Sacred Heart University


Sacred Heart University (SHU) was founded by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis in 1963. It is the second-largest Catholic University in New England, and is listed in The Princeton Review’s “Best 373 Colleges: 2011” and “Best 300 Business Schools: 2011” articles. The University was founded with the mission of serving the community of Bridgeport, Connecticut through quality higher education tempered by Catholic morality.

Bishop Walter Curtis believed in innovating Catholic higher education, and so founded SHU as the first Catholic university in the United States that was staffed by lay people. Bishop Curtis recognized their ability to lead the institution into a modern future.

The University later grew to offer on-campus residences and many degree programs, including two doctoral programs in Physical Therapy and Nursing. Today, SHU serves over 6,000 students across five colleges and boasts Division I athletic teams and a state-of-the-art Health and Recreation Center.

SHU continues to stay true to its Catholic origins with projects like the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, completed in 2009, which is featured prominently in the center of campus and serves as a religious hub for students. The University has also been noted for its Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding, which seeks to build a foundation of mutual respect and collaborative learning to help overcome the long-standing animosity between the two religions.


Information Summary

Ranks 19th in Connecticut and 1597th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 71.4
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $60,580
Admission Success rate N/A
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 20 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 83% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 8,958


SHU offers a comprehensive academic program that includes undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate degrees. There are five colleges under the SHU umbrella, each serving a specific group of students through the tenets of the Catholic Intellection Tradition (CIT).

The CIT encourages students to develop their talents and understanding through dedication to scholarship and spiritual and ethical values. It emphasizes seeking a broader education through liberal arts and engagement with God and the Catholic Church. It also urges students to use their education to serve their community through service and good will.

College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college at SHU with over 2,000 students. It seeks to give students a broad education in the arts of critical thinking, oral and written expression, careful evaluation, and ethical and moral decision-making. Students can choose from more than 15 majors spanning topics like Biology, Criminal Justice, English, Religious Studies, and Social Work. The College also offers six graduate programs and a number of graduate certificate programs.

John F. Welch College of Business

The John F. Welch College of Business teaches students about the modern business world through hands-on experience, new technologies, and a rich internship program. The curriculum emphasizes business skills, communications skills, and business ethics across all disciplines and majors. Students can choose from six undergraduate degree programs, including Finance, Business Administration, and Sports Management. The MBA graduate program is AACSB accredited, one of the only 5% of business programs to earn that honor. Students at the Welch College of Business enjoy special programs like the Student Entrepreneurs club and the Stamford CFA Society, as well as outside opportunities like internships and job placement services.

College of Health Professionals

The College of Health Professionals offers baccalaureate, master’s, and doctorate programs in Health Sciences, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Exercise and Nutrition. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and modern equipment that prepare them for careers in the competitive industry. The College is a member of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions.

Isabelle Farrington College of Education

The Isabelle Farrington College of Education was recently relocated to a new, modern campus in Cambridge. It offers students options for teacher certification, graduate study in education, and a program that lets students earn their undergraduate degree and a Master of Arts in teaching in only five years. The College also actively promotes an internship program, which places students in local schools for hands-on teaching experience and helps them achieve their certification and teaching preparedness goals more quickly.

University College

The University College is SHU’s part-time and distance learning program. It makes higher education accessible to all residents of Bridgeport with options like evening and weekend classes, full and part time classes, online coursework, and non-credit programs. Community members can explore the flexible learning options to fit a certificate or degree program into their everyday life. Adult learners can even earn academic credit for work and life experience.

In addition to traditional classes, SHU offers test preparation, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and short-term seminars and workshops that serve the community in different ways.

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SHU uses the Common Application for undergraduate admissions. Students can access the Common App online or in hardcopy through the SHU Admissions website. Incoming freshmen should submit their application, high school transcript, a letter of recommendation, and a $50 non-refundable application fee to the University by the application deadline.

Students can also choose to apply Early Decision, which is a binding agreement that is often said to increase chances of acceptance. The Early Decision deadline is at the beginning of December.

Students may choose to submit standardized test scores and additional materials through the Common App website. Admissions Counselors are available to answer student questions and advise them on the application process.


SHU has a vibrant and diverse student life. The campus has nearly 50 student clubs and organizations, a student-run newspaper, volunteer opportunities, theatre and the arts, and more. Students can also participate in the campus radio station, student government, and Greek life, or simply enjoy the different events and activities that happen across campus every week.

One way to stay involved is by choosing to live in one of the on-campus dormitories. More than 70% of students live on campus, and the ten residential buildings offer students a great way to meet one another and socialize. Residence halls also have their own programming and special events throughout the year.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


SHU is an NCAA Division I college that offers 31 men’s and women’s varsity teams in a variety of sports. It participates in the Northeast Conference, Atlantic Hockey, and the Colonial Athletic Association. The Pioneers compete in sports like baseball, basketball, rowing, wrestling, and more.

Students who want to participate in sports but aren’t on a varsity team are welcome to join one of the 25 club teams, which compete on an intercollegiate level and often travel to away games. Students can also join intramural sports teams to compete on-campus against other students, faculty and staff in a fun and casual environment.

Every student has free access to the state-of-the-art facilities at the William H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center. Completed in 1997 and renovated in 2007, the building offers basketball courts with stadium seating, a weight room, an indoor track, a batting cage, a fitness center, and athletic equipment. Students can work out on their own or sign up for one of many free fitness classes. The main level is also home to the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center, which includes examination rooms and physical therapy labs for student and athlete use.


  • “FAQs: The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 Edition.” The Princeton Review. Web. 03 Aug. 2011.
  • Welcome to Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT – Sacred Heart University. Web. 03 Aug. 2011

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