Academic Programs

The College of Health Professions will offer baccalaureate, masters and professional doctoral level educational programs. In addition to the continuation and expansion where possible of existing programs, new academic programs will be established.

New degree programs to be established by 2016 are:

Doctor of Nursing Practice – DNP
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a post-professional program that prepares nurses for clinical leadership. The Doctor of Nursing Practice reflects the American Association of Colleges of Nursing position statement, published in October 2004, calling for a transformational change in the education required for professional nurses practicing at advanced levels. The DNP curriculum will provide the scientific knowledge and competencies needed for advanced practice in an increasingly complex healthcare environment characterized by many individuals requiring care for chronic and acute conditions as well as concerns about care quality, safety and the effective use of health care resources. The scope of advanced practice nursing includes any form of nursing intervention that influences health care outcomes for individuals or populations through direct care, management of care, leadership of health care organizations or activities related to health policy.By 2015, nurse practitioners, anesthetists, mid-wives, administrators, and others will need to be doctorally prepared.

MSN – CNL track (4+2)
With the growing numbers of new Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) roles, SHU proposes to offer a specially designed MSN/CNL program for new graduate nurses. The program is designed to provide two years of clinical experience while students complete the 36 credit curriculum that concludes with a role immersion course. This option will assure that new graduates can complete graduate study while applying newly gained knowledge and skills within their professional settings.

Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences/ Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) 3 plus 2 option
The program offers qualified Sacred Heart University undergraduates the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree and Master of Science degree in occupational therapy (MSOT) is five years.The three plus two option is available only to students who choose an undergraduate major in health sciences.The undergraduate curriculum leads to a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.Professional study begins in the senior year.Completion of the MSOT requires Admission to the graduate program in Occupational Therapy, successful completion of the Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy and successful completion of supervised clinical fieldwork in Occupational Therapy required to be eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

The Accreditation Council for occupational Therapy Education has adapted new standards for the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) degree.Should the OTD become the entry-level degree for Occupational Therapy, we will consider developing a proposal to offer an OTD program:

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
The Doctorate program is a professional education program leading to a clinical doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD) as the entry level degree for professional practice.The program is three years in length post the baccalaureate degree and requires graduate admission to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program, successful completion of the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program and successful completion of supervised clinical fieldwork required to be eligible to sit for the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

The mission of the practice doctorate (OTD) program is to prepare occupational therapists to become effective leaders in the practice of occupational therapy and has a strong theory and research focus. The program is built on problem-based learning to facilitate advanced critical thinking, generation of knowledge in occupation and occupational therapy, and use of evidence-based research as a basis for research, theory development, and practice.

MS in Exercise Science
The program would offer graduate level study and clinical training in exercise science for those with undergraduate preparation in athletic training, exercise science or related disciplines. The program would build clinical exercise, ability to use evidence in clinical decision-making and clinical research skills through on-campus classroom, laboratory and field work experiences. The program is designed in a 30 credit, 2-year full-time format with a part-time sequence also available. As many of our current undergraduate students in Athletic Training and Exercise Science go on to graduate study, it is expected that a significant portion of the program enrollment will come from SHU undergraduates.

Bachelor of Health Science in Health Sciences - degree completion program
The Bachelor of Science in Health Science degree completion program is targeted toward clinical practitioners who have completed an associate degree in and health professions whose employers require a bachelor’s degree for advancement into management positions.The degree program will include core competencies such as health care ethics, cultural competency, health care research, health care practice and law and electives such administration, policy, and health care spirituality.

Bachelor of Health Science in Health Sciences - generic with concentrations in Nutrition and Health Education
The generic Bachelor of Health Sciences is recommended for students entering the university as freshmen who wish to pursue graduate study in one of the health professions.Students who are early admitted into the graduate program in Physical Therapy at Sacred Heart University may complete the bachelor’s degree in 3 years and then complete the Doctorate of Physical Therapy in an additional 3 years (3+3).Students who are early admitted into Occupational Therapy may complete the bachelor’s degree in 3 years and then complete the Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy in an additional 2 years (3+2).Core competencies are similar to those found in the BSHS – degree completion program with the additional opportunity for concentrations in nutrition and health education.

BS in Nutrition and/or Dietetics
The development of a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition can complement undergraduate degree programs that currently exist as they all include some component of nutritional education.Further investigation of additional programming in Dietetics (bachelor’s and/or graduate levels) including the Dietetic Internship is possible.

Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training/Doctor of Physical Therapy (3+3)
Currently, 3+3 program sequences exist for Psychology/DPT, Biology/DPT and Exercise Science/DPT. A growing numbers of AT students have expressed interest in the DPT option beyond Athletic Training preparation if a 3+3 option existed. Also, significantly, the professions of athletic training and physical therapy can only be jointly pursued at a limited number of academic institutions in the US. The program would involve, 3 years (including summers study) of the AT curriculum, some course work in the DPT program that would serve to meet AT requirements and an articulated admissions process that would insure placement in the DPT program upon AT program enrollment. These undergraduate majors both exist now at SHU, but an articulated and accelerated pathway to achieve both credentials does not currently exist.