English and Culture Studies

“We must shape our parishes and institutions to be oases of hospitality where all are welcome.”

-Most Rev. Joseph Perry, Former Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
(March 17, 2021 – Dehon Lecture at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology)

The future of the Church is intercultural. That fact is evident in the United States, but also within Catholic communities across the globe. The growing internationality of the Church is a great thing, but it comes with natural challenges. The goal of the English and Culture Studies Program is to support dioceses and religious orders as they work to overcome these challenges and to spread the gospel in the modern, globalized world.

            Dioceses and religious orders send their ministers to ECS at SHSST in order to improve their English language skills, as well as to better prepare them for:

International Engagement

American Ministry

Intercultural Understanding

High-Level Academic Studies

Church Leadership

Missionary Work

Please contact ecsp@shsst.edu for more information.

Set within a seminary with its robust liturgical life, Sacred Heart’s ECS program helps students master English through the intentional experience and study of American customs and culture. This residential, fully immersive program specializes in English language training from beginner to advanced levels, as well as intercultural preparation for Catholic ministry in the United States and attracts seminarians, priests, and religious brothers and sisters from around the world. The low student-to-teacher ratio provides personalized instruction and coaching coupled with wider involvement in the life of the seminary, as well as outings to enrich one’s language learning experience.

For students whose ultimate goal is enrolling in a ministry-related university program or seminary studies, the Bridge Program is available to ensure a successful transition to further academic studies (MDiv and MA degrees, for example). As part of the Bridge Program, a 3-credit Bridge Seminar offers intensive reading and writing practice in a one-on-one environment with a dedicated faculty member with an eye toward preparation for theology and philosophy classes. A critical essay and public presentation are part of the capstone project completed by each student. A Bridge Tutorial is available to ensure success for Bridge Program students once they begin their seminary studies.

Is the gospel being understood? Often, accent modification is an essential tool for clergy and others with an interest in ministry who do not speak English as their first language. From preaching to catechesis, the ability to be understood is an essential part of helping the Catholic faithful to deepen their relationships with God. Sacred Heart offers a proven Accent Modification Program to priests, seminarians, and church workers who have a strong foundation in the English language.

The program is seven weeks and requires a pre-course recording and phonetic transcription of the student’s individual accent challenges and points for improvement. Lessons are then tailored to an individual’s unique needs. The program is also offered online when schedules permit. A typical student in Accent Modification experiences up to 70% reduction in mispronounced phonemes, and has lifetime access to online resources for continuing improvement after the program is finished.

Tuition and Fees

Program ECS Immersive Program per Semester (Fall and Spring) ECS Immersive Program per Special Summer Term Accent Modification Program
Tuition US$9610 US$4208 US$2016
Fees None None US$200
Books US$200-US$400 US$200-US$400 None

English and Culture Studies Immersive Program (ECSP) tuition covers the cost of graduate-level accredited courses in the English language, frequent modules on ministry and interculturalism, field trips and educational experiences, and special events and liturgies that take place on campus. This also provides access to student services and support, as well as the top-tier theological research library on campus.

English and Culture Studies Immersive Program (ECSP) courses require the use of textbooks and curriculum materials which are provided to students through the SHSST bookstore. The cost of the necessary materials is then billed to the student’s sponsor.

Accent Modification Program tuition covers the cost of an accredited Compton PESL course featuring weekly classes and instructor support.

Accent Modification Program fees provide for a lifetime subscription to the online Compton PESL Accent Modification resources, and online platform for the course, and the administration of technology.

Housing and Residency Costs

Housing and Food per Special Summer Term Housing and Food per Semester (Fall and Spring)
US$3385 US$7730

English and Culture Studies Immersive Program (ECSP) students may request housing on campus. The cost of housing provides each student with a private room and private bathroom. This also provides for all meals, as well as all-hours access to food and drinks in the dining hall. Residential life at SHSST includes daily liturgical schedules and community activities.

Financial Aid and Sponsorship Assistance

SHSST does not offer any scholarships directly to students for the English and Culture Studies Immersive Program (ECSP). However, financial aid may be provided to dioceses or religious orders to assist them in sponsoring their students at SHSST.

This assistance is generously provided by the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs/Dehonians), but it is still finite. It must be the burden of a student’s sponsor to demonstrate true financial need, as well as a clear benefit to the Catholic Church, when financial aid is requested.

The necessary steps for requesting financial aid may be found within the application to the ECS Immersive Program.

SHSST is a member of the American Association of Intensive English Programs, commonly known as EnglishUSA.