a first-year college student. Completion of the Common Application, high school transcript, and letter of recommendation are required, as well as a $50 application fee. An interview is strongly recommended for all candidates, and is required for Early Decision applicants. SHU offers an Early Decision program (December 1 deadline), a non-binding Early Action program (December 15 deadline) as well as rolling admissions with a priority deadline of February 15.


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $36,920
Fees $250
Total $37,170
Room and Board (on campus) $14,140
Room Only $9,900
Board Only $4,240
Estimated Total On Campus $51,560


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 Estimated

$19,822 First year students
$16,046 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 Estimated

57.66% on average, the percentage of need that was met
18% of financial need students that had need fully met

$16,046 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,953 Average need-based loan

Financial Assistance

Completion of the FAFSA is required for students seeking federal and state financial assistance. The College Board’s Profile is required for students to be considered for institutional grants and scholarships. Need-based and merit aid as well as academic scholarships and loans are available through federal, state, University, and private sources. Student employment is available on-and-off-campus through federal and institutional work-study program and student employment.